TYLER (KYTX) – "I didn't think it would turn out like this. It turned out better than I thought," said an adorable, dark-haired little girl.
Her story of finding her forever family is the stuff movies are made of. "I just love 'em!"
It all started when Ann and Randy Fedell of Tyler were considering having another child. They already had four children between then but wanted one together.
"I said, ‘If we do, I want her to look just like Randy,' cause I think he's so handsome. And I would want to name her Ali," said Ann.
But after some time passed, they wondered if having another biological child was in God's plan.
"Adoption really wasn't in our plans though," said Randy, despite Ann being adopted when she was 7-years-old.
But what would happen over the next nine months would test their faith. It was September, 2010 when we took this adorable foster girl to Piddlin' Pottery in Tyler to be featured on CBS 19's "Children are a Gift" report. It was Ann's last day to work at the pottery store when she had a chance meeting with the little girl. Ann called Randy to tell him about her.
"He said, ‘Do you know her name?" And I said, ‘I didn't even think to ask.' So I asked the caseworker, ‘Do you know her name?' She said, ‘Ali.' And I remember just being stunned and I think Randy gasped on the phone. He said, ‘That's her!' And I said, ‘That's who?' And he said, ‘That's our little girl. What does she look like?' And I said, ‘She looks just like you!"
The Fedell's children supported adding another member to their family. "Whenever they brought up the idea I was really excited," said Morgan, their 21-year-old daughter.
Their 18-year-old son, Colin, added, "At the end of every two-a-days practice at Grace our football coach asked if there were any prayer requests. We told him we were wanting to adopt a little girl and that we needed everyone's prayers."
So on a wing and a prayer they began the long adoption process. Randy said, "They kept telling us, ‘Don't get your hopes up for this little girl it just doesn't work that way.'"
Randy remained faithful despite frustrations and uncertainty but after months of waiting and wondering, Ann all but gave up. When her friends called to ask if they had heard anything about Ali she said, "Take us off your prayer list."
Then, on a day when bad weather would set in and Ann would be unexpectedly home from her teaching job, their phone would ring. "I remember a woman saying, ‘You've been chosen.' I thought she meant to make a casserole for a shut-in from church. So I said, ‘Sure, I'll make the casserole.' She said, ‘What are you talking about?' I said, ‘What are you talking about?' She said, ‘You've been chosen to be Ali's family.' I was shocked. I hit my knees to the floor with the prayer of thanksgiving. I was humbled actually because I did have doubt."
Randy knew in his heart this day would come. "God wanted her to be a part of our family."
Ali turned out to be a very important part of the Fedell family. Colin said, "She's amazing. You talk about how we bless her; I think she's the one who's blessed us more than anything. She's made a big impact on my life, my spiritual life."
Morgan said, "She means a lot to me. I always wanted to be an older sister to be an example to a little sister."
Looking at her new siblings Ali, now 11-years-old, said, "They're just really nice to me and they protect me. It makes me feel really good and nice and happy."
And there is nothing like impacting the life of a child. "That's really the most rewarding thing for us," said Randy.
They say Ali has lots of talent. She's creative, a good artist, a straight-A student, a fast runner and an aspiring singer. And, she's an inspiration to all who hear her story of adoption.
Ann explained, "One of them who heard her story said, ‘That almost makes me want to believe in God.' He wasn't a believer and we're like, ‘Absolutely! Don't doubt it for one minute. He's listening.'"
A little girl, with a big impact. "To me she's a gift. Its absolute evidence that God hears what's on your heart," said Ann.
Ali is grateful for her forever family. She said, "I like that I have siblings. I like that I have a forever mom and dad. Thank you!"
To learn more about adoption, join Gillian Sheridan for her "Children are a Gift" report, Tuesday night on CBS 19 Ten @ 10. You can also find information on www.CBS19.tv and www.tylerpaper.com. To inquire about an East Texas child waiting to be adopted call 903-533-4109.