These are the families who have taken a leap of faith and committed to adopt one or more of our orphaned children most recently.
These are the families who have taken a leap of faith and committed to adopt one or more of our orphaned children most recently.
Robbie and Meagan’s hearts were broken after learning that over 1,000 special needs children were ready and waiting to find their forever families in India. They brought home their first daughter in Dec 2019 and became advocates for adoption, especially adoption of special needs children.
About 9 months after Nivi joined the Hart family, they began the process of applying to adopt a second child. While applying, they saw a Facebook post about a young girl from the same state as their first daughter, who had similar physical needs. Due to licensing, she was aging out of her orphanage at the young age of 6. So many people advocated for her to be moved to a new home so she would be able to find her forever family. The Harts held on to her loosely as they completed filing their paperwork, thinking someone would surely snatch up such a beautiful young girl.
In many steps that feel miraculous, the Harts have been able to reserve Lucy (name changed for security), and they are hoping to bring her home in December of this year. Lucy is 7 years old, and she really wants to do something with her life. Would you consider helping the Harts bring Lucy home?
9/13/2021 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Seven years ago, God gave the Busler family a vision that included adoption and special needs. That vision and God’s continued help and guidance took the family on an emotional, spiritual, and geographical journey to Armenia to ultimately adopt one child and begin the process for a second.
While in the process of adopting Mikko, their first adopted son, in December 2017, Valerie and Forrest Busler noticed a sprite of a little guy at Mikko’s orphanage who seemed to have a big heart. God kept the second boy in the Buslers’ hearts, and when they felt that Mikko was stably integrated into the family, the Buslers initiated the adoption process to pursue the boy they had met at the orphanage. After months of work and waiting and an added year-long delay due to the pandemic, in April 2021, the Buslers returned to Armenia for the first of two trips to add to their family.
The first official visit with the Buslers’ soon-to-be adopted second son was a joyful experience, and the director of the orphanage extended an invitation to bring Mikko to the orphanage to meet his future brother. On the same day that papers of intent to adopt were signed, the Busler family said goodbye to their soon-to-be son and now will wait three to six months to be invited to return to Armenia to make the young boy part of their forever home.
9/11/2021 — AWAITING COURT DECREE
The Busler family also received a $5000 Older Child Grant for their new son!
Matt and Jessica are excited to be working on their third international special needs adoption, this time from India!
Matt and Jessica have been married almost 10 years and adoption has always been part of their plans. Matt and Jessica knew that God was calling them to adopt. They chose to add to their family only through adoption, and felt that special needs adoption would suit them well as a special education teacher and a pediatric nurse. They began actively looking into the international adoption process in 2015, that is when they fell in love with Li-Ru through the website Rainbow Kids. Their journey to her began! 9 months later, they were in Taiwan to bring their almost 3 year old home!
About a year after Li-Ru’s arrival, Matt and Jessica were ready to journey back to Taiwan again. This time Xin-Jou would become Li-Ru’s older sister. Li-Ru (10 years old) and Xin-Jou (13 years old) are adopted from Taiwan in 2014 and 2016 respectively. It has been amazing to watch the girls grow and blossom into the wonderful young ladies they are today. They have overcome so many obstacles and challenges in their lives. It’s a blessing to have God weave the girls into the Hughes Family.
Matt and Jessica devote their time to helping the girls achieve their goals and be close as a family. Matthew continues to work as a pediatric nurse and Jessica stays home with the girls to care for Li-Ru and Xin-Jou’s educational, medical, developmental, and emotional needs.
Now that everyone currently in the home is feeling secure they know it is time to bring home the third little girl that God has waiting for them across the ocean! They are so amazed at how God has placed people in their lives during this third journey so far and know that amazing things are going to happen! They are working hard to get to their girl as quickly as possible!
9/8/2021 — HOMESTUDY IN PROCESS
Hello we are Kurt and Cyndi Petrich. We have been married six years. We have seven beautiful children, four biological children and three children God gave us through His glorious plan of adoption. We were both widowed late in life. The Lord brought us together when we both said, “yes” to a mission trip to serve special needs orphans in Eastern Europe. We met on the mission field. We fell in love with each other and the precious forgotten children. We came home from our missions’ trip, were married and have been serving these children ever since.
While on an extended missions’ trip we met a beautiful brown eyed little girl, who stole our hearts. God placed our sweet Dasha in our family in 2018. Upon our arrival home, our daughter started to pray every night in her native language, “Praise God, My God, please bring my best friend home.” Night after night she would pray the same prayer over and over again. We knew immediately God was calling us to grow our family once again. During this time, we learned about a sibling to this child. We were thrilled to find both girls on the Reece’s Rainbow list of available children. We prayed again fervently. Once again, God lead us to say, “Yes” to both children. He is mighty and He brought the girls home in October 2020. Dasha has been home for three years and her new sisters Tanya and Veronica almost a year and the transformation we have witnessed has been nothing short of a miracle. They are loved and they know how to love.
Recently we saw a beautiful little girl who moved our hearts to pray once again, “God can we be her parents?” We believe the Lord has given us a resounding yes! We wholeheartedly believe God’s Word that says, Psalm 68: 5-6 “God sets the lonely in families.” We openly admit and profess adoption has deepened our faith and understanding of God’s deep love and affection for his children. We watched God do the miraculous during the journey of adoption with Dasha, Tanya and Veronica.
He shows us again, and again that He is faithful. Our prayer is that hearts would be moved to help us bring these girls home. Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for HE who promised is faithful.
9/3/2021 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
We are Brice and Amanda Wurdeman and have been married for 16 years. We have six biological children: Naiyah age 15, Beckett age 12, Paxson age 10, Kensington age 5, Greeley age 3, and Rusk age 1. For the past fourteen years our family served as missionaries overseas. We were honored to live above an orphanage loving on the babies and also seeing families brought together through adoption. We believe we watched God work miracles in the lives of children and families.
This past year we relocated back to our home country of the United States and are once again surrounded by grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles. We were gifted in part a new home and Brice became the Director of the Missions Department at the local Christian college. This made us want to open our home to more people in some way. Also, last year, our 6th little one was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome. He has opened our eyes to even more joy and wonder. We prayed and contacted the country we had served as missionaries in, but they told us it would likely be years – if ever – for a boy to be put up for adoption that also had special needs there, since they were such a small country.
Then, a few months ago, God working ahead, we were contacted from a country we had formerly served in to see if we would adopt a little guy also with Down syndrome they knew about who was just a week younger than our new little guy. We knew right away he was a perfect fit for our family. We were matched, completed our homestudy, and are now finishing the paperwork that should allow us to bring him home in May or June of 2022.
We have always seen God supply our needs, so we know as He directs this, He will work out the adoption costs. We believe that the total cost of the adoption will be a little over $29,000. To date, we have already paid $11,000 and together with our kids, we are working on fundraisers to raise and save as much as we can. We are hopeful to raise at least 1/3 of what we need via grants. Thank you very much.
9/1/2021 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Chris and Melina Birkenfeld were longtime friends before they started dating the summer before her senior year. It didn’t take long for each of them to realize that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. Although Melina was young (just about to turn 19) when they got married, she was the oldest and only girl in her family of five children and she knew she was ready to get married and start a family. Chris was also from a big family of eight children. Both Chris and Melina knew that they wanted to have at least four children. A couple of months after they got married, they were excited to find out that they were expecting. Ten months later, Ella was born. When Melina was seven months pregnant with her second child Ian, the couple found out that Ella had a genetic condition called Angelman syndrome. There were so many unknowns for this young couple, but they devoted their time to making sure Ella received the therapies and things she needed to thrive. About four years after the diagnosis, Chris and Melina talked about adding more children to their family. It didn’t take long, and Bensen, Liberty, and Lila were born into the family.
In July of 2020 Melina was browsing through Facebook and saw a fundraiser for a little girl with Angelman Syndrome. When she finally took the time to click on the link to see the little girl, it was like God was calling Melina to her! Long story short, the family was all on board to adopt this little one and on April 13th, 2021 Yaroslava (Yara) Faith Birkenfeld joined their family!
While compiling their dossier paperwork for Yara’s adoption, Melina fell in love with a special little boy! Originally, the couple had been approved for two but they had to be siblings. After Yara’s adoption Melina thought the adoption doors were closed as fundraising was a challenge the first time and so was the time it took to get a completed dossier. God had other plans, and doors were opened for the couple to adopt this sweet little boy! Once again, Chris thought Melina was crazy lol! However he prayed and pondered and soon he was on board!
They have been amazed to see how much Yara has thrived with a family, and can’t wait to give this little boy the life he deserves! He will have parents and six siblings who will love him unconditionally!! They are extremely grateful for any help that is given to them as they work their hardest to get their little man home!! Much love and God Bless
8/28/2021 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Mandy and Thomas have been married for fifteen years, together for twenty, and have always been overflowing with love and enthusiasm for life and excited to thoughtfully grow their family. Parents to two biological sons, they’d always wished to add a third child to their family. Adoption had been something they have talked about since meeting as teenagers, but they hadn’t been certain when the time would be right.
In 2020, Mandy and Thomas felt the pieces of life fall into place; they found and moved into their forever home, the boys were past the toddler stage and begging for a sibling, and the family was ready to seriously explore adoption. They found an incredible adoption agency and through them learned more about Eastern Europe and the need for adoption there. They had assumed they would take a traditional route to be matched and that the process might take years, but while working through the required documentation, they saw Tippi’s profile posted on their agency’s waiting child list. They felt an instant connection (it is truly impossible not to fall in love when you see her beautiful little face) and they immediately felt called to be her family. Even though the odds were against them this early in the process, they moved forward applying. Exactly a month later on Thomas’s birthday, they received confirmation that they had been matched!
“Looking at her photos and videos, we are struck by her determination, inquisitiveness, and sweet demeanor. We are in awe of her resilience, strength, and abilities after such a hard medical start to life. We talk regularly with our boys about growing our family, and both love the idea of having a little sister to dote on and teach. Our strong family bond means Tippi will be welcomed with open arms and hearts by us – her parents, brothers and community, whatever her long-term needs may be. We are so grateful for your support and love, and hope you’ll follow along on our adoption journey to bring our daughter home.”
8/18/2021 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
You can follow along on the Sheffer family’s blog: sheffersadopt.com
Hello, we are Tony and Sarah Witbrod. We have six amazing children and have always planned to have adoption as part of our story. We met in college in 1999 and were married in 2006. Shortly after we were married, we accepted our referral for our daughter in Guatemala.
