Beliefnet
Josephine had been blessed with two biological offspring of her own, but one day she told her husband Frank that she wanted to adopt a child. She had just participated in a massive clothing drive that her church had sponsored for orphan children in China, and their plight moved her.

She wanted to do more than just send used clothing to Chinese orphanages, she said with emotion. Helping these abandoned and deprived children, she felt, meant reaching out in a very real and concrete way. And in Josephine's mind, the only way to truly make a difference in an orphan child's life was to adopt that child and bring him or her into the permanent sanctuary of her home. This was how she believed she could genuinely salvage a broken soul.

Fortunately, her husband was as idealistic as she and agreed to the plan. They contacted the right agencies, filled out the necessary paperwork, and traveled the great distance to China from their home in Canada to claim their child. From the mainland they journeyed to a small village where their child was housed, and it was many hours before they reached their final destination.

Upon their arrival at the orphanage--one of thousands scattered throughout the country--the fragile little boy who would soon be theirs was brought to meet them for the first time. As Josephine gazed at him tenderly, something about the child's appearance caught her eye. She gasped, and tears flowed down her cheeks. "This child was definitely meant to be ours," she told her husband with passion and sincerity.

On the little feet of the tiny Chinese child were the shoes she had donated at the church clothing drive so many months before. She recognized them immediately and was sure whose they were, but just to be positive, she looked for his name on the inside of the shoe. The kindergarten teachers had asked the mother to label all their children's belongings and articles of clothing in case they got lost.

The name of her biological son was still etched there in permanent ink.

The shoes had made their way to their new son before they had, and it seemed that would further ease his transition into their home. For as he stepped over its threshold with those little shoes on his tiny feet, his hands would be held by parents convinced that this child was chosen to be theirs.

The long journey to his new parents' heart had already begun.

He was following his brother's footsteps, all the way home.

--Katrina RatzComment
Like clothing bound for summer camp, souls destined to enter each other's lives are labeled with indelible spiritual ink.

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