So this is where our adoption story begins...
We have been married 10 years. We have three terrific kids, and one of them just happens to have Down syndrome. He has been a blessing to our lives and our family and we wouldn't change him for anything. We have made so many terrific friends through the blessing of an extra chromosome in our families.
While researching resources related to Down syndrome, I happened upon Reece's Rainbow about a year after our second son was born. I fell in love with those precious little angel faces. A seed was planted in my heart for these children. My heart ached for these children to know that they were left behind in orphanages and institutions around the world. They were left behind because they had Down syndrome, or some other birth defect or disability.
Through a series of recent events, I was brought back to Reece's Rainbow's waiting children once again. Once again, my heart ached to see their faces, knowing that they just didn't have the chance and opportunity that my child has here in America. They don't experience the love of a mom and dad in their orphanages. They don't have much beyond the very basics of care, if that. Oh, how my heart ached. And then to read what awaits these children once they leave the somewhat stimulating environment of their baby houses, when they are transferred to the adult mental institutions between 4-6 yrs old. Oh, how my heart broke. So many will lose the will to live and will die within the first year. Those that do live, will only exist until they die, however long that takes.
My heart broke, and God wouldn't let the pain go away. I came upon two precious little girls that have captured my heart in this pain. They are both 7yrs old now, and blessed to still be at the "baby house" where they have grown up. They have beautiful smiles in spite of their circumstances. They are tiny for their ages. Probably smaller than my 4yr old daughter. They are together in the same room. And they are literally within a few months of being transferred to an adult mental institution - at 7 yrs old!
God wouldn't let me go. I love my son and I know the value he brings to our family and our community. I see that same potential for these girls, but only with a family who loves and encourages them. They need a family, too, and I had a discussion with God about it.
"What am I supposed to do about it?"
"That's an insane amount of money to come up with in a short amount of time! How's that going to happen?" "You'll see," He said.
"What's my husband going to say? You're going to have to talk to him about it, God. Because I'm not doing it!" "I will," He said.
"I can keep praying for them to find a family. I can donate and help the ones you send to get them." "Yes, you can," He said.
"I know it's Your will for all of us to help the orphans, wherever they are. Your Word says so. But is it Your plan for US to adopt, or is it to step in and help others in their journey? I need to know!" "I will show you," He said.
I continued to pray about it, hoping for a clear direction from God. He kept working on both of us. As much as I contemplated the decision, I continued to have an amazing and indescribable amount of peace about saying YES. It was His peace. I finally mentioned it to my husband, and he had already felt in his heart that it was the right thing to do. I decided God wouldn't put such a burden on my heart, if He weren't going to be right there in the middle of making it happen. We have room in our hearts. We can make room in our home. We know that having Down syndrome is not a big deal. We know there will be challenges, but there can be challenges with any kid - by birth or not. We know that God will help us make it past those challenges, and to come out better for it.
I contacted Reece's Rainbow and we have begun the home study process with a social worker. We will work next to assemble the paperwork that will be submitted as our adoption petition to their country.
The two girls that we hope to adopt are listed on Reece's Rainbow as Shawna and Lindsay. These are not their real names, but an alias that is given to protect their privacy. They are considered wards of the state in their native country until the adoption is granted by a court in their country. I can only tell you that they live in Eastern Europe. We will travel to their country to meet them and bring them home.
We are stepping out on our faith in God, and walking this journey filled with Hope. And we NEED your prayers. That's why I titled this blog - "Living on Hope and Prayers."
Please pray for the paperwork process - that it will go quickly and smoothly.
Please pray for the financial provision we will need to make this happen. I know the money is chump change in God's eye's, but it's pretty big in our eyes. And we will need it within a few months of time.
Please pray for favor - we are hoping the orphanage director and officials will be willing and able to keep the girls there at the baby house until we can get there in a few months. There is no certainty that they would remain adoptable if they are moved to the institution. Even if they remain adoptable, I want to minimize the number of moves and the trauma of too many changes for them.
Please pray for the arrangements we will need to make for the care of our 3 children while we travel.
Please pray for our family and our new girls, that we will all be prepared for the changes and transitions that will come.
Please pray for the facilitation team that we will be working with in their country. These are people we have never met, but we will be putting our trust in them while we are there to get us through the intricate process to adopt our kids. Pray they will be honest and will do their jobs efficiently and well.
We appreciate all of you that will support us through this journey in whichever way you can. If it's with your prayers, friendship, encouragement, assistance or financial gifts, however large or small, it's ALL appreciated! The lives of our newest children depend on your help to get us there and back.
TTFN (ta-ta for now!)