Many years ago, our friend and Jacinta’s college roommate became a nanny for a family with numerous children, all adopted from overseas. We quickly found ourselves babysitting, attending holidays and birthday parties with them, and loving their children as well. We both watched in awe as this family trusted God as they brought home what became 11 children. We admired their faith and their sense of family. Anyone who walked through their front door became a part of it, including us.
Olivia was adopted from China when she was two years old. As far as we know, she had been well cared for and was in a foster family when her family came to adopt her. She was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, which caused her to lose portions of her fingers and toes in the womb. She also has band-like markings on her ankles and wrists. Although this sounds incredibly disabling, you would never be able to tell that she has any sort of disability. She is strong willed and is able to do just about everything that her same-age peers can do. As a matter of fact, Olivia was using chopsticks when she came home from China at the age of 2. She has had multiple surgeries to give her almost full dexterity of her fingers, and she is able to write, eat, and play with no issues.
About a year and a half ago, we received devastating news that incredibly unfortunate circumstances occurred and the mother of this family was left to care for all 11 children on her own, most of which have special needs of varying degrees. A few of our close friends stepped up and began giving some of the children a new home. Our friends Josh and Sara Landrum took in Sarah Catherine, Olivia’s closest sibling, both in age and friendship. They had shared a room for their whole American lives. When Sarah Catherine came to live with the Landrums, it was evident that Olivia was heartbroken. We continued to watch and pray as this family tried to find their new normal, not really knowing what God wanted us to do or what part we would play as this situation continued.
Last spring, Olivia’s mother began including us in conversations about what would be best for Olivia moving forward. It became very clear to all of us that God was calling us to open our home to Olivia, not just temporarily but to be a forever member of our family. This was also the best way for Sarah Catherine and Olivia to maintain a sister-like friendship. So last April, Olivia came to live with us.
We were under the impression that this would be a fairly smooth legal process. However, it seems that is rarely the case with most adoptions. For the past 10 months, we have adjusted very well as a family of four while waiting patiently and praying for God to work out all of the details. He is always faithful!
We thank God that Olivia has continued to thrive, even through the transition of becoming a part of our family. Our son (Hunter) and Olivia had an instant bond. He loves his “sissy” and she enjoys playing with and looking after him. We have continued to support her in in her spiritual walk and she is very active at our church. We are so thankful that she accepted Christ as her personal Lord and Savior and will soon be baptized. The Lord can truly take difficult circumstances and work them for His good, as evidenced by Olivia and Sarah Catherine both accepting Christ a few weeks apart and will get to be baptized together.
Because of the circumstances surrounding this difficult situation and out of respect for her previous family, we have chosen to keep this off of social media until now. We were also unable to ask for help, so we have been trying to carry the financial responsibility of this process on our own. While we are excited to finally be able to share our story and what God is doing in our lives, we are also in need of support. Over the past few months, we have depleted our savings account and are now at the point where we are reaching out for help to pay legal fees. There are still some unknown expenses that will come about in the next few weeks, so we are estimating at this point what is needed along with what has been paid.
Obviously, there are many details of this story that we wish to not make public out of respect for the privacy of Olivia and her previous family. We would be happy to answer any questions you have through a private conversation.
We are grateful for all donations, but we covet your prayers the most during this exciting time. While we couldn’t be more thrilled about the addition to our family, we have not lost sight of the fact that Olivia’s mom has entrusted us with her daughter. We don’t take this responsibility lightly, and our desire is to give her the best life possible.
Thank you, in advance, for your prayers and/or donations. This would not be possible without you!
- Katie Scruggs
- Megan Zepeda
- Holly Hogan
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