When Lisa Lumpkins came across a Facebook picture showing a Chinese girl living in the same orphanage that one of her children had once called home, she did a double take.
“I was speechless. I was like, ‘Wow! She looks just like my daughter,’” Lumpkins, 43, told InsideEdition.com.
Thinking that she was imagining the resemblance, Lumpkins shared the picture of the little girl on her personal page. Messages from family and friends came flooding in, all saying the same thing: “She looks like Aubrey!”
Three and a half years earlier, Lumpkins and her husband, Gene, 45, had welcomed Aubrey into their Georgetown, Kentucky home.
Aubrey, who has cerebral palsy, was 9 at the time and had lived for almost her entire life in an orphanage, where she was treated differently from the other children.
“It’s sad. It’s really sad. It’s not like here in the States,” Lumpkins said, choking up. “You’re no good if you have a disability. Aubrey wasn’t allowed to go on field trips… sometimes she didn’t get the same food as the other kids.”
She had never been taught to read or write and could only color when she came to the U.S. Now 13, she’s on the honor roll, Lumpkins said.
“She’s reading like crazy and she’s writing. They just need somebody to give them that time, to give them the attention they need,” she said.
Lumpkins always wanted to adopt. She recalls playing with her baby dolls as a young girl, insisting on pretending that she had brought her make believe children home to a better life.
“I think God planted that seed a long time ago,” she said.
After having two biological children, Lumpkings found herself still thinking about her childhood dream. Her husband wanted to adopt, too.
The couple went on to adopt four children from China, opting to welcome those with special needs into their home. She had never flown before—aside from one commuter flight she took to familiarize herself with a plane—but she’s never hesitated to travel across the world for her children.
Their first journey to China was in 2008 to adopt Maya, then 18 months old, and the pair have made three more trips since; in 2010 to get Noah, now 6; in 2013 to get Aubrey; and in 2014 to get Carter, now 5.
“I was terrified … but nothing can take away from me going to get my babies. I’ll never fly, unless it’s to go get my kids,” Lumpkins said.
Each adoption cost the family about $35,000, but the couple have never hesitated to borrow against their home or give up their cars and motorcycles to come up with the money.
“It’s all been worth it. My kids are the best kids in the world,” Lumpkins said.
So when she came across the picture of the girl who looked like her daughter in March, Lumpkins said she couldn’t shake the feeling that this child was family.
“I was like ‘wow, there has to be something to this, it couldn’t be a coincidence,” she said.
The orphanage allowed Lumpkins to pay for a DNA test and she sent a swab of Aubrey’s saliva to be tested. Proving a mother’s intuition should never be questioned, the results were a match.
“They’re sisters! (The orphanage is) saying she’s a year older … (but) I have a strong suspicion that they might be (twins),” she said. “I wish we could’ve known three and a half years ago so we could’ve given them all that time together.”
Aubrey remembered the girl in the photo from the orphanage, but had no idea that they were related.
“Aubrey is ecstatic," Lumpkins said.
The excitement quickly turned to worry as the family still owed money for Carter's adoption and couldn’t take out another loan. But most importantly, they were in a time crunch, because Aubrey’s sister, who would soon be called Avery, was about to age out of the system.
“When they age out, it’s really bad,” Lumpkins said. “They’re put on the streets and they do whatever they can do to eat and have shelter.”
When children in Chinese orphanages turn 14, they are no longer adoptable and cannot leave the country, she explained. With no education or job training, many girls find themselves in sex trafficking, Lumpkins said.
Avery will turn 14 in August.
“All I could do it pray and say, ‘God if it’s your will, then you’ll make a way, you’ll help us,” she said.
The family had created a GoFundMe page and wrote on Facebook in attempt to raise the money needed to bring Avery home.
Lumpkins' Facebook post It caught the attention of LittleThings.com reporter Roxy Haynes, who brought her story to the attention of philanthropist Leon Logothetis.
“I created this project where I was going to check people’s GoFundMe pages and go and help them by creating a video,” he told IE.com. Those videos would then be shared on LittleThings.com, home of inspiring, uplifting and engaging stories.
Logothetis was instantly drawn to the Lumpkins’ story and met with the family.
“What struck me was the amount of love that was in that house,” he said. “It was truly astonishing. It was a wonderful, beautiful thing in the sense that so many of us spend our lives trying to find material wealth and trying to find external validation. Here was a family that was geared toward loving their kids and spreading their love.”
After spending six hours with the family, Logothetis knew that Avery needed to come home.
“I thought ‘I’ve got to help these people. I’ve got to do everything in my power to help,'” he said.
And help he did. With his involvement, they’ve raised more than $42,000 as of Tuesday, touching the hearts of more than 1,000 people who left kind messages with their donations.
“This world is a better place because of people like you extending your love to needy children everywhere,” one donor wrote.
“Go get your daughter!!! God bless you and your family,” another posted.
Lumpkins was floored.
“I was speechless. I have no words,” Lumpkins said, wiping tears from her eyes. “When Leon … came, I thought he was just one of the nicest people I have ever met. You can tell he has a heart and he was sincere.”
The family now hopes that Avery will be able to join them by August 1. Her homecoming is a welcome birthday present for a family full of summer birthdays, Lumpkins said.
“Especially for Aubrey,” she said. “Her birthday is in August, also. So she’s like ‘Mommy can me and Avery have a party together?’ And I said ‘Yes, Aubrey,’ I said, ‘Even if we’re in China, we’re going to party. We’ll make it a party!’”