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.
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.
1/13/2021 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
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!
1/11/2021 — AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
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!!!
1/5/2021 — HOMESTUDY UPDATE in PROCESS
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.
1/5/2021 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
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
1/4/2021 — HOMESTUDY UPDATE in PROCESS
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.
12/24/2020 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED
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
12/22/2020 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
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.
12/11/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
*** Donna has received a $2,000 Grant! ***
Chris and Gretchen have seven children, four sons and three daughters. Their eldest daughter was adopted from Russia back in 2012. Since then they’ve homegrown a few more. A year ago in October of 2019 Gretchen saw yet another orphan advocacy photo of a waiting child in Eastern Europe. She’d seen hundreds of them over the years and always felt something but not like, some THING. She looked at this child and immediately thought, uh oh… I know him. She told her husband and he kindly and boldly reminded her that they have SEVEN children already but the feeling wouldn’t go away. Slowly but surely Chris started to understand, started to feel the tug. Now they’re both running full speed ahead to bring home not just the one precious boy but this little lady as well. The children are excited and the whole house is abuzz with preparation.
As they attempt to ready their lives for the addition of two older children with severe physical limitations they ask that you will show a little support and say a little prayer that all will run smoothly as they bring these long awaited children home. Fifty thousand dollars is a drop in the bucket compared to the worth of these two souls. Let’s show them the love they’ve waited so long to feel. Let’s get these babies home!
12/11/2020 — HOMESTUDY IN PROCESS
Jayme and her daughter, Londyn Grace, have prayed to grow their family. Jayme is a Supervisor for a restaurant chain in Virginia. She has worked for this company for 10 years and now has the flexibility to grow her family. At first, Jayme had considered fostering a child; however, she knew that her and Londyn would always desire a permanent member to the Cunningham house. A dear friend of the Cunningham’s who has adopted 3 beautiful children from Eastern Europe has been an inspiration to Jayme and her adoption journey. God has led Jayme to Global Adoption Services where she found Blair’s profile and instantly knew she was the one that God wanted Jayme to save to make her family whole. With the financial support of Reece’s Rainbow, Jayme and Londyn’s prayers can finally come true.
12/11/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
*** Blair 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.
12/11/2020 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Bart and Heather are native Texans who never dreamed they’d have the family they’re blessed with today. Early on in their relationship they knew that this was “the real deal,” and when they began discussing marriage, the subject of adoption came up. It was important to Heather that she be open-and-honest about her medical issues which would make it almost impossible to conceive. Despite being his family’s namesake, Bart wasn’t at all concerned about not being able to have a biological child of his own and he was totally open to adopting. To their surprise, they found out they were expecting shortly after getting married and they delivered a beautiful baby girl on Heather’s birthday. It was a dream that neither of them thought would ever be a reality. Fast-forward to today….almost 13 years married, and not just one, but four beautiful children later, they thought their family was complete.
When their first son was born in 2015, he surprised them with a Down Syndrome diagnosis and a heart defect which required open heart surgery when he was six months old. Shortly after he was born, Heather stumbled upon Reece’s Rainbow and followed them on Facebook, seeing regular updates of all the beautiful children who needed homes. Although adoption had been a possibility early on in their relationship, that idea was never discussed again once they were able to have children of their own. That all changed when one special little boy flashed across Heather’s screen almost two years ago. She couldn’t get him out of her mind and after sharing his pictures and videos on social media hoping someone would fall in love like she did, she prayed for guidance because she wasn’t sure how else to help him. At that point, she couldn’t deny the intense feeling that they were supposed to be his family. She researched as much as she could about international adoption and presented the idea to Bart. He said he had a feeling it was coming from the first time she showed him the Reece’s Rainbow post. After praying on it, Bart was on board and they began the process of adopting “Levi.”
The biggest obstacle they faced was the cost. They had used up all of their savings when their son was born and needed open heart surgery and Heather had to be off of work for almost a year to stay home with him. They didn’t have enough time to save up enough to cover the entire cost of adopting because unfortunately, time wasn’t on their side when it comes to children in orphanages. Many children get transferred to adult institutions at a young age, and “Levi” also had medical issues that needed immediate attention, so they needed to move fast. Covid halted the process and most of their paperwork had to be redone because it expired due to the pandemic, but they’re finally close to meeting their son and will be bringing him home after the first of the year.
