Posted on November 15, 2016

Adopting a Teenager | Her Story of Redemption

Faith/ Family
Adopting A Teenager | A Story of Redemption

During our 9 years of waiting for God to bless us with a child, I can honestly say that adopting a teenager was not on my radar. Little did I know the effervescent overcoming powerhouse of a 4 foot 11 inch girl, would wrangle her way into my heart forever. I always trusted God’s plan for our family, and boy, did He ever have something good for us. Over the last 4+ years I haven’t spoken publicly about this big part of our life, but now that she is officially our daughter, I can–with her elated approval–shout it from the rooftops! We’re both excited to share our story of her teenage adoption and the ways in which we can already see it turning into a beautiful story of redemption! Our God is so good y’all.

The Introduction

We first heard about Teck through a student at our church in Georgia over 4 years ago. The girl briefly told us Teck’s story and how she was left in Malaysia at birth by her biological parents to be raised by what we believe to be distant family members. Teck was never told that the people raising her were not, in fact, her real parents. So she grew up calling them ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’ and believed their children were her biological siblings. They were hard-working parents, but still very poor and every member of the family slept in one room on the floor. They loved her.

Adopting A Teenager | A Story of Redemption

Her only picture from childhood. A passport photo.

When Teck was 8 years old, a woman and her 18-year-old daughter visited and asked her to go to lunch. Feeling reluctant, Teck asked if her brother could come along too, and they agreed. After lunch, they brought her back home but then asked her if she wanted to go back out for ice cream, too. This time, however, her brother was not allowed to go with them.

She never got to eat that ice cream.

She was taken to Singapore where she was temporarily enrolled in a new school. The woman who had taken her left her with her daughter and another girl and she went back to the United States where she lived.

Would she get to say goodbye to the only family she’d ever known?

She was terrified and had no idea what what was happening. They took her to get her picture taken, which later she found out was her passport photo. She was only there for a few weeks until the day came that they put her on a plane to the United States along with the two girls.

Teck was now in a foreign country where she didn’t understand the language, didn’t trust the people and didn’t know how to get help. She was told to call the woman ‘Mom’ and she was introduced to a man she was to call ‘Dad’. She also learned that she had an older brother and two sisters. These people were the only ones who spoke her language, so she had to learn to trust them.

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. 

The family in Malaysia attempted to contact her by phone numerous times and eventually the home phone was disconnected to ensure that wouldn’t continue. While I know now that they had to have known she would one day be taken back by her biological family, I can’t imagine their pain after raising her for 8 years.

I know you’re already wondering and the answer is yes, the people who took her to the U.S. are in fact, her biological family. But Teck was always treated much differently than her 3 siblings. She was never hugged or told she was loved. She was never given any answers as to why they left her in Malaysia, nor did she even know if they were actually her parents. But she was told many times to go and get adopted or that she was never even wanted in the first place. The Mama Bear in me gets heated just thinking about those words being uttered to a child.

So why would a family leave their child to be raised by another family for 8 years?

Be sure to subscribe to my blog by entering your information in the sidebar and you will receive an email once I post the next part to our story of how adopting a teenager changed our lives. 


You Might Also Like

Leave a Reply

9 Comment threads
6 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
VanessaTim / DawnKristin GambillAshley PeaveyPatricia Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

newest oldest most voted
Notify of

I can’t wait to read more! What a wild & amazing story! Thank you to you and your daughter for sharing!


I’m hooked! I am subscribing now! Although this part of the story completely breaks my heart, I cannot wait to hear the story of how God brought all of you together!


I’ve been waiting for you to share. Can’t wait to see how the Lord’s story unfolds!

Ashley Peavey
Ashley Peavey

Thank you for sharing! What an incredible story!! What a blessing it is that you found each other.

Kristin Gambill
Kristin Gambill

Can’t wait for the rest of the story!

Tim / Dawn
Tim / Dawn

Vanessa, It was truly a blessing for Dawn and I to meet you and Teck yesterday. What a heart breaking story and at the same time a perfect example of God’s protection and promise to deliver. We are sure to share her story and our experience with “ya’ll” this Thanksgiving. God Bless!


[…] I had the ornament above made the year we first met Teck. I know, I know, I left you hanging in my last post. I promise I’ll share the rest of her story before […]


[…] That means today is her 19th birthday! I totally left you hanging in the first part of her redemption story – sorry bout that! Bringing home our daughter was the most surreal experience and actually a […]


[…] plan how it would all pan out either. I mean, I sure never thought I would adopt an 18 year old! {That story here} But the process is always so exciting and I enjoy the suspense of it […]

Back to top