We are adopting two adorable girls who have a little something extra, Down Syndrome!
We are excited to add them to our family.
We will use this blog to update family and friends on our adoption progress and fundraising efforts.
Just joining us? Click on the 2011 posts in the archive to find out why we are adopting the girls.

What?! Another Adoption?!!

I know that many friends, family and even strangers, are going to think that we have lost our minds.  And in many ways, we have!  We have dedicated our lives to the Lord and have promised Him that anything He asks, we will do because we have complete faith and trust that He knows best, that He can make our weak things strong, and that He will provide.  This is not just something we recite on Sunday while at church, we live it!  We are passionate about handing over our lives to the Lord.  And so far, that has meant a WONDERFUL, full-filling, meaningful, happy and yes even tiring life.  But we would rather go to bed exhausted knowing that we made a difference then go to bed wondering what the meaning of our lives are.  We would have never planned our lives like this, given our way.  Thank the Lord we were not given our way!!

We do not just "up and adopt every orphan we see".  Over the last 11 years, we have seen thousands of orphans.  Through Kelly's ministry Special Angels Adoption, www.specialangelsadoption.org, we are approached by 5 or 6 adoption situations a day.  We do not bring these children home because they are not our children.  We have only brought home 8, so far, out of the 135 million orphans in the world.  We have brought home the ones the Lord told us to and we have a strong testimony that they are meant to be with us.  It is amazing how you just recognize your child.  No matter the race, disability, location, obstacles, etc, you recognize your child and are willing to move whatever mountains stand in your way to bring them home.

Imagine if you discovered one of your children had suddenly been taken.  They were missing.  And when you found them, they had somehow ended up in an orphanage in Russia.  What would stop you from going to get them?  The expense?  The travel?  The language or cultural barriers?  The time off work?  The time away from your other children?  The inconvenience?  The negativity of those around you calling you crazy?  Fear of your own inadequecy? My guess would be nothing.  Nothing anyone could say or do would keep you from retrieving your child and bringing them safely home.  We have lived through this experience several times over with our adoptions.  Have we been afraid?  YES!  But we have been more afraid of losing our child.

"But I thought you said you were DONE?"

My question to you is, "Why on earth did you believe me?"  Hee, hee!  I was done at 3 kids, then 5, then VERY done at 6, then at 8 children I declared, "No more!  This is all!  We are happy and complete!  Any more would be crazy!"  And then the Lord called.  Truthfully, I didn't answer for awhile.  I am stubborn that way.  Finally after lots of pestering, I listened and I could not deny the fact that I have always known I would have a daughter with Down Syndrome.  I knew we were not done.  Maybe we will never be?  Maybe this will be the last of our adoptions?  All I can say is, "What if it were your daughter?"

Why Down Syndrome??

The easy and best answer is because that is what our daughters have!

The truth is that the Lord has been preparing us for a long time for a daughter with Down Syndrome. 

About 1982:  When I was a little girl, I had a baby hospital in my room.  I had several dolls with various different illnesses and impairments.  I was either their nurse or their mother (depending on my mood that day).  This was my favorite game.

1994:  While sitting in my car at my High School, I had a very strong spiritual impression that I would adopt children with special needs from orphanages. 

1996:  While dating, my husband Kevin, told me that he wanted to adopt special needs children.  I told him of my spiritual impression.  We were thrilled we were on the same page.

1997: I was working as a waitress at Denny's.  My favorite customers were a husband and wife that came in every night for dinner.  They always sat in my section.  They both had Down Syndrome.  I instantly fell in love with them and would look forward to talking with them.

1998: I was called as a primary teacher for our church.  I was assigned a class that had only 3 ten year old boys.  All 3 of them had Down Syndrome!

1999: While walking through the parking lot to my college graduation ceremony, I had a strong impression I would have a daughter with Down Syndrome.  I was surprised and thrilled!  Not even a moment later, I heard my parents have this conversation:
Dad: Kelly and Kevin are both brilliant.  They are going to have super smart kids!
Mom: Maybe.  But I also think they would be great parents to kids with disabilities like Down Syndrome.
I felt a jolt of lightening go through my body.  Little did I know how much my bachelors degree in a medical field that I got that day would later pay off in my life!

