Michael and Ashley Johnson decided to adopt on June 23, 2015, after coming across the following post and video on Facebook created by an orphanage volunteer: Aging out in October 2015!!!
Ward ages out in October 2015! That’s three short months away. I’m generally not the begging type, but being an advocate sometimes requires stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, so that’s where I am now. Out of desperation for this child, I am begging for a family to please step forward for Wang, and give him the gift of his very own family.
Ward knows that his 14th birthday will mean the end of his dream to be a son and have a family to call his own. Ward knows that he still waits while his orphanage brothers and sisters have gone home with their forever families. Can you imagine how it must feel to be thirteen years old and knowing that all your friends have been chosen, but no one has chosen you.
In China, as hundreds of millions of Chinese nationals make their way back to their hometowns to spend Chinese New Year with loved ones, thirteen-year-old Ward sits alone in front of a computer screen at his orphanage. With the exception of a few ayis caring for those in their charge, the orphanage is deserted. Most of the workers are away celebrating this special time of year with their families, while Ward, and a few of his orphanage buddies, are left behind.
Ward has always lived at the orphanage and never had the privilege of being a foster child and living the life of a son. Ward has watched as many of his orphanage siblings have been adopted, and he has expressed a desire for a family of his own. Ward WANTS a family!
After watching the video of Ward, both Michael and Ashley knew that he was meant to be their child. They answered God’s call, and have worked diligently to find an agency and complete all paperwork from scratch to have their dossier ready to submit to China in six weeks. Michael and Ashley have a biological son (13) and daughter (9), and the entire family is excited to be growing through adoption!
8/3/15—AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
Daniel and Stacy are thrilled to be adopting again!
Daniel is a mechanical engineer with Nissan and Stacy is a speech-language pathologist turned stay-at-home and homeschooling mom. They have been married for 9 years and have 4 children. Three biological children: Noah (5), Eli (3), and Emma (1), and one daughter through adoption: Selah (2) from Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa. However, although her adoption is complete she is unable to come home due to an exit letter suspension that has been in place since September 2013. They are hopeful she will be released from DRC and able to join her family soon.
Thru the process of waiting for Selah, Daniel and Stacy knew God was stretching them. He was teaching them lessons on waiting, perseverance, and that anything worth having is hard. They began to focus more on Selah and the children waiting rather than their dream to adopt a young baby. They began to realize that no adoption is a non-special needs adoption. All children come home with some sort of special needs. The things that used to scare them, such as disabilities, didn’t seem so scary anymore. After all, it’s not about fulfilling our needs as parents but about the children. It’s about giving a child a home that needs one. And knowing it will be messy and hard.
Daniel and Stacy had felt the call to adopt for many years and knew God had led them to adopt from Congo. However, after completely emotionally drained, they didn’t know if they would ever adopt internationally again.
One night, Stacy found a little girl listed on an adoption photolisting. She was nearly 3 years old and had Down syndrome. She remembered her time working as an SLP and how she always had a special place in her heart for children with Down syndrome. This little girl was in China and they didn’t meet the requirements. However, Stacy kept feeling drawn to the little girl’s picture.
Then, in January of 2015, China changed some requirements for the better! They suddenly qualified where they didn’t before. Then, once again, Stacy saw a little girl called “Lisi” on the photolisting that she felt drawn to. Since they now qualified, she decided to inquire about her. The file was sent and they was amazed! When looking at all the pictures, Stacy discovered it was the same little girl from months ago! This agency was just using a different picture!
Daniel and Stacy spent much time in prayer and research. They both felt drawn to this little girl. Finally, the agency sent a couple of videos and when they saw Lisi smiling at the camera, they both broke down in tears. They knew she was their daughter. They made it official with the agency on Lisi’s 3rd birthday.
Daniel and Stacy always knew they wanted a big family and love that God is in charge with how big that family will be! Now when they say they are called to adopt, they know that the calling may not come when we think is best, but when God knows is best. Daniel and Stacy are still fighting to bring Selah home and now in process to bring Lisi home as well.
