The three-year-old orphan came to us with nothing but the clothes on her back and a pair of red sneakers, new but smelling strongly of mothballs. She couldn’t run away, and finally decided to trust us, reluctantly.
We gave her riches beyond her wildest imagination. We gave her a rubber ball, and the next morning we presented her with a hand mirror. The third day’s gift was a rubber ducky. Each time she scampered off to the far corner of the hotel room with her treasures where nobody would snatch them away from her. For the first time in her life, she had all the marbles.
When we gave her a picture book, she wanted to look only at pictures of the ball, the hand mirror and the ducky—the extent of her strange, new, expanding world.
Arriving home in the United States, our newly adopted daughter, now named Helene, began to awaken to the beauty all around her. Meeting her two sisters with long lush hair, she stroked her own fresh burr haircut and expressed her desire for beautiful long tresses. Her artistry began to emerge as she hung ribbons and beads from her head, her neck, her ears. Her newfound riches amazed her. At the table, she left no scrap uneaten. Watermelon—after she ate the red part, she just kept on eating right through the green part.
But it was the dresses that overwhelmed her. One morning Helene stood in front of her closet for an hour. She was staring at the row of hand-me-down dresses. All beautiful. Not knowing which one to put on, she finally emerged from the bedroom wearing five dresses—one on top of the other. She must have thought she was the richest child in the world!
And she is. Think about it. She now lives in a home with her own family, with assurance that we won’t (and can’t) un-adopt her. She receives unconditional love, and enjoys the freedom to run, and play, and be a little girl. She has a new name, and a document hanging on the wall declares that she possesses citizenship in her new country. All this, and Heaven, too! She has discovered the Bible’s promises of eternal life through Jesus Christ.
If my kids are rich, what does that make me? Sometimes when I kiss them goodnight, I remind my two adopted daughters that some people think they’re rich because they have lots of money. “But I’m the richest man in the world, because I have you.”
(Holt International Children’s Services first published this story as “The Wealth of Family” in their magazine in 2007).
Beautiful story! So full of love!
I love this Uncle Don! Oh how we love our sweet cousins Helene and Hannah too. We are blessed.
Do you mind if I use this story in a sermon? Just so real…and touching.
Sure, go ahead. Actually, we’re all, as God’s adopted children, the richest children in the world. And in Heaven. As co-heirs with Christ (Romans 8) we inherit equally with our older brother!
thank you Don for inspiring me…
I love this, Daddy.
Such a blessing! Thanks Don.
Delightful … And, I remember this, just as you’ve described it!
Beautiful. And indeed we are all very rich…beyond what we even can imagine through our Savior Jesus Christ.
Hi Don and Jan,
Thank you for sharing this moving story! How blessed your two adopted daughters are to have you in their lives. How blessed you are to have them in yours! God bless you as you continue your effective ministry.
Apologies for not being in touch. Had surgery but doing well.
Lorraine (Regier) Dueck and from Ernest, too
Don, still vivid is my first encounter with dear Helene when she was four and meeting me for the first time! She looked at me from head to toe and finally went “are you also Chinese?” And we began a bond of love. I love your story but more your love expressed to Helene (and Hannah) that gave them a glimpse of the Father’s love. Thanks for the way you (and Jan) love! You are such examples! And I am so privileged to know them and be able to love them from a distance. Siang
I am delighted that our Lord guided you to the adoption process. Your courageous venture has been a blessing to all of us as we have watched closely as Helene and Hannah have grown into lovely young women. Blessings on you and Jan
Beautiful story and so rich spiritual application. Just read Ephesian 2 this morning with the same message! We remembr when you brought Helene home from China.
Thanks for a beautiful true story and one that I did not know about. Both your chosen girls are so precious as are all your children. Sorry I did not have Helene and Hannah in the nursery as I did the three boys and Heidi.
Blessings always for showing them and us the Father in all you and Jan do.
Don, that is just a beautiful story. Your home is full of beautiful people.
God bless you!
Thank you, Don, for beauty and love.