2000: We brought home our twins from Cambodia.  This was our first experience as parents of special needs children.  We were hooked!  We went on to adopt 8 more times and have 1 birth child.  Our children's special needs include: severe neglect, severe abuse, sensory integration disabilities, premies, deaf, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, adhd, childhood arthritis, learning disabilities, failure to thrive, developmental disabilities, language delays, G-tubes, multiple surgeries, hydrocephalus, rickets, immune problems, asthma, microcephally, macrocephally, balance and coordination issues, and the list goes on!  We have become pros at therapies, doctors, special education, IEP's, medical equipment, medication, etc.  We love it.  It is our calling in life!  Our lives are full of ramps, lifts, tubes, wires, laughter, hugs, kisses and joy!  By being involved with the special needs community, we have had lots of exposure to people with different disabilities.  Those with Down Syndrome always tend to be our favorite.

2003:  After many fertility treatments, I got pregnant.  And this one stuck (we have had 4 miscarriages).  Since it was a high risk pregnancy, I had an ultrasound every month.  Everyone said she looked like she had Down Syndrome.  She had all the markers.  Through my college training I could also tell that she had a very high chance of having Down Syndrome.  My triple screen blood test came back abnormal.  I was offered an amnio but I refused given my miscarriage history.  We prepared to have a Down Syndrome child and were very excited.  We became good friends with a couple who had a baby with DS, we researched, we planned and then Allison came out without Down Syndrome.  She had macrocephally instead. 

2004: Reeces Rainbow www.reecesrainbow.org was founded as an adoption ministry to help get families for Down Syndrome children living in orphanages overseas.  I instantly fell in love with the ministry and especially the children listed.  Our family has donated to several children's adoption funds over the years.  Although, there were many, many adorable children and babies on this website over the years, much to our disappointment, we did not feel any were ours.

2010:  One of my good friends brought home a baby girl with Down Syndrome.  I felt myself jealous depsite my many blessings.

June 2011: I decide to close our doors to adoption. It is time to move on "to the next phase of our lives" whatever that means.  I do find it strange that the Lord never sent us a daughter with Down Syndrome but decided it was just my selfish desire and not meant to be.

November 2011:  I want to know for sure that we are done adding to our family so that we can begin making other plans (with our money, hee hee).  I fast for an answer but do not listen.  For days I am grumpy, irratable, and mean.  I know the Lord is trying to talk to me but I will not listen, I fear what He has to say.  I actively avoid the Lord.  Finally, my hubby comes to me and begs me to fix whatever is robbing our home of the Spirit.  I finally go to my knees.  The Lord in His love reminds me that I have a daughter with Down Syndrome missing. 

December 2011: I see Alice and Mara on the Reeces Rainbow website.  Out of all the children listed (there are a lot!) I am drawn to these girls.  Then I find out that they are not only in the same country but the same city. I fast again about the girls.  The only answer I get is that it will be obvious.  What?  Then over the next couple of days whole series of "coinsedences" keep leading me back to these 2 girls over and over again.  I am confused and go to one of my good friends who says, "Duh, isn't obvious??"  Enough said.

What is life like without a family?

Ever wonder what children do all day who do not have a family to love them?  Ever wonder what children do who do not have enough stimulation or attention?

They self-stimulate.  A bunch of our kiddos have come home with self-stimulating behaviors.  They rock, they bang their heads, they chew (not suck) on their hands, they pull out their hair, they pick that their skin. Why?  Because if a baby's nervous system is not stimulated enough, they will die.  Literally, roll over and just die.  The smart ones figure out how to keep their nervous system alive by forcefully stimulating it, over and over again. 

Here is a video of sweet little ones in an orphanage in Russia.  Notice the self-stimulating behavior, they are crying out to be touched, loved, talked to, played with!