12/10/2020 — REFERRAL ACCEPTED
Nathan and Kim have been married for almost 15 years and have 6 beautiful daughters together. As a young child , Kim knew she was going to adopt one day. When she met Nathan she told him about her heart to adopt and they both decided that this would be part of their life plan. They had their biological children and when their youngest was 5 years old they knew the timing was right and God lead them to their daughter Anastasia across the ocean. Two years later God blessed them with their adopted daughter Angelina. At the beginning of this year God made it clear to them that they had another child waiting for them across the ocean. They started the process and then Covid hit. That did not stop them and they continued their process. They are excited to be adding to their family again.
11/2/2020 — HOMESTUDY NEARLY COMPLETE
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!
11/2/2020 — 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.
1/20/2021 — AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
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!
10/19/2020 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
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!
10/27/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
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!
10/14/2020 — COMPILING DOSSIER
John and Erin live in Ontario, Canada. Back in 2017 they flew with their whole family to Nigeria to adopt a little girl. It further opened up their eyes to the great need for adoption. So many children living in institutions, and on streets with little love and care. It was a real adventure, but God was so gracious granting them their youngest daughter.
Since then, they desired to add another child or two to their family. Feeling they had more love to give, and that it would be nice for Favour to have someone she could relate to more.
John quit his job as a police officer, and has gone back to school to study to be a pastor, and serve the Lord where ever he will call them. They have a growing interest in Eastern Europe, and would love to be able to be a blessing to a child from there.
Erin is a stay at home mom and home schools their 5 children. She has worked for years with children with special needs, and children with Down Syndrome are especially dear to her heart! The kids are excited about adding a child to love to their family.
They have been feeling lead to adopt from Eastern Europe for years, but it hadn’t worked out. Now they finally can.Their home study is complete, and they are excited to start compiling their dossier and try to bring a child home. Thank you for your prayers, and support!
10/5/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Christian was a beach bum from Florida, and Megan was a cowgirl from the mountains of South Carolina, yet they somehow found each other and have made a lifetime of memories. Christian is a paramedic and a soldier in the SC Army National Guard. Megan was a phlebotomist who gave it all up to be a stay at home mother and teacher. They have 5 biological children, ages 10 to 18 months, 4 boys and 1 little girl. Children have been the focal point of their marriage, and that love continues with a soon to be adoption. Their love for children has remained as strong as their love for each other.
Since before they were married, Megan had always had a heart for adoption. It has been a dream and desire of hers since she was a child. She specifically wanted to adopt a child with Down Syndrome, as they have both had experience with special needs and children with Down syndrome. Christian, however, was hard hearted and callused to the idea of adopting a child. He was content with having biological children and that was enough for him. Megan had prayed everyday for 10 years for a change of heart.
It was in the summer of 2018 that while listening to a sermon by a pastor about being adopted by his family, but also being “adopted” into the family of Christ. It was this time that Megan’s prayers were beginning to be answered. Christian’s heart was breaking down. He was beginning to see the ignorance and selfishness in his ways. He realized that if he could be adopted into the family of God, why could he not open his heart, mind, and soul to a child in need of adoption.
Their adoption journey has been a whirlwind, and has happened much faster than they ever could have imagined. It took 10 days for them to be approved for a domestic adoption with a domestic adoption agency. As they sifted through the children with special needs, there was never a child that they felt like God had placed before them. They knew the financial aspect of adoption was always a huge commitment, so they focused on staying domestic, with no sights set on an international adoption. It wasn’t until a childhood friend sent a link to an absolutely adorable baby girl to Megan, that an international adoption was on the table. This was it. This was the child that they had waited for their children had waited for, and furthermore the child that God had placed before them to bring to her forever home!
Both Megan and Christian are beyond elated with the thought of finding their baby girl and bringing her home. It has been a blessing each and every step of the way, but not only for them. On a side note, the little girl looks exactly like a couple of Megan’s family members, which confirms she was meant to be a Miller. They have included their 5 bio children in the adoption process, as well as, their two current foster children. The children have celebrated together, prayed together, enjoyed pictures, and stories of their soon to be sister! This family has been built on the foundation of love, and togetherness. The Miller family is beyond tight knit; they truly are a family who does everything together. They thank everyone for their support, for the donations, but most importantly their prayers. Without prayers, they completely believe that they would never be in a position to bring the sweetest little girl home to her forever family!
