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Couple says God led them to adopt Vietnamese baby

They call him their "miracle baby _ a true gift from God."

This gift is a 14-month-old Vietnamese boy from Can Tho, and the adopting family is Dr. and Mrs. Stanton Cooper of Beverly Hills.

The story of how little Joshua An Cooper found his way into the hearts and home of the Coopers is, they say, an answer to their prayers.

In May 1995 the Coopers, who already have a son, 5-year-old Aaron, were considering whether to have more children. There were no health problems with either, but the couple was not sure about having another child.

Both were thinking of adopting a child, although neither had mentioned the idea to the other.

What triggered this thinking? They say it was God touching both of their hearts via an international adoption program on the Christian Broadcasting Network.

"When I saw that program on The 700 Club, I started thinking about adopting a child from overseas. They had a special on Vietnamese orphans, and it made me think about the time I volunteered to work in orphanages in Nha Trang, while I was stationed there serving in the Air Force Special Operations," Dr. Cooper, 47, said.

Mrs. Cooper, 36, said a program on international adoption tugged at her heart strings. "Everybody was always asking us why didn't we just have another child, but after watching those programs the Lord just put on our hearts to adopt, and from an Asian country," she said.

"Our hearts were so burdened and we couldn't get it out of our minds. We just knew that this was something that we had to do," Dr. Cooper said.

"I feel very strongly that if the Lord tells you to do something, that you do it, and that's what we did _ this _ with his help. Yes, the Lord came through for us with flying colors," she said.

The Coopers, who arrived home from Saigon last week, said they avoided many of the legal problems that others have faced when adopting a child from overseas.

They were welcomed into the orphanage partly because they had brought with them much needed medical supplies, donated by local doctors, and baby clothing.

The child the Coopers hoped to adopt was in a white metal crib with peeling paint. He wore a diaper made from a pillow case.

While the amenities of the orphanage were modest, there was an abundance of love for the children, Mrs. Cooper said. "Those ladies really love these children, but they just have few workers and so many children," she said.

The adoption moved quickly, with the home study portion completed in two weeks instead of the usual three to four months. The waiting time for notification from the agency took one week instead of months or years, and the paperwork processing took weeks instead of months.

"Everything progressed for us very quickly, every time we turned around roadblocks were put up, but God knocked them down. He knocked them down because he wanted us to have this baby," Mrs. Cooper said.

"From the very beginning we have prayed, . . . "Lord, if this is our idea and not your will, please shut the door.' But the doors just kept opening," she said.

"Don't get me wrong. There were trials and tribulations to face, but God got us through them.

"He (the child) was worth it all, though. He's our little angel. Truly God has sent him to us. We don't know what God's got planned for him, but we know that there is a purpose for his life and for bringing him from thousands of miles away to our home and lives. God has blessed us with two of the most precious boys in the whole world," she said.

When asked if they would do this again, Dr. Cooper said, "We'd do this again in a heartbeat. We have already been talking about it!"

The Coopers said the representative and agency that handled their adoption was Bachyen Nguyen with International Adoption Services. For more information, call (612) 893-1343.

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