It was a long but amazing journey which included us moving to Guatemala and living there for the last three months of her adoption to make sure she was healthy and safe. Start to finish, it took nearly 18 months until we were able to bring our daughter home. We realized how long an adoption could take, so we started our next adoption as one of the pilot families in the Congo just a couple years later. We were luckily to bring home two children who are now 11 and 10 years old and are doing amazing after such a rough start to life. However, we had four of our babies pass away and two who are still there in the DRC, never coming home. From that anguish, Sarah started Wren’s Song in 2010 to help provide care for orphans in the Congo that we are still active with today.
Sarah has been following Eastern European advocacy sites since 2017 when her father was put on life support and she wanted to make a difference for the children who were in similar difficult situations. It’s been weighing on her heart and we feel called by God to be moved to action. We know if God calls you to do something, that he will show you the way. We are so grateful for sites like Reece’s Rainbow and for all those who donate to help those adopt.
We added three more biological children to our family in the years after the Congo. We love our six children and all the amazing memories that come from our day to day life. We have many adventures and are blessed to be going back into the adoption journey to add another child to our family.
8/17/2021 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Adoption of a child with special needs has been on my heart for over 15 years. After reading an article about Reece’s Rainbow and how kids were dying every day in other countries, simply because they had Down’s Syndrome, I was convinced that adoption was the plan for me. I struggled to understand how it could be that kids who were so loving and kind to others could just be tossed aside and left. It pierced my heart from that day on, but my husband was simply never on the same page as me. For years, I mourned the loss of a dream that I thought God had for me, and tried to understand why it didn’t happen.
Fast forward a few years, and now is the time!! My life has had some big changes and our family is finally ready to welcome a new sibling! This child is so loved already, and will be joining our crazy, fun hectic home with a big brother and 2 big sisters who are beyond excited to have a little one back in the house! We are absolutely thrilled to be in process, and can’t wait to meet our newest addition!
8/17/2021 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Zachary and Savannah recently celebrated four glorious years of marriage and have two beautiful children, Reese and little Zachary. They live on a farm in a small country town in southern TN, and are blessed with a slower paced, albeit full, life as a little family loving each other and growing together in the Lord!
Zack works as a mechanic and cattle farmer with his father-in-law, a job filled with hard physical labor that also allows him to be close to home and most days spend lunch break at home with his family. He appreciates all the time he gets with his wife and kids, both in the mornings during breakfast and in the evenings when he comes in from work, as well as the weekends.
Savannah is blessed to be a stay at home mama to their two little ones. Her days are filled with nurturing their children, cooking meals from scratch, keeping house, and when the time can be found, sewing clothes and making quilts. She also runs a small online fabric shop from home.
The Morgans firmly believe that God has called them to take a leap of faith in Him and plunge into the journey of international adoption. They are working diligently to bring home a precious little girl with special needs, and are trusting the Lord each step of the way in what feels like a crazy, roller coaster ride of a process. It has been His grace that has brought them to this, and His grace will be sufficient to see them through!
As each step brings them closer to their soon-to-be forever daughter, the excitement is rising! Little Zachary does not yet comprehend what is happening, but Reese understands and is thrilled to be having a sister!
The whole family anticipates the day that she is finally HOME and they are doing all that they can to help that day to come as swiftly as possible. Whether they are spending the evening working in the garden together, painting and remodeling the children’s nursery themselves, hanging laundry on the clothesline, or laying down for naps, she is on their hearts and in their prayers.
They appreciate your prayers as they continue on, completing paperwork, trying to patiently wait on approvals and paperwork processes, and fundraising to help with the many expenses. They know that God will make a way, because He is the One Who sets the lonely in families!
9/17/2021 — APPOINTMENT in LATE SEPTEMBER
Our journey in life together has been a blend of hardship and blessing, a beautiful testimony of God’s grace, love, and power. Proverbs 24:16 says: “for though the righteous fall seven times, they will rise again.” This has been our story; one of heartache and sickness, but also one of redemption and finding our ability to rise again. God has picked us up and molded us over and over as we have been obedient to His plans.
We have been married for almost 15 years now, and have fought to build our home on a solid foundation of love: Christ’s love for us as He helps us to love each other. A foundation that then spills over into love and nurture for our children. We feel so grateful that God has blessed us in so many ways. We may not have an abundance of money but in Christ we have become rich; rich with His love and mercy that He has so graciously given to us over and over again. It is this generous love that we desire to give to others.
The heart to adopt came to us over 15 years ago when we lived in uncertainty of being able to have our own children. I (Alicia) had some issues with getting pregnant and for a time, struggled to conceive. God’s plan did, in time, bless us with 2 amazing kids of our own. Joshua is 13 and Grace is age 10.
In June of 2019, a dream of mine (Alicia) came true. Financially I was fully supported to travel to Jamaica and serve at an orphanage there. I was so amazed at the support that my friends and family gave me. I was worried that we could not financially afford this trip. But of course God provided a way, like he always does, if we trust in him!
It was in Jamaica that I met an amazing girl named Abby. Abby is now 15 and since April 26th 2021 she is “our” little girl! We are just finalizing some more paperwork and making the finishing touches on her new room! (We have to show her every zoom call because she loves to see her room!) But as our eyes met that very 1st day, something inside of me burned with such love for this little girl. Abby is not without her own struggles as she has Down syndrome. I have always had a special place in my heart for kids with special needs, but especially those with Down syndrome. I love my job working with children with disabilities. It became evident to me, as well as our team members, that there was a strong connection between Abby and I. Abby would hang onto me, lean her head back and bury herself against my shoulder. You could just feel her body relax as she found comfort in my affection returned back to her.
As I traveled home, I continued to pray, asking God to speak to my heart and my husband’s heart about “My Abby.” And again, God did what God does best. He worked and moved in Jon’s heart. As God worked and moved in Jon’s heart, He also reached our two kids, growing inside them a desire to help and to make a difference. It is a shared desire we ALL now have, to be obedient to what the Lord is calling our family to do: to turn “My Abby” into “Our Abby.” So, we say ‘Yes’ to the call that God put on my heart while serving in Jamaica. We say ‘Yes’ to the day to day steps that He will lead us to and through. We say ‘Yes’ to keep on the long journey of overseas adoption. We say ‘Yes’ to having faith bigger than our fears and worries. We say ‘Yes’ to a forever ‘Yes’ and ‘Yes’ to bringing Abby home.
Now we are on the final steps! After a long 2 year journey. We are just awaiting the letter for Abby’s visa hearing appointment. It is likely that we will be traveling in September!
7/30/2021 — AWAITING TRAVEL
When Robert and I realized God was calling us to step out in faith to adopt, He had already provided her for us. She was 15yrs old at the time, an advocate was trying to find her a family she so desperately wanted. By this time He had already placed her photo, and story in our path. Once we realized that God had chosen US to be the family she wanted and needed. Surprised, and kinda in shock you might say. However we will do anything our Father wants us to do. Although unprepared financially, we said YES God, however you are fully aware of our finances, but you know the end from the beginning, and are able to do all we can ask or even imagine!
Here’s a little back story on us. We have 6 adult children, and 5 grandchildren from previous marriages. We are in our 50’s, bought land, and Robert is building us a house in the country. This is where we thought our lives were headed. Savings depleted from building the house little by little without a loan. We do not want a mortgage. Adoption wasn’t a part of this “plan”, well not ours! Even though our world has flip flopped God is so good to us! There’s millions of others better fit to adopt, but He chose US for HER.
He is amazing, and yet has a sense of humor. She had 1 month until her 16th birthday. What?! Yes, we had to act quickly. No time to save money, look into resources etc… Praying, we made it! Now we immediately started fundraising! I started Hot Cocoa bombs making/selling them, started a gofundme, a tshirt and Gobena coffee immediately, and still continue them regularly. Currently, I have a Facebook fundraising group: Moving Mountains fundraising that brings a steady flow in, however small amounts. Gobena coffee has never stopped, and a puzzle going on now. We have recently had Connected Hearts Ministry join our fundraising efforts with a crowd fund, and adoption board. These have been the most successful thus far. We currently have $9802 in our account with them.
How would financial assistance help us? It will make us a family. It will give her love unending, unconditional, and opportunities she otherwise wouldn’t have. A bigger question: What if we were not to get assistance needed? The thought makes me ill, I have to believe God would not let us be so attached to her, and she to us. The bond we have even without touch, hugs, or that one on one contact gives you, its absolutely incredible. To love a child you’ve never met before, yet you’d lay your life down for her.
7/29/2021 — DOSSIER COMPLETE
Our family has set out on the journey of adoption. We are so honored and blessed by this chapter in our lives.
We have watched as many families have said yes and have brought so many beautiful children out of orphanages into loving homes. We are so thankful we have the opportunity to provide a home for a waiting child. We are adopting from a non-Hague country and we understand we have no legal hold on the children there.
Please pray for our family as we continue through the adoption process. We are so thankful for those who donate to our adoption and will forever be thankful that your generosity was a precious gift that helped is bring a child home.
7/29/21 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Hi everyone, we are Candy and Adam Travis from Alabama.
Adam and I met through a mutual friend, and we are now about to be celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary!! We have four biological adult children, and a precious three year old little girl that we are in the final stages of adopting domestically.
We feel so blessed and honored to be called to adoption. God started speaking to our hearts about foster care and adoption in 2017 and that ultimately led us to bringing home our little angel from the NICU in May of 2018. But God wasn’t finished yet! He started speaking to us again, and led us to the most precious little boy with the sweetest smile, who also happens to be rockin’ that extra chromosome! We submitted Letter of Intent for “Benson” on 3/31/21 and received PA on 7/16/21. All I can say is God is So Good, and we CANNOT WAIT to bring our little boy home!!!!
7/22/2021 — DOSSIER COMPLETE; OFFICIALLY MATCHED
We are the Arnold Family. We are adopting again. Adopting has led us all over the globe to find our children China, India, and Ghana. We are currently a family of seven children. We have two Reece’s Rainbow kids at home already. We can’t imagine our lives without our children. We are hoping to adopt again from Eastern Europe a girl that is 11 and in much need of the love of a family and stability. We are hoping to bring her home as soon as possible. Please consider donating to her travel expenses. The church is called to take care of the widow and orphan. If not us than who will go? We were called to adopt from Eastern Europe but many children are in need of families right here in the US. The children are many, but the families are few. Please pray for the children and the families on the journey to adopt them. Psalm 82:3 Defend the weak and the fatherless, uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
7/9/2021 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Hello! We are Daniel and Markie Baird and have two precious daughters – Aslyn who is 3 and Brooklyn who will be 2 in October. Come along with us on an incredible journey of faith as we work to bring our third daughter home from Eastern Europe.
Our adoption journey begins with an Instagram post that Markie saw in February of 2020. That child was an 8 year old (at the time) whose alias name was one that she and Daniel had already picked out to name a future daughter. When Markie saw the pictures, the whole world stopped. She looked like she belonged in our family! Markie showed Daniel the post and he thought she was adorable and agreed that she definitely looked like a Baird. They had always talked about adoption and agreed that one day they would adopt but for Daniel this just didn’t feel like the right time.
