Never Ask or Imagine

If you’re just joining our blog, this is the story of a very special little girl to us, Xiao Ai. It’s also the story of how we came to be in China. You should definitely read this in order, so here are the links for your convenience.

If you’ve been following along for a while, you might be relieved to know this is the last post in this series! The story ends today! πŸ™‚ Thank you for patience in this multi-month story journey.

Part 1 – Beginnings
Part 2 – Leap Before You Look
Part 3 – Stepping Into a Void
Part 4 – Can’t Go Back
Part 5 – In His Hands
Part 6 – Ask and You Shall Receive


Part 7: Never Ask or Imagine

It didn’t take long for joy to turn to nervousness.

I think I must have the memory of an amoebae (which I am assuming, perhaps wrongly, has little or no memory). I often forget God’s faithfulness faster than I can say Amen.

Hadn’t He just answered our prayers by giving this little girl a chance for a family?

Yes, but….

Hadn’t He just answered our prayers by making all the paperwork fall right into place?

Yes, but…

Hadn’t He just answered our prayers by delivering her file right into our lap? On the 1-year anniversary of meeting her, no less?

Yes, but…

But what?

But now what? For some reason, it didn’t take more than a few hours for me to suddenly feel like I was the one who was responsible for this. And since I was the one who made it all happen, I better have a darn good plan for making sure she had a family.

Of course I felt responsible. After all, I’d done so much! Let’s see… I’d asked for the file. And then I pestered Alison every few weeks to find out if we got it. Obviously since I’d done so much to make this happen, it was only natural of me to feel the weight of responsibility now.

(Note: If you didn’t read that above paragraph with a heavy dose of sarcasm, go back and read it again with as sarcastic of a tone as you can muster. It helps if you are a 15 year old girl.)

Remember how I’d said that generally an agency only asked for a file if they had an ideal family already in mind? It certainly isn’t customary for an agency to ask for the file of a child for whom no one is interested. And here we’d gone and done that. I was the one who had pushed and pushed to get the file, and now I felt responsible for “sealing the deal” and finding her a family.

Thankfully God stopped me in my tracks, reminding me that all I really needed to do was pray. He’d take care of the rest. Over the previous year, we’d enlisted lots of our friends and family to join the Xiao Ai Prayer Team. Looking back, I think we should have made t-shirts or something. When I found out we had the file, I pulled out all the stops and called everyone who’d been praying to share the good news.

When I called Jacob’s mom, Majaunta, it was a conversation that I’ll never forget.

A little background, first… Jacob is the second oldest of 4 boys. All of the guys are out of the house, finished with college, and living on their own. It seemed like Jacob’s parents were just starting to really enjoy their “empty nest.” Ever since I’d known Majaunta, I’d known she had a heart for adoption and had always dreamed of adopting a little girl from China. But, a house full of boys kept everyone busy, and before they knew it, the “right time” had passed.

So you can imagine my surprise when she told me that she didn’t want to adopt just any little girl from China.

She wanted to adopt this girl.

She said ever since she’d seen the pictures of Jacob holding Xiao Ai at her orphanage, she hadn’t been able to get her face out of her mind. She didn’t feel for her the way she did for all orphans… it was special. It was different. It was the heart of a mother.

But there were a thousand reasons why it wasn’t a good idea. They were finished raising children, after all. Many of their friends were already enjoying grandkids, not taking kids to Pre-K and ballet lessons. And my father-in-law’s job didn’t seem all that stable. Paying for an adoption was out of the question, not to mention just general fears and concerns about how to provide for another small child.

So we weren’t just praying for someone to adopt Xiao Ai, we started praying that Jacob’s parents would adopt Xiao Ai. During that conversation, I recalled with absolute clarity the moment on the balcony at Xiao Ai’s orphanage when I told Jacob that I thought the perfect parents for Xiao Ai would be his parents. What we thought was impossible was turning into a possibility.

