Blind, deaf, paralyzed, orphaned. All these words could have defined Maggie Mei Henderson, but by the power of God, this energetic two-year-old is now living with her forever family, walking, talking and seeing the world with curiosity and wonder.
Pastor Trent Henderson and his wife, Ginny, have seen the hand of the Lord move mountains for their daughter, Maggie. Trent serves at Heritage Park Baptist Church in the Friendswood and League City area, and his wife, Ginny, is a physical therapist. Born with a severe heart defect and orphaned as a newborn, Maggie spent the first year of her life in an orphanage in Baoji, China.
Ginny traveled to Baoji in the summer of 2013 to examine children with developmental problems in a local orphanage. The Hendersons had three children at the time. They were not intending to seek another international adoption (their daughter Ruthie was adopted from China two years before), but when Ginny made eye-contact with a precious one-year-old, she knew the Lord was speaking to her. Ginny walked over and picked up the little girl.
"She looked up at me and said, 'Mama,'" Ginny recalled, a word the girl had never said before. Ginny took pictures of the precious little one and sent them home to her husband, Trent.
After inquiring, the couple learned of Maggie's heart defect and also an error in her paperwork which had prevented her from being in the adoption process at the time. The Hendersons felt strongly led by the Lord to pursue adoption, although many obstacles stood in their way. Paperwork that would normally take months to complete was processed within weeks and they were able to submit their information to the adoption agency six days before the error was fixed in China, proving to be a critical step in the adoption process.
Every door, which should have been closed kept swinging open and the Henderson's watched in amazement. To the astonishment of all involved, Maggie Mei became part of the Henderson family in February of 2014, just seven months after Ginny first held her.
The next few months flew by as the Hendersons transitioned to a family of six. Their older children, Jack (12), Sam (10) and Ruthie (8), embraced their new little sister and sought to find a new normal.
On a Friday in June, Maggie began exhibiting symptoms of a cold, but was also grabbing her left shoulder. By Tuesday morning, Ginny took her to the hospital and while sitting in the waiting room, she felt Maggie's left side go limp and she knew the little girl was having a stroke.
"Sometimes God calls you to cross over the mountain," Ginny said. "He was orchestrating dates in Maggie's life – had she been in China instead of in the arms of her physical therapist mother at the #2 children's hospital in the nation, she would not have survived. God brought Maggie here for such a time as this."
Maggie actually had two strokes that day, one in her right frontal lobe, causing paralysis on her left side, and another on her thalamus, causing her to be blind and deaf.
That week, the Hendersons' church rallied around them. The following Friday after Maggie's strokes, church members gathered to pray. Youth, who were away at camp, also joined the effort, all with a likeminded prayer for Maggie to open her eyes.
"We were praying, 'Lord, we want her back. Let us see Maggie,'" Trent said. A few hours later, Maggie opened her eyes – a testimony to the power of prayer and the healing hand of the Lord.
"The outcome is not always as great," Trent continued. "It doesn't mean God isn't good. God gave us this story to encourage other people."
Maggie remained in a coma for a week and spent the next two months in the hospital. In the midst of the intense family crisis, Heritage Park Baptist Church served the Henderson family day-in and day-out. From helping to care for the older three children, preparing meals and providing encouragement and support, the Hendersons felt very loved.
"God used our church to answer prayers, even small ones," Ginny said. "One day I thought 'I could really use some Nutella.' A few hours later, one of my friends came up to the hospital with a care package, including a jar of Nutella!"
The small gesture did so much to encourage Ginny's heart - seeing the Lord answer small prayers and reminding her of His constant presence.
One deacon, and close friend, would come in the middle of the night and sit up with Maggie at the hospital while Trent and Ginny slept. Ginny was not able to work for the two months Maggie was hospitalized and through monetary gifts, God provided the exact amount of money to cover her lost wages.
The Hendersons could recount ways they saw the Lord provide for hours on end. But, ultimately, the greatest miracle was the healing that occurred in Maggie's life. She was released from the hospital in August and is now approximately 95 percent recovered. Not only did she regain her eyesight and hearing, but her muscles on the left side of her body were also restored and she is able to run, jump and be as active as any other two-year-old they know.
Throughout this journey, the Hendersons have gained a better appreciation for God's sovereignty.
"I used to live in fear that I would lose my children, that someone would get cancer," Ginny said. "Now we have a better appreciation for God's sovereignty – that He is good all the time."
"We have seen exponential growth through this – from salvation of family members to growth in our church and our ministry to the community. I would not want to live it again, but I don't regret it," she said.
There are still more mountains for Maggie to overcome, including an upcoming heart surgery, but the Hendersons know Maggie's life is in the Lord's hands. They will continue to bear witness to the testimony of God's healing power, ever-constant presence and sovereignty.
For more information about adoption visit texasbaptists.org/adoption.