After several months of praying, Markie shared her desires with Daniel and he realized that this may be something that he too would need to pray through to decide. They reached out to trusted friends and spiritual mentors to help them try to discern the Lord’s call on their lives. This felt like a weighted decision because life as they knew it would change drastically for them and their family. Markie and Daniel work as houseparents at a residential counseling center, working with teens and their families. They help navigate crisis and lead families to healing through the grace of our Lord. Pursuing adoption would mean that their ministry would change and they may not be able to house parent alongside adoption. Through months of heart searching, praying and seeking they decided together that they would pursue this beautiful work of adoption – trusting that if God was leading them to adopt, that He would open the doors necessary to bring it to completion. Little did they know that God was going to show His faithfulness and His heart for the fatherless in radical ways.
When presented with the choice to remain as house parents or pursue adoption, Daniel and Markie chose to pursue the adoption and leave their jobs, which also meant leaving their home. Though there was no guarantee of jobs, housing or even being able to continue with the adoption, they were confident that they had been called to this and that God would see them through it. Daniel was offered a job in tech almost immediately and despite a limited budget and a very competitive housing market, they also found a house.
God is paving the way and the transitions are full of excitement and expectancy. Thank you for joining us, your support and prayers are another example of God’s faithfulness in our family. We are humbled by this community and deeply grateful. We would love for you to share our story and follow along on our blog as this story continues to unfold.
7/27/2021 — AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
Meet the Newsoms! The Newsom family is originally from Texas but moved to East Tennessee a little over two years ago. They love living in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains and exploring this beautiful part of the United States. Husband & father, Cass Newsom, was in the military for 8 years in both the Marine Corps and the Texas Army National Guard. Wife and mother, Kristin Newsom, was a public school teacher for five years before becoming a stay at home/homeschool mom. They have three biological daughters aged seven, four, and one.
They always talked about fostering or adopting. After watching many friends foster and adopt, they decided that international adoption was best for their family. At the same time, they came across two sisters listed on Reece’s Rainbow. While still contemplating and researching the decision to commit, Kristin came across a post by Keshia Melton containing the girls pictures. It was just the encouragement they needed!
Cass went on several mission trips as a teen when he was first introduced to special needs orphans. Kristin worked with middle school and high school students in both rural and inner city areas. Her last year of teaching, she switched to special education. Through challenges within their own household, they saw parenting through a different perspective.
These experiences have afforded them the ability to work with children from different backgrounds with unique needs. They believe that every child has value and is made and loved by God. While they do not know the extent of their challenges & capabilities, they do know that they need a family to love and take care of them!
8/19/2021 — HOMESTUDY APPROVED
William and Aubrey met over 15 years ago at a Starbucks Coffee shop in a small town in Oregon. Aubrey was working late nights and early mornings to help support her parents who were going through a difficult time, and William was working towards his Bachelors Degree. Once they met, they were inseparable. They have been married for over 14 years now and have 4 biological children together as well as one beautiful daughter whom they adopted through the Foster Care System. William works in community health and Aubrey is a stay at home mother and homeschools their children.
William has a younger brother with special needs and has always had a soft spot for children and adults that need extra supports like his brother. Over the years, God has called William and Aubrey to pursue international special needs and they are very excited to be committed to two amazing little girls.
God has proven time and time again that He will provide, and William and Aubrey know He will do so now so that they can bring home their little girls.
9/17/2021 — APPT in LATE SEPT
We are James and Kim Shepard. We are two passionate, goofy, and adventurous cat parents who are seeking to grow our awesome family through international adoption. We both work for the same agent as community-based therapists for individuals with disabilities and mental health dual diagnoses. We both have a huge heart for individuals with disabilities and are fervent advocates for acceptance and inclusion, which started when we were young and grew into our professional lives. We seek to continue this mission through our personal family lives and feel a huge calling to establish a home where children with disabilities are given the highest quality of life and the love that they deserve. This mission has really grown and developed as God called us towards international adoption of a child with Down Syndrome in 2021, while we were looking through all the wonderful children in need of loving homes on the Reece’s Rainbow website. We recently purchased a home in Indiana, where we care for our four cats and bearded dragon, explore our love of foods from all different cultures in our bright orange kitchen, and develop James’s growing photography business. We are so excited to welcome our future child into our wonderful and exciting lives.
7/28/2021 — OFFICIALLY MATCHED; COMPLETING DOSSIER
Meet the Jagge family from Texas – Theron, Kelci, Emma (10) and Hudson (2)! In 2020, Kelci came across an Instagram video that was posted by a Reece’s Rainbow family. Seeing how this family had drastically changed a life, the Jagges were drawn to do research on special needs orphans around the world. Reece’s Rainbow and other sources opened their eyes to the devastating reality that many of these precious children will likely never know the love of a family. The Jagge family had recently been considering becoming foster parents but they quickly realized that international adoption was the path that God had placed before them.
If you had met Theron and Kelci before 2020, you would probably be surprised to hear this. They were focused on themselves and their goals of a bigger house, full bank accounts and career advancement. Foster care and adoption were acts that they admired but had not considered for their family.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—” Ephesians 2:4-5
God, in his merciful kindness, completely changed both of their hearts around the same time and saved them from a path of destruction. With that change of heart came a change of priorities and a desire to share the love of Christ with others. The specific burden of adoption has grown substantially since the fall of 2020 and God has opened doors indicating to them that it was time to act on these desires.
Theron and Kelci long to grow their family through international adoption, hopefully the first of several. Emma is excited about a new sibling and they are sure that Hudson will be thrilled also, when he is old enough to understand.
The Jagges have a specific boy that they are hoping to adopt but if he becomes unavailable, they know that God has already chosen a specific child who they cannot wait to meet!
9/11/2021 — DOSSIER COMPLETE
We are Dan and Jolene Morrison and we have three beautiful children, Sawyer, Quinn and Jax. We are your typical outgoing, fun loving, crazy family and we are in the process of growing our family through adoption. After everything that life has thrown at us we have decided that it is finally time to listen to our hearts and take this giant leap of faith.
When we moved to Southwestern Ontario two and half years ago we began our fostering journey with our local Children Aid Society and it has been a wonderful, albeit sometimes bumpy ride. We wouldn’t change our experience for the world because we learned so so much as individuals and as a family, but the pull to adopt a child with Special needs was always still there. So, after what seems like a million and one calls to multiple agencies across Canada, we came to the realization that adopting a babe with special needs in Canada isn’t something that happens very often and even less so for big families. So, we decided to look elsewhere. We got in touch with some fantastic families that had done what we are about to do, and that led us to Ukraine. So here we are planning our adventure and getting ready to travel overseas, hoping to bring not just one child home, but possibly two.
This adoption is going to take a lot of work as well as some blood, sweat and probably many tears, but the love we have to give is endless and together, we’ve got this! Selling homemade spaghetti sauce, making upcycled jewelry, hosting a Covid friendly lemonade stand for the neighbors while they shoveled snow, it’s all getting us closer to growing our family. Every little bit helps. We still have lots of work ahead of us and we are crossing our fingers that everything works out as it should. We know it will take a village, but you all, are a great village to be bringing children home to.
5/21/2021 — COMPILING DOSSIER
The Price Family is excited to expand their family through adoption! Joe and Amy have been married for 6 years and have 4 children; biological and adopted. Joe works in insurance and Amy is an interior designer and they live in Iowa. They are in the process of adopting a little boy from Bulgaria.
Amy adopted their daughter in 2010 as a single mom and has had a heart for adoption after volunteering in an orphanage in Russia. After they were married, adoption went on the back burner as they worked to unite their blended family and added their youngest to the mix. Amy came across Reece’s Rainbow and was drawn to the amazing children and stories of adoption. Joe slowly warmed up to the idea of adopting and they have been waiting the last couple years for the “perfect time” and lately realized there is no such thing as the perfect time so decided to jump in!
Thank you so much for your prayers and financial support as we go through this adoption journey to our little boy!
8/2/2021 — AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
We’re just an ordinary family living the extraordinary life by stepping out in faith in place of standing frozen in fear.
If you’d have told me last Spring that I would be once again speeding through the adoption paperwork pile I wouldn’t have believed you. So on this very day I stand in awe at just how amazing our journey to one special little girl truly is. The God wink of my advocacy for her, the very day I shared how amazing it would be for Maddie and Magnolia to be close to each other two years ago. And then the very date of our completed packet being sent to Taiwan being the two year to the day of that advocacy post. Only God! God knew on that very day as I shared that post that we were to be her forever family!
Here we are a family of six. And celebrating our journey to precious Magnolia, Snyder #7. We are blessed with our two now young adult children, two little Taiwan treasures that rock their extra chromosome and racing to our newest treasure with Cerebral palsy. Family is everything to us. The very story that is being written as our family grows has us in complete awe at just how precious life is and how unique our family story is. Each and every member of our family uniquely and perfectly created to be exactly who we are meant to be. The journey to becoming a family a true gift. Each and every moment a true blessing…
We are humbled and blessed far beyond measure that of all the families in the world God handpicked us to treasure Magnolia as our daughter. Join us on our journey by sharing our journey with others, lots of prayer and when felt lead the generosity of donation as we take the leap of faith for love and family.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, Lonnie, Michelle, Kaiyla, Kyle, Miles, Maddie and Magnolia
9/8/2021 — COURT in SEPTEMBER!
Nick and Joy were married 11 years ago and early on in their marriage they desired to be set apart for God. Their family verse is Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Nick and Joy are examples of walking in faith as they unconditionally love and care for orphans. They are the loving parents of 6 kids: 4 biological and 2 adopted children. Their desire to grow their family through adoption started 4 years ago after their 4th child was born. They spent time researching different adoption agencies and became foster parents to over a dozen children from social services. During this time, their hearts were struck by how compassionate their children were to those with special needs and the pull they had to grow their family in this way. Their first journey to Bulgaria is laden with evidence of God’s handiwork. Joy reached out to an adoptive mom from her church who then introduced her to Reece’s Rainbow. She told Joy there was one little girl whom her heart has longed to find a family. By grace, it was the same girl Joy and Nick had already inquired about and felt so unexplainably drawn to. All the questions over the years of what God was wanting them to do were starting to be answered! Now that little girl is a loved daughter, sibling, grand-daughter, cousin, and friend. God prompted their hearts again. With more room in their hearts to love, they are preparing to bring Sawyer into their loving family. They have made preparations to their home and even have a vehicle that can provide proper transportation for their growing family’s physical needs. Your prayers and financial support will welcome Sawyer into a forever family where he will be welcomed and loved by a warm community and loving family.
6/9/2021 — AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
The Calo family is excited to be expanding their family again via adoption!
