This month we are highlighting International Adoption and our story comes from Nancy Gugino, the Financial Officer at Agape International Missions (AIM) and a Leader with the Regional Alliance. The following story highlights The Gugino family’s personal experience of adopting two girls from China (pictured above) and how such an experience showed them that submitting to God’s plan is what makes us unstoppable.
“In the summer of 2005, we started a journey that would ultimately add two beautiful little Chinese princesses to our family and change our lives forever. This is a short version of our unlikely story…
We had just attended Spirit West Coast (which is a concert weekend in Northern California) and between songs listened to Steven Curtis Chapman gush while talking about his three beautiful daughters from China. It was the first time I had heard about the thousands of orphans in China being abandoned, especially little girls. My heart physically hurt. How could anyone leave a beautiful child in a field, on orphanage steps or in a box in the town square? This opened a whole new world to me and I needed to do something! I knew there was a stirring from God, but I didn’t fully understand the path He was taking us on.
You see, I am an adoptee, and as a little girl I knew I wanted to adopt all my children. But time went, I got married and we had two amazing biological sons. They were in their teenage years at this point and my husband said we were done with kids as he began meticulously planning our retirement…yet I just knew we were not done.
While our adoption journey was years in the making, for the sake of time I’d like to share just two of my favorite memories that happened along the way. Though there are many stories to tell, we look back on these two quite fondly, knowing now that they stand as proof that God was with us all along.
When we started our first of 2 adoptions we had a lot of fear and due to that we indicated on our paperwork that we were interested in a non-special needs baby. Of course God had a different plan and when our referral came it was for a 15 month old with special needs. Though we had many questions about her diagnosis, we said YES to our Anna, and what came next was nothing short of a miracle! A well-meaning woman decided to send pictures of Anna when she had visited the orphanage to adopt her daughter. In every picture Anna looked mentally delayed, drooling and non-responsive with a blank stare on her face. It really scared us! We started to question if this was really God’s will or our own. My husband was ready to stop the whole process so I asked him to take the boys for the day so I could spend some time in prayer. Having never prayed like this, I found myself so desperate for God’s direction that I prayed for 4 hours on my face. My prayer was something like… “Forgive me of little faith, but if you just show me one more time that this is Your will, Lord, then I will never ask again and I will keep pushing through no matter what.” If this adoption was my will, I was sure I would mess it up. So after this crazy prayer time, I sat down at my computer to print our bible study notes for that evening. Randomly, there was an email with from someone who, to this day, is still unknown to us. In the email the sender explained that she had just visited Anna’s orphanage and decided to send us a video. The video was basically an interview of my fully engaged, articulate Chinese daughter…and she was brilliant!! Though I had never met this woman, the video was sent directly to me. I don’t know how she even got my information…it had to be God! In 25+ years our agency has never had this happen before nor had they ever heard of anyone getting a video of their child prior to accepting a referral and going for their bonding trip. This was not even allowed in China at that point. My agency social worker had no idea who this woman was either. Completely a God miracle and not only did He confirm it--He blew my mind!!! Never did I doubt His will again during the process of bringing Anna into our family and as He continues to grow me in so many other situations in my life. Our journey to bring little ones home comes with a battle but never forget that God wants all kids to have families and homes way more than we do! Persevere, fight and say YES to the one! Because of our perseverance and trust in an unstoppable God, shortly after Anna’s adoption we went back to China and adopted 3-year-old Ari as well.
Another important miracle that happened many times was in the area of finances. Financing an adoption is always a point of concern for families but God is faithful to provide and can do so in innumerable ways. After all, He owns all the silver and all the gold in the world. One of our favorite stories illustrating this was when our family (a musical one) had an opportunity to purchase a large amount of mint-condition, high-quality music equipment for 5 percent of what we could buy it for in any store. This miraculous opportunity was such a great gift! Not only were we able to make our money back, but we made a substantial sound equipment donation to a small church, provided a PA system for our band AND God provided thousands of dollars toward our second adoption! This all occurred in the midst of our family navigating a devastating loss of a job, in which we could not meet our normal monthly expenses, let alone our additional adoption expenses. Yet God promised to take care of us if we would just TRUST Him! And HE is faithful because His promise came true…God is so good! There were so many other financial miracles along our journey and while I can’t share them all here, I want to encourage you to never let finances deter you from God’s work. HE WILL PROVIDE!
The best part our adoption journey was being part of something far bigger than our family - God’s command to defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. (Psalm 82:3). The journey was not easy but we always knew God had our backs and each provision and miracle reinforced what is promised in the Bible. He had plans for our little girls (who are now 10 and 7 years old) and He gets ALL the glory for our trials and triumphs. We battled and battled (to say the least) but thankfully our heavenly Father arms us with strength in the Holy Spirit to accomplish His will. We couldn’t have done either adoption in our own power but HE can and will be the one to see things through.”
Francis Chan says, “Once you embrace suffering for the glory of Christ, that’s what makes you unstoppable." The Gugino’s story reminds us that when we submit to God’s plan wholeheartedly, He guides our steps and make us unstoppable for His kingdom.