12/8/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Chris and Melina 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! She thought about her all afternoon! She gathered all the information she could because she wanted to be prepared with as much information as possible could be when Chris got home from work
When Chris got home that evening, Melina couldn’t wait to tell him and show him this angel’s sweet picture! Chris thought she was crazy (it’s not the first time in their 14 yr marriage he has thought this, and things usually turn out ok lol). Being the amazing man he is, it didn’t take long and he was on board! This is their first adoption, but they know they can give this little girl a great life with parents and siblings who will love her unconditionally! They are extremely grateful for any help that is given to them as they work their hardest to get their girl home!! Much love and God Bless.
1/5/2021 — USCIS APPROVED
Meet Ian and Sara Lemin. Ian is a critical care nurse and Sara is an obstetrician/gynecologist in Ohio. As medical professionals, Ian and Sara have enjoyed several trips to Haiti for Christian medical missions. They were married in 2015 and blended their family of four teenagers. Then in 2017 they were blessed by the birth of their fifth child who was born with a musculoskeletal condition known as “arthrogryposis”. Through an online parent support group, the Lemins were introduced to the Reece’s Rainbow profile of a little boy in Eastern Europe who also has arthrogryposis. Their hearts were opened and they felt God’s calling to bring this little boy into their home where they could share their love and knowledge of his condition. They are committed to “Conrad” and are currently in the process of completing their home study. They are eagerly looking forward to the day when they can meet this sweet boy. Ian and Sara thank you in advance for your support of their journey with your donations and prayers.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14 (NIV)
12/10/2020 — AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
Aden and Jamie Hirtle’s story began in 2000 when they met at a college in Rexburg, Idaho. Aden is originally from Nova Scotia, Canada and Jamie is from Utah so this meeting felt like divine intervention. They became good friends and remained friends for 8 years, despite Aden’s move back to Canada in 2004. In 2008, they were reunited, began dating and were married in 2009. They lived in Calgary, Alberta, Canada for 7 years and then moved to Utah in 2015 and have been there ever since. In their 12 years of marriage they have welcomed 4 biological daughters.
In May 2020, Jamie randomly happened upon a social media account, which advocates for children in Eastern Europe with special needs who are available for international adoption. This page pulled at her heart as she had lived in Russia (a nearby country to the children on this account) where she had taught young children and had even visited an orphanage while there.
On this social media account, she was stopped in her tracks when she saw a picture of a boy who looked like her own children. This is the moment that changed everything. After much prayer and research, Aden and Jamie decided to start the adoption process for this little boy.
In November 2020, they submitted their dossier and began the wait for a travel date. But adopting this sweet boy was not meant to be. He became unavailable for adoption at the end of November. This boy put the Hirtles on an adoption path that they wouldn’t have been on otherwise. Aden and Jamie decided to continue with the adoption and are now hoping to adopt a little girl. If all works out, this little sweetheart is going to have 4 older sisters who will love her and dote on her, let alone a mom and dad who will love her fiercely and who will take care of her medical needs.
Jamie and Aden have fundraised (and continue to fundraise), cut back on expenses, applied for many, many grants and have worked extra shifts to get the funds for this adoption. They still have a ways to go financially so any donations would be a great blessing to get them to the child intended for them.
1/12/2021 — APPT in EARLY FEB
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.
9/24/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Hi, we are the Chavarry family and this is our first adoption! We are from southern Indiana and we are hoping to add a very special little boy to our blessed and happy home. Jonathan and I, (Sara) have had adoption on our hearts since before we were married almost 10 years ago. We were set up by my best friend and I knew Jonathan was “the one” from the very beginning! We were pregnant with our first child soon after we were married. Growing our family has brought more joy then we could have imagined. We knew that when the time came to expand our family again, we wanted to adopt. Learning about orphans with special needs in Eastern Europe has been life changing for us and we are eagerly following God’s call to bring a special little boy into our family and help him see the precious gift that he is. It is an honor to care for the least of these that the Lord has called us to and to lay down our lives for these children.
1/14/2021 — ACCEPTED REFERRAL! AWAITING COURT
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
9/18/2020 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Eric and Kelly Burton live in KY with their 3 children- Willa Kate, Sullivan, and Milo. Together, they have built a marriage of 15 years and a family that continues to grow. Their adoption story is unique! It began after the birth of their first child and secondary infertility was discovered. They attempted fertility treatments and prayed for another baby, but soon realized adoption did not have to be their Plan B. Once they began to pursue a beautiful boy in China, they stopped grieving what infertility had taken. It was clear this was their path all along!
Much to their surprise, the Burtons would soon be holding a miraculously positive pregnancy test and faced with a choice. God had answered their prayers for a baby, long after they’d stopped praying them. But their hearts were already all-in with a boy they’d never met.
