Nine tiny infant girls bundled in cotton shirts and pants—two layers to show the extra attentiveness of their caregivers—bumped along in a crowded van on a rural highway in central China’s early May heat. Each held in the arms of the young women who would soon hand them off in a sparse government meeting room, the babies alternately fussed, squirmed, jabbered or slept. All were over heated and hungry. That was by design—so in the arms of their anxious new parents they could be comforted and fed.

Never complaining, the nannies did their jobs gratefully, knowing they themselves would remain in their familiar home province, while these sturdy but vulnerable little survivors would soon jet out of their homeland, perhaps forever.

As the temperature rose in the van, the babies grew warmer and voiced their discomfort. The young women held on, patiently protecting and entertaining the tiny treasures.

As the hilly and green, misty landscape gave way to the heavily populated urban area, traffic in the city of five million slowed their progress. The city, honored as the “green pearl” of China with its clean air, water, and river city charm, is also known for its beautifully hand crafted porcelain. None of this matters today.

Soon the van turns into a gated area of drab buildings and comes to a stop. Anxious to stretch, the women exit the van, each still holding a girl. They move quickly toward the entrance of a multi-storied structure, knowing they must be prepared for the momentary arrival of a bus.

The babies begin crying in earnest now. Sensing a change, their big tears flow from frightened brown eyes. For the adoptive families arriving to meet their new daughter, it is a tension-filled and life altering day, but also a very exciting and happy time.

For each of these nine little girls who share a surname given by the orphanage, the day is also life altering, with an end to the sad and bumpy journey of abandonment. It is a chance for a new beginning, a chance to thrive and belong in the love and hope a family can provide. It is a journey far, far away from a land where hostile and unbending laws turned them into orphans.

My daughter, Joy, is one of those nine little girls who was matched with our family in the international adoption process. We are grateful for the support of so many along the journey.

Would you consider helping a child waiting for his or her forever family? You can make a difference when you pray, financially support a family who is adopting, or foster or adopt a child into your own family.

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