The Question from Sania that Punched Me in the Gut

Last week, I was tucking Sania into bed, and after we read a little girl’s devotional book and prayed together, she asked me a question that punched me in the gut. 

It was a question I wasn’t expecting.

It was a question I didn’t have an answer for. 

You see, in the three years we have had Sania, we have had very few “deep” conversations with her.  Developmentally, Sania is  significantly behind her peers, and she functions at a level several years below them.  Her conversations are mostly about friends, food, and Disney cartoons. :)

Sania doesn’t talk much about what she went through in the years before we met her.  I don’t think she remembers a ton, but she remembers enough.  We have only had glimpses into the abuse and neglect that she endured. 

So when she asked me, “Mom, why didn’t God let me grow in your belly like the brothers?,” last week, I was taken back a little.  That was a deep question for Sania, but one that I thought I could easily answer with…“Well, honey…because He had a different plan for you.”  

Felt like a good enough answer.  A different plan.  A “special” plan.

Well, I thought that was a good enough answer until she asked the next question.  It was the second question that punched me in the gut. 

(For privacy, I will use “Elena” for Sania’s birth mom’s name.)

“Mom, why did God let me grow in Elena’s belly when He knew that she was going to be mean to me?”


I was stunned by the depth of that question.  

How could a good God, who loves Sania so much, allow her to be born to a woman that He knew would abuse and neglect her?

I didn’t have an answer. 

It’s the same question, just in different words, that we ALL struggle with.  

Why does God let bad things happen to good people?

As I struggled for words, my heart ached for my sweet little girl.  Over the past three years she has been in our family, we have tried our best to let her know how much God loves her.  We have told her how special she is to Him.  We have told her how blessed we are to have her in our family, and how God perfectly orchestrated her to be our daughter.   I know that she has heard, accepted, and believed every word.

But still….why did she have to go through the pain to get here?  Or even more, why couldn’t she have been born to a mom that was whole, not broken, and one that could love and care for Sania like she deserved?

Bottom line…we will never have answers to these type of questions this side of heaven.  Our finite minds can never understand the infinite plans of God.  



I told Sania that that was a VERY good question.  I didn’t want her to feel bad for asking it.  And I told her the truth…I didn’t have an answer.   I don’t know why God let her grow in Elena’s belly when He knew that she would be mean to her. 

But here is what I DO know…

  • Sania becoming a part of our family was an absolute miracle that ONLY GOD could do.
  • The Lord led me to a blog conference several years ago knowing that I would stop at a little booth with my sister and learn about an orphan hosting program called Project 143.
  • He knew at the same time, across the seas in Latvia, a little orphan girl would be enrolled in a program called Project 143.
  • He knew that out of the hundreds of orphans in that program, that Sania’s picture would come across my computer screen.  
  • He knew that Cy and I would fall in love at first sight. 
  • He helped us come up with the finances to bring that little orphan girl to our home for a summer.
  • He put love in our boys’ hearts for a sister. 
  • He continued to provide a way for Sania to become our daughter, even though Satan tried to stop it.
  • Through that time, He taught Cy and I a faith like we had never known. 
  • He miraculously brought Sania home to us and made us a family. 
  • He continues to heal Sania’s heart, and He has given us a front row seat to watching a miracle unfold in her life. 
  • He has done in our lives what ONLY HE CAN DO.

 So I began to share all those things with Sania that night.  And I told her how incredibly special she was, and that God must have loved her an extra amount to have worked so hard to bring her to her forever family.  And how her story brings glory to God because it is an example to the world that God still does miracles. 

And then we talked about her birth mom, and how hurt people hurt people.  We talked about how her mom was hurting and not in a good place, and how she wasn’t able to take care of Sania like she deserved.   And then we prayed for her birth mom.

Several times since then, Sania has asked if we could pray for her birth mom, and we do.  We pray that she will come to know the love of Christ and that He would make her whole.  

Friends, almost all of us have experienced something in our lives that have made us question the goodness of God.  And that’s okay.  He understands our hearts because He made them.

