As a Holt sponsor and volunteer, soon-to-be adoptive mom Sherri Jo Gallagher knew her son was already loved in China. Now that he’s home, she can’t wait to show him how loved he’ll be with her in the U.S. Sherri Jo wrote the following story just weeks before she traveled to bring him home!
My sweet 2-year-old son, whom I still have yet to meet, is currently 7,993 miles away from me… but has been living in my heart for the last two years. When Malachi’s family could not care for him, God chose this beautiful little boy to be my son and chose me to be his mother. Adoption is a tangible expression of how Jesus Christ adopted us into His family.
Ephesians 1:5 tells us that God predestined us for adoption through Jesus Christ according to His good and perfect will. How beautiful is that!
This journey that we — Malachi and I — are on did not start in a good way for either of us… but like us through Jesus Christ, we are redeemed through Him. For reasons unknown, Malachi’s mother had to make the heartbreaking decision to put him in an orphanage. This may have been done out of love, fear or a messy combination of both. Either way, God has moved in his life to bring him to a safe place and has prepared him to be adopted into a loving family.
For me, until a few years ago, my life had been more focused on myself, my career and my successes, more than anything else. God continually worked on my heart and practically overnight refocused everything in my life to loving, serving and learning more about Jesus Christ and His love for me. Suddenly, my life was not so much about me and my accomplishments as it was pointing to Jesus through my words and actions. Almost immediately I started getting this idea of adoption.
I have been in the Army for 11 years and the thought of being a mother had never crossed my mind. But as God laid the thought on my heart, what started as a small desire ultimately led to my full commitment to my sweet boy. God has ordained every part of this process for me. Every time I got worried about finances or being a single mother, God worked in miraculous ways to help me see that He has both me and Malachi in His loving arms.
Around the same time that I started thinking about adoption, I attended my first Winter Jam concert, which I really wasn’t too excited about. But it was AMAZING. At this concert I heard about Holt child sponsorship, and although my mom and sister had been sponsoring children for years, I was always a bit skeptical about the whole thing. When the pastor got up in the middle of the concert and started talking about Holt’s mission of family reunification or adoption for all of these beautiful children overseas, my heart started to melt. I started sponsoring a sweet little girl in China and soon started receiving letters from her. She lives with her grandparents, so the biggest thing she needed was support so she could study, have regular meals and receive medical care. One of her first letters to me said, “Thank you for your help. One day I wish to do the same for someone else.” That is when my heart completely melted.
With my job, I traveled a lot. The best part about it was that I could start traveling to cities on the Winter Jam tour, and I could volunteer with Holt. Night after night, I heard the call for sponsorship and adoption. In November of 2016, I officially started my adoption process through Holt. It is a long and daunting process, but Holt has walked with me every step of the way. Finally, a year after I started the process, I got a call from my social worker at Holt saying that I had been matched with this sweet little boy from China. I was supposed to look at his packet and after a week or so let Holt know if this was a good match.
I opened the first picture and knew that this little boy was my son. He was described as dignified and strong, cute, active and restless, clever and lovely. That night, I accepted the match and started the next journey of bringing him home!
I cannot wait for the little things, like reading him a story before tucking him into bed or singing ridiculous songs together in the car. I also cannot wait for the big things, like when he wraps his little arms around me for comfort and when he learns about how Jesus has loved him through all of the things he has been through (both good and bad) in his little life. I am so excited to see him smile and laugh. I can’t think of anything better than for him to look at me and call me mama.
I have continued to work with Holt at different events. Now I can see Malachi’s face on every sponsored child packet and know that his face was ACTUALLY on one of these cards and that some person, who I will never know, has sponsored my son. That family is providing him with shelter, food and love until I am able to hold him in my arms. My sweet boy is so loved already.
I’m not expecting this journey to be easy, but I do know that God’s love and grace will cover us every messy, beautiful step of the way.
Sherri Jo Gallagher | Reaford, North Carolina
Did you know Holt provides care for hundreds of thousands of kids through child sponsorship? Every month, through the compassion and generosity of sponsors in the U.S., thousands of vulnerable children around the world receive everything they need to grow and thrive — including food, education, safety, advocacy and the nurturing care of devoted caregivers or family members. While most of the children in our sponsorship program live with their birth families, some of them are children living in a care center or with a foster family — children who are waiting for a family through adoption.
This means that if you adopt through Holt, your child may have had a sponsor! Once you are matched with a child, you can ask your Holt social worker if your child is in sponsorship. Over the years, Holt has even helped some adoptive families connect with their child’s former sponsor — giving them an opportunity to express their gratitude to the compassionate individual who helped provide for their child before he or she came home.
Every child who is adopted has a different story, but they all involve individuals around the world coming together to provide the care and love they need and deserve. And for some children, their Holt sponsor was just one more person who cared about them from afar.