A Crowd of Blessings By Randi Lanz
I married Ethan in 1980 when I was fresh out of high school. Our first daughter was born about a year later, with our second daughter following just a week before our oldest turned two. We are ordinary people who serve an extraordinary God. He has led us in this adventure of life. My attention was drawn to the needs of parentless children through a regular weekly feature on a local news station. Each week they put the spotlight on a special needs child who needed a home. Then, as now, the need was great. Long story short, we adopted two biological brothers, both diagnosed with cerebral palsy and mental retardation. Was it hard? Absolutely! The years flew by, and several more children were born to us. We were busily raising and homeschooling our growing family. We talked at various times throughout the years about the dream of adopting a little girl from China. In the meantime, our daughters grew up and married; grandchildren were born. Everyone lived nearby. Life was good. The dream of international adoption faded and seemed impossible. Life as I knew it changed in January of 2011. My husband, who had worked at the same place for
years, was given notice that because of a "merger" with a larger company, he could choose to move to another state with the job, or find different employment. His age and job specialty (combined with a low marketability in the current town) made the move necessary that summer. It was heartbreaking to leave our grown-up kids, our grandchildren, our friends, the home we loved, and the community in which I'd spent most of my adult life. I wondered what God was thinking. Even though it was one of the hardest things we ever had to do, when asked, my reply was something like, "God
has a plan. It hurts right now, and I don't know what the plan is, but it is going to be
" Was there a plan in this? Oh yes . . . though I couldn't see it for nearly a year. Among the biggest blessings in our new community were our homeschool co-op and the mothers I met through this organization. These ladies were my lifeline in those early,
lonely days of getting acquainted with a new city. Guess what? There were
many internationally adopted children
in the co-op. Likewise, in our new church family, there were
many internationally adopted children.
The dream that had nearly died awoke and said, "REMEMBER ME?" On August 17, 2012, a post on my blog ended with this statement, "
As I sit here looking at the photos of the day and thinking, "Yay, God!" I'm still amazed at how He plans things years in advance. He gave us a love for the Chinese people and culture years ago. He moved us to Ohio (and you know I came kicking and screaming
almost literally!) to where there is one of the few (medical) International Adoption Centers in the country; to a co-op that is VERY multicultural with internationally adopted children; to a job that helps make international adoption just a little bit more doable with funds allocated to assist with a portion of the expense; to the place where the talk of the last fifteen years comes together and turns into action. I am amazed at His grace and goodness.
" On August 2, 2012, (our 32nd anniversary!) we received pre-approval from the authorities in China for Abigail, who is a delightful six-year-old girl with piercing, bright eyes and a