The following is based on a true story. Names have been changed to protect the identity of the family.

Was it just a coincidence, a fortuitous circumstance that could have happened to anyone? Or did something deeper occur, perhaps a manifestation of Divine intervention? Everyone has experienced seemingly random events that have a genuine connection, or happen at precisely the right time. But few people attribute significance to them or recognize them as miracles.

Sarah and Joseph underwent the most challenging of life circumstances. Yet, through it all, they searched for meaning and the Divine hand guiding their lives.

Sarah gazed enviously at mothers as they pushed their children in strollersAs Joseph waited for the train to take him to work in Manhattan each morning, he tried to make sense of the pain that he and his wife were enduring. "There must be a reason for this," he kept telling himself. It was a mantra that he and Sarah repeated to each other constantly as they grappled with their disappointment. Yet the reason continued to elude them.

He and Sarah had been married for several years and they desperately wanted children. Yet, in spite of all their attempts, all of their most fervent prayers, they were unable to conceive.

At parks and malls, Sarah gazed enviously at mothers as they pushed their children in strollers. "They have no idea how lucky they are," she mused to Joseph. Well-intentioned friends and relatives tried to reassure them, "It will happen at the right time." But the right time never seemed to arrive.

Ever since they married and moved to their cozy home in the suburbs, Joseph dreamed of being father. As he made kiddush Friday nights, he envisioned a table crowded with noisy children who would sing songs, share words of Torah, and talk about their week.

Joseph knew that Sarah would make an ideal mother. She was patient by nature and so playful with their nieces and nephews. Their friends' children adored her. Joseph, too, was a favorite among the children at their local synagogue, where he distributed lollipops on holidays. So, he wondered, why weren't they able to have their own child? Perhaps G‑d wanted something else from them. But what?

Weary of disappointment, they tried IVF treatments. The first treatment was unsuccessful. But the couple kept their faith, insisting that, "The next one will be the one." Six months later, they tried again. But that, too, did not work.

One night, as they prepared dinner together, Joseph wondered aloud if they should pursue a different path. "Maybe G‑d doesn't want us to have children this way," he said gently, as his wife's eyes filled with tears. "Maybe we should adopt."

Sarah was hesitant. She had long dreamed of getting pregnant and giving birth and she didn't want to give up hope. But she didn't want to let her husband down either. Maybe adopting was the answer, she agreed. She tried to warm up to the idea, and began researching the internet and library.

After the third treatment, they received shocking newsOne night, as Joseph and Sarah were reading in the den, Sarah remarked that in China, thousands of baby girls are abandoned as couples attempt for a boy. Joseph's ears perked up. "That's terrible," he exclaimed. "More people ought to go to China and try to adopt them!"

Sarah agreed it would be a mitzvah to adopt one of the girls. The next day, they filed paperwork to begin adoption proceedings.

But even as they sent in the papers to the adoption agency, a part of her couldn't give up on the idea of having her own child so she continued the IVF treatments.

After the third treatment, they received shocking news. Sarah was pregnant with twins. Their joy knew no bounds, and soon most of their friends and family knew of the good tidings. Sarah skimmed baby magazines; Joseph began researching Jewish baby names.

Despite her happiness, some uncomfortable questions began gnawing at Sarah. She asked herself, could she handle newborn twins and an adopted baby at the same time? Although she was excited, she was also nervous about the birth of her twins. She wanted to be the best mother she could be. But she kept thinking about the girl in China who was surely waiting for loving parents to rescue her. She told Joseph about her doubts, and he agreed that three kids at once would be too difficult.

With a heavy heart, she called the agency to discontinue the adoption process. Two children will be plenty for me to take care of for now, she told herself. And so they put the idea of an adoption to rest.

For a few months, Sarah reveled in her pregnancy. She talked excitedly with her friends about what it would be like to have children in the house. She planned the entire nursery, down to the paint colors, cribs and comforter sets.

