When we quip it's a small world, usually it is about the coincidence of knowing the same person, attending the same meeting in college but not having known each other at the time, traveling to the same place at the same time, and so on. But for our family and the Reynolds family, it's a small world is a reminder of the largeness of our God and how he sees fit to intertwine stories in a way we never would have imagined.
Andy and I first met Trey and Julie Reynolds two years ago when our adoption agency asked if they could make an introduction. Andy and I were dating at the time, and I was about to tell Caroline she was being adopted. From the beginning, we knew how incredibly unique our encounter was. Like myself, Trey and Julie had also lived in South Africa. Like myself, they had also worked for a children's home - their experience just outside of Durban; my experience in the Johannesburg suburbs. Like myself, they met an amazing little girl. Like myself, they felt called to adopt. Like myself, they traveled home to Lubbock to do so.
But it is more than the amazing similarity in our stories. On average each year, 10 U.S. families adopt internationally from South Africa (17 in 2013 out of 7,092 intercountry adoptions; 7 in 2012 out of 8,668 intercountry adoptions*). At the time we began our adoption journey, Bethany Christian Services was the only Hague accredited adoption agency for South African adoptions. However, Bethany does not provide services to Texas, meaning we both had to contract with other agencies for our home study and post adoption services. So while obviously not impossible, the statistical likelihood of a Texan adopting a South African child is even smaller than that 10 annually number. Both adoptions are also older child adoptions - Trey and Julie's almost daughter is about 1/2 a year younger than Caroline. Usually after a child turns five years old, for many reasons their chances of being adopted dramatically drop.
So, similar adoption callings, both adopting from South Africa, both living in Texas and not only that but the same city, both adopting older, female children of approximately the same age, and a number of other similarities - I'm not at all sure how to calculate the statistical likelihood, but I'm fairly certain it has to be less than 1%. There is no doubt in any of our minds that God has brought us together for the benefit of each other and for the opportunity our girls will have to have someone close by who completely understands - all of the joy, all of the pain, all of the confusion, all of the hard days and all of the good days.
After lots of prayers for lots of months, it looks as though our friends will travel to South Africa in a few short weeks to bring their daughter home. We are over the moon excited for them, and it is our desire to support them in every way we possibly can.
This coming Saturday, Caroline, Andy and I will be participating in a project the Reynolds have set up with an organization called Both Hands which seeks to help orphaned children find homes while serving the widows of our communities. It's a James 1:27 kind of thing. We want to invite you to join in by sponsoring us for our day of service. Trey and Julie have a goal of raising $15,000 to pay for the last of their country fees and travel expenses. So far our team has raised $7,200. We want to invite you to join us in bringing their daughter home. Please considering giving whatever you can. Even a gift as small as $10 can make a huge difference.
Thank you for sponsoring us and helping to bring a child home to her forever family!