Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Why Are We Adopting?

     We have always talked about the option of adoption, even before we were married. We see it as a ministry and feel as through God has called believers to care for orphans. People tell us we are crazy. But we feel very strongly that this is a calling and that we are following God's plan for our family. "If I acted crazy, I did it for God; if I acted overly serious, I did it for you. Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do." - 2 Cor 5:13. In addition to having a heart for adoption, we also feel called to add to our family. We dreamed of having a large family and were very saddened when we realized Hannah would no longer be able to have children. (Hannah had to have an emergency hysterectomy at the age of 23). We love kids and feel as though our family is not yet complete. Adoption is the perfect option for us! We have the space, the time, the desire, and most importantly, the love to give. We have open hearts and arms and look forward to adding an addition to our family.

      We have a passion to help those who are in need, and what could be a greater need than to love those who are alone? Those who have no family to love and care for them? Adoption has always been a consideration for us. We wanted to make a difference in the biggest way possible and we felt a distinct call to make a difference by adopting.

      Beginning in May 2012, Hannah and I started this adoption journey. However, our story is more than just one of adoption. We wanted to pursue a very special kind of adoption. We have developed a tender-heart towards those with special needs due to our own experiences with our son Benji’s extreme prematurity (born at just 26 weeks) and Down Syndrome. We witnessed first hand, the daily struggles Benji endured and then watched as he thrived because of the love and support of his family. A family who loves him unconditionally. We want to bring that same unconditional love to another child with special needs, specifically Down Syndrome. We feel as though we are well equipped to care for another special child who may have some of the same struggles as our son.

      During our time of waiting for a special match, an agency contacted us about a possible opportunity in Macedonia. However, there was a road block as Macedonia does not have an established program for international adoption – period. What could we do? Did this mean that the doors were closed? To make a long story short, the doors have been opened! We are now the pilot family for a new adoption program for special needs children from Macedonia. We are hoping to be the first family in the United States to adopt a child from Macedonia through the Hague adoption system. The program is not yet open to other families, but we are hopeful that we can help create a successful program that would assist in finding families for hundreds of precious children with special needs. In the past 13 months, we have connected with an outstanding agency to start a new adoption program (essentially opening a country for international adoptions), converted our home study from domestic to international, and compiled our dossier. It is currently being translated into Macedonian.  Its been a long year as we've waited anxiously for things to come together. Thus far, the doors have opened and we are pursing this opportunity with excitement and A LOT of FAITH!

      Sometimes people ask us, "Why? Don't you already have your hands full? Do you really think you can handle it?" Our answer? "You think our hands are full? You should see our hearts!" We believe we can not only "handle" it, but that we would thrive! We feel as though adding a child with special needs would be like adding the missing puzzle piece.

      We will admit that before Benji was born, we probably never would have considered adopting a child with special needs. But our world changed the moment we received the amnio results. Down Syndrome has changed our life...and for the better. We have chosen to embrace our new path and would like to invite another little blessing to share in our special-needs journey. We adore our children more than anything and Benji certainly is no exception. We love him unconditionally and sincerely hope to add another special blessing into our lives!

      For us, our calling is to raise our children to LOVE God and others and help those who cannot help themselves. To us, that means a child with special needs. We have been called specifically to adopt. God has given us the capacity to love another child and until he/she comes home, there will be a void in our hearts.

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