The Texan couple heard about the abandoned one-month-old baby in 2003. The baby had been found dumped in a box almost 8,000 miles away in China, but despite such distance, their hearts went out to her. The couple knew at once that she was the child for them. So they traveled from Texas to the Chinese orphanage where the abandoned tot was then living and adopted her. She was a one-year-old baby when the couple flew her to the U.S. But it was only when the infant got to her new home in the Lone Star State that her reaction to the family clock changed all of their lives.
Devout Christians Chuck and Kim Walker of Texas have been together for more than three decades. They got married in 1982 and wasted very little time in trying to start a family. As a result, they were overjoyed to welcome their first son, Brad, into the world just two years later in 1984.
Family life seemed to be going swimmingly for the Walkers. But sadly, just a year and a half after Brad’s arrival, they lost a second little boy at birth. This was undoubtedly an utterly traumatic experience for Chuck and Kim, but they refused to give up their dreams of adding to their happy family.
However, the real question for them was how best to go about finding a brother or sister for Brad. The idea of adoption appealed to Chuck and Kim, but they knew the process could be grueling and complicated. Bearing these realities in mind, then, the couple spent 16 long years mulling the option over.
Then in 2000 Chuck and Kim finally decided to take the plunge. They adopted a baby girl, Caitlyn, and yet the Walkers felt their family was still incomplete. “Three years later we just had it in our hearts that, you know, God had a plan for another daughter in our lives,” Chuck explained to the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in 2015.
Meanwhile, thousands of miles away in the Hunan Province of China, someone made a disturbing discovery. A passerby had found a discarded paper box outside a train station. And when they looked inside, they were no doubt shocked to find a one-month-old baby wrapped in a light blue coat.
The infant had obviously been abandoned, so the stranger took the little bundle to a local orphanage. From there, it was hoped, the baby could put the shaky start to her life behind her; she could be properly cared for until she got the chance to begin a new life with a loving family.
Fate brought the Walkers together with the infant – who would become known as Kenzie. “When we heard about all the baby girls in China that needed forever homes, God just said that’s where you gotta be,” Chuck said. “So, we made plans, and God matched us up with Mackenzie Grace Walker.”
“We fell in love the moment we saw her picture,” Kim added. “We couldn’t get there soon enough.” So an adoption agency flew the Walkers to China alongside 13 other American couples each hoping to adopt a Chinese child. And just two days after the Walkers got off the flight, Kenzie belonged to Chuck and Kim.
The little girl was perfect in the Walkers’ eyes – but they couldn’t believe their ears once they got Kenzie back to Texas. You see, the Walkers had an old grandfather clock in their kitchen, and the first time Kenzie heard it strike the hour, Chuck and Kim were amazed at the little girl’s response.
“She heard it chime, and she walked up to it and looked at it and mimicked the sound – exactly on pitch,” Kim revealed to CBN. Soon, then, it became clear to the Walkers that Kenzie had an incredible natural talent for singing. “Wherever we went she would hum along with music,” Kim added. “It became obvious that it was just a part of who she was.”
Over the years, Kenzie’s love of music and performing just got stronger. The little girl would often put on elaborate shows in her home and make her friends and family the audience. “I honestly don’t remember a time I never sang,” Kenzie later admitted to CBN. “I started singing everywhere.”
Then after years of honing her talent, Kenzie was ten when she made a stunning appearance in front of a crowd of thousands. You see, the youngster got the opportunity to sing the national anthem at a Houston Astros baseball game. It was a moment that will live with her proud parents forever.
“The first time she walked out on that big field she was, you know, 50 pounds – a tiny little girl. My heart was pounding,” Kim recalled to CBN. “It was overwhelming, and she walked out and just belted it.” What’s more, Kenzie was invited back to do the musical honors for the Astros two more times.
And it wasn’t long after her display of perfect pitch on the baseball field that word of Kenzie’s gift reached the ears of the music industry. In 2015 music producer Mark Carman received a Grammy nomination thanks to his work with country music star T. Graham Brown. But it was the year before that Brown played Lubbock, Texas, with a very special guest on the bill: Kenzie. On seeing the then 11-year-old’s performance, Carman felt Kenzie could go far, and so he approached the Walkers with a view to recording their little girl.
With Carman’s guidance, Kenzie soon recorded her debut album, Simple Gifts, in a top studio in Nashville. It was a complete dream come true for the little girl who’d had such humble beginnings in life. “I just kind of flash back and I remember when I was even five and starting voice lessons. I’m like, ‘Mom I wanna be a famous singer,’” Kenzie revealed. And now the little girl’s ambition appeared to be taking her places.
That being said, the reality of having her name on her own album at such a young age was difficult for Kenzie to get her head around. “It’s really unbelievable,” she told CBN. “I’m like, ‘Oh, I’m actually here. I’m not in a dream. This is for real.’”
And it wasn’t just Kenzie who couldn’t quite believe where her talents had taken her. It was a joy for Chuck and Kim to watch her perform every single time, too. “That’s a little overwhelming to a couple of parents,” her father admitted.
“We’re just a normal family, and to watch all those children gather around her and want her picture made and just [to see their] smiling faces. It’s just so much fun,” Chuck added. “You can’t get any better than that as a parent.”
Through her singing, Kenzie is now helping to spread the Christian message. She is also working with a ministry to build an orphanage and help other kids like her fulfill their potential. “There are kids out there who are still an orphan and they don’t have a family,” she said. “I need to help them because God helped me, and through God I can help them.”