A Grace Prep family just got larger! The Collett family recently adopted three-year-old, Daniel from China. This life-changing decision has gotten his siblings excited.
Freshman Ryan Collett eagerly said, “I was really excited to be able to take like a kid who wouldn’t have been able to have a normal life and who wouldn’t have great opportunities and give him a family who loves him.”
They went to China two months ago to meet him in person for the first time.
“One thing that did stand out was that we watched videos of other families who got their kids and it was a really big room where they introduced them, but whenever we got our brother, it was really just like they brought him up an elevator and gave him to us and left five minutes later.” says Ryan.
To Ryan, that moment seemed harsh. Ryan’s mother, Stefanie Collett describes that moment a little differently.
“The moment the elevator doors opened and I saw his sweet face in that stroller, there’s no way to even describe the joy that I felt in my heart. For me in that moment I knew that my little boy was ours forever.”
Despite the joy and love the Collett family felt, the reality of being thousands of miles from home hit soon hits.
Ryan’s favorite part of China was, “Being able to get my new brother and being able to be there with my family.”
Ryan learned quickly that China is a strange place and, “The worst part was probably being in a place where no one understood you and the fact that my brother cried for the two weeks that we had him there, and China just made it very difficult, and it was very stressful.”
As difficult as it is for Ryan, one can only imagine how difficult this is for Daniel. Daniel’s home, language, acquaintances , and his entire life has just been abruptly changed.
Despite this, “He’s adjusting really well,” said Ryan. “The first day we got back, it was kinda rough for him just because his sleeping schedule was off and it was a new place. He just had to learn our situation a little bit of how things are set, but now he’s doing just fine and he acts like a normal three-year-old.”
Ryan seems to have gotten to know Daniel well already. ,
“He’s very adventurous,” explains Ryan. “He likes to explore things. He’s always happy. It’s very rare that you make him upset or he gets upset. He’s just a very happy child who enjoys life.”
The family is working through the tough language barriers that a Chinese-speaking three year-old imposes on an all-English speaking household.
“We’ve kinda learned the basic words for food and water,” said Ryan.“And what we’ll do is say it in Mandarin and then we’ll say it in English so he kinda picks up on it, but besides that, there’s really no way to. We just speak English and kinda guess here and there on what he wants and we kinda figure out his mood. He’s very scheduled. We’ve kinda learned his schedule and how he adjusts to that.”
On top of all of this, Daniel has nystagmus, a visionary disorder that causes Daniel’s vision to be very blurry. Recently, Daniel had to have an MRI, but they are fortunate to say that he is free of any tumors. After reviewing Daniel’s file, we knew that there were some medical needs.
“We were unsure of exactly what we were going to be dealing with as far as his vision goes.” says Mrs. Collett, “After being back home for several weeks, we visited the ophthalmologist. After hearing the news that his vision was far worse than we expected we knew that we had to do whatever it took to make it as best for him as possible.”
It’s a lot of work on Mr. and Mrs. Collett, Daniel’s siblings, and even Daniel himself, but they couldn’t feel happier.
“Honestly, it feels amazing,” said Ryan, “It kinda set in the first week we had him that this is a new part of our family and he’s not going away. Like he’s going to be family forever. It’s just really cool to know that we gave a kid who wouldn’t a family who loved him a home where we could take care of him and teach him about God where he wouldn’t normally learn about that in China.”
Mrs. Collett and her husband Zach Collett obeyed the Lord in adopting Daniel. God knew just how to work the plan for Daniel before he or the Colletts knew any details.
“Adoption is something that God placed on my heart when I was a senior in high school,” said Mrs. Collett.“I was unsure of where I would adopt from and when I would, but I knew that someday it would happen. When Zach and I started dating, I shared with him what was on my heart. After 15 years of marriage, three biological children, and me finishing nursing school, we felt the Lord was saying okay now it’s your time.”
Here is a website where you can learn more about adoption