US couple to reunite their adopted daughter from China with her lost twin

Chinese twins Avery and Aubrey, who were born with cerebral palsy, could soon be reunited.
Chinese twins Avery and Aubrey, who were born with cerebral palsy, could soon be reunited. PHOTO: GOFUNDME.COM

A couple in the United States who have found joy in adopting orphaned children with special needs from China are in the midst of reuniting a pair of twin sisters born with cerebral palsy.

Ms Lisa Lumpkins - who adopted 13-year-old Aubrey from a Chinese orphanage in 2013 - had been scrolling through Facebook in early March when a photo of a girl bearing a striking resemblance to her daughter appeared on her newsfeed, reported the Washington Post.

The photo, which had been part of a shoutout for older children in need of adoption, set the wheels in motion for Ms Lumpkins to contact the orphanage and get a DNA test done to determine if Avery and Aubrey were indeed sisters.

The 43-year-old sent in a swab of Aubrey's saliva and got her answer - Avery was the twin sister Aubrey never knew she had.

But the Lumpkinses, based in Georgetown, Kentucky, faced several obstacles in their attempt to adopt Avery.

Ms Lumpkins and her husband, Gene, had originally led a comfortable life with their two biological children. But feeling the pull to adopt, they flew to China - overcoming the former's fear of flying - in 2008 to adopt 18-month-old Maya, who had bowel and gall bladder complications.

Yet, the thought of leaving the other children in the orphanage occupied Ms Lumpkins, who said: "I felt like I left a part of my heart in China.

"When you go to an orphanage and see these kids and all they want is love, what is important changes," she told the paper.

"They've changed the person I am. Your values, what's important... it's not about how much money you have or the fancy car or the big diamond ring, there's more to life. It's about what can you do to help someone else."

The couple, who ended up selling their luxury car and eschewing vacations, went on to adopt three more Chinese children - Noah two years after Maya's adoption, Aubrey, and most recently, Carter in 2014.

The adoption cost for each child amounted to about US$35,000 (S$48,000).

Still in debt from Carter's adoption and racing against the clock to adopt Avery before she turns 14 in August (those above that age are not eligible for overseas adoption), the couple initially set up an online fundraiser that failed to garner the desired support.

But it was spotted by Briton Leon Legothetis, an author and television host who now travels around the world helping people in need, who helped them set up a GoFundMe campaign that quickly gained traction.

In just two weeks, the campaign had raised over US$36,000, well above the initial target of US$25,000.

With the money, the Lumpkinses now hope to speed up the process of Avery's adoption and hope they can bring her over to the US in July. Any leftover funds will go towards buying a car to hold their family of nine.

"When I met them in person it's so powerful to meet a family that comes from their hearts," Mr Logothetis said.

"This is a family who has created an environment where the first thing you feel is how much love there is."

Ms Lumpkins, in response to the successful campaign, said she was speechless and had "cried so many times".

"In a world where there is so much hate, there are still so many good people who care and who love," she added.