And though none of us will probably ever get an answer to our questions here on earth, we can rest in the knowledge that God is in control, and he brings beauty from ashes. 

I’ve seen Him do it time and time again, in my life, and in the life of others.

We may not always understand God, but we can trust Him.




P.S.  She fits right in to our crazy crew!  haha!





  1. … So Beautiful…. what a blessing she must be to you and your family… and the other way around too of course!!! And… yes.. eeven when we do not understand.. we can Trust Him !!! Thank you for sharing ……………….

        1. Beautifully said. What a blessing you are to each other. God so good!
          A book I read, that you might find helpful is, “Why Do You Hurt Me, God” by David J. Matthews. I have met David and he wife and they are such beautiful servants of our Lord.

  2. This is such a beautiful and heartfelt testimony, and a wonderful reminder of the goodness of God. Thank you so much for sharing it.

  3. Oh……what a sweet story. Made me tear up. I’m so glad you shared this. I always say the same quote you said at the end….”We may not alway understand God, but we can trust HIM.” So, so true and we all need to hang onto that in times of trials and questioning. I think you did a wonderful job explaining to Sania and admitting you don’t know the answer and then continuing to tell her the faithfulness of God. It was perfect. She is so fortunate to have you for her mama and the rest of the family too for her forever family. God is good.

    1. Thank you, Kathy! I felt so inadequate that night, but I just tried to make sure she knew how loved she was, and that she is a MIRACLE from God.
      God IS good.
      Bless you!

      1. Hi PJ! Does it happen when you leave a comment on my blog a lot, or on all blogs?. The only reason that it should happen on my blog is if you haven’t commented before. It makes me approve it first. Once you leave a comment that I approve, that your comment should show up everytime from that point on. So sorry for the inconvenience. I just get a lot of spam comments that have to be blocked, so I have to approve all new comments.

  4. Traci, what a story! God’s plans are incredible, really, it seems.
    How great that you reached out and the story unfolded.
    I don’t know how I could have answered the questions.
    You love her so well, and it’s beautiful.
    I have to add….from the beginning, I have always thought she resembles your family!
    God bless you all, always. We certainly rely on Him. ❤

    1. Thank you, Teena! It wasn’t a question I was expecting from her, but it made me realize that she is able to think deeper than I realized. Which makes it even more important to us that we keep filling her with God’s TRUTH about her. God bless you!

  5. Such a beautiful post. I’ve had those same questions Sania had over the years when bad things happened to me. I attended a church many years ago and my sunday school teachers where husband and wife and in their 70’s. During one class about God’s love, Pleas’s wife confided in us all that she had over the years miscarried several children before being blessed with one healthy boy who was now our pastor. She said, “Many asked me why a loving God would allow one of his faithful servants to suffer as Pleas and I did over the years with the heartaches of losing so many children.” Then she explained that sometimes God gives lessons that are not for us but for others. As she went through those miscarriages and suffered the loss, she never let her love and trust for God waver. To her the lesson was more for others watching her and seeing how she handled these losses and what they could gain from seeing her unwaivering faith amid them. Those words really stuck with me and remained with me whenever bad things happened that I couldn’t see the good that would come from them. As Sania grows and with your continued love and support she will perhaps mature and come to a point like my sunday school teacher when she realises she is also the teacher and not always the student. Much love to you and your family. I have given up on reading many blogs over the years but yours I have stuck with for this very reason. You do so many posts that are so meaty and full of goodness and encouragement. I need that in my life most of all. Thank you for it. – Karen

    1. Wow, Karen! What a beautiful story!! Thank you for sharing that, and your Sunday school teacher was so right. And God is STILL using her testimony to bless others!
      Thank you for your sweet words, and for sticking with me all these years. :).

  6. What a great post, thanks for sharing this personal story. You did such an awesome job of explaining to Sania. She is so lucky to be in your family and you are lucky God chose your family to be her new home. A win for everyone.

    God is so good. Even in times when we are sure why thing happen, so often when we look back we have a better perspective.