God has used the wait and struggle for Selah to mold Daniel and Stacy so they would be ready to say ‘yes’ to another little girl in China. God uses hard, impossible things to bring glory to Him. What started off as a journey to bring home a healthy baby girl has resulted in striving to bring home a toddler from Africa and a toddler with a lifelong special need from China.
And that is the perfect story after all.
8/3/15—AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at abbacry.blogspot.com
Rachel Lawrence is beyond excited and blessed to soon be a mother for Austin. She is an intervention specialist (special education teacher) and also runs a horseback riding program for kids with special needs. God is in control and he has been blessing and paving the path to help bring Austin home. This is her first adoption and she is beyond grateful for all the support and prayers of those around her. Rachel is a single mother who has always known that she wanted a family through adoption. When she came across Austin on Reece’s Rainbows, she just knew it was time to begin her family and Austin was who she needed to bring home! Rachel can’t wait to meet and hold Austin. He will be growing up on a small farm with family and friends close by. Thank you for your prayers and support during this process!
8/2/15—HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
You can follow our adoption at rachelsadoption.weebly.com
“I used to think you had to be special for God to use you, but now I know you simply need to say yes.” – Bob Goff
Our family is so glad we decided to say, YES! Yes to God’s plan for our lives, yes to our son waiting for us in China, and yes to the journey ahead. We are Jason and Areka Blain and we are thrilled to announce our commitment to adopt and bring “Douglas” home from China. We have three wonderful children; Ava, Rowan, and Violet, and this is our first adoption. It is our belief that every child is deserving of a loving home. Our family means everything to us and part of our motivation to adopt comes from our deep love for our children and our Christian faith. It is heartbreaking to know that so many children (orphans) worldwide are without the love of a family. God has blessed us abundantly with our sweet kiddos, a strong marriage, and a great community of family and friends. It has been our heart to share these blessings with a waiting child, to adopt a little person that no one else was coming for. While researching, we were drawn to the large number of children who wait in China, specifically those with medical needs. We have followed Reece’s Rainbow for several years and when we came across Douglas’ profile, we knew he was our son. It has been a journey in and of itself to arrive on this path and we are so grateful to serve a big God, and for his love and grace. We cannot wait to bring “Douglas” home. He is loved and chosen!
“But here is the glory part. When we utter even the weakest yes, we find God to be big. Bigger than we once thought. Bigger than our lack. Bigger than our doubt. Bigger than the needs before us. Bigger than we can comprehend. Bigger. And He proves Himself good, steady, intentional, on time, able, strong, and sovereign.” – Rebecca via nohandsbutours.com
Thank you for your love, prayers, and support during this time. Our family is eternally grateful!
7/28/15—HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
You can follow our adoption at firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert and Shelley’s journey with adoption started when they had 1 son, 2 daughters and a plan to add one little boy through adoption to complete their family. They completed that “plan” with the adoption of a little boy with Down syndrome from Ukraine in 2007. It was during that trip that the Lord opened their eyes to the plight of orphans with special needs. Armed with the knowledge of what happens to orphans with special needs in Eastern Europe as they age, and the conviction, “If not us, then who?”, they went to Serbia in 2008 and brought home a 2nd son with Down syndrome. Later that same year, Shelley was contacted by an attorney in Bulgaria who had found her blog and reached out with a request on behalf of an orphan in Bulgaria. Shelley advocated for that child and when, in 2009, the family felt the prompting of the Lord to go “one more time”, they made the decision to go to Bulgaria and adopted an older boy with Down syndrome that was already living in a mental institution. During the trip to meet their future son, a tiny little girl busted out of a group of children and latched herself to Shelley’s leg. Looking down into those big almond shaped eyes, Shelley promised that little girl that she’d find her a family. Ten months later, the Lord made it clear that they were to be that little girl’s family and once again, the family embarked on a “one more time” journey to bring home a daughter with Down syndrome. Vowing that they were “really done this time”, the family has spent their time over the past few years advocating for orphans and supporting other families through their adoption journeys. In early 2015, their children started talking about a baby sister. After much discussion and a lot of prayer, they made the decision to return to Bulgaria one more time to complete their family with a little girl with Down syndrome. This journey has been different because the family chose to start the home study and dossier paper work without having a child pre-identified. They have covered all the initial costs to complete their home study and dossier. They are approved to adopt a little girl with Down syndrome and hope to be matched with a little one very soon!
