Friends! Thank you for loving the Lord and for loving Annie and the Carpenter family! We are seeing Him answer prayer! Please keep praying and sharing the following link about Annie’s urgent need:
“Wow…I am blown away by the goodness of the Lord but He loves Annie more than we do and He has heard her cries for a family…His Word says He places the lonely in families…”
First, there was Sasha! Many years ago, Brian and Stephanie went to Russia to adopt a healthy seventeen-month-old. After they arrived home with her, they were told that she had cerebral palsy and would never walk.
Did she ever prove the doctors wrong! Today, she is a student at Bucknell University and an intrepid advocate for orphans, especially those with special needs who have been overlooked until they are aging out.
Brian has told his daughter Sasha countless times, “God rescued you for a purpose.”
By the time God sent them for their next daughter, they were no longer afraid of the cerebral palsy diagnosis. They brought home Ellianna from Taiwan as she was going on three years of age.
Look at her now! Meeting her challenges and exceeding expectations!
Her two favorite things are visiting her big sister Sasha at Bucknell…
…and gymnastics, in spite of the fact that she is profoundly deaf, non-verbal and can’t walk!
When I first got to know Stephanie, she was the Bulgaria adoption specialist for the agency we used to adopt Katie. She and Brian were heading to the Philippines this time, bringing home tiny four-year-old Avigayil who is profoundly affected by her severe cerebral palsy. She came home with a feeding tube but learned to eat by mouth relatively quickly and no longer needs the tube.
Avi is nine years old now and like an infant. She has the saddest cry lip and the sweetest smile! Stephanie usually brings her to our adoptive moms’ group for some mommy/Avi snuggling time!
One night in the fall of 2011, after I returned from visiting Katie in the Pleven orphanage in Bulgaria, Stephanie was looking through photos of other children in Pleven who had been newly listed for adoption. She looked at a tiny girl with a cerebral palsy diagnosis and knew she would be their next daughter.
Here is Angelina when she existed on the top floor in the bed across from Katie’s, one of the children God used to break my heart the previous spring and compel our family to begin praying for a way to help the rest of the children with special needs to be adopted.
Lina came home from Pleven almost four years ago, about six months after Katie did. She quickly bloomed into a happy girl who always has a mischievous twinkle in her eye! What a happy reunion for Toni, who last held Lina when she was almost six years old and wearing six to nine month size baby clothes!
God next sent Brian and Stephanie for two girls in Ukraine, both of whom had spent far too much time in a mental institution. Brian and Stephanie fought so hard to bring these girls home!
Olyvia has spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and is on the left with big sister Sasha. Rachele has significant cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder and is on the right with Stephanie. Olyvia was nine and a half and Rachele was six and a half when they came home two years ago.
They have both flourished since coming home. Olyvia is still profoundly affected by the institutional autism caused by the years of neglect she suffered, left to lie in bed all day.
These children are all eight, nine, ten years old. Is this still happening in our world today? Oh yes it is, my friends! Thank the Lord that many families like the Carpenters are answering His call to bring little ones like this home and loving them to life.
It’s hard to believe this is the same girl as in the above photos!
This photo of Lina and Olyvia was taken at Christmastime, very close to the time that Brian came down to lend us his expert painting skills!
Rachele is also very impacted by her level of disability and years of institutionalization, but she has responded to her family’s love and care by growing an unbelievable fifteen inches since coming home two years ago at the age of six and a half!
It is a privilege to witness the strong and determined love of this couple for each of their daughters, and their drive to minister to orphans with special needs. Wondrous to behold their six girls, now in their own family, greatly beloved. It’s also fantastic to see their outstanding supportive network of friends in action. Truly the hands and feet of Jesus!
We love you, Carpenters, and are standing with you as you head to China for sweet Annie!