    1. Yes, most of the time we don’t see God’s hand in the moment, sometimes it takes days, weeks, years to see where His hand was at work. But they are ALWAYS at work! Thank you for your sweet comment. xoxo

  7. Beautiful! I’m sitting (alone) in a restaurant with tears in my eyes. I needed to hear this. Thank you for sharing!!

  8. Aww Traci, this just touches my heart in two ways! One, it breaks my heart that your precious lil Sania had to endure abuse, and two, that God blessed her with a fabulous family to love her and give her a forever home. I think you handled the situation beautifully, and displayed your true Christian heart. My prayer is for Gods hand to always be upon your family and give you answers for all of your children’s “whys”. She is beautiful like her Momma! If I didn’t know she is adopted, I would never guess that she wasn’t a biological child. She looks just like you all! Hugs! 😃

  9. I came across your blog a few years ago on Pinterest looking at decorating inspiration but found we have more in common than decor preferences. Mybnamw is also Traci with an i. I’m a southern Indiana girl who has been transplanted to NC. I have 2 biological boys and 2 adopted daughter’s from Russia. This scene is one we too have experienced. Unfortunately, our girls are not able to live with us right now due to the deep trauma they have experienced at the hands of their bio mom and caregivers in the orphanage. I find myself asking the same question for my daughters and having to remind myself of God’s omnipotence. He sees the whole story from beginning to end. My understanding is limited to this small glimpse of life. I remind myself that God hasn’t finished the stories of our girls or even my own. The pain of adoption is often invisible to others but God knows and heals. Prayers for your family! You are doing great!

    1. Traci, thank you for sharing your story with us all as well. I am so sorry for all your sweet girls have endured, and I pray God’s continued healing over them. Yes, God isn’t finished yet! He is working in us all. God bless you! xoxo Traci

  10. Wow Tracey, you all have been so blessed as a family. And for you and your little girl to pray for her birth Mom is so filled with love and compassion. I just know Sania is going to continue to blossom and grow spiritually and intellectually,how could she not with such a supportive family and the precious love of God ! Big wonderful plans for you all. Thanks for sharing and allowing “us” to pray for you all.

    1. Thank you, Debbie! To God be ALL the Glory. We are doing our best, but rely on God daily for wisdom and guidance. So thankful for your prayers! We definitely need them! haha! xoxo Traci

  11. God is so good! It’s so hard to mend the brokenness they feel but with prayer and a loving family- God will do the rest! Blessings to you momma!

  12. Awww, Your post just brought tears to my eyes. I am so thankful that Sania is with your family. Bless her heart. May God be with Sania and your family and with her birth Mom as you all go forward. You are such a gem and I love how you love your family and share your lives. You are honest and very talented. Thanks for being real.

  13. Thank you, Traci, for sharing this question from your sweet girl. As adoptive parents of five delightful children, we too have fielded several deep questions from sweet brown faces ( I refer to them as my” chocolate kisses” ), with big dark eyes. You are wise to tell her that sometimes you don’t know or have all the answers…but how amazing is it that our God can form these questions into great faith in Him?
    Thank you Jesus for Sania. Thank you for being all she needs. Thank you for taking our groanings for our children and translating them to our Father. Thank you for blessing her, keeping her, and shining your face upon her! Amen

  14. Yes, yes, yes!!! Only the true God is powerful enough to redeem even the most difficult situations. I am so grateful to witness the redemption He’s bringing about in this situation–thank you for sharing the hard parts of the story as well as the pretty parts. Love you, friend!

    P.S. I love the way you quote your mom.

  15. I just love you, and your love for jesus. Theres so much on internet and FB that dont pertain to our lord and savior , and its so comforting to read your blog , and how you refresh our hearts And i just wanted to tell you so. You are such a wonderful person

  16. Oh my goodness, Traci reading this makes me cry. I cannot imagine having to explain that to a precious little child. It’s not up to us to question God. My heartaches every time that I hear on the news about something impacting a little child. How could anyone hurt an innocent child is beyond me. She is so blessed to have you and your family for her forever family. God bless you!

