It has to do with today being my birthday, but that’s only half of the reason. The other half involves a little red bear and a phone call that changed everything.
Many years ago, an American couple traveled to China to adopt their daughter. After adopting her, they realized they wanted to do it all over again. So they filled out the paperwork and sent it to the organization through which they adopted their first daughter. They decided their second daughter would also be from China, but this time she would be a toddler.
While they were waiting, the mother began collecting items for their unknown daughter. Once they were matched with her, the plan was to send some of the items to her until they could travel to China and adopt her.
One particular purchase was a red, sparkly Valentine’s Day bear she found in a boutique. She thought it would be appropriate since red is a lucky color in China.
But then Valentine’s Day passed. The couple still hadn’t heard from Bethany. Their patience was being tested in the ultimate waiting game.
One day the social worker finally called the mother who was home working on the computer at the time.
The social worker called to inform the couple that she had received a referral for a toddler with a heart defect. A family that the little girl was referred to decided they didn’t want to take her referral. The social worker explained that sending the referral back to China would put the girl at the bottom of the referral list. It would be cancelled, and the orphanage would have to refer her again at some other time.
In other words, this little girl’s chance for a family was sinking to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.
The social worker was sharing this because although the girl was a toddler –the age the couple had requested– she noticed they had not put down heart defect as one of the special needs they would accept. The social worker described the kind of heart condition the girl had. It was then that the mother decided she would take an impulsive leap of faith. She told the social worker to send her the girl’s picture.
The social worker was hesitant to do this only because she knew what would happen.
“She said I’m really hesitant to send you her picture because I know you. If I send you her picture, then you will adopt her.”
The mother insisted she send the photo anyway.
The social worker was right. When the mother received the email and opened up the picture, she knew. This was supposed to be her daughter. And so it happened.
Now the next step was actually telling her husband they had a new daughter.
She explained to him that their new daughter was going to have a heart issue. The mother reassured her husband she was ready for this. They were going to get the medical information from China, and then she was going to see a cardiologist to make sure that everything was OK. Surgery was necessary, but the condition was minor and the surgery would be too.
In the midst of everything, the mother noticed a small, but extremely important detail about the girl they were adopting: Her birthday was on Valentine’s Day. She thought back to that red bear she bought in the boutique and knew right then that they were meant to be. It was a sign from God.
Honestly, before I heard this story, I regarded Valentine’s Day as another way to sell worthless stuff. After learning how one of these items became a symbol of my adoption, my mindset completely altered. Now I think of this invaluable story and how grateful I am to be here.
It was on this holiday that I was born with a broken heart that left me alone and without a family for over three years. It is on this same holiday nineteen years later that I celebrate my birth with a family who healed my heart.
All thanks to a bear, a life-changing phone call, and my wonderful parents.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Until next time,
peace and love,
*Thank you to my amazing mom for telling me this story and allowing me to share it.