Mandy Chaplin knows better than anyone about making tough choices. It’s been a few months since she packed up 10 years of a life in Singapore into a few suitcases and flew herself and 9-year-old son, Zan back “home” to Iowa.
For Zan, it’s been especially hard as it uprooted him from the only school, friends and community he has known for the last 3 years.
But Mandy couldn’t have imagined the unexpected blessings she’d receive simply by being willing to ask for a little help along the way.
Originally from Indianola, Mandy began teaching in 2009 at a small Christian school in Singapore. She also had a heart for adoption.
Mandy first saw Zan's picture on Facebook, and because international adoption was expensive, she simply prayed for him and moved on. But God continued to work on her heart and she eventually decided nothing was stopping them from being a family.
In June of 2016, Mandy went to China to get the 7-year-old boy.
Where God Guides, He Provides
After returning to Singapore, Zan started kindergarten with basically no English, very little background knowledge, and a life that was full of completely new experiences. He also has epilepsy, and his seizure medication affects his memory and language development.
In first grade he was still behind his peers, and the gap continued to widen. Mandy decided to home school him so he could move at his own pace and fill in some of the missing pieces.
But she couldn’t do it in Singapore and keep her VISA, so that meant a leave of absence and a move to Iowa. It also meant she would need to calculate how long she could live off of her savings. “Our small group from church in Singapore gave us a very generous gift that has enabled us to have our own apartment while we’re here,” she smiles.
When it came to the Y, Mandy wasn’t sure if she should ask for financial assistance. “Our experience this year is unique, and also it’s something that I chose,” she explains. “I don't really like asking for help; however, as I talked with Becky my fears faded because she genuinely seemed interested in our story. I didn’t expect to walk out with a membership that day.”
Going to the Y gives mom and son a healthy break from each other. Zan loves going to Learn & Play and they both love the pool. “We have been able to meet other families in the community, Zan is able to play with other kids and it allows me to have some time to take care of me. Those things are priceless.”