    1. I will never understand it either, Tammy! How can anyone hurt a child? But thankfully, God has rescued our sweet Sania! (And rescued us all, truth be told!). xoxo

  17. Traci,what a beautiful story about God and his plans for your family and his little girl. We get so impatient in our daily lives and if we just would wait his plans will unfold before us. Thank you for sharing your faith.

  18. God bless her! As I see it when reading my Bible, is that God didn’t create puppets. Because of the fall we live in a sin cursed earth and man has a very special gift when God created us, a will. That will means people can choose to do evil but it also means they can choose to do good. God will not make a person do anything. Just as true Biblical salvation is a gift which means you can choose it or not, that is your choice. He wants people to freely choose to love him and accept his gift but he does not want to make anyone except it, nobody would want that. Christ came to earth dwelt among men, many evil men and many kind men, he took on mans sin and died, he did nothing wrong, and he cried a bloody sweat in agony to the Father is there could be some other way, but nevertheless he said your will be done, and it was the will of God that he should suffer and in doing so gave man a choice the greatest gift we could have showing us greater love that no one else ever could. I said all that to say, a free will is so important, but it also means bad things happen it’s not how God meant it to be, sin changed it all. But God, brought you two together. Horrible things happen all over the world, it’s not God fault, it’s mans. Yes sometimes God can allow things or not allow for his purposes it’s always for his Glory and I think God got the glory from this. He brought you two together, you didn’t have to take her, but you chose to. :) One day, heaven and earth shall pass away, and all things will become new to those that are his, and all will be the way they were meant to with Christ on the throne, but not now, not on this sin cursed earth. She’s a beautiful girl, your a wonderful family, May God bless your family!

  19. Beautiful. We cannot understand the mind or plans of the Lord. Thank you for sharing and for the example of just being honest with our little ones; that we don’t have all the answers and that it is more important to know the One who does.

  20. I think this would have been my answer: God has plans for us, but we also have free will. He loves us so much that he wants us to freely choose our paths. Because of that, he lets us make bad choices. He’ll use those choices in a different way to lead us him. It might be a harder and longer road than the original plan, but he’ll still be there with us and lead us to a good end.

  21. God allows bad things to happen to us not because He chooses to but because we make bad choices. He loves us so much He gives us a choice and sometimes we make good choices but still bad things happen-He allows us to go thru tests too. But in this case and it’s hard for me to understand so probably really hard for a little mind to comprehend, but it is the work of man. It is mans bad choices that make people like her hurt. God loves us so much he doesn’t force Himself upon us . He would have the power too I believe but He doesn’t force us to choose Him or deny Him. He wants us to choose Him. He wants it to be our own choice.

  22. Awe man. I am bawling sitting in a plane next
    To strangers! Beautiful story. and I love the loom in your oldest sons eyes watching his little sister
    In the las photo. Precious.

  23. I love this Traci! I believe that your conversation with her was guided by the Holy Spirit. The problem of sin and evil is real in our world. We don’t have to look far to see the affects of the “Curse” in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Keep speaking the TRUTH of what YOU DO KNOW and God will keep honoring your efforts. I still wear my tshirt all of the time and am so thankful for Sonia’s story/your story and how God has and is redeeming your lives in and through Sonia.

  24. I’m so glad you wrote this blog post…you just don’t know how timely it is for me. Right now we are going through a tough time with our oldest and I have been questioning God repeatedly..why why why! I have read many posts by others and never once has someone been brave enough to actually say that we may never know the answer this side of heaven! It’s always, well just keep praying and in time God will provide breakthrough or just wait, rest, read the bible etc which are all things we as Christians should do but they don’t guarantee that we will have answers! So thank you for being honest to this sweet child and continue to lead and teach her.

    1. Jean, thank you for your comment. I am sorry you have been going through a rough time with your oldest. I think it is even harder on us as parents when it has to do with our children. But do not lose heart! God IS at work. In YOU and your child. God bless you as you continue to trust. xoxo Traci

  25. I have started to comment several times today but just couldn’t because of the tears. You were right we don’t understand the bad things that happen. But we know God has a plan. And it wouldn’t even be that way if Satan hadn’t convinced man to sin. So really all the blame can be placed on Satan. But that’s so hard for a child understand. All the points you made to her were truly wonderful and inspired by God. Oh the testimony that you and Sania have to share with others about the wonderful, amazing mercy and love of God. I know when I’ve gone through stuff that I haven’t understood it has turned out that because of what I went through and sharing my story I was able to be such a blessing and such a help to someone else in need in the same situation. So you and Sania just continue to shine God‘s light and love. We love you and are praying for you.

