God Makes The Way: Leila's Adoption JourneyAugust 6th, 2019
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When Mark and Mandy Owens decided it was time to start expanding their family, they knew clearly God was calling them to do so through adoption. Fast forward seven years later, and the Owens found themselves bringing home their third child (and first daughter), Leila Jing. Despite numerous medical and financial obstacles, Mark and Mandy continued to persevere, never wavering in their belief that sweet Leila was meant to be their daughter.
Recently, Mark shared with us how God made a way, even when it seemed like there was no way, and we knew immediately it was story the whole TTF community needed to hear! We pray that God speaks to each of you the way He spoke to us through Mark’s words.
Our family wishes to express our deepest thanks for your generosity in funding our adoption grant. God has used your sacrifice to answer our family’s prayers for provision to bring our little girl, Leila Jing Owens, home.
I am not sure how many details you have about our family, so I’ll start with a quick story. My wife and I serve as public school teachers in our small home town in Virginia. I am also a bi-vocational pastor of Resurrection Community Church. We planted Resurrection Church in 2007 and God has built a wonderful family of faith among us. We adopted all three of our children from China. My wife, Mandy, and I did not decide to adopt as result of fertility issues; we just knew God had called us to build our family that way. In 2012, we brought home our oldest son, Micah Jin, who is now eight years old. About a year later, we began the process again. We were met with challenges to our second adoption when Mandy was diagnosed with Breast Cancer soon after we started our home study. Surgeries and cancer treatment delayed the process for over a year but finally, in 2016, we brought home our middle son, Asher Xia. Asher will be five years old in June. Then, on March 18, we experienced the miracle of adoption again when we met our daughter, Leila Jing, for the first time.
All three of our children had special needs. Micah had a cleft lip and palate. Asher had several heart issues that are now being corrected by a pacemaker. Leila has had more serious postoperative Congenital Heart Disease. I could share lots of testimonies of God’s miracles in our family’s story, but the most powerful in my mind right now is the miracle of Leila’s healing. When we were given Leila’s medical information at referral, we immediately sent it to Asher’s pediatric cardiologist at Wake Forest Hospital. Dr. Hazle said Leila’s record was “sparse and contradictory,” and it was possible her low oxygen level (80%) could have prevented her arteries from developing properly. If her arteries had not developed, Dr. Hazle said a full pulmonary repair would not be possible. According to the record, Leila had undergone an unsuccessful open heart surgery when she was four weeks old. She had also been taken back and forth to a hospital in Shanghai multiple times with pneumonia. Despite these scary factors, we could feel God calling us to trust in Him, and accept Leila’s referral because she was meant to be our daughter. We immediately began to pray that her heart would be healed. While we prepared for travel to China, we received no more updates about Leila’s condition. Then, on the day we met her, we learned the most incredible news; Leila had been taken to Shanghai a few months earlier and received an additional open heart surgery to repair her pulmonary problem. Her surgery had been sponsored by an unknown NGO. We knew that God had heard and answered our prayers for her healing. When we returned to the U.S. Leila was examined by Asher’s cardiologist. Her blood oxygen level measured 99% and the ultrasound revealed that her pulmonary artery had developed normally. The overwhelming joy and gratitude we feel is indescribable. All we can say is “praise the Lord” for His miraculous care for Leila’s health.
Throughout Leila’s adoption, one of the biggest challenges we have faced has been a financial one. As public school teachers, international adoption is honestly far beyond our financial means. Our Church does not have any paid staff. Over 85% of the funds given to our Church go directly to our international ministry partners in Tanzania and Guatemala. In fact, it was a missional calling to this kind of ministry that led us to plant the Church. As we were preparing to travel to China to finalize Leila’s adoption, it seemed as though the costs for travel and the adoption program fee were out of reach for us. We maxed out our home equity line of credit, sold our only decent car, and still needed more. We knew that God would make a way for His will to be done, but our enemy was trying to rob us of the joy of following God. Of course, God used the generosity of His people to make provision for our family. Just as the bills were due, someone would step up and make a sacrifice for Leila’s adoption.
That is where The Tim Tebow Foundation entered the story. I received notification of your grant at a time when we had no idea how we would pay for our travel expenses. Your generosity was confirmation from our Heavenly Father that He can always be trusted. I have always prayed for God to meet our family’s needs, but then continued to worry and be robbed of joy because I was not confident that everything would be okay. I have absolutely no reason to doubt that God will provide for us, but my trust in Him is still often so weak. God is inviting all of His children to live a life of joy as we trust in Him to be who He says He is. I want to truly take that leap. Your sacrifice for His Kingdom has helped to give our whole family the confidence to do just that.
Leila is doing great. She is full of joy and personality. She is quickly attaching to her new family and we are all experiencing the joy of the Lord together. Of all the ways our relationship with God is described in the scriptures, adoption is one of the most powerful for me. In Romans 8, we are reminded that we are adopted to sonship in the family of God. He is referred to as our “Abba,” Father. For me, the greatest part of my day comes when I get to hear Leila call out “ba ba” across the house when she wants me to be close or needs my help. There is nothing that would stop me from coming to her side when she calls for me. Your grant reminds me that the Creator of the Universe relates to us in the same way. We called for Him, and He answered through your generosity. Thank you for your work.
May the grace and peace of Christ be with you as you continue to bless adopting families,
Chad, Mandy, Micah, Asher, and Leila Owens
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