Three years ago we hosted two sisters over the Christmas holiday. The connection with the girls was instantaneous, like we had always known each other, so we continued to host them several more times until God allowed us to begin the adoption process to bring them home permanently.
They are already teenagers and have waited their entire lives for a family and we feel like the lucky ones chosen to be theirs.
Our other children ask about their “sisters” daily and we cannot imagine our lives without them. Thank you for your help in bringing them home for good!
8/4/2021 — HOMESTUDY in REVIEW
Devin, an IT manager at an electric cooperative, and Melissa, a former teacher, have been married for six years and have two children, a toddler and a teen that make life full and fun! They love spending time together, hiking, fishing, exploring new parks and destinations.
For many years Melissa felt God placing the special needs orphan on her heart and together, their family spent several years advocating for children through Reece’s Rainbow’s Guardian Angel program. They were even able to meet one of the wonderful girls they had advocated for after her family found her. It was such a beautiful experience and they and are still in contact with that family today.
A couple years ago, the calling was clear that advocating was no longer enough and there was definitely more they could do. After a teary conversation, Devin and Melissa both committed to making the changes necessary to pursue their own adoption and give a child the home and family he has always deserved.
Melissa resigned from her career to be a stay at home mom, they added another bedroom to their home, restructured their budget, and got busy saving for the upcoming cost. They have felt God paving their way with every step and cannot wait to grow their family.
They are so grateful for everyone who finds it their hearts to help. International adoption is expensive, but Devin and Melissa are certain the expense will be nothing in comparison to what their family will gain. If you are unable to donate, they kindly request that you share their story. They believe strongly in the power of prayer and ask that you join them in keeping their child wrapped in prayer until they can bring him home. You can visit them at their blog.
9/9/2021 — FIRST (Virtual) VISIT in SEPTEMBER
The Marsh family is so excited to be growing their family through adoption. They are currently parents to Alex, Sony, and Chelsea and are working on bringing a sibling group of two home. Shannon and Jay both have a long history in special needs adoption. Shannon previously adopted her two daughters as a single mom. Both Chelsea and Sony were previously advocated for by Reece’s Rainbow. Jay himself was adopted by his step-father and has a sister with special needs who was also adopted. When Shannon and Jay started dating, Shannon had no idea that Jay himself had a history of adoption. As the relationship grew, it became very clear Jay’s heart and experiences with special needs adoption aligned with Shannon’s, something that was even written into his wedding vows. Now as husband wife, they are thrilled to be able to adopt together and grow their family. Older child adoption has been at the heart of the family and everyone is excited about their new siblings coming home.
9/20/2021 — OFFICIALLY MATCHED
These children have received a $2000 Country Specific grant from Reece’s Rainbow.
The Ampe family is returning to Eastern Europe to adopt two more children. They will have a “Baker’s Dozen”! Joe and Tiffany currently have eleven children ages 2-20. Two of their children are amazing preschoolers that they adopted from Ukraine, who just happen to have Down Syndrome.
The Ampe family lives on a homestead in Michigan with plenty of animals and children. They learned of Reece’s Rainbow through the Down Syndrome community that their biological niece was a part of. While she is a treasured member of the extended family, they discovered that disabled children in other countries aren’t as fortunate. In 2018 Joe and Tiffany traveled to Ukraine expecting to adopt a sweet baby boy. Instead, they returned home with two (and gave birth to a biological baby the next day). This time, they are setting out to adopt two children. The entire family is ecstatic, hoping to be adding a five year old girl and eight year old boy. This time neither child has Down Syndrome, but instead have other significant health issues and disabilities, including hydrocephalus.
The Ampe family knows the miracles that are required to travel across the world to bring home a child. They have experienced the community that is necessary to support families financially, emotionally, and physically. There’s no way to do it alone and they are extremely grateful for those that walk beside them. Thank you for your generous prayers and financial support.
3/21/2021 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
I am happy to introduce you to the Umstead family. They are a family of 11! Tom and Heather have 4 biological children who are all adults. Tom, along with his brother-in-law, father-in-law and son, own their own business where they cut trees and sell the timber. Heather stays at home with the kids and grandkids and cares for the home duties.
The Umsteads had their children young and were just reaching the time in life where things were starting to slow down, and they were looking forward to more time with each other and possibly some traveling. About that time, they began to feel a nudge from God to be completely surrendered to Him. They wanted to give their lives back to God so He could use them as a blessing to others. That is when adoption was placed on their hearts. Not just adoption but they researched and found the greatest need was children with Down syndrome. Asia in particular had a great number of boys with Down syndrome in orphanages.
Enter their 4th son, Samuel! Samuel was adopted in 2017; he was 3 when the Umstead’s brought him home. He has Down syndrome and an extra surprise of Autism. Samuel fit into their family like only God could do. Autism was not a disability they thought they were open to, but they would not change a thing about Samuel. They were over the moon about Samuel and did not plan on a return trip to Asia. However, during the visit to the orphanage, Tom met Joy (formerly Caroline on RR). Joy shared a crib with Samuel, and they lived in that small space together for 3 years. So as soon as they returned to the US they began advocating for Joy. When their year was up, and no one submitted for Joy they knew they had to go back for her. Joy came home in 2019. Joy rocked the extra chromosome along with a heart defect that eventually will need another surgery, but you would never know! Joy is amazing! She is such a quick learner and is thriving in her new family.
Prior to adopting Joy, the Umstead’s learned of a little guy in the same orphanage as their children. His name is Auden, and they were drawn to him. During the visit at the orphanage when adopting Joy, they asked to see and spend time with Auden. They were able to see him but were not given permission to interact with him. Auden was not doing well. They committed at that moment to return for him as soon as possible. They spoke with friends and were able to get Auden out of the orphanage and into a healing home until they would be permitted to return for him.
That takes us to today. The Umstead’s have submitted their dossier and they are just waiting for the travel suspension to be lifted so they can make their final trip to bring home their last son, who will be named Moses John. Along with your financial support (because fundraising is hard with Samuel and Joy) they would appreciate your prayers.
3/16/2021 — AWAITING TRAVEL
Zachary and Caitlyn Connelly are the parents of 5 biological children. They are starting the journey to adopt a 2 year old boy from Eastern Europe. They know this may seem radical to some people but being the hands and feet of Jesus is what we are called to do, right? Adoption is expensive and while they have many obstacles to overcome during this time they have faith God will provide everything they need. Knowing that not everyone can help financially they ask for your prayers above anything else. Prayers for the process and also prayers for the little boy who has some complex medical issues that may not be being met due to being in an orphanage and not having access to great medical care.
The family thanks each and every one who prays and donates. It truly takes a village and they are thankful for theirs!
9/2/2021 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED
Chris and Kelli have been married for almost 10 years. They have 3 wonderful biological children and are so excited to be adding 2 more wonderful children to their family through adoption. Chris works part-time as a pastor and he owns his own small woodworking business. Kelli works with preschool and elementary age children as a speech language pathologist with the public school system. They work together to homeschool their children.
Adoption is a new world to Chris and Kelli, but they’re willing to work hard and do whatever it takes to bring their children home. They are truly grateful for all donations to help them in this process! Will you be a part of their adoption story?
9/8/2021 — APPT in OCTOBER
Hi! We are Steven and Anna, and we have four amazing kids! We got married in 2010 and immediately started talking about having a family. We knew that we wanted adoption or foster care to be part of our story, but there is no way we could have envisioned how God would bring us all together!
In 2014, after attempting to do foster care locally and having doors closed, we faced the heartbreaking reality of infertility. We decided to lean back into the idea of adopting, and began working with our agency to pursue domestic infant adoption. While in the homestudy process, we saw our son Eddie listed in an advocacy post. We immediately contacted our agency and couldn’t believe it when they said we met all of the criteria to be matched with him! We were overjoyed. Eddie is now eight years old, and has been home from Bulgaria since Fall 2015. He loves music and the outdoors with a passion!
After bringing Eddie home, we knew that our family was not complete. We also saw how quickly his health and overall development improved after leaving the orphanage, and we felt that we should act quickly. To many, it seemed overzealous to start the process again when Eddie had only been home for a few months, but we knew that if there was a little girl out there in a crib somewhere, it wasn’t too soon for her. We began the process to adopt again from Bulgaria, and were still in our homestudy phase when another Reece’s Rainbow mom contacted me to share Rosa’s photo and advocacy profile. We were immediately drawn to her! Rosa came home in late 2016. She is eight years old and loves video chatting with grandparents, playing with siblings, family bike rides, and reading books together.
Shortly after Rosa came home, we saw Victor’s photograph. We immediately knew that his needs were urgent and that it was pressing for him to get out of orphanage care. After just a few weeks, we inquired with our agency about the feasibility of starting the adoption process for the third time in two years. His adoption was completed in less than a calendar year, and he came home right before Christmas in 2017. Victor has a smile that lights up the whole room. He loves vestibular stimulation, his fiber optic lamp, and riding in the bike trailer. We are so thankful that he was able to come home to our family.
In 2019 we got an incredible gift of new life! Karyn, our biological child, was born in the Fall. It has been so wonderful to watch her grow up with such diverse family members and how much she loves them all. One of Karyn’s first consistent words was “Vic!” and she chirps his name constantly! “Vic! Vic!” Victor, who doesn’t always like a lot of touch, loves her and will even smile a little as he hears her running towards him. She has inspired Eddie to play more and has given Rosa a chance to nurture to her heart’s content. Karyn is full of moxie!
In late 2020, we realized that we had room in our hearts and home for another kiddo. As we contemplated adopting again, Anna saw an advocacy post about a specific kiddo that sent the family in the direction of Latin America. We are so thrilled to have the chance to adopt again and bring home a beloved sister and treasured daughter. Children belong in forever families, and we can’t wait to meet our little girl!
The Parrish family has a $4,000 matching grant!! When their FSP reaches $6632, they will receive an additional $4000!
8/11/2021 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED in JULY
Phil and Kristie Graves have been married for almost 2 decades. Phil met Kristie when he became the youth pastor at Faith Baptist Church in Maryland in 2001. Kristie was teaching senior high Sunday school and Phil thought she was pretty nice from the very beginning.
For several years, Phil and Kristie discussed the idea of adoption. In 2017 they adopted their fourth child, Elliana, from Armenia. They have now taken the first real steps toward adopting their fifth child, a girl from Eastern Europe. They decided to adopt a special needs child through Reece’s Rainbow because they believe all kids deserve a loving home. She is a beautiful creation of God and they are anxious to get her home.
They also have three biological children. Won’t you please help them take their family from six people to seven? You can help by donating to their adoption. Thanks for your prayers and support!
