Way back in January of 2011, still very early in our process of adopting Katie, the Bulgaria specialist for our adoption agency sent an email out to all her Bulgaria families.
Please choose one more child from the waiting list, and then pray, pray, pray that God would send a family to that child.
Right under our little Katie-bird on the waiting child listing was another little girl with the word Pleven in her profile. She was three-and-a-half years old.
“Hmmm,” I thought, “Maybe we’ll get to meet her when we’re there to visit Katie.”
We printed out her photo and hung it on our refrigerator right next to Katie’s photo.
Every time we prayed together as a family, we prayed that a loving daddy and mommy would commit to adopt this little girl.
About two months went by until we heard the news.
God said YES!!!
He was sending a family, Mike and Gail Kenyon, to get this little dumpling!
The more I talked with Gail, the more impressed and thankful I was that God had chosen a family for Ana who had such huge, nurturing, Jesus-loving hearts.
It had meant so much to me to have photos of Sasha Bliss holding Katie, months before I could get to Pleven myself. I wanted so much to be able to give that gift to the other Pleven moms I knew.
Several months later, during my initial interview with the Pleven director last August, I did receive permission to see, hold, and take pictures of little Ana for her adoptive parents.
They brought her to me in the deserted therapy room.
The tears welled up at the joy of holding her soft small form in my arms, this child for whom we had prayed. A real live four-year-old child who was far more than just a two-dimensional photo on a waiting child photo-listing site.
As far as we know, Ana had a baba for most of her life. As soon as I held her, it was obvious that her baba was one of the good babas.
She melted like butter into my shoulder just like Verity does. I didn’t want to let her go.
I whispered to her, “You have a Daddy and Mommy who love you very much, sweet girl! They’re working very hard to come and get you as soon as they can!”
“Jesus loves you, little Ana!”
Later, I raved to Gail about what a precious, huggable treasure her little girl was. Mike and Gail don’t already have a child with Down syndrome, so I tried to convey to them just how yummy she was! Oh my goodness, just wait until you hold her in your arms and you’ll see what I mean! You are in for such a treat!
Almost six months later, in the beginning of February, something happened to sweet Ana that had never happened before.
Her daddy came to see her. He spent many hours playing with her that week, and she grew more and more comfortable with him.
The next month, Mike and Gail received word that Ana had been moved from Pleven, along with the other children who were over three years old and physically able to handle being moved. What joy! She was no longer in Pleven!
The Kenyons went through the unsettling experience of having no idea where their precious girl was, but eventually learned that she was in a much better and smaller orphanage in one of the small villages surrounding Pleven. Ana’s new orphanage is just as poor as the big baby house, but the caregivers here actually care about the children.
In the past four months at the new orphanage, Ana learned to walk!
This morning, just a few days before her fifth birthday, Ana received the best gift of her life.
And Mike and Gail Kenyon gratefully received a reward from the hand of God.
“…men ought always to pray and not give up.”
“For every one who asks, receives, and he who seeks, finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”
“God sets the lonely in families.”