Bringing home Ruby Anne: a Rockwall family’s China adoption journey

(ROCKWALL, TX — November 5, 2019) “When you feel something, do something.”

Those are the words that Lauren and Casey Coats heard a pastor say a few years ago. Those are also the words that inspired them to “do something” that would forever change their lives, and the life of one sweet baby girl from China.

Lauren and Casey are parents to three biological children – daughter Sawyer (8), and sons Dayton (6) and August “Auggie” (3). Growing their family through adoption is something they have always wanted to do, and was something they would talk about even prior to getting married 12 years ago. In late November last year, the Coats decided to officially begin the process to adopt a little girl from China. Initially they were told it could take anywhere from three to five years before they could bring home a child from China. But God apparently had other plans for Lauren and Casey. They were able to finish their home study in just six months and a month after that, were matched with then-nine-month-old Jia An (who they now affectionately call Ruby Anne) from her orphanage in the Henan province of China.

With their adoption agency estimating their adoption fees to total around $50,000, the Coats began planning fundraisers to invite the community to help them bring Ruby home. They created a gofundme page back in January this year, and in September their church organized a Coffee and Comedy fundraiser featuring acts by comedians David Griffin, Matt Cain, Rocky Hernandez, and Lauren’s very own husband Casey Coats.

A big portion of their adoption paperwork was processed on Dec. 3, 2018. Just 11 months later, and the Coats family became #coatspartyof6.

“We stood before an adoption official as he spoke to us in Mandarin that was translated to English by our interpreter. My eyes filled with tears when he said we were officially her parents,” Lauren said. “It was such a sweet moment to stand there and actively choose to be her mom.”

Lauren and family got to meet Ruby for the very first time on “Family Day” Oct. 21 – which also happened to be the same day Ruby turned 20 months old.

It didn’t take long for Ruby to come out of her shell. Upon their first meeting, Ruby was scared and shy. But by the end of that first day she was giving them lots of smiles and giggles.

“When the social worker first handed her to us, she told us that the orphanage manager told her to tell us that Ruby is the star of the orphanage and asked us to love her well,” Casey said. “Well, she has become the little star of the Coats family and we love her so much already. It amazes me how fast your heart can fall in love!”

The family had lots of great adventures during their 19 days in China. They got a chance to tour the orphanage Ruby was housed in for the first year and a half of her life. According to Lauren, the orphanage is one of the largest in all of China, holding an estimated 800 children. It is several stories tall and is home to several organizations, from the general government-run orphanage to private areas such as Show Hope (Stephen Curtis Chapman’s foundation).

The Coats brought Ruby Anne home to Rockwall on Saturday, Nov. 2 – just in time to experience her first American holiday in Thanksgiving.

“We are looking forward to her first American holiday and introducing her to lots of yummy food!” Lauren said. “She is an adventurous eater and I’m excited to see what she most enjoys!”

As for what she’s thankful for this year, Lauren said she’s grateful her and Casey decided to follow through on their dream to adopt.

“We are so very thankful for our healthy and happy Ruby Anne,” Lauren said. “She has been a joy since we met her and makes us laugh and smile every single day.

“There is a hashtag in the adoption world that says #wecouldhavemissedthis and that is exactly how I feel! We are so very thankful that we followed up on our calling to adopt. She has already blessed our lives immensely.”

By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News. Courtesy photos.

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