6/14/2021 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
We are the Johnson family! Meet Dad, Kevin, and Mom Seana. Kevin raced motocross professionally for years before he retired and is now a realtor. Seana is a stay-at-home homeschool teacher to their 5 children. Our kids are Preslie (13), Gavin (10), Kenlie (8), Emmaline (5), and Everleigh (1 1/2). We are overjoyed to be adding a very special little one to our family through adoption! God has been working on our story for many years. We believe what the Bible says in James 1:27 ‘Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.’ It is only through Him that we are able to open our home and our hearts to a precious child who needs a loving family. We are truly overjoyed to be starting this process and look forward with hope to the day we get to meet and bring home our new child!
9/9/2021 — TRAVEL DATES RECEIVED
The Collins Family is excited to expand their family and add a new little one to the bunch! Lee & Diana have been married for 22 years and are the proud parents of 4 amazing children. Spencer is 20 years old, Trevor is 19, Emma is 12, and their youngest daughter Kenzie is 4 years old and has Down syndrome. She was adopted 3 years ago. Kenzie’s adoption had such a great impact on their lives and their family’s lives. She has changed so many perspectives, and demonstrates how worthy children with special needs truly are. Diana has a background in Child Development and Education, while Lee has a professional business background. For 11 years, they ran a preschool fitness program in their area, and worked with young children on gross motor development and fitness. A year ago they changed industries, and now own a Pool service and repair company. Lee runs the business which allows Diana to stay home with the children. The Collins family lives a very outdoorsy lifestyle. Lee & Diana enjoy going hiking, running, and on family walks. The boys grew up playing soccer their whole lives, and as they have gotten older they enjoy skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding. Emma has taken on the love for soccer as well, and also enjoys bike rides with her friends. Kenzie enjoys dance class, and doing anything outdoors with her family! No matter what you find the Collins family doing, you will see them doing it together. Family and togetherness is the most important thing to them. Lee & Diana love being parents, and take a lot of pride in their children. They strongly believe that parenting isn’t only about being a parent, it’s about providing opportunity and exposure, inclusion, sharing experiences, encouragement, support, teaching acceptance, and creating strong, individuals for life. They look forward to bringing another child into their home to share the love and happiness of their family!
8/10/2021 — DOSSIER NEARLY COMPLETE
Meet the Anderson-Hansen Family! Charlie and Liz have a blended family with 5 children: Ethan (15), Savanna (13), Abby (12), Emmeline (5) and Cameron (4). Charlie and Liz each brought children from first marriages (the oldest 3), had one child together (Emmeline) and adopted one child through DCF. They are both registered nurses. Charlie works in an ICU and Liz works as a nurse for a group home agency for intellectually delayed adults.
As long as Liz can remember, she had plans to adopt internationally. She scrolled through the profiles of children on the Reece’s Rainbow site for many years, longing to bring a child home. When they met, Liz introduced Charlie to the world of Reece’s Rainbow adoption and he was hooked! After the birth of their daughter, Emmeline, Charlie and Liz researched agencies to start the international adoption process. They were placed with a newborn in 2016. It was quite the surprise! They were unable to pursue and international adoption while holding a DCF foster license, so plans for an international adoption were put on hold. Cameron was officially adopted in 2021 and the home study process is now officially underway!
As nurses, they both feel equipped to care for a child with a complex medical history and would love to adopt an older child. With the closing of a larger house in 2020, they have plenty of space and love to provide for another child. The children are very excited for the addition of a new family member and are all ready to start fundraising to bring their new sibling home from Eastern Europe! Family and friends are all supportive of this new adventure for the Anderson-Hansen Family. We know that it takes a village to raise a child and would be would feel blessed to have you all along on this journey to bring our child home!
6/16/2021 — USCIS APPROVED
We are the Perryman family we have been married for almost 28 years now. God has blessed us with 3 bios. Children 26 ,21,14 & a daughter in law. This is our 2nd adoption from Asia. God blessed us with Eliyahu who is now 6. We brought him home in Nov. 2018. He was born with Down Syndrome (Rocking that 3rd Chromosome) and Anal Atresia so he has a colostomy bag. We have always had a heart for special needs children. Those who have Down Syndrome especially tugs at our hearts. In 2014 God said 2 years. We were not sure what that meant at that time but during the next 2 years we had a heavy heart for the kids with special needs that needed a loving family. Seemed like everything we heard of saw was about adoption so we started looking and reading about thousands of kids waiting to be adopted & it brought tears to our eyes & pulled at our heart strings. We know without a doubt God was calling us to adopt.
In 2016 God said it is time. We went & talked to our friends that have adopted 4 special needs kids from China. She showed us some sweet faces waiting to be adopted. The next morning, she texted me a picture & said she had forgotten about this little guy, he was in the same orphanage as their daughter was. Oh, my heart that little face. I shared his picture with my husband. That night when we got home, I showed our daughter she said Mom that’s my brother. That was conformation that this little guy was ours. In March 2016 we started the process on our 1st adoption. A lot of prayers, trusting and relying on God! Nov. 2018, we brought our son home from China. In June 2019 I (Christin) felt the need to look at special need’s children waiting on a forever family & as I was looking at all of those beautiful little souls there was one little face with Down Syndrome that tugged at my heart & I knew God is blessing us with another daughter. Now all I needed to do was tell M.J.. He would probably say it was to soon, because at this time we had only had our son home for 6 months. We know God had put it in our hearts to adopt again but we were not sure when. I know my wife looks at the special needs children on Reece’s Rainbow & often prays God would be with them & watch over them. One evening when she was on Reece’s Rainbow, she came across this beautiful little girl & my wife said look at this baby. I looked at the picture for a minute then looked back at my wife (Christin) & said this is our baby girl. When my husband (M.J.) said those words, I knew that was conformation & it is God’s plan for this precious baby girl to be ours. She is chosen & wanted. We are stepping out in faith & being obedient to what God has called us to do. We are expectant and can not wait to see how God’s Grace, Mercy & Love is shown through this.
2/15/2021 — COMPILING DOSSIER
When I was in college in 1996, I had the opportunity to travel to Haiti on a service learning trip. It was there I met the most precious child, a social orphan, like so many in the world. And she planted a seed that took years to spout. In 2010, I traveled with family to Bangladesh to visit children we sponsored at an orphanage. There I realized that love could fully and completely extend beyond the boundaries of traditional views of parent and child. It was a profound time of learning about family structure.
I have three incredible children conceived through IVF; my sweet sons are Joshua, Johnathan and Gabriel. It was a time that l learned to lean fully rely on God. It taught me that hard things happen and still I can trust in Him! As I prayed for the children of my womb, I have also prayed for this little boy of my heart. I know he meant to feel loved and belong with us; he’s been wanted and longed for, for many years!
It is not in my nature to seek assistance however, this is a time, I do ask. The cost of international adoption is expensive ($35,000). I would love for you to partner with us to bring our sweet child home. Also, I believe strongly in the power of prayer and welcome prayers for ease of process, for our family as we prepare here but specially to keep our little one safe and protected till home with us.
4/20/2021 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED
Meet the Palms! Adam and Carolyn and their kids: Doug, Adam, Veronica, Matthew, Mary, Jack, Regina, Gabriel, and Gemma.
When Adam and Carolyn were married almost seventeen years ago, they knew God was calling them to raise a family, but did not know if they would be able to have biological children. Even before they said, “I do,” they had discussed and joyfully agreed that adoption would be a beautiful way to grow a family. And then Douglas was born exactly ten months after their wedding day, and Adam Blaise two years later. The rapidly growing family was thrilled to learn that a third baby was on the way… only to suffer the heartbreak of miscarriage soon after. Adam and Carolyn began discussing adoption again, and remained open to the possibility, even as God blessed them with three more biological children, Veronica, Matthew, and Mary. When Mary was eight months old, Jack arrived! He was six days old when they welcomed him into their family. It was a private, domestic adoption, and completely unexpected… but Jack was born exactly five years after the due date of the baby they lost.
After adopting Jack, Adam and Carolyn often mused that it would be nice if he were not the only adopted one in the family (although that is a source of pride to him). As his arrival was quickly followed by Regina, Gabriel, and then Gemma, the couple really didn’t have time to pursue it. And then Gemma, only two weeks old, was hospitalized with RSV. She was in ICU for a week, and Carolyn never left her side, while Adam remained at home with the other children. During that time, a nurse checking on little Gemma remarked to Carolyn how sad it is that some tiny babies in that hospital have no one to stay with them and pray for their recovery; one little fellow with Down Syndrome was in the cardiac wing at that very moment. His parents, appalled by his Down Syndrome diagnosis, had abused and neglected him; at only a few months old, he was fearful of all people. He was in the hospital for heart surgery, and would not be returning to his parents. That baby’s story got Carolyn thinking about adoption again. Ironically, that very day, Adam was talking to his boss, who has an adult son with Down Syndrome, about the beauty of raising a child with special needs. That day was also the funeral of an eight-year-old boy with Down Syndrome, adopted from Poland by friends of theirs, whose brief little life touched so many others. Clearly, God was sending Adam and Carolyn a message.
First things first; Gemma needed to recover, which she did! And the Palms needed a bigger house before the family grew any larger. Now that Gemma is a happy, healthy one-year-old, and the family is settled in a more spacious abode, the time has come to fulfill the adoption dream again. The Palms are blessed to have dear friends who recently adopted three children with Down Syndrome from Eastern Europe, and are helping them through the process. Adam, Carolyn, and the kids are all eagerly preparing their hearts and home to welcome the newest family member!
9/14/2021 — APPT DATE in OCTOBER
Meet the Boyer family! Shane (dad) works in the manufacturing industry. April (mom) stays at home and homeschools their five children. They live on a small homestead in Ohio. Shane and April began the process to foster-adopt early on in their marriage and soon found out they were expecting their second child, so they decided to put the process on hold until their children were older.
Fast forward to 2020 and Shane and April were blessed by the birth of their fifth child who also has Down syndrome. Aside from the pandemic, 2020 was a rough year for them as they navigated their daughter’s numerous medical needs. However, Shane and April believe God used 2020 to prepare them for even more.
Shane and April believe ALL children are a gift from The Lord and know God is leading them to international special needs adoption. These children are normally put in orphanages, group homes or institutions and do not have access to proper care. Shane and April have been busy planning and looking for ways to earn the funds needed, such as chopping and selling firewood and crocheting handmade items as well as applying for grants to help with the costs. They appreciate your prayers and support. You can follow their journey on their blog at www.boyerfamilyfarm.com. Thank you and may God bless you!
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. – James 1:27 NIV
9/1/2021 — DOSSIER COMPLETE
Hi! We are Jonathan and Melissa Pfenninger. We have two beautiful daughters named Ivy (4) and Elliott (2) and are in the process to bring home a third!
