pursuing simplicity, creating humbly, loving furiously

The Story of Hannah Joy (part 1)

I knew that this moment would eventually come, but I couldn’t see it.  Didn’t know when, how, where, or who?  We knew God had planted a large vision in our hearts and that He had graciously led us to our farm to a home too big for just the six of us because He had plans.  We were just waiting on Him to show us the next step.  And to tell you the truth, I wasn’t ready when He began offering clues that a little someone was waiting for us sooner than I had thought.  My heart was ready, it always has been, but my hands, my mind, my day… so NOT ready.  I am full, fuller than full, but then I guess so is He, and that’s just the plain truth isn’t it?  Our lives are full, but He is more full, fuller still  each day with life and love and work that needs plowing and sowing and seeding.  And so we open up to the yes and wait on Him to show us which direction to move….

Our direction this go round happens to be China.  To a little girl named Hannah.  That name has been living in my heart for about 3 years now, given to me in a quiet bible study one night on a dear friend’s couch in a soft whisper to my heart.  He just said “Hannah Joy”.  I thought He must have been talking about the baby growing in my womb.  A girl!  I was thrilled with this quiet word on a quiet night amongst the dearest of friends.  So in the ultrasound room when the technician said “do you want to know?”, I was certain I already did, but when she spoke the word “boy” I was stunned, broken, trying to just make it out of the office without the ugly meltdown that was spilling over without my permission.  I held it back until the hallway and then it just came stumbling out, raw disappointment.  I was a mess.  My heart was confused and broken not because I wouldn’t love a little boy but because I felt I had missed His voice.

As the news sunk in and the days turned to months and this boy gift came to us, oh my heart!  That Jeremiah, oh there aren’t words to the goodness He is.  He is an “apple of my eye” kind of gift, full of love, encouragement and grace for me, and not just me but everyone in our family.

But I still, in my 4 kids under 4 stupor could not shake the name.  Did I mistake His voice?  Did I make it up?  or was Hannah yet to come?

He had deposited something that night because He knew when He showed us our girl that I would need an Ebenezer to look back at.  I would need a stamp, a mark, a meeting with Him so that I would trust Him to take the step out onto the water.  For without that quiet whisper I would not have had the courage to get out of the boat.  He knew this little girl was so special that she needed to live in my mama heart by name for three years prior to getting introduced to her.  He knew that she would be dropped off at a back door in a basket in the middle of night at only one month old, He knew the woman courageous enough to give her life would not have the means to care for that life and so He sowed her name tight up in my heart so that I could…

When we called Holt it was because there were closed doors everywhere and my husband had asked me to call just to ask a few questions about an email he had received the night before.  We had begun inquire about different avenues for the next adoption and no one had called back.  Then we got their call late in the afternoon while we were out pounding in dirt putting in a gate across the driveway, I never imagined when I answered that phone call, with red clay all over my hands, that I would be introduced to my daughter and that a much larger gate would be opened to us.

As we spoke through all the usual financials and specifics that you usually do when you begin the application process in adoption our conversation turned toward special needs and what kind of special needs we felt that we would be able to meet.  As we talked I gave my very small list of what I felt like I could handle, and then at the end I said “you know we have also prayed about down syndrome, we have thought a lot about it and we might consider it if it was what God asked, but it seems big sometimes too big”.  After that it all went pretty quickly, there was a little girl who was about to be sent back to the shared list, she was 2, cute, seemed higher functioning, only down syndrome- no other known medical problems…

and her name was Hannah.

I stopped and laughed.  “Say that again?”  It couldn’t possibly be…

And yet it was.  Right there in the clay and dirt and new gates the doors flung wide and I knew in my heart she was ours.  Holt had given her the name Hannah when they received her file to try to place her.  She had been un-placed with several agencies prior to ours and listed under many different American names.  But His timing is always perfect, isn’t it?

I knew she was ours, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t try to say no.  I am not the quickest study and sometimes it takes time for my mind and heart to catch up to my spirit.

In my humanity I panicked, in my lack of faith I allowed overwhelm to become my decision maker.

Thankfully I have a husband, who is wise, unmoved by fear, and steadfast.

Even though He too was a bit overwhelmed at the thought He continued to encourage us to take baby steps through the next door, if it was open we should walk…

Through file reviews, Dr. consults, Facebook chats with friends who have walked this road, through prayers, and waiting, updated files, and lots of paper work God answered us by opening doors one after another and instilling in us courage, love, and fullness that we might give it away and overflow some more.

He sees us and knows what we need.  He knew that I would need to KNOW that this was His bidding.  And so he sent miraculous signs, little y shaped roads with arrows for my confused and overwhelmed heart- I will share those moments of loving direction in my next post.  He loves me just where I am and despite my shortcomings, He comes along side and shows me the way… amazing… humbling… He is a good, good Father.

And so He is to sweet Hannah Joy who, though a world away and abandoned with no hope, had a name before she was even made.  He knew she would be ours.  And so He planted her little name in my heart while her brother grew in my womb.  What a miraculous God we serve!


There are more posts to come and prayers are coveted for so many of the details yet to unfold.  Would you come along for the journey to Hannah?  And send this to anyone who might be interested in supporting us as we move out to be His hands and feet?  We are humbled and excited and feel like we just won the lottery!  Thank you dear friends, “it is for such a time as this that we were made”.


Click Here to read Part 2!


  1. Becky Ryder

    Oh my! How awesome!!! Prayers for a smooth process! Would love to know where your at in the steps 🙂 You’ll be in love with China, it’s such a cool place to go!

    • admin

      Hey Becky! This reply is a little late, but life is CRAZY! We are in the hurry up and catch up phase. Because we were matched first we are trying to get everything done super fast so that we can meet the 6 month deadline once you file LOI. Right now we are in the midst of home study and dossier prep, kinda of everything at once! Overwhelming and exciting and tiring! Blessings to you!

      • Becky Ryder

        Great! You’ll get it completed! The dossier was way easier than our other two adoptions. It’ll be done before you know it 🙂

  2. Pingback: The Rest of Hannah Joy’s Story- (Part 2-This is the best part!) | Simply Home Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *