The White family of Louisville, Kentucky knew what hardship was. The recession had hit the family hard and they had been forced to downsize from their large family home to a small rental. However, one of their four children, ten year old Ryan Elizabeth heard about kids with even less than they had. Reading about the orphans in Haiti, Ryan urged her parents to do something. Couldn’t they adopt some of the orphans who had no one to take care of them?
At first, her mom Shelly White thought her compassion was wonderful, but soon would be forgotten. But that’s not what happened. “She literally would not let this go,” White says. Ryan shook her piggy bank and begged her parents to just “take it!”
Soon the family tapped into “Show Hope” an adoption advocacy group so they could pray as a family for the hundreds of needy children on the website. Suddenly, one child captured their hearts like no other. A one year old baby girl with a cancerous tumor in an orphanage in China. The baby most likely had just one year to live. The White’s couldn’t imagine this little one going through that with no family to help or love her. “I had a mother’s love for her right away” says Shelly White, whose other children are 3, 6 and 9. “I can’t really explain it. I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I couldn’t get her off my heart.”
The couple came face to face with their main worry—how could they make room for one more person in their small house with one bathroom and six people already living there? And more importantly how could they possibly afford the $20,000 plus fees to adopt? Shelly White finally posed the question to her husband Hal– “Is money the only thing stopping us?” They decided it was, and would no longer be an obstacle. The White’s knew that God wanted them to adopt this precious baby girl, and somehow He would provide a way. They were going to do it! Things fell into place quickly after that decision. A local Louisville hospital offered to treat their new adopted daughter Mya at no charge.
Friends and family rallied around and held fundraisers for the adoption fees. Best of all, little Mya’s tumor is shrinking and her hopes for a future are climbing. The White children are having a blast with their new little sister and the parents say the only time they fight is when arguing about who gets to hold her. They proudly reflect on their daughter Ryan’s tenacity in making sure they “practiced what they preached.” The White’s example to reach out to those in need is not just an example for their four children but an example for the world.