We did not start out the adoption process in your typical way. While very open to adoption, our plans were always to build our family through biological kids, begin being foster parents, and adopting later on. Of course, our plans often don’t go according to plan and ours changed in November 2019 when we first laid eyes on a girl while scrolling through social media. This little girl caught our attention not only because she needed a family but also because she has a medical condition we are very familiar with. She has Turner Syndrome (TS) which just happens to be the same diagnosis our oldest daughter Ivy has as well. TS is very rare, with only 1-2% of babies making it to birth. We both joked that we should adopt her and kept on scrolling as we normally do.
A week later, out of the blue, we both brought up to each other “the little girl with TS” who we just couldn’t get off our minds. We began to talk and pray seriously about what we could and should do. We both felt God calling us to make a move, whatever that may be. We talked about how, while not ideal timing, God had given us all the resources to be able to adopt. How could we know about her and not do anything? So we took a leap of faith and started the adoption process. We were still not 100% sure this is what God had in store for us but we believed that if this was the path we were supposed to take, it would be made known.
A couple months later, we thought we got our answer when another family was chosen to adopt Ivey instead of us. While we were sad and disappointed, we came to the conclusion that what we wanted for Ivey was to be loved and cared for and whether it was us or another family, she would be and we could be content in that. We talked about what to do now that we had started this process and we decided to make sure that we had everything in order so that if something happened and Ivey needed another family to love her, we would be ready.
Almost 10 months later we got a call that we were not expecting. Our agency was on the phone asking if we were still open to adopting Ivey! Almost immediately, we said yes. We had been praying for this little girl for almost a year now and have been loving her from afar. And now we were beginning to see God’s plan fall into place for her- us! There are so many emotions that go into an adoption but the resounding one is an overwhelming feeling of love for a little girl we haven’t even gotten to meet yet. We are excited (and nervous!) to embark on this adventure but cannot wait to see what God has in store for our family.
8/24/2021 — AWAITING FINAL TRIP
Patrick and Lindsey have devoted their lives to changing the lives of kids from all different backgrounds and abilities. They always knew they would adopt internationally, but it wasn’t until 2020 when God said to step out in faith and they decided to push forward. After fostering for over 10 years, they decided to pursue their dreams of adopting a true orphan and giving them a forever home. They first applied for a little girl seen on Reece’s Rainbow, but during the home study process another family committed to her. They prayed and God answered saying, “Do not be discouraged now there is not only one orphan who found a home, but now there will be two.” They continued the home study process and began to pray about which children God had for them. Being a registered nurse and having one daughter with cerebral palsy and another with autism they knew special needs were definitely open. As soon as they read the statistics and the outcome likely for most children with Down syndrome, they knew that was where God was leading them. They can’t wait to add another little girl to their family and show God’s great love to those around them through this great testimony and prove love really doesn’t count chromosomes.
4/1/2021 — USCIS APPROVED
Meet the Breckenridge Family! Scott (dad), Jenna (mom), Aeson (13), and Rowan (8)! They are a fun loving family who enjoy the little things in life. They reside in Iowa, but love to travel as much as possible!
The Breckenridge family is looking to bring home 3 boys from Eastern Europe very soon! While they have met 2 of those 3 children, through hosting, they have not met their third, but do have their eye on a very special little guy on Reece’s Rainbow and can already see their future with him in their family!
They received their USCIS ‘receipt’ on 1/6/2021 and are awaiting their biometrics appointment, while they square away all their dossier documents.
The adoption journey, so far, has been a wild ride (thank you, Covid) and the Breckenridge family feels truly blessed by anyone that has helped in any way possible. They realize that adopting does in fact take a village and want you to know that any size of donation gets them one step closer to bringing their children home forever, so THANK YOU!
6/22/2021 — FIRST TRIP LATE JUNE
We are the Darnowski family. We just adopted three little toddlers, who don’t yet toddle, from Eastern Europe! Elizaveta (Carmen on RR) 15 mos, Yuri (Quill) 2.5 and Piotr (Kade) 2.5 years. We realized that some other families were going back again right after adopting, to adopt again. They so inspired us, that we decided we would also try to seize the opportunity while the way still presented itself to us, (while only required to have a homestudy update, vs a whole new homestudy) to get some more children to a loving home!
We saw some pretty beautiful faces while visiting the orphanages with sad, longing looks in their eyes. We saw the beauty of how our biological children love and interact with their new siblings, and the amazing strides our newly adopted children are making in just the little time they have been home. Some of the other little children in our children’s’ orphanages will soon be moved to an adult institution! (Age 5-35 years!!). We were told that while the children’s’ orphanages in their region have pretty good care including therapies, the adult ones are considered “palliative”.
We wish we could bring them all home. Will you consider doing so, or supporting us as we go on this crazy journey again? Thank you in advance for your amazing generosity which carried us through Eastern Europe adoption number one! You are amazing!!!
9/9/2021 — COURT in LATE SEPT & EARLY OCT
Emilia has received a $15,000 Older Child Grant!
We are the Allardice Family from Fall River, MA. Our family includes Erica, Ian and our 2 children Kailee 12yo and Rylan 7yo. Our story started many years ago when Ian and I were only 15yo we met in driving school. We became close friends throughout high school. We parted ways after graduation and went our separate ways. Erica to college and eventually becoming a pediatric nurse. Ian joined the United States Navy. Fifteen years after high school we reconnected and the rest is history. Ian joined Erica and her two children helping raise them and guide them through life for the past 5 years. So where does our journey take us next. To EASTERN EUROPE!!!!!
We are on God’s path to adopt a special needs little boy from Eastern Europe. Why international adoption? Children born in Eastern Europe with special needs are most often put in orphanages where they do not receive the proper care. We feel if we can save just one of God’s children and show him he is loved and wanted then we have helped in this world wide crisis. We know International adoption is however costly ranging from $25,000-40,000 so we will be applying for grants and fundraising to help offset the cost to help bring our boy home. Thank you for all your love and support.
8/7/2021 — VIRTUAL TRIP 1 COMPLETE; AWAITING COURT DATE
Brian and Stephanie have grown their family in nearly every possible way: biology, step parenting, foster care and international adoption. Nine of their children are “permanent members” but a handful of extras call them mom and dad from their years as foster parents, and they have even recently added the title of “bonus grandparents” to their names.
Their kids range from 21 to 2, college students to babies, the youngest members arriving via international adoption and both rocking their extra chromosomes and both the unanimous sibling favorites.
When adopting the littlest member, Zeke, Brian and Stephanie decided at the last moment to add a second son while the world was on pause due to the pandemic. Things unexpectedly opened up again, and due to their son’s medical needs they were advised to go ahead and get him home for the medical attention he needs and return. They had already amended their home study, agency documents and USCIS approval so they are ready to head back as soon as Zeke is settled in his new family!
The McFarland-Higgins family will be adopting a third child with down syndrome, and with their paperwork ready to go, will be able to move quickly when it is time. Stephanie opened a small business in 2019 to fund the family’s adoptions and the family plans to expand their shop to employ adults with intellectual disabilities in the future. You can visit them at www.longertableapothecary.com
7/22/2021 — AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
Hi My name is Denise. I am in the process of adopting sweet little Lazar. The Lord has been leading me to him and I would like to share how. I grew up in a large family, so there were always babies and little ones around. At even such a young age, I knew I was designed and created to be a mother. Fast forward to my first marriage and we immediately began trying. We were overjoyed at the news we were going to be parents, and yet soon after we were faced with the news of our first loss. We tried and tried again to discover that my body was not going to allow pregnancy. A journey of infertility and loss and we drifted apart. I discovered a passion in the kitchens in fine dining restaurants and eventually found love again. The love of my life. He was aware of my infertility and confidently assured me we would become parents through adoption. Somewhere in the midst of it all I had a health scare where a trip to the emergency room and a diagnosis of congestive heart failure turned out to be a severe case of preeclampsia with this 29 week pregnancy I new nothing of!!! That evening, I gave birth to my miracle boy Caleb. He was 2 pounds 11/12 ounces and born a fighter and Champion for the Lord! He is now 7 years old. He is a cerebral palsy warrior and the joy of my life. My husband fought depression all through his life and ultimately lost his battle to suicide years after Caleb’s birth.
It was after losing him, I felt the call to adoption. I was drawn to a younger boy with Down syndrome. It was one of the many “one day I’ll…” Meanwhile I kept putting one foot in front of the other. Caleb and I were thriving and I started to dabble in dating. And that brought me to one of the most amazing blessings of my life. I got pregnant again. Yes the woman who couldn’t get pregnant had beat the odds twice, At least this pregnancy I was aware I was pregnant! I learned in utero he had a diagnosis of down syndrome. I also learned there was something wrong as he had no stomach bubble. I carried my sweet boy to term and had a vaginal birth. He was whisked off to the NICU right away and we discovered he was born with Esophageal Atresia and also discovered he had Hirschprung’s disease. The NICU was our home for the next 8 ½ months. He had his repair at 6 months and fought for his life to come home. We were able to enjoy several months at home with him, until he was called home to the Lord after his procedure. I was so overwhelmed at how everyone came together to bless Caleb and I. As the donations grew and grew I knew immediately in my heart what I needed to do. Go….. Adopt…. Love….. bless this little boy that I was led to. I have no idea why God needed Sebastian more than I do. I may never know. Sebastian showed me I could do the hard things. I have the room and the equipment and the space and the toys and the books and the love and the family to offer this little one. Caleb is soaring. He has begun to pull up to stand on his own. He is finding his balance on his own. I am so excited to bring this little boy home and provide a home full of love and joy.
8/31/2021 — COURT PASSED! AWAITING TRIP HOME
Meet the Peters family! This beautiful family is excited to be on their second adoption working hard to bring home a precious girl born with Down Syndrome. Joe and Ronda have a special admiration for people born with Down Syndrome, their fourth child being born with DS, opened their world to the beauty of everyone being born differently abled. Adoption had been something they have talked about over the years of their marriage. Both Joe and Ronda found their hearts captured after coming across a photo of little boy born with Down syndrome whom another family had been advocating for from Reece’s Rainbow. Joe and Ronda knew right away looking at that photo that he was their son. After bringing their adopted son home from Asia, God started laying on their hearts the great need of so many older children still waiting for their families, most never being adopted. So, after the year anniversary of their adopted son being home and many prayers for God’s direction, they started requesting files of older children. Joe and Ronda’s hearts captured once again; the Peters family is excited to be growing their family through adoption.
Adoption is a journey of love and that open-heart love makes a family. Your contribution will truly be a beautiful blessing as you will be a part of helping bring their daughter home to her forever family. Thank you for your prayers and donation.
12/24/2020 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED
Hi! We are the Ray Family. We have been blessed with 3 bio kids, aged 16, 13, and 10, but we have felt a calling that our family is not quite complete. For a while, we were a foster care home, and while we learned a lot and were blessed by all the kids that came in and out of our home, our heart has been captivated by international special needs adoption.