Over the next couple of weeks, my father-in-law’s heart started to open even more to adoption. He and Majaunta both took a major leap of faith, and moved forward with quite possibly the craziest decision of their life. I’ll save you the long and painful story of an arduous adoption, but on August 6, 2007 (our wedding anniversary!), Xiao Ai became Hannah Joy McKean. And, two months later, Jacob and I moved to China.

Words don’t normally fail me. But when I think about the magnitude of what God did in her life and in ours — by bringing us together through a seemingly *chance* encounter, and then not only bringing her into a family (that’s all I dared hope for), but bringing her into OUR family… well, there’s just no way for me to describe all of this. Some people look at her and say things like, “Oh, she’s so lucky.” The blindness of that statement leaves me speechless. We are the ones who have been blessed beyond measure… to see the hand of God working in such a miraculous way? What an incredible faith-building experience!

If you would have told Jacob and me that the journey we were going on when we got on that airplane in 2005 to go to China the first time would have resulted in this… with Jacob’s parents adopting and us moving to China to work with orphans. Well, I might have laughed. But, to be honest, I might have run away in sheer terror.

Looking back, I can only be thankful that God only discloses our journey one step at a time.

Hannah and her parents.
No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has known what God has prepared for those who love him.
1 Corinthians 2:9

18 thoughts on “Never Ask or Imagine

  1. This is such an amazing story. It is stories like this that validate the He has a plan for each and every one of us.
    Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us, it is really touching and inspiring.


  2. Amen!!!!

    When I hear stories like this, along with our very own miraculous journey, your comment about the fact that God’s plan is so much greater than what we can ever imagine resonates in my heart.

    He truly gives us just what we need, and only as much as we can handle at any one time.

    Our God is an awesome god!!!


  3. I’ve been on the edge of my seat for the conclusion since you began sharing a few months ago (though I saw where it was going)! I just love hearing about the miracles God is working and seeing His perfect plan evolve. What a wonderful testament to following His lead in faith.



  4. How awesome!!! I was hoping this is where it was heading! What an awesome journey. She will be so thankful that you wrote this someday!

    Many Blessings,


  5. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful story! Our God is SO Mighty to Save–it’s great to be reminded of that. He has such an awesome way of unfolding His plan in His own time. Wow–what crazy love for us.
    At times it’s hard to wait when I just want to jump in and save the world all by MYself–I had to laugh at your “sarcastic paragraph” about all that “you” had done–oh my, haven’t we all been there! (Well, maybe sorta have tried to be there, although I wish my efforts were as grand as yours.) Seeing the story all unfolded is awesome, AWEsome, AWESOME!
    Our God reigns.
    Thanks for encouraging me that God used us all for His glory for His will in His time!
    Bless you all!


  6. Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your own special journey with us, Carrie. God is so good, and He working to grow the faith of others through your testimony!

    Have a blessed weekend! <><


  7. I found your blog this morning and have just read through the story. Wow! I have tears in my eyes. God had an amazing plan for you and for Hannah. I added your blog to my reader and look forward to following your adventures in China.


  8. Thank you so much for sharing this incredible story. My husband and I are just starting the adoption journey. Reading your post is encouraging me to keep journeying towards the child God has predestined to join our family. Thank you! God's blessings, Sarah πŸ˜€


  9. Carrie, I just found your blog this morning and I know I don't know you, but just wanted to thank you for being such an encouragement and reminder to me of the faithfulness of the Lord. My husband and I are starting the process of adoption and just looking at all of the hurdles to jump over seems so impossible, but your story once again reminds me that our God is faithful and He is at work one step at a time.
    What a beautiful story and what a beautiful legacy you and your husband are building. I could not get through your story of Hannah Joy without tears (many tears!)
    God bless you and keep you – thank you again!


  10. This is such a beautiful story. I love how God clearly works and moves mountains for us to be able to see him so clearly. Congrats on your beautiful girl.


  11. I know you wrote this story many years ago, but I just found it today. I couldn't stop reading!

    What a blessing to learn about this journey, even years later.


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