Adopting one special needs child is often a lot of work for any family to take on. But six years ago, Lisa and Gene Lumpkins of Georgetown, Kentucky, decided that their home and their hearts were big enough for four children, all with special needs.
The couple, who also has two biological children of their own, adopted four orphans from China, all with special needs. They were prepared for the demanding challenges ahead of them, raising six kids under one roof. But what they didn’t expect was how one of those kids would turn up with an incredible surprise, six years later, that would again change their lives forever.
One of their new daughters, Aubrey, suffers from cerebral palsy and can have difficulty walking. She was also abused and neglected as a young child, leaving her with permanent emotional scars. In her new home, however, Aubrey flourished — but she also had a secret.
One day, mom Lisa Lumpkins was innocently scrolling through Facebook when a picture from the orphanage in China made her stop dead in her tracks. In it was a young girl who looked strikingly like Aubrey.
“My jaw dropped, they looked just so, so similar,” Lisa later recalled to People magazine. “My motherly instincts kicked in, I knew they had to be sisters or maybe even non-identical twins.”
Lisa reached out to the orphanage and convinced them to conduct a DNA test on the girl in China, Avery, who looked so similar to her own Aubrey.
The results came back, and Lisa’s mother instincts were completely right: Aubrey and Avery were siblings.
The Lumpkins all agreed that there was only one logical thing to do: They needed to adopt Avery and bring her home to Georgetown with them, to reunite her with her sister. But it wasn’t so easy. For one thing, time was running out: laws in China dictate that children can only be adopted up to age 14. Avery was 13, with her birthday fast approaching.
Then, there was the money issue. Adoptions can cost as much as $35,000, not to mention the price of airfare from Kentucky to China and back. Luckily, their story took off — and their GoFundMe page eventually raised over $50,000. The entire Lumpkins family was able to go to China together to collect Avery and bring her home.
“They’re loving being together,” Lumpkins told Inside Edition. “They remembered being [at the orphanage in China] together, but they had no clue they were sisters.”
Despite the language barrier — Avery doesn’t speak much English yet, and Aubrey has forgotten most of her Chinese — the girls get along famously. Avery also has cerebral palsy, and the two help each other out wherever they can.
“They’ve changed the person I am,” Lisa said to the Washington Post. “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 you can do to help someone else.”