One of the biggest concerns my family had when we told them we were adopting a child with Down Syndrome was “why now?”. Wouldn’t it be more prudent, fairer to the other children, if we waited until baby Hoss was five or six? This baby might need a lot of our time and energy, and right now our time and energy is the kids’ time and energy.
The biggest reason we are ready now is because I am still nursing Hoss, who turned one last week. Actually, we first called an adoption agency last year, when Hoss was just a few weeks old, knowing the adoption process might take two years. I have always had it in my heart to seamlessly bring an adoptive child into our family, bonded, completely one of us, and without barriers. Nursing is in line with this dream.
But, last year, we were told that a mother with a healthy baby (of any color) always asks for the same thing: a couple who couldn’t have children biologically. It would be unethical to take our money and start a homestudy.
That’s when a friend gave us the link to Reece’s Rainbow. Our hearts were moved by these children halfway around the world, desperately in need of a family to call their own. A friend of a friend, Heidi, is actually raising money now to bring her own little boy home through this incredible organization. We looked, but knew that these children were going to be closer to a year old by the time we brought them home.
Was there a child who might need a family from birth?
When Heidi’s blog went active in March to drum up support and finances for her Peter, Reece’s Rainbow appeared on my Facebook screen again. Could we be the parents to one of the incredible children? How could we ever choose? They would certainly be too old to nurse, but what’s nursing matter when they have no future there? [UPDATE: I WAS SO WRONG ABOUT THIS! Read Jenny’s story.]
And just a few days later, we stumbled across the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network. Obviously not a web-saavy organization, they spend their time on the phones, counseling prospective birth families and helping them decide if an adoption plan (what used to be called “giving a child up for adoption”) is right for them. They also keep a database of families, like mine, who would love to provide a home to one of these children. The woman laughed when I told her, apologetically, that we have quite a large family, with 4 kids, ages 6 and under. “That’s not a large family around here!” she said. (Oh, God–what a healing ointment in those words!)
And so, we have requested to be considered as an adoptive family to a newborn who might need mom’s milk (DS kiddos often have correctable digestive problems at birth, but struggle with formula), but mostly, who might need a family like ours.
We want to be the parents to a child who will be the next child in birth-order, who will be in the same generation–and not separate from–his or her brothers and sisters.
Also, close friends know that we have some unique emotional and physical concerns about having more children. But, in our marriage vows, we committed to being open to life. We have kept every single one of our vows, and it has made us exceedingly happy. How could this one be wrong, too? We are remaining open to life.
We know our friends and family may have to fill in the gaps for childcare with the special needs that may take precedence over our lives for a while. Homeschooling will also help facilitate the adoption, as our schedules will be much more flexible than traditionally schooling families (counting down the weeks until the end of preschool, or as I call it, the 12:20/2:50 time bomb). I also bought a new pump on Monday and a boat-load of “in the trenches” books from Amazon. We have a small network of five families in our town with young children who have DS.
We are actively preparing the best way we can.
So, to sum it up:
- We’re hoping to adopt a
newborn domesticallychild from Eastern Europe.
- We’re picking the time to be now so that baby can nurse, just like he or she was designed to do.
- We want our children to see their new brother or sister as one of them because of his or her close age.
- We would be getting ready for a new baby in the next year, anyway. There is no peace in being pregnant or childbirth for us anymore.
And lastly, my dream for the world is that there is such a line of people waiting to bring home every child that can’t be parented by his or her biological parents, that no one waits for more than a few hours, while we grown-ups scramble to seamlessly bring each child home. If our family can help make that dream a reality for one child, we must.
Now is the time.