Updated: Robert and Shelley have been officially matched with a beautiful little girl!
Luke and Christa Zeigler had their first date on December 23, 2000 (when they were only 17 and 16 years old). As they grew from teenagers into young adults and their relationship evolved, they both shared with one another the sense that God would call them to adopt one day. Five years after their first date, while on their honeymoon, they affirmed this calling and committed to one another that they would follow wherever God would lead them. After experiencing 2 miscarriages, they were overjoyed with the birth of their first daughter Kinsley in 2009. After Kinsley’s birth, they walked through two “surprise” pregnancies (both precious girls) in less than two years. They began to ask God how adoption would fit into their family plan; they knew adopting could be an expensive and emotional process. They were also very aware that their soon to be three children were huge blessings and would keep them very, very busy. They felt as if God answered their questions with “Wait and I will show you.”
In 2012, thirteen weeks into their third pregnancy, they began to feel as if God were trying to prepare them for something a little different. In their individual prayer lives, they were both hearing that they would become parents to a child with special needs, specifically Down Syndrome. Sharing this news with one another, they were blown away by the spiritual affirmation they felt! They began to research Down Syndrome so that they could be as prepared as possible, even without medical reason to do so. Mid-pregnancy they had a routine full anatomy ultrasound done on their baby. The technician found a few areas of Echogenic Intracardiac Foci on the baby’s heart. They were informed that these could sometimes be an indication of a chromosomal anomaly. They felt completely at peace with this news, in fact, it was if they had already been expecting it. They gave thanks to God that He had been preparing their hearts for this. A few weeks later test results would show that their daughter would more than likely not be born with Down Syndrome or any another anomaly. They were confused and prayed for clarity. Again God answered with “Wait and I will show you.”
Less than a week after receiving those test results, Luke “coincidentally” (they are sure by God’s design) started developing a friendship with a business acquaintance. Drew Miles and his wife Kamarie were the proud parents of three boys with a daughter on the way. Two of their sons were born with Down Syndrome. One of these sons was welcomed into their family biologically, the other through the gift of adoption. When they shared their story of how they “found” their son Kole through the website for Reece’s Rainbow (an advocacy foundation for orphans with Down Syndrome and other special needs), it was as if the missing piece of the puzzle “clicked” into place for Luke & Christa. The Zeiglers began looking over the Reece’s Rainbow website often and praying to God to make His timing clear to them.
Less than two years later, on January 12, 2014, God’s voice spoke again, loud and clear; the time had come to take the first steps towards growing their family through adoption. That night the Zeiglers logged onto Reece’s Rainbow to “look and pray” over the waiting children. Then, unexpectedly, the face of their daughter stared back at them from the screen. Christa describes seeing her daughter for the first time; “It was as if I already knew her; I felt like she kind of belonged to me before I even knew she existed.” (They joked with one another that they had both been sure God would lead them to a son after all these years of raising daughters!) They were surprised and excited when they shared with one another that they both felt equally pulled to her. Evie, as she was called on her Reece’s Rainbow profile, had been diagnosed with Down Syndrome and was currently living in an orphanage in Eastern China. Luke and Christa began pursuing her adoption a week later. The Zeiglers have decided they will name her Sadie Jane. Sadie means “Princess” and Jane means, “God is gracious”. She is so beautiful; perfectly, uniquely knit together as we all are. Luke and Christa truly believe Sadie is fearfully and wonderfully made in God’s image; a true princess of the Most High King.