We have always wanted to adopt since we married 17 years ago, and we are now finally settled down in lovely Lawrence, KS and have purchased a home of our very own. A home with room for one more!
Kevin is a 10 year veteran of the United States Coast Guard, and Emily is a teacher certified in ELL/SPED/Social Studies. Emily has had wonderful experiences working with students with Down Syndrome (and a wide range of other disabilities) who are also English Language learners in her career as a teacher, and feels a special affinity for children with special needs.
We have been following Reece’s Rainbow for many years, dreaming of the time when it would be our turn to travel to pick up our new daughter! We hope to adopt an older girl with Down Syndrome from Asia.
While the financial obstacles of adoption seem huge, we know that these children belong in families, not in institutions, and can’t wait to bring our new daughter home! Thank you for considering partnering with us by donating and sharing our story. Every little bit gets us a little bit closer to bringing our daughter home from the orphanage. With gratitude, the Rays
3/12/2021 — COMPILING DOSSIER; PRE-APPROVAL RECEIVED
Jason grew up in Oklahoma and spent most of his life in Texas and Merilee is from Georgia. Their story didn’t begin until they met while working overseas in Tokyo, Japan. After falling in love and deciding they wanted to start a future together, they were married and began the hard work of blending their families. They now live in Germany and have four children at home.
Even before they met, Jason and Merilee had a heart for adoption. It was a calling they both felt whispering in their ears for many years. They believe God has always been working in the background of their lives preparing their hearts and minds for their adoption journey. In early 2020, Merilee found the Reese’s Rainbow website and began perusing the profiles of children around the world in need of a loving home. She ran across the profile of a teenager whose biographical information stated his adoption attorney felt “since he was not good looking” his chance of finding a home before aging out was slim. She shared this with Jason and they spent a lot of time talking and thinking about the fact that children are overlooked because they are literally not “cute” enough. They knew they didn’t have enough time to complete the process to be able to pursue this young man before he aged out, however, reading his profile was the momentum they needed to propel their adoption decision further.
After a few months of researching country programs and agencies, they settled on an agency and country and began considering their options between the traditional and waiting child programs. They were leaning toward the traditional matching option until their agency passed along the file for a young girl with special needs who was newly listed with the agency. They both had heard stories of adopted mothers and fathers talking about a moment of instant recognition when seeing their child for the first time. This is exactly the feeling they had from their first look at her photo and videos. They knew she was the one they were missing to complete their family.
If you find it in your hearts to help Jason and Merilee on this journey to welcome their daughter home, they will be forever grateful. There is no gift too great or too small to help them give this child something she has never had – a family of her own.
9/13/2021 — FIRST TRIP in LATE SEPTEMBER
*** Donna has received a $2,000 Grant! ***
Sara and Shandon have been married for 17 years. Together they have 4 biological children. Aged 25, 22, 13 and 2. Shandon is a truck driver and Sara a stay at home mom. Sara had always known that she wanted adoption to be a part of her future since she was young. Her and Shandon had discussed it many times through the years, but had never felt it was the “right time”. The right time came for them in the spring of 2020 when began their adoption journey..
While scrolling through facebook posts Sara had come across a post sharing a story of a child adopted out of an orphanage, entitled “What love can do”. After reading through the post, she found Reece’s Rainbow and began reading through the pages of children in need of a family. Night after night she would go on an see all the little faces, and it made her heart ache. She had not really thought of international adoption before, however, she felt like this was where she belonged and that god had brought her here for a reason.
Her first commitment was made that summer, when she found a little boy she knew was meant to be her son. Sara and Shandon discussed the process and decided they were 100% ready to jump in and get this little one home.
A few weeks went by and she came across another post on facebook shared by Keshia Melton, called “see me Saturday”. And that is when she saw her daughter. She had seen the bio of this little one before, and had gone back to it so many times, it seemed to keep popping up almost daily, reminding her that she was still there, and waiting. She could not get this little girl off of her mind, and there came the second commitment.
Anyone who knows Sara and Shandon know that they are givers, it is not in their nature to ask for help. But the cost of international adoption is expensive, and something that they will need help with. They have had multiple yard sales, can drives, Sara makes ornaments, and Shandon has been selling paintings. They understand that times are tough for everyone right now, but are asking if you can donate to help bring these kiddos home they would appreciate it, any amount helps. If you can not donate monetarily, they ask that you share their story. They believe strongly in the power of prayer, so they ask that you join them in prayer that these 2 little ones are safe and protected until they can make it to them.
9/17/2021 — DOSSIER COMPLETE & IN COUNTRY
In February of 2020 Amanda and Jerry were exploring the idea of adopting, this being Amanda’s lifelong dream to be an adoptive mother they felt they were finally at a point in their lives where this was possible. After having a home built with a growing family in mind, they moved towards finding the right organization to help them on their journey. Amanda was speaking to her sister Ashley who lives in San Antonio and she told her about Keisha Melton and Reece’s Rainbow who advocate for children all over the world.
It was in that moment they decided to explore international adoption. Amanda and Jerry were on Reece’s Rainbow looking at children all over the world, Ashley was also was searching and sending photos and stories of children. When they saw Izak listed on Reece’s Rainbow it was instant. Instant love, instant devotion, the I will stop at nothing feeling. After researching and finding where he was in the world, they realized they would need to start to fundraise to be able to bring Izak home.
Amanda started a power washing fundraiser skeptical if it would take off and be something big but turned out it was just the right fit to start the process. On Mother’s Day Jerry contacted Nancy and committed to Izak. It was in that moment Amanda felt the love and devotion Jerry had to the adoption. After two weeks of starting the adoption process Nancy reached out to let them in on a little surprise. Izak has two sisters. They were shocked; they started an adoption for one child, and now there are three children. They were given the options, petition to separate the children, adopt all 3 or find another child. There was only one right answer, God had led them to Izak he knew before they knew. They knew God had planned this all along and he showed them Izak to bring them together.
Jerry and Amanda have two children at home, Andrea who is 14 this year and Jeffrey who is 2 years old. Andrea is extremely excited to have more siblings. Andrea is big on gymnastics, has been in it for over a year, decided to take a break so that the family can use the funds to bring her siblings’ home. Her devotion to her siblings has shown her parents true love, she’s pressure washing on the weekends, making jewelry after school and cutting down on wants to insure this is possible. Jeffrey is still to young to fully understand the adoption, but he knows mommy and daddy are bringing home his brother and sisters. When asked if he’s ready he says YAAAAAA. Thank you for helping bring their new siblings home!
8/2/2021 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Douglas and Jena have been married for almost six years. Their first son joined their family from Eastern Europe through adoption just before Christmas 2019. When they brought him home, they said they would go back “in a few years.” However, much like when they saw their first son’s photo and story, they now feel called to return to Eastern Europe for another waiting child to complete their family.
7/29/2021 — USCIS APPROVED; AWAITING COURT
We (Brion and Jenn) have been part of the adoption community for most of our lives. Brion’s family, including his father, aunts, and uncles, as well as niece and nephew were adopted. Before Jenn met Brion, she spent many years working with organizations that supported orphans and community health in Vietnam, China, Mexico, and Honduras. Adoption has always been a plan for our families for both Brion and Jenn, even before they met. We believe family is the greatest gift a person can give to another. We have put our family first in all we have done in life and we have been blessed in return with the most amazing children. We cannot imagine life any other way (even if it meant it was easier). We adopted three of our five children. Adoption has been an amazing experience for our entire family. Our last two children, Michael and Emily were adopted together from China two years ago. Their journey home has brought us closer than ever as a family. Throughout this journey, we connected with many families and orphaned children. The connections and the experiences we have had with adoption have motivated us to pursue adoption again. We believe all children belong in families. And we have decided to pursue adoption as the way to further expand our family. Down Syndrome adoption (which is what we are pursuing now) was a dream of ours since before we were married. Our adoption of Emily in 2018 and the connections we have made in the Down Syndrome community has inspired us to adopt our sixth child, who will also have Down Syndrome- or what we like to refer to as “FLAWLESS”.
Our formal adoption journey formally began in 2006 when we pursued the adoption of Olivia from Vietnam. Our journey to her was incredibly challenging, as Vietnam closed the adoption program in 2008. We were still able to bring Olivia home. When we discovered her traumatic brain injury, we felt peace knowing she was with her forever family. In 2017, we decided to grow our family again. We were well prepared with the requirements of raising children with exceptional needs and had the resources to provide for another child. Our initial plan was to adopt one child from China (Emily). After much prayer and consideration, we decided to adopt a second child with her (Michael). We brought both children home in March of 2018. In August of that year we learned Michael had Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. This diagnosis came as a shock to us, as we had no idea of this disease, and were devastated to learn the tragic path and terminal outcome. Through our grief and processing, we found ourselves in a place of peace and joy knowing that Michael would have a family who would love him forever and would care for him when his disease takes his mobility and eventually his life. Most people would probably find it sensible to stop growing their family at this point. After all, we have two children with diagnoses that we never imagined. But the truth is, Michael and Olivia affirmed our belief that a family supports, sustains, and loves no matter if… not matter what.
In 2019, we decided to continue our parenting journey with our present adoption. Our experiences with Down Syndrome adoption, the community, and our family structure has opened our family to adopt another child with Down Syndrome. We
have been matched with an almost 4-year-old girl with Down Syndrome. She also has a severe heart condition (due to congenital heart defects). When we saw her face on Reece’s Rainbow and heard the most precious giggle ever….we knew we found our daughter.
10/20/2020 — AWAITING TRAVEL
Hi there! We are the Staley Family. Paul is a Software Developer and SharePoint Administrator and Elizabeth a stay at home mom. Why do we want to adopt? The short answer is that we love being parents and we have the time and love to pour into a couple more kiddos.
The long answer is more complicated and heartbreaking. I personally have always wanted to adopt as long as I can remember. I honestly cannot say how that seed was originally planted there. Our son in law called and asked if we would be interested in adopting a little girl from Ecuador. She was 4 and in a bad situation. We had a big house, time, great insurance and lots of love so of course we said yes. Fast forward a few weeks and many calls to attorneys in both Ecuador and here, this was not even an option. We realized then we had both been really excited about having a new little person and decided we would go forward and adopt anyway. We looked into several adoption programs and chose China. We fit the parameters, the program seemed stable and to be honest we also were dying to see China. I do believe when you choose a country, you should probably love the food and be interested in the culture because you will need to weave this into the rest of your life.
We started out to only adopt one child with an “easy” special need (Its ok to laugh here, we know better now). We signed for a little girl with albinism, but there was also little girl with a big scary special need that I thought about constantly, I stalked her advocacy page and watched as families said no to her file. I asked her advocate a million questions. Then I had dreams about her (until that moment I felt that statement “I just knew” was probably a bunch of crap), but I did just know.