  26. Thank you for sharing your experience. My granddaughters are adopted and hearing other familie’s experiences helps me think through what to say to them if they ask the hard questions.

  27. So well said Traci. I’ve had this same question many times and always come to the realization that he’s there to help us through. It’s truly amazing how he brought all of you together. He knew you were the mom to help Sania heal and show her the love God has for her.
    Blessings to you and your family.
    You are such an inspiration!

  28. I’m finally getting to the point that I can type…my eyes have leaked so much! The questions that Sania asked could be from any of us, in one form or another. Your response was definitely Heaven sent. I love that your prayers include her birth mother. I really hope that she is positively blessed! This entire year has been a challenge for me in so many ways but I cling to Jeremiah 29:11. I do know that He has a reason and He is at work in my life as well as others. Prayers for all of you!

    1. Thank you, Pat! Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses. And I love how verse 13 says, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” He is there! We just have to seek Him with all our heart. :)
      God bless you! xoxo Traci

  29. What a beautiful story, Tracey so
    It is amazing how, though it is very hard, the strength of motherhood and God, helps us guide our children often through diffiuclty. You have been blessed with a beautiful family.
    Thank you for sharing

  30. So beautiful and thank you for sharing. As I read the entire post, I was struck with the sense that Sania is going to do something big with HER life, that through all of her struggles and blessings she will give so much good back to the world. In every horrible situation Ive encountered in my life God has always triumphed with some sort of good and miracle 100% of the time. I have always told my kids make every struggle worth it, learn what God wants you to learn and use that knowledge to serve and I am proud ( but let’s face it as a Mom who survived the teen years also a bit surprised haha) that they are doing so. I can’t wait to see how Sania gives back to the world and I will include her in my prayers. God has great plans.

    1. Yes, Lori! You are so true! God can always take our struggles and use them for His (and our) good! Thank you for your sweet words. xoxo Traci

  31. Charles Spurgeon said, “God is too good to be unkind and He is too wise to be mistaken. And when we cannot trace His hand, we must trust His heart.”

  32. What a sweet testimony! I am overjoyed that God brought you all together. I absolutely adore the pictures of Santa with her brothers. There is so much love there!

  33. God has proven His great love for her, by placing her within your loving family circle. You provided the words she needed to hear in answer to her question. She is a blessed little one!

  34. I like to think your sweet mother helped God pick your daughter. I started reading your blog shortly after she passed, the love you have for your mother brought me to tears.

  35. I just love you traci. , your love for jesus inspired me the first blog i read of yours You dont see much of that on FB And little sania is a doll. Keep writing. I look firwards to reading it Everytime

  36. I am late to comment but I just want to say you handled the situation and answered not only expertly but beautifully. I have followed your blog for several years and especially Sania’s Story. I am both amazed and grateful for the Christian example you are to me and others. You have an amazing faith and a beautiful family. My prayer is for rich blessings for all of your family.

  37. My belief is that God gives us freedom of choice, and when we make bad choices, there are consequences which others must suffer. Not “fair,” we say, but that’s the result of sin. BUT!
    GOD does promise to bring good things from bad to those who love and trust Him. He can/will use your beautiful daughter to share her experiences with others and give them
    understanding and peace. Blessings to your beautiful family!
    Sue W.

  38. I think this is the first time I’ve EVER commented on a blog post, but I so appreciate the words that you shared today!! Thank you!! I truly believe that God does allow us to go through many hard things so that we can come out stronger and more Christ-like on the other side. I also know that God will never take away our agency. We have the right to choose good or evil, unfortunately that means that often times the agency of others causes us pain and suffering. The important part to remember is that when we chose to utilize Christs atonement and rise above all things become possible.

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