As we celebrate our Silver Anniversary this year, we’re reminded of the countless incredible memories with our kids. One extraordinary recollection is the story of Zoey. When she arrived on our campus as a tiny baby, doctors stated that her special needs were so debilitating she’d be non-responsive for the rest of her life. Shortly after Zoey arrived at Shepherd’s Field, however, a team from Memphis, Tennessee, came to volunteer. One of the team leaders, Stan, went to visit the kids in Samaritan House where Zoey lived. Stan was unusually drawn to Zoey every day, just to hold her in his arms and pray for her to live a life that the Father (God) wanted. He prayed that she’d be able to run and play and enjoy God’s creation.
At the end of the team’s visit, Stan went to Samaritan House to say a final goodbye to Zoey, but something extraordinary happened instead – Stan’s prayers for Zoey were answered! As he petitioned the Father for this helpless infant, Stan heard God speak to his heart, “You’re the father.” The answer to Stan’s prayers for a “baba” – or father – was, in fact, already there. That baba was Stan.
Stan returned to Memphis – beaming – and eagerly talked with his wife, Stephanie. As it turned out, Stan and Stephanie were already in the process of preparing their paperwork to adopt from China, so it was a no-brainer. But as they were putting everything in order to adopt Zoey, she was suddenly matched with another family. Stan questioned his desire and calling to be Zoey’s baba. However, the family matched with Zoey met her and admitted they weren’t prepared for the incredible challenge of adopting a child with such severe disabilities. This was good news for Stan and Stephanie – Zoey would be their daughter! It took a while, but Stan and Stephanie finally brought Zoey home when she was 2½ years old.
This happy little girl with a bright, engaging personality is now 12 years old and will start middle school next year. Her favorite thing in the world is putting puzzles together, and she’s completed five during the COVID-19 quarantine. Stephanie shared that Zoey is usually working on a jigsaw puzzle, and so far, the largest one she’s done is 2,500 pieces. Not bad for a girl who doctors said would never do anything, right? Zoey’s story is just one of many incredible accounts of healing, transformation, and redemption that we’ve witnessed among the special-needs kids we’ve touched. Thank you for your partnership with us!
~ Stan and Stephanie