Gabby had tetralogy of fallot and pulmonary atresia, she had significant lung damage from receiving the wrong surgery and poor oxygen saturation (She was in the 60’s). We adopted both girls in an expedited process and it was the trip of a lifetime. We joked that we had the best souvenirs ever. We made it through two open heart surgeries for Gabby and 3 other surgeries in very short order, we lived at the hospital for a month after the first surgery in 2015. Gabby’s vocal cords were damaged in that first surgery. She was placed on thickened liquids. The girls started therapy 6-8 appointments a week right away. We were really crazy busy. Isabella had many bonus special needs we were not expecting but we continued to try different things. Izzy had really endured such an awful time because her SN is seen as a curse. I wish those same people could see my stunningly beautiful girl now who exceeded every single evaluation thus far.
During Gabby’s second open heart surgery (2017) she was diagnosed with a rare (only 64 other cases) case of fungal mediastinitis. I called every other infectious disease team I could find NO ONE had seen it or treated it. I gave her high dose antifungal meds through a picc line every day. Only 40% chance of survival and 0% if it came back, but Gabby is tough and had an unequalled zest for life, so she survived. The thing about Gabby is no matter what was going on she would make you laugh, she could be sick or tired, it didn’t matter. Gabby is a princess superhero with sparkle and sass to spare. She introduced herself to everyone saying “Hi my name is Gabby, what’s your name?” as she shoved out her hand. She never met a stranger. Her laugh is like magic, she is sweet and kind but also brave and fierce. Guess what? Gabby beat the odds and survived!
Izzy and Gabby have had a million adventures together. They are sisters, friends, playmates and partners in crime. Gabby had been asking for another sibling for some time, so Paul and I began to discuss it. We needed Izzy to go through the ABA class (she is autistic) first and hoped she would make some progress. She would begin ABA in October of 2018. We thought we would start another adoption in late summer. We began saving for our adoption in mid-summer of 2018. In late August Gabby got her usual little fever (she has had the same thing at least 100 times), never above 101 but she still wasn’t improving on day 3 so I called the pediatrician, the cardiologist but no one was worried “It’s going around” they said. I was still unsettled and took her to the ER (calling ahead to say I think something is wrong). They were not worried. We were never even triaged. No one was worried until they took her blood. She was admitted and after 4 days passed away on August 29 after having a stent and melody valve placed. She survived the operation but had a massive heart attack and bled out, she never left the OR. Gabby was the light of my life. The fungus had returned, she had been in severe sepsis.
When you lose a child, people say the craziest things to you: People ask “Did you know”, we knew she was sick yes and she deserved a family, the real tragedy would be if we had missed the opportunity to be her parents. It was a gift. Gabby was the sort of person who comes along once in a lifetime. She was worth it. I’m grateful we got to be her parents and grief is truly the price of love, and Gabby is worth every bit of that excruciating pain now.
People say “Be grateful you have other children” right, yes this is true, I do have other children, but I’d love for them to pick one of their children they could live without. It is impossible. They say “At least it wasn’t your biological child” as if somehow we loved Gabby any less because we didn’t share DNA. I loved her with my whole heart and I’d give anything for my Superhero Princess to be here and go on the adoption trip with us, unfortunately no one asked me. Being Gabby’s mom showed me that it is ok to be afraid but still do it anyway. Gabby touched so many lives in her 5 ½ years here on earth, she sure changed everything for our family. People say the adopted child is lucky, but they have absolutely no idea, we are really the lucky ones, we met so many wonderful people, saw amazing sites, celebrated holidays and ate foods we’d have never tried had it not been for adoption.
The best thing is coming in the door and hearing the thundering of little feet running toward you to hug you around the neck with giggles and sticky hands.
We are now matched with a little girl “Stella Mae” with Down Syndrome and hope we can bring her home soon. Izzy is so excited to be a big sister and can’t wait to show her sister the ropes, share the pink Unicorn room and the play area. We can’t wait to have all the family adventures with her!
8/2/2021 — COMPILING DOSSIER
Hi, we are Hannah and Paul! We have been married for eight years and have an 18-month-old son. Paul grew up in a rural area of California, and Hannah was raised in Dorset, in the South of England. Like many couples we met through a mutual friend; more unusually, we met at a bluegrass house gig in Coventry, England, and have a long previous address history. We share a love for music and traveling, and enjoy spending time with our lovely son and two dogs – a poodle and a schnoodle!
From the outset, we have talked about special needs adoption. Hannah and her family has long worked with kids and young adults in special education, and Hannah always wanted to adopt special needs kids. This also deeply resonated with Paul, and we have been waiting for the right to time to start the process. Since putting down roots in the DC area and settling into parenthood, we know this is the right to time to grow our family through adoption. We originally looked into adopting from India, as Hannah is Indian, but when we read about a specific child in an Eastern European orphanage, we felt a huge tug. We are excited to be on this journey and look eagerly look forward to the day we can bring our second child home! Thank you for reading our story – perhaps we will connect along the way!
9/13/2021 — COURT PASSED
Meet the Houston family made up of Wesley, Rachael and their dog Kyba! Wes and Rach met at an elementary school play of Frog and Toad, it was true love at first sight! They share a passion for music, art, exploration, the outdoors, and family. Rachael, a teacher for 10 years and now administrator, has a passion for children and a great deal of experience with children with physical, mental, and emotional special needs. Wesley is the laid back and go with the flow kind of guy. He works as an insurance adjuster by day and a recreational ultimate frisbee player by night. They are an energetic couple who loves to tackle challenges as a team!
Not too long after getting married Wesley and Rachael found out they would not be able to have biological children of their own. This was when Rachael shared that as a young teenager she felt the impression that she was going to adopt one day. At the time it seemed strange because that was not the phase of life she was even really thinking about. Although the experience was long in the past it had always stayed with her. After many hours of researching, and researching, and researching some more they made the decision to move forward with international adoption. They both love children and are egger to become parents and share their love with a child!
Darcy Joy completely stole their hearts as soon as they saw her bio! The more they learned about her the more they fell in love. Their soon to be daughter was diagnosed with postoperative lumbar spinal meningocele, also known as Spina Bifida. She is unable to walk but that doesn’t slow her down one bit. She is a favorite in the orphanage as stated by her nannies and she is a big time favorite by her soon to be family. The Houston’s feel extremely blessed to be on this journey to building their forever family!
4/13/2021 — DOSSIER LOGGED IN on 3/8
Carly is an elementary school nurse in Fort Worth, TX. Her adoption journey officially began in July 2020, but really started back when she was 19 years old. The summer of her sophomore year of college, a good friend of hers invited her to work at Charis Hills Camp- a small camp in Sunset, TX for children with autism and ADHD. That summer for her was completely lifechanging, as she saw the incredible way the Lord loves and pursues all of His children. She decided then that she wanted to dedicate the rest of her life to children with special needs. During her time in nursing school, she provided respite for one of the camper’s families who lived in her same city, and then returned to camp the next summer. After graduating with her nursing degree, Carly moved to Virginia to continue her life’s passion. She began working at Jill’s House in Vienna, Virginia- an overnight respite care facility for children with intellectual disabilities, physical disabilities, and/or other special needs. Her time here was invaluable, as she was able to work with hundreds of children with varying disabilities. She gained invaluable experience working with children who were medically fragile as well. Carly moved back to Austin in 2017, working remotely for Jill’s House camps. During this time, she also began providing in home respite care for a young boy with physical and developmental disabilities. She was able to see what day to day life looks like when you have a child with disabilities- from therapies, to doctor visits, to just hanging out at the house. She is so incredibly thankful for this time in her life.
It was during this time, that she first saw the profile of the child that she now in the process of adopting. She had been following Reece’s Rainbow on social media for a while, because she followed along with many of the family’s stories as they adopted and brought their children home. However, in 2017, when this child’s profile came up, she knew something was different. She was too young at the time to be able to pursue adoption, so she felt there was nothing she could do about it. A year later, the child was still on her mind. She set an alarm on her phone every day for 11:30am and titled it the child’s RR name. She began to pray for him every day at this time that he would find a family. She moved back to Fort Worth in August of 2019. It hit her that after 2 years of praying that this child would find a home, that he was still waiting. It was during this time that she realized that she may have been praying for her SON this entire time. After a lot of reflection, prayer, and seeking counsel from others, she knew it was time to take that next step. When she told her family and friends that she was hoping to begin the process soon, she was met with incredible support. She is now working hard to bring him home!
Carly is so thankful for the journey that led her here. She believes everything in her life has been preparing her for this, and she’s excited to become a first-time mom.
9/7/2021 — COURT in SEPTEMBER
Vinny has received a $2000 grant.
Elizabeth, Chris, and their three kids are scooching a little closer to make room for a little more love in their family!
The couple met in 2016 while Elizabeth was in in the middle of her first adoption from Eastern Europe. As the saying goes, when you know, you know, and they certainly knew! After a whirlwind two months of dating, Chris and Elizabeth got engaged and hopped on a plane together to bring their tiny son, Worth, home. On New Year’s Eve, they made it official in a sweet little pop up wedding on a bridge overlooking their city.
Worth Allen is now thirteen and thriving. He is strong, stubborn, and so full of sunshine. The Graham fam added Cleo Brave, now eight, to the crew in 2018. She is smart, silly, and overflowing with unsolicited sass! Indy Luke, who will turn one in November, made a surprise appearance in 2019. He is the extra helping of sweetness they all needed.
As the Grahams grow together, so does their conviction that children belong in families. Elizabeth and Chris are thrilled about the privilege of bringing another little boy with extra special chromosomes out of an orphanage and into their family.
Follow the Graham fam’s fundraising project on Instagram at Instagram.com/thethreehundredstitchproject
7/28/2021 — AWAITING COURT
Lindsay, Noel and their two kids plus a multitude of scaly, feathery and furry members call the Mile High state home. Together they do all things outdoors and enjoy traveling, especially to Texas, Kansas and Florida to visit extended family. Their biggest adventure yet will be traveling to Asia to bring their little girl HOME. They cannot wait to love, honor and celebrate her! The Applebaugh Garza family truly and fully embraces the unique love, beauty and challenges that come with raising a child with different abilities. Their experience and passion began with Lindsay’s brother and aunt who influenced her to become a Special Education teacher. These experiences have continued as Noel and Lindsay raise their son who is on the Autism spectrum and now with their soon-to-be daughter who was born with an extra chromosome. They are thrilled to welcome their new daughter and support her in becoming her best, most happy and healthy self! They would like to invite you on their adoption journey @lovebugchina on Instagram! Thank you for reading, your love and your support!
12/12/2020 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED