Our Journey To Here.

Nearly every adoption grant that we have applied for has asked us to include a copy of our "adoption story" and how we came to have the desire to adopt. When we sat down to write out our story we saw more and more how God has woven together even the littlest details in our lives to bring us to this place where we are adopting a son who has Down Syndrome into our family. So here's our story, all of it; it's not short, so you may want to go grab a cup of coffee first.

Drew and I talked about adopting even before we were married, so we always knew that somewhere down the road, God would grow our family through adoption. We wanted a large family and I knew I was no Michelle Duggar, so adoption seemed like a logical choice. We see adoption as perhaps the best earthly picture of what our Heavenly Father has done for us in making us His sons and daughters.

It was February 14, 2008, Valentine's Day, and Drew and I were on our way to see a Fetal Medicinal Specialist because on the previous day my OB had seen something on our ultrasound that concerned her. We prayed during the car ride over, believing that God was in control. After more ultrasounds at the specialist's; the Dr. told us that he believed our son had Trisomi 18 or Trisomi 13. He said that we should expect to lose our son by 20 weeks. Well, we prayed for a miracle and God answered; at 20 weeks Hudson was still growing and healthy. When we learned around 28 weeks that Hudson had Down Syndrome; we were relieved and overjoyed that he was going to be OK! I know for many people hearing that they will have a child with special needs is earth-shattering. But, for us it was good news; Hudson was going to live, and we really never felt sad or disappointed that God chose to give us a son with Down Syndrome. Hudson has brought immense joy into our lives and we see in him a picture of grace, every time we look at his sweet face.

Rewind to March 2005. We were expecting our oldest son Lane and although he was a "surprise" we were thrilled! At my first ultrasound apt. my OB saw something that concerned her. It appeared that Lane had a fluid mass at the back of his neck. So she referred us to a Fetal Medicinal Specialist. This fluid mass is often present in children with Down Syndrome or some other chromosomal anomaly. At home, the night before we were going to see the specialist, I remember sobbing. I told Drew, "I just don't think I can handle being the mother to a child with special needs." When we went to the specialist, he did not see the fluid mass they had seen the previous day; Lane was fine. I am ashamed at the selfishness in my heart then and that my faith was so weak. What a difference 3 years made. I went from weeping over the thought of having a child with special needs to rejoicing over having a son with Down Syndrome. Praise God for changing my heart. We view all our boys as a treasure.

Since having Hudson we have seen what a privilege and blessing it is to parent a child with special needs. We knew shortly after he born that we wanted to open our home to orphans with special needs, particularly Down Syndrome. We just didn't quite now how God would work out His plan.

So, fast forward to February 17, 2010. I am sitting in the waiting room of Hudson's Pediatric Therapists' Office and another mom (Kristi Cox) and I start talking and she begins to tell me of Reece's Rainbow Down Syndrome Orphan Ministry. I knew immediately this was how God was going to once again bless and grow our family. That evening I started looking at the website. I contacted Andrea, the Director of Reece's Rainbow to get the initial paperwork. Drew and I were certain that we wanted to adopt through Reece's Rainbow.

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (Feb. 18-20)- We started looking through pictures on the website, praying, and talking about how this would work out. How would we ever decide on which child to adopt? But we were confident that God would direct. Saturday, Drew was away at seminary, while I was looking at more pictures and saw Nikolai (Kole). I was just immediately drawn to him, maybe because he looks so much like Lane and Hudson. After Drew got home and we talked some more, we emailed Andrea to find out what country Nikolai is in.

Sunday, February 21 - When Drew saw Nikolai's picture again, he too had an overwhelming sense that he was the one we needed to adopt. We found out that Nikolai is in Ukraine. Andrea sent us our commitment papers. We were so excited and continued to pray for God to providentially work everything out, just as he already had. We knew that God was telling us, "He's your son, you need to commit to adopt him now."

Monday, February 22 - We sent in our commitment papers for Nikolai! And we began working on the mounds of paperwork, getting our homestudy set up etc...

Tuesday, February 23 - We received an email from Andrea, the Director of Reece's Rainbow telling us the following

"just wanted to let you just saved Nikolai from the institution. They were DAYS from transferring him. Our facilitator called and they said they will hold him."

By institution, she means a mental institution, which is where most children over age 4, with Down Syndrome who live in Eastern Europe and Russia will spend their lives. I couldn't stop crying. Nikolai (Kole) was nearly 6 years old, but God had been keeping him at the orphanage for us!

So here we are, May 6, 2010. In one month or so we travel to Ukraine and shortly after, we bring Kole home! And God has provided over and over again for our adoption. When we committed to adopting Kole in February we hadn't even begun to save for adoption; we really thought that adoption was going to be much further down the road for us. Now God has provided over $16,000 of the $25,000 needed for Kole's adoption.

We can't praise and thank God enough for all he has done. And we are just so grateful for the many people who have given toward Kole's adoption. We hope that when we are in Ukraine we will be able to have opportunities to share how great and mighty our Creator is. He created these beautiful children with Down Syndrome; they are not mistakes to be locked away in mental institutions. These are precious lives, as are the lives of all children. We hope that Kole's adoption is only the beginning of our family's journey of caring for orphans.

Making Progress!

Well, I haven't written an update in a while because we have just been waiting, waiting to get some paperwork back so we could send our completed dossier to Ukraine. Last week we faxed a copy of our completed dossier to our facilitator in Ukraine, so she could proof read it, and so the translator could start translating.

We just got word today that we only to need to fix two documents and they are very small, easy fixes. So our dossier should be en route to Ukraine tomorrow! Then in a couple weeks we will have a definite travel date. Looks like Kole will be home in time to experience South Georgia during the hottest months of July and August :)

God has continued to provide and continued to bless this adoption through the generosity of others. To date we have saved/raised/been given/pulled together $16,000 toward our total cost of $25,000. About $3600 of that has been through donations. We now only have a $9,000 "deficit."

It has been exciting and encouraging to get letters and donations in the mail and to watch our donation fund through Reece's Rainbow grow each week. Lane and I have a good time doing our "donation dance" in celebration, and Hudson just laughs and claps when he sees us acting like the loonies we are.

Drew is finishing up this semester of seminary in a couple of weeks. I don't how he manages to work so much and study so hard and still be the awesome husband and father that he is. I know he will be glad to catch up on some sleep, at least for a couple of weeks between finishing seminary and traveling to Ukraine.

Hudson is having his adenoids removed and tubes put in his ears on May 12th; his surgery was postponed because he was sick with Bronchitis. Pray he stays well now so he can have his surgery and hopefully experience some relief!

Now that all the paperwork is done I feel a great sense of relief and it is a little easier to focus on the fun part of all this; getting Kole's bed ready, painting wooden letters so he can have his name over his bed like Lane and Hudson do, and putting together a photo album to take to Ukraine so we can show Kole pictures of his brothers, his house, his car, his relatives etc... We just can't wait til he is home!