But then, four months into her pregnancy, tragedy struck. Sarah lost one of the babies. The couple was devastated.

For Joseph and Sarah, the celebration was marred by sadness In March, Sarah gave birth to a healthy baby girl, who she and Joseph named Miriam. Dozens of well-wishers from the community descended on their home with gifts and good wishes. Miriam was an easy baby who Joseph and Sarah instantly adored. Joseph never wanted to put her down, although Sarah teased him that he was spoiling her. Everyone was happy for them. But for Joseph and Sarah, the celebration was marred by sadness because of the baby they had lost.

After a few months, Joseph began thinking again about adoption. He wondered about the baby girls in China waiting for families. Sarah, too, was already contemplating another baby, and like Joseph, she couldn't stop thinking about the Chinese girls China in need of a family.

One morning, as Joseph was leaving for work, she turned to him and said, "Maybe we lost the baby so that we know we should have two children, but one of them is a girl from China."

Joseph was stunned. What a coincidence, he told her. It was precisely what he had been thinking.

They called back the adoption agency to commence the adoption process they had halted when they became pregnant.

Most of the paperwork was already complete. They had spent many hours before Miriam was born acquiring the necessary letters of recommendation, background checks and fingerprints. According to the adoption agency, all they needed to do was visit a doctor to prove they were physically fit to be parents.

Sarah's doctor appointment was routine. The doctor proclaimed her to be in excellent health and signed the papers, which were sent to the agency. Sarah breathed a sigh of relief.

Joseph went for his physical a few days later. After some routine tests, the doctor signed off on the adoption papers and sent them in.

"I noticed something on the films that bothered me," he saidBut then the doctor requested a battery of additional tests. Although most doctors never bother with such detailed tests, he explained to Joseph, he is old-fashioned and detail oriented, and always requires them. Joseph sighed and tried not to get impatient. The papers had already been sent in. Why should he bother with more tests?

But after his chest x-ray, the doctor called him back to discuss the results. "I noticed something on the films that bothered me," he said. "It's probably a clogged artery. You should have it looked at." He sent Joseph for a CAT scan. The results shook him to the core: He had a rare form of cancer.

The tumor was just large enough to be visible but in an early-enough stage to cure, the doctor told him. "It's a complete miracle that you came now," the doctor told Joseph. "Had you visited any earlier we never would have detected it, and a few months from now, it would have been too large to do anything."

Joseph's head spun when he realized what he was hearing. He was 38 years old and a first-time father. He was about to adopt a child. And now he had a tumor?

But the fact that he had arrived at the doctor's office at that precise time made recovery possible. Could it be that their decision to adopt had saved his life?

When Joseph told Sarah, tears welled up in her eyes. Suddenly, everything was clear to her. "This is why we went through what we did," she said in a chocked voice. "It's because G‑d wanted you to see the doctor at the right time. Maybe that's why it took so long to get pregnant, why we lost a child, why we decided to adopt when we did – it was all to save your life."

Joseph underwent chemotherapy and had the tumor removed. As he recovered, the adoption papers were processed. A photo arrived in the mail of a baby girl with giant chocolate brown eyes and a shock of black hair.

Sarah and a cancer-free Joseph stood in a nursery in a small city in ChinaJoseph stared at the photo and began pondering Hebrew names aloud. Sarah's heart thumped wildly as she peered at the baby's face. Somehow, even thousands of miles away, she felt connected to the child. She knew she was meant to be her mother.

And then, several weeks later, just before Rosh Hashanah, Sarah and a cancer-free Joseph stood in a nursery in a small city in China and beamed as they cradled their new baby girl.

They brought in the Jewish New Year with Chabad of Guangzhou. It was there that Joseph and Sarah ushered in another beginning with their second child, whom they decided to name Eliana, meaning "G‑d answered me."

Joseph and Sarah had saved Eliana, giving her a second chance by taking her into their lives and raising her as a Jew. And she, in turn, saved her father's life and answered her parents' most fervent prayers.