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Phoebe: An Adoption Story

Phoebe: An Adoption Story

Swell Adoption Stories

All About Phoebe

Expecting a 3-6 month wait for a referral, we were quite shocked to receive a referral a mere 48 hours after our dossier made it to China!  We gazed at the picture of a little girl not yet one year old with a cleft lip and palate. In our hearts, she became ours and instantly our timeline sped up greatly.

We were told that it would take 3-6 months for a referral and then 6 months from that point to travel.  But speeding along, five months after receiving the referral, we traveled to China to pick up our daughter! 

On March 9, our daughter was placed into our arms.

I really cannot describe what it is like for a child to be placed in your arms whom you have chosen to parent, to love, to steward, and to cherish.

Thus far, we believe her transition has been seamless. Every day in China we find Phoebe is adjusting more and more. She is cuddling well, she fixes her gaze in our eyes, she is smiling, she has begun to laugh, and she has slept well every night.

We named our child Phoebe Shan – “Phoebe” for the deacon listed in Romans 16:1-2. We are naming her after this biblical woman to honor the rich heritage of female leadership in the Churches of China. Her middle name “Shan” is her Chinese first name which means “coral” or “high value.”

As a couple who co-direct a mission organization (10/40 Connections) and travel as a family often, our social workers encouraged us to pray specific prayers for the child who would join our family. When we received her referral, we would look into her face on our computer and ask, “Are you tough? Can you do what God has asked our family to do?” Sounds crazy, but we prayed that God would hand-select a child for us that will also share the “mission DNA” of our other kids – adaptable and willing to live on mission together as a family.

We prayed these three prayers:

1. That she would be very young (making her adjustment easier hopefully). 2. That she would be raised by a foster mom, and 3. That she would be from one of the most unreached areas of China. God answered all three prayers.  She is only 15 months old, she was raised by a wonderfully, loving foster family from day 2, and she is from Guangxi, one of the MOST unreached areas of the nation. 

We feel blessed to have Phoebe.

When we return to the states we will begin the process of surgeries to try to help her have the best chances to have lips that declare the praises of God!   

This has been a journey of faith in trusting God to provide the finances needed and to trust God to find a child for our family to raise who can join the mission he has given us.  We are excited to see what God does and greatly cherish your prayers! You can follow some of our journey at



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