The Zeiglers admire the work of Reece’s Rainbow, its supporters and all the adopting families. They know the needs of each child and each family in the process of an adoption are great. The Zeiglers are quickly approaching the travel portion of their adoption. After 18 months of paperwork and waiting, they will finally meet their daughter and bring her home! Luke, Christa, Kinsley, Hattie and Taverly (Sadie’s sisters) can’t wait to see how far she will soar! Life should be interesting with daughters ages 5, 4 3 and 2 years old!
“We covet your prayers for our family, sweet Sadie, her caretakers and orphans around the world. We would be grateful for any donation you can give! You are appreciated more than you know! Thank you for sharing our journey with us! No donation is too small; we know with God, all things are possible and He will move mountains to help us bring our Sadie Jane home!” ~Luke and Christa Zeigler
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at
Leon and Sheri Ricord have been married 10 years. They have an 8 year old daughter Lauren who is in the 3rd grade and attends a Spanish Immersion elementary school. The Ricords also have a 3 year old son Aaron who will begin Chinese Immersion Preschool this fall to prepare him for his future Chinese Immersion elementary school.
For many years now, the Ricords have seriously contemplated special needs adoption as they currently feel their family is not quite complete. Sheri, being a nurse, felt confident she could provide care and support to a child with special needs. In 2011, they began the journey of foster care parenting/adoption but that journey was cut short due to their wonderful surprise pregnancy of their son. The adoption journey was then halted but not forgotten.
Sheri first came upon the Reece’s Rainbow website and Facebook group in April 2014. She has felt very blessed and thankful to follow so many amazing adoption journeys. Sheri then became more and more involved in the Reece’s Rainbow adoption community and discovered the courage to possibly consider international adoption for her own family. The Ricords are no strangers to special needs care as both of their children were born extremely premature, requiring complex healthcare support following their births. Thankfully, their children are healthy and thriving, despite their very rough beginnings.
In January 2015, the Ricords discovered Perry, a precious beautiful 5 year old boy in China who has been waiting for an adoptive family his whole life. Perry has never experienced or understands what it means to have a mother and father care for him. Despite this harsh reality, Perry’s smile lights up a room. He is described as a true delight and joy to those who care for him in China.
Leon, Sheri, Lauren and Aaron cannot wait until they bring Perry home to be a part of their family. The Ricords look forward to providing him a loving and nurturing home life with the added comforts of the Chinese culture and language at his future public school! We trust he will truly thrive and grow in our humble little family.
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at … Coming Soon!
Frank and Melissa have been married 24 years. They have a 21 year old daughter Emily, who is in college. Emily spent the spring 2014 semester in China learning Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture. The Tilton’s have a homegrown son, Frankie who is 11 and in 6th grade. In August 2014, the Tilton family traveled to China for the adoption of Oliver and Gracie. Oliver is 6 and is in Kindergarten.Gracie is 5 and she is our Reece’s Rainbow sweetie.
In 2013 the Tilton family fell in love with a picture of Gracie on RR and she started this amazing adventure of adoption. She spreads love everywhere she is. Even though they have only been home a a year, the Tilton’s are thrilled to be returning to China. They are adopting Tori and she will be named Ruby. That name was chosen because Frank and Melissa believe she is a precious gem to be treasured and adored. The Tilton’s have a passion for children with Down Syndrome and other special needs. Melissa is a special education teacher, specializing in working with children with emotional and behavior disorders and children from hard places. Frank and Melissa believe every child has value and unlimited potential. Their heart’s desire is to pour their love into their children and they are thrilled to be growing their family through adoption.
7/11/15—HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at tiltonfamily5.blogspot.com
The Meyer family is joyfully taking a huge leap of faith, trusting the Lord in this journey to make Toby part of their family! It is so clear that God’s hand is on this decision – and that so many pieces of their pasts (as individuals and as a family) are being put into place for Toby.
