Jeff and Shanda got a bit of a non-traditional start. When Jeff and Shanda met, Shanda was a divorced single mom of two boys. They quickly merged into one tight knit family though, and were thrilled to soon celebrate the birth of a little girl. A few months after the princess joined their family, they realized she wasn’t developing at the typical speed and began seeking answers. The princess was soon diagnosed with Chromosome 15q Duplication Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. Not long after that, their family expanded again, this time with the addition of an 8 yr old through kinship foster care. They were later blessed to adopt this sweet boy, who fit perfectly into their family from day one. But God wasn’t done – Jeff and Shanda then welcomed the newest addition to their family – a sweet baby boy was born in December 2012! Their family now has 4 boys, ages 15, 12, 11, & 1, and one sweet little 3 year old girl. Their family was complete – so they thought. One day they read an article about the plight of special needs kids in other countries. Their eyes were opened and their hearts were broken. Children just like their sweet princess, routinely abandoned to spend their lives in institutions. The magnitude of that injustice was beyond their comprehension. Their journey parenting a special needs child and also adopting had taught them many things. It brought their family closer together, it made them stronger. It made them realize that the important things in life are smiles and love, not IQ and test scores. They learned that every child brings pride and joy and blessings, regardless of a diagnosis or a biological connection. As a family who had seen first hand the blessings of both adoption and special needs, they had to do something. So, they prayed. They knew that it was their job as Christians to join the fight against this injustice. So they prayed about how. And soon God gave them an answer – their part is to adopt. So they made plans to adopt. Someday. But God changed that plan when they ran across a picture of sweet Antoinette! They took some time and prayed over it, and God confirmed that she is their child. God has already begun moving mountains – after a long search, they recently bought a big house that could easily accommodate another child. The purchase of the house has depleted much of their savings and made the process of adopting at this time very daunting. But God promised – if they just said “yes”, that He would provide. So they enter into this adoption completely on faith that God will move the mountains and they will soon bring home another sweet little princess.
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog 15milesfromnowhere.blogspot.com