Dan & Trish Coleman

Autumn In The Dead Of Winter

By Trish Coleman

Our journey began in late 1995. I saw a show on our local Christian station. It was James Robisons Life Today show. On this particular episode, James and his wife Betty, visited an orphanage in China. While watching the show, I felt a familiar urge from God. This was not the first time God touched me this way. God had been working on my spirit and preparing me for this journey since I was just a little girl. After watching James Robison, I felt compelled to talk to my husband about what God had placed on my heart. His initial response was, "Only rich people adopt." And rich we are not! If God truly intended for us to have a child from China, he would bring it to pass.

I knew that if I put it in God's great hands, he would move in my husband's heart the same way he moved in mine. On January 14, 1996, my husband took me to breakfast after church. While sitting in the cozy booth, my husband got this lump in his throat. The only other time I had seen this was when he asked me to be his wife. So I knew that something big was about to happen. He then related this story to me. "Every time I open a newspaper or turn on the T.V., I see something about China. I really think God is telling us to go to China for a baby. Don't worry about where the money will come from. I have an acquaintance who is a banker. I told him we may need a loan. He inquired as to the purpose of the loan. When I told him it was to adopt a baby from China, he said, "My wife is from China. Anything you need, You've got it." Can you believe it?" When God puts things in motion, all you can do is sit back in Awe and witness the miracles as they unfold. There I sat in the Village Inn Resturant crying in my pancakes.

We contacted friends who had adopted from Thailand. Our friends put us in touch with Hand in Hand International Adoptions. We started to try a different agency, only to have that door shut tight. We should never have strayed. Maybe this was God's way to give us a strong appreciation for the wonderful work that Hand in Hand is capable of and provided us with.

We started collecting all of the documents needed to form our dossier. That was late January, by July 25th 96, we had every last document, stamped, sealed and ready to go. Our dossier was in China the first week of August. We were an official waiting family.

We were notified on November 26th that all of the babies for our group had been chosen, were healthy and all were born in 1996. We should have our match in mid December. Hooray!!! On December 3rd at 9:00a.m. sharp we received a package. The poor FedEx guy nearly lost an arm due to my excitement. My son stayed home from school complaining of a headache that day. I believe it was because we knew the pictures of our baby were coming. With my 13 year old son, Nathan, standing over my shoulder, I opened the package. My heart was beating wildly. I read the information sheet that told us about our baby. Drum roll please, I broke the gold seal and for a second I was afraid to open the card. As I opened the card the most beautiful eyes were looking back at me from a land far away. There she was, standing in her crib, little round face, big brown eyes and the cutest little mouth, all wrapped in about seven layers of clothes. Our precious gift from God! Again I was crying. My son was pretty choked up too. All I could say was "Oh she is beautiful, Thank You Jesus!" We took the pictures to Kinkos and had them blown up to an 8x10. We then took them to my 10 year old daughters grade school. We gave the picture to her fifth grade teacher, Miss Kyle, along with a large colorful book about the world. Miss Kyle then put together a geography lesson. When she got to the section on China, she said, "This is an interesting picture, this is Rachelles new baby sister from China!" You could have knocked her over with a feather. Later that evening it was my husbands turn. When he got home from work I sat him on the couch and handed him the folder. As Dan opened the card and saw his baby for the first time, a tear ran down his cheek. My oldest son Jeff, a 16 year old high school junior, just sat and stared at his new sisters pictures.

The question on everyones lips was, when do we get her? We were to travel on January 9th, 1997. When that day finally came, Dan, his mother Georgia and I, left behind my three children and boarded a plane headed for Hong Kong. We stayed in Hong Kong for two days. Now it was time to fly into Nanjing, China, Jiangsu Province, our new daughters city. As we approached Nanjing I looked out the window at the land below. I was overwhelmed with emotion. I wondered if we may be flying over our baby or maybe her birth family. This was a time mixed with great joy and sadness too. My heart panged for the pain her birth mother and family must have felt. I wish I could tell them that she will always be cherished and loved. As we stepped off the plane, we were in a different world. One that was very familiar to our daughter but much farther then I had ever imagined possible, from our little world in Kansas. Once in our bus, we took the drive through the hurry scurry traffic of bicycles, taxi cabs, buses and pedestrians to our hotel. In our eighth floor hotel room we looked out the window and marveled at the world below.

The day came to get our daughter. That was January 13, 1997. Just one day short of a year from that tearful breakfast after church, when my husband told me we were going to China for a baby. Because of a slight delay we had some time to kill. We spent the morning at the local bird market. We were as much a sight to the local people as the market and its surroundings were to us. After we returned to the hotel we anxiously awaited the arrival of our daughter. There were four other families in our group. We all paced the hall waiting for a sign of the babies. Soon the orphanage workers filed into the room of our agency worker and great friend, Libby Theune, and started handing out babies. We were last to receive our baby. They had sat her at the head of the bed. She was much smaller than I had expected. I didn't recognize her from the picture I had been toting about for the last six weeks, showing to everyone and anyone who would look at it. Then Madom Fon placed her in my arms. I guess thats the closest one could come to God! The minute we locked eyes I knew she was the right baby. Those were the same eyes that stared out of the picture from a land far away. She was a mammas girl right from the start. She wasn't too familiar with men much less 6'5" men like her new daddy. We signed the papers late that afternoon and she was ours!

We stayed in Nanjing for four days while we waited for the babies passports. Once we had them we flew to Guangzhou. We stayed in the White Swan Hotel. We were there for six days, while we waited for our babies visas. We celebrated our babies first birthday in Guangzhou. She was born on January 19, 1996, just five days after we made the decision to adopt her. God knew what he was doing didn't he? On January 22nd we were once again in flight, but this time the anticipation was in getting home. Once we were finally off the plane in the KCI airport, you could hear my children cheering. Lots of friends and family had gathered there to welcome us home and to catch the first glimpse of Gods great miracle.

We know her actual birthdate because her sweet, courageous, birth mother left a note telling of her birth date and the time of day she was born. In the orphanage she was given the name Chu Xianqiu. This means Earlier Autumn. We chose to name our daughter Autumn Danielle Coleman in keeping with her Chinese name. We had Autumn in the dead of winter.

It is January 9, 1998, as I write this, just shy of a year of the day we got our beautiful baby. She is extremely intelligent, well adapted, and the light of our lives. We will celebrate our one year anniversary on the 13th by going out for Chinese. Six days later on the 19th, Autumn will celebrate her second birthday with an Elmo cake and lots of friends and family. What a Joy this child is to all of us. Nathan always asks me "Mom how did we get the cutest baby in China?" If you are considering adopting a child from China or anywhere else for that matter, I highly recomend it. You can't imagine the joy that awaits you!

I would like to pay special tribute to the people at Hand in Hand International Adoptions and to Dr. Hong. To James and Betty Robison for caring enough to show the rest of the world the heavy needs of others. Without their great efforts, we would not be the proud parents of Autumn Danielle Coleman. And to her birth mother for loving her enough to choose life! Most of all our Praises and Thanks go to the Lord Jesus Christ, without the Great I Am, we would not have had Hand in Hand, Dr. Hong or James and Betty Robison. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU

Dan & Trish Coleman

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