Family Stories

The Mathis Family

While engaged to be married during our college years (the late 1980s), Gary and I (Sandra) took our youth group to hear Josh McDowell speak. I remember nothing about that evening except Josh introducing his children to all who were present. He spoke with such love and admiration for his daughter who had been adopted from another country. He encouraged the audience to consider the incredible world of adoption. Gary and I began to understand that God's plan for our life together included adoption. My mother recently reminded me that even before we were married we told her that we would one day adopt internationally.

Fast forward a decade: Gary and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in 2000, still without children. The desire to become a mother was quite strong and I was brokenhearted that our family had not grown. God saw fit to bless us with our son, Zachary (whose name means God remembered) in 2001 and our sorrow immediately turned to joy! I had given birth and now I was a mother. That joy, while deep, was still unfulfilled. I can't really explain it other than to say I knew our family had not finished growing.

Several times during our marriage we had looked into adoption but never followed through. As I look back now, I realize that God had a perfect plan and He was making sure we didn't get ahead of that plan. It wasn't until the spring of 2004 that God began to re-ignite the passion for adoption. In the summer of 2004, we felt the Father give us the "go-ahead" as they say in Texas! We found America World while looking online, and began the journey to be united with the child Abba promised us almost 17 years earlier. Our long journey of waiting was finally OVER and yet just beginning!

I would love to say that we had the money in the bank and no worries, but that would not be true. As a single income family, we had little resources to fund a rather costly international adoption. Everything about our situation said the timing was horrible, except that the Father had spoken. I believed God could find a way to provide the resources, but my faith was being stretched to places I had never been or even thought, and the worry of how this would all take place began to consume me. During the Christmas season of 2004, our pastor shared about the gifts of Christmas and how one of those gifts was 'peace.' He made the following statement that changed my faith from that day forward: if God calls you to do something, then it's God's job to figure out how it will get done.

That day my spirit rested and while I literally had no idea how we would afford this adoption, I knew in my heart everything would be alright. You see, by this time our dossier was in China. Abba had provided the funds (quite miraculously I might add) we needed in order for the paperwork to get where it needed to go. But the larger expense was the travel and in-country expenses that would be required. Within two weeks of hearing that sermon, we received $8,000 in grants! Once again Jehovah Jirah provided after I rested in His love for me and trusted His promise to us regarding adoption.

I began writing a letter to our daughter shortly after we began the "paper pregnancy" because there were more miracles happening around me and I knew I'd never be able to remember them all. Also, I always want to remember to say 'thank you' to my Father for the wonderful love He lavishes upon us!

With help from those grants and family and friends, our adoption expenses were paid in full! All praise and honor and glory goes to the Father for allowing us to grow in our faith, for proving Himself faithful time and time again, and for our precious daughter we brought home from China in June 2005!

On June 13, 2005, we saw the adorable face of our eleven-month-old daughter, Grace Yvonne MengGe Mathis. We chose Grace because it truly is only by God's grace that we now get to hold this child of promise. Yvonne (pronounced E-vaughn) is my mother's middle name as well as my middle name and we wanted her to carry that heritage with her always. MengGe (pronounced Mong ga) is the name given to Grace by the orphanage workers. The name is translated "dream dove" or "dream bird of peace." In her biography, we were told she was given that name because they "want her to fly far away and become a peacemaker between two countries." I get teary-eyed even now when I realize that, long before I could comprehend what would happen in my life, God was working out His plan, and Grace is no accident or unwanted child. She is adored by her heavenly Father and we were meant to be her parents. What a gift for us, for me. I have given birth and I have adopted. Both are the most unique and incredible experiences of my life and I would want it no other way! I am blessed beyond words.