Kameron spent several summers in Russia and studied Russian in college, so she has always had a heart for the former Soviet Union. Some of her most cherished memories of her summers overseas were those showing love to orphaned or neglected boys.
She and Josh both served in the Air Force, where they met and they eventually married in 2006 after spending months and months apart while both served in Iraq. Josh brought with him two amazing children, Jacob and Sarah, who allowed Kameron to learn about motherhood right from the beginning, spending each summer together as a family.
After Kameron medically retired from the Air Force for a debilitating ankle injury, she and Josh accepted a position as Family Teachers for a house full of boys at Boys Town in San Antonio, Texas. They spent a wonderful and challenging year there, investing in the lives of twelve different boys who were in need of a loving, family environment. It was during that year that they first began to think of possibly adopting an orphan. First, God chose to grow their family biologically. In 2008 they had their son Jack. Two years later George was born and in 2013, baby Joe was added to the family. All during this time, the family traveled to various locations for Josh’s work as a contract firefighter, including: Qatar, Kaua’i, Curacao and now Las Vegas, Nevada.
For the first time in several years, they began to feel settled in one place and comfortable with their family dynamic. Even so, they have longed to serve Christ more fully – more radically. To really live out the Gospel. Kameron’s extended family has had experience with international adoption and one sister’s family adopted a precious boy with Down Syndrome through Reece’s Rainbow, so they have been aware of the plight of orphans, but never felt the go-ahead from God to pursue adoption. Until July 2015 when Kameron read a beautiful blog post about Toby from another adoptive mother who had to leave him behind. The story shattered the world as the Meyers knew it. The entire family knew that Toby belonged with them…each of the five siblings gave strong approval to proceed with a commitment.
That wonderful adoptive mom who wrote the post about Toby included the verse Matthew 13:44: “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” The Meyers know that Toby is their hidden treasure. The Lord actually used his Celiac disease to bring him to his forever family! The Meyers have two children with gluten sensitivity issues, so they are well prepared to provide Toby with the gluten free environment he needs! Even gluten sensitivities can be used in the kingdom of heaven!!! And the Meyers are ready to “sell all they have” in pursuit of that wonderful treasure waiting for them. To God be the Glory!
7/11/15—HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at tobyourtreasure.blogspot.com
Luke and Jennifer Webster are the proud parents of 5 (soon to be 6!) blessings. Their 3 oldest children are 12, 9, and 6. Their two youngest children, adopted from China in July of 2012, are 4 and 5. The entire family is absolutely thrilled to be bringing home “Simon” who will be their Benjamin. The Webster family stepped out in faith to begin Benjamin’s adoption and have seen God’s hand in each and every step.
“Simon” is visually impaired and currently resides at a foster home for children with visual impairments. The Websters are not new to children with VI or with special needs in general. Their youngest two children have multiple special needs. Their son, Caleb, has low vision due to a traumatic brain injury and has opened their hearts to children with visual impairments. They look forward to welcoming “Simon” into their home and hearts. The Websters would love for you to follow in their walk to bring Benjamin home.
7/8/15—HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at faithwalkingfamily.blogspot.com
Mike and Shannon met in 2005 while working together as singers at a theatre in Savannah, GA. They were married 5 years later, had their first daughter in 2011, and their second in 2012. Both Mike and Shannon have always felt the pull to adopt, separately in their lives, and then surprised when the other also felt that calling.
Through many months of research, they decided on China as the country they would adopt from, and through advocacy, they decided that they were comfortable with the special needs program.
They found the profile of a Chinese boy who was blind and loved music, and were in love with him from the start. He was the same age as their oldest daughter, and he was from the same province as Shannon’s distant relatives in China, and shared a birthday with Shannon’s only brother. While not believing in signs, but not disbelieving, they requested his file, consulted specialists, and spoke with friends and family about this child. They are confident that he will blend perfectly into their family.
