We are adopting.
That's right...we're adopting. A little boy. With Down Syndrome. After I've repeatedly said we are a "one and done" family. So how did we get to this decision? Because let's face it, most of you are wondering that so here's the short version:
Because God told us to do it.
Now for the longer version. When I was in high school, God began to nudge me toward people with special needs. I volunteered with the local Special Olympics and it was the highlight of my year, every year. Seriously, given the choice between going to prom or helping with Special Olympics, I would've chosen the Special Olympics. I especially enjoyed working with the kids who had Down Syndrome. I just felt like those were the kind of people I wanted to be around. People who didn't care what you looked like, what kind of clothes you wore, what kind of car you drove. They were the purest, most genuine example of love.
Fast forward to college. At one point during my 5 major changes, I was an early childhood special education major. During that time, I was placed at RISE for a practicum rotation and I met lots of kids with Down Syndrome. I grew especially close to one family, the Gabriel's, and babysat for them often. In fact, their daughters were the flower girls in our wedding. I also babysat for a 16-year-old boy with Down Syndrome. Around the same time, I met Greg and he shared my love for these two special kids. During a conversation before we married, I asked Greg if he would ever consider adopting a child with Down Syndrome. It was something I felt an urging to do and I wanted to make sure my potential husband wasn't going to run screaming from the idea. He told me he thought he could see that in our future, but we both agreed that it was something we would do "later."
Greg and I really hadn't talked much more about adopting a child with DS since we had Clayton. In fact, Clayton was such a handful as an infant/toddler that we thought he was probably it for us. That coupled with the fact that I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes led us to believe we were only going to have one child. Honestly, I was completely fine with that. I was an only child and felt like I had a great childhood and upbringing. I was comfortable with our little family and thought we could do a lot more financially with one kid. Both Greg and I agreed that our family was complete and we started planning to build a house on some land we own. We were going to continue building our "American Dream."
But something didn't feel right. So a couple of months ago, we started praying for God to open us up to whatever he wanted to do with our lives. Around the same time, we started going to a class at church taught by our friend David Breedlove called "the bucket list." Basically it was about living your life with the end in mind. It asked the question, are we are living our lives now to serve God or ourselves? Are we allowing God to work his will through us? Is our "bucket list" one that is for our benefit or for the benefit of the kingdom? Greg and I both felt like there was something else that God wanted us to do, but we didn't really know what at the time. We just knew we were laying ourselves out there and opening our lives up to anything he wanted.
A few weeks ago Greg called to tell me that something we had been praying for had finally happened. We had finally found someone to buy our share of a small business we had been a part of for the past few years. The first thing I thought of wasn't seed money for a house, but adopting a child with Down Syndrome and I told Greg. It kinda came out of nowhere, but at the same time we both felt like it was something that had been cultivated inside us for years. We started praying for God to show us if this was what he wanted us to do and we kept getting a resounding, "YES!" At one point, I called to talk to a friend who told me, "If you feel like God is saying 'duh' every time you ask him for an answer, then it's probably something he wants you to do." And that's exactly how we felt. I named this blog after reading Proverbs 24:12. It describes exactly the call we have to adopt. If we didn't do it, I know when I get to heaven, God will ask why I didn't follow his lead. And then he will show me what he could've done with my life if I just hadn't been so stubborn and selfish. Because he knows my heart. And he knows I have a heart for kids with Down Syndrome. And he knows that Greg has also developed the same love for these kids. And I don't think it is coincidence that we feel this tugging to bring one of these children into our family.
I have been extremely humbled during the decision-making process. It's made me really examine my motives, my judgement of others, and my own insecurities about what others think of me. God has given me a renewed spirit of boldness and courage and he's reminding me daily that it doesn't matter what the world thinks. He tells us in 1 Cor. 3:9 that the wisdom of the world is foolishness to him. The wisdom of the world would say, "Why do you want to do that? You have a healthy child. It's going to be hard. It's going to be expensive. It's going to mean you won't get to do/have some of the worldly things that you really wanted. Do you realize you will have a 'child' for life and will never have an empty nest?" But to God, those sound like crazy questions/statements!
We are working with a ministry called Reece's Rainbow. Please take a look at their website. We have chosen a child and I will eventually post more about that (with pictures) on here. I am waiting to get the o.k. from our agency about what we can and can't post on here since we haven't *officially* been accepted. I can tell you that he is one of the waiting children shown on their site. Right now we are just starting the home study process and application with our agency. It's a long process that will take 8-12 months. We humbly ask for your prayers. Some specific things we are praying for now:
- the care of our child while we wait to bring him home
- Clayton and his adjustment
- wisdom as we learn about how to parent a child with special needs
- wisdom about how to make the transition from an orphanage to our home as easy as possible for our child
- the "paperwork pregnancy"
- his name...we are trying to decide what to name him. He has a birth name but it is very foreign. We want to keep some part of it, but we want to call him something more American. We are trying to decide quickly because we want to start calling him that around the house for our sake and Clayton's sake. If we keep calling him by his birth name, it could get confusing!
So pick your jaw up off the floor and join us in the process if you dare! It's going to be a crazy ride and we believe God probably drives like a maniac!