Looking back, my journey towards adopting our daughter started long ago, when I was a little girl growing up in a small town north of Houston.
I lived in a very homogenous suburb (mostly white) and would ask my mom to special order me baby dolls that were a different ethnicity from mine. I just loved having baby dolls that looked different than me, my cabbage patch doll was a hispanic premie named Maria and I loved her!! I guess then my love for the nations and different cultures started.
While attending The University of Texas my freshman year I remember watching a documentary about western reporters who had smuggled out footage showing the plight of girls in China. This was back in 1996 and so began my education in how women/girls are treated in other parts of the world. I can remember watching the horrific footage and being broken. One moment in the documentary showed the inside of what they called a dying room. Basically a girl so malnourished and near death was placed to die. She looked about 5 but was probably closer to 14 years old. She spoke with the undercover reporters in a small voice asking them to share her story so no other girl would be left to die in this condition. I prayed to God in that moment (through lots of tears) that I wanted to help these girls, and at the very least adopt one of these beautiful girls day, Lord willing.
So life went on and always in my heart was the plight of the orphan, in particular girls who were born in countries that did not value them. I got married to a great man of God and when the discussion of family planning started I mentioned adoption and he was all for it. His parents had taken in a girl who had drug addictions when he was just a kid. So the seed was planted in him at an early age that you use every resource to love others, your home and family are not off limits.
When we talked about where, China was the first place to come up, because my long ago heart break for those girls. At the time I was not old enough to start the process (I was 26 and you have to be 30 to adopt from China), so we decided to start biologically first. And while I waited to turn 30, and raised our two sons, I researched other countries and avenues with which to adopt. At the time doors were closed to the other countries we were interested in for many different reasons, keeping in mind Matt and I’s heart for the unwanted girl. China seemed to be more and more a perfect fit for us. If you know anything about the requirements to adopt from China you know they are long and very precise. Everything from your gross annual income to body-mass index?!? The fact that Matt and I qualified was definitely God opening a door for us.
Something else God did in those years while we waited was we got to watch my cousin (who actually lived in China for a time) adopt their daughter Millie. My cousin and her husband actually would visited the orphanage and found their daughter. When they saw Millie who was missing a hand they knew she was their kid, and knew few would choose to adopt her. The idea of special needs had never occurred to Matt and I, but as we watched them adopt and love her into their family it was such a blessing. Because we saw them walk that journey ahead of us with grace and love through Jesus we knew we could do it too. So when we filled out our forms for China we asked for a special needs child.
Which led us to our beautiful daughter Gwyneth Leting Lyon!
One last cool story about the WHERE question, and that God totally is in control. At the time we filled out our adoption we were living in Austin, TX and had a few friends who are Asian. And so we felt with the few people we knew Gwyn would get a good exposure of her culture and find her place in TX. But then God did something really cool, He moved our family to the Bay Area just outside San Francisco (largest number of Chinese people live here outside of China). Which means our daughter sees her culture and people who look like her all the time. Actually in certain places she fits in better than we do! I feel so blessed by God in His sovereignty to bring us here, for many reasons, but one big one shows how He cares for our little girl. I know she would be ok if we didn’t live here, it’s just a hind sight thing of how God cares about the details of His kids. The fact that my heart was broken for the little girls in China back in 1996, and now 2013 our family lives surrounded by her countrymen. God is amazing!! We even have a friend from our church who wants to tutor Gwyn privately teaching her mandarin!
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jer. 29:11
Faith Lyon lives in San Jose, CA with her husband Matt, who works in the tech world, and their three kids. She’s loves her husband of 11 years and being a advocate for the orphan while serving her kids, church and community. She is a die heard Texas fan but has really fallen in love with the NorCal lifestyle. Loves beach days with the family and date nights in San Francisco trying out new restaurants. Favorite food is french, basically because of all the butter they use, and she loves to decorate and organize people’s houses if they let her in!