We don't know how to adopt. Even now as we drive our big car with our adopted son in his car seat behind us... We have no clue how to do this. So when I realized I should look into the need for adoptive or foster parents for children with Down syndrome I asked a friend who has some adoption knowledge. She pointed me to "Reese's Rainbow."
The tag line to this organization, who helps facilitate the over-seas adoptions of children with Down syndrome, is "because every family deserves the blessing of Down syndrome"... This so simply described how I felt about opening our home up to someone who has Down syndrome.
Maybe it was growing up with a good friend whose sister has Down syndrome. Maybe it was getting to meet different kids through my mom being a special education teacher. Maybe it was working with different kids with Down syndrome in swim lessons. Who knows. But meeting my sister's friend's baby who has Down syndrome impacted me so greatly that it's fresh in my mind ten years later. And watching a YouTube video about a sister & her brother who has Down syndrome made me bawl like a baby. My heart has been soft towards the amazing people I've known or observed for as long as I can remember... So maybe it's been for such a time as this...
But how do you bring something like this up to a spouse? Do you just randomly tell him "So I'm thinking we maybe might possibly be called to foster or adopt a child with Down syndrome" right before going to sleep one night? I hope so b/c that's how I did it. And remember how awesome I said my husband is? He didn't call me crazy (like I was certain I was) or try to talk me out of it. He simply said "ok. If you think that's what God's saying lets look into it." He must have the gift of faith.
Looking into it meant calling the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network (NDSAN). They are the most amazing resource! Seriously... They rock! But they told us something that made both Brice & me sit on our deck & cry. In the US 90% of pregnancies that are determined to be Down syndrome babies are ended. God gave us just a glimpse into His heart & it broke ours. If opening up our hearts to the possibility of adopting a child with Down syndrome could help even one person see that this wasn't a death sentence then it'd be worth it... & if we'd actually be blessed enough to have a child come home to us... How amazing!
Through the many phone calls, home study process, finger print fiascos, 1.8 billion papers to fill out... We strove to keep our focus on obeying Jesus' leading & opening our hearts. Mostly because setting my sights on adopting is so terrifying. I've known too many families have their hearts broken. Even when I've seen adoptions happen, the process is excruciating long & hard. So we just took it one step at a time. We did whatever they told us to do next.
Amazingly we only had one crazy thing happen in the process... We got pregnant. Literally 1 month after completing our home study we found out Maverick was on his way. I was so afraid the NDSAN would suggest we withdraw from the process... But instead they encouraged us that having siblings close in age was a benefit.
So we pressed on. We were considered multiple times & not selected. Honestly it didn't take long for "not selected" to start to feel like "rejected." I would wonder what was wrong with us? Why birth families didn't pick us? I had to often be reminded that I was simply called to open my heart... an open heart just kinda hurts.
It was August 1st when we first heard about Theo. We thought that we had lost the chance to adopt him, but 2 weeks after Maverick was born we were asked if we still wanted to be considered as his adoptive family. 1 month and 4 trips out of state later he came home to us. That quick. That miraculous. Not smooth. Not easy. But so very amazing.
So our lives are crazy... And kinda awesome... We get the blessing of two adorable baby boys at the same time... We get to see our older kids blossom as big helpers & their hearts grow huge with love... We have received front row seats to the awe-inspiring generosity of our church & friends & family... It's not easy... We still have no idea what we're doing... But it's totally worth it.