Their oldest daughter has told them numerous times that THIS boy is her brother, long before Mike or Shannon had made a decision. She is excited to teach him how to sing and dance, and hold his hand to teach him to walk around the city. She is also very excited about learning Chinese.
Before submitting for Donnie, however, they decided to wait and see if their agency could find them a second child that would fit their expanding family. In June of 2015, they saw their first video of their one year old little boy who has no special needs. After reviewing his file and talking with their family about this child, they decided that this boy would complete their family. Their children are very excited to have a new baby to take care of!
The Zaller family is excited to expand their family, and is thankful to everyone who has helped them thus far on their journey!
7/6/15—HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at thethousandmileblog.wordpress.com
The Laveys are happy to announce their commitment to adopt Ryan, a 5 year old boy from Eastern Europe with Down syndrome. They hope you’ll consider partnering with them in their efforts to complete the lengthy and expensive process of adoption and bring Ryan home!
The Lord has blessed Andrew and Mary with 3 biological children and 1 adopted child: Abigail (17), Stephen (15), Lydia (12), and Jonah (4 1/2). Jonah came to our ho me when he was 1 mth old. Jonah has Down syndrome.
Their decision to adopt Ryan is not complete without telling the story of Jonah’s adoption. In 2009, the family cared for a foster baby who had Down syndrome. Their time with this precious baby lead them to start thinking about adopting a baby with Down syndrome. They realized Down syndrome was a condition they felt comfortable with and had some knowledge about. They were also made aware of the tremendous amount of resources such as early intervention therapies that are available to a child with Down syndrome. God worked in such amazing ways to bring Jonah to their family in the fall of 2010. They are extra blessed because of the beautiful relationship they continue to have with Jonah’s birth family.
Then in the fall of 2014, God started working on their hearts again – only this time instead of domestic adoption, God was pushing them towards international adoption. They “met” Ryan and fell in love and wanted him to be part of their family. Another driving force in their desire to adopt was when God revealed to them this difficult truth: The future for children like Ryan is that even if they are in good orphanages, this is not a substitute in any way for a way for a family. Also, eventually these children will age-out of the orphanage system. They next home for them will be a mental institution. The Laveys want to give Ryan a future with a family who loves him. They long for him to have a place to call home that is not an institution.
They are praying the same prayer for Ryan as they did for Jonah during his adoption process:
“Lord, you alone are [Ryan’s] portion and [his] cup; you make [his] lot secure. Let the boundary lines fall for [Ryan] in pleasant places; [and that he could] surely have a delightful inheritance.” Psalm 16:5-6
It is the Lavey’s desire that their home would be Ryan’s “pleasant place”.
Follow the family’s adoption journey through their blog “His Pleasant Place”
6/30/15—HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at hispleasantplace.blogspot.com
Joey and Laura have been married for 31 years and were blessed with three biological children who have all grown up and now have families of their own. In 2012 the couple found themselves experiencing the typical empty nest syndrome but instead of putting together a bucket list and focusing on retirement, they felt like God was calling them to adopt a child. It took a few months to really come to terms with the idea of adoption because of their older age, but once they did God led them to a little boy in Haiti. After several trips to visit their son in his orphanage they were finally able to bring Beaux home with them to Tennessee on Thanksgiving Day, 2013. Life with a preschooler in their home again has been adventurous. Beaux has a great sense of humor, loves life and keeps them laughing!
For the past few months Joey and Laura had been considering adopting another little boy so Beaux would have someone to play with everyday. But then they felt God was leading them to adopt a beautiful little 10 year old girl living in China who has Down Syndrome. You could say it was love at first sight! After much research and consulting with their adult children they decided to start the adoption process to make this special child their daughter.
The Davis’ appreciate your prayers and support to bring Noa-Grace home.
6/30/15—HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Follow the family’s adoption journey online at facebook.com/TheRaceforNoaGrace