Needless to say, the Burton brothers both joined the family in 2017! While it’s been a lot of hard work, saying “yes” to adoption has been the Burton family’s greatest gift. And they are ready to say “yes” again. They are praying to return to china for another special needs adoption. This time, a 6-year-old girl with Down Syndrome and congenital heart disease.
The Burtons are average people- a public school teacher and a stay at home mom- with hearts that beat for orphan care. They are humbly asking others to join in their efforts to bring “Luna” — soon to be named Nora Jane — home.
1/5/2021 — DOSSIER NEARLY COMPLETE
Robert and Lara Vitter met on 9/10/06 and got married on 9/15/07. The Vitter Family has had a heart for adoption and orphan ministry since they started dating. They were pregnant with their 1st child after being married for 1 month. When their daughter was not even 1 they lived at a Children’s home for 2 1/2 years, had another baby and then moved to Italy as Christian missionaries for almost 8 years and added 3 more biological children to their family. Lara grew up in a home that adopted a terminally ill brother and they also had several foster children in their home. They have always wanted to grow their family through adoption and have been led to Cohen to join their family. They truly believe they are called by God in this way from James 1:27: “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.” There’s never been a dull moment in their lives together and God has always called us to do ministry together as a family. We know Cohen is the next piece for our ministry “team”. They can’t wait to bring him home and have him be a part of all they do.
1/12/2021 — AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
We are Emily Waterfield & Chris Brooks and we are expanding our family by adopting a little boy with Down Syndrome from Eastern Europe. Originally from Virginia, we have been living in New Orleans, Louisiana for the past fifteen years. Chris works in operations and Emily has been a special education system leader for a decade. We have two young boys– Garrett and Oden- and together we love exploring City Park, eating Snoballs and crawfish, celebrating Mardi Gras and cheering for the Saints.
Our adoption began to take root years ago, when friends found their son via Reece’s Rainbow and shared their journey to bring him home. Advocating for the rights of children and specifically children with disabilities was not new to us, but the idea of adoption first seemed impossible and far fetched. Surely this was something other people were better suited for? For us, adoption became a real possibility the day we saw a picture of a little boy and there was a spark of instant recognition- this child, this boy is our son. The idea of flying across the world for him, raising money to meet the demands of this arduous process, lining up therapists and support to meet his unique needs– all of this is our reality now. We are not extraordinary. We are not wealthy. We are committed to our children and to bringing home our boy.
We have learned, it is commonplace due to poverty and social stigma for children with all types of disabilities to live in an institution all their lives, without knowing the feeling of being someone’s beloved child, having experiences such as going to school or to a park, or accessing the medical care necessary to thrive. We believe that people with disabilities are wonderful and not a burden. We believe in neurodiversity and that all great minds don’t think alike. Most of all we believe that all children belong in families.
Any contribution you choose to make, no matter how small is appreciated. We will not be officially matched or able to access any information about the little boy we think of as ours until our first trip to his country. Thank you so much for considering us and supporting visibility for waiting children with disabilities internationally.
1/18/2021 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED
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
This will be Dennis & Cindy’s 4th Adoption. They met their “CHRISTmas Miracle” in December of 2016. He came over with a group of other children through hosting. He has been coming to their family now for 4 years. They have sent him back to his orphanage 7 times, waiting to be able to begin his adoption. It is now his time to come Home.
Cindy just returned from Eastern Europe with their daughter’s Alyna & Anya; biological siblings who had never met until Cindy brought them out of their Orphanages on June 26, 2020. On July 7th they landed in America. Alyna also came to them through a hosting program when she was just 6 years old, in 2018. When they committed to adopt Alyna they found out she had a baby sister. She was called “Baby Surprise”. Alyna also came back to them in the Summer of 2019 for 3 months. one of the hardest experiences they ever had was to put their tiny little one back on a Plane to return to her Orphanage, just like their son. God kept telling Cindy, I brought them to you, you have to return them so I can bring them back Home to you. And this is exactly what He did. He brought them Home. Through a Border Closing, Quarantine and Virus, God moved, did Miracles and brought their girls Home.
They were never looking to Host. How God brought their children to them through Hosting, He unfolded His plan and He provided each time for them to come to America. With their son He even made the decision. Another incredible Story of how Our Father brings about His Plan, they have also Adopted Abraham & Sarah in 2014, Ayden in 2017. Many know of the Miracles with these precious little ones. Little Adalyn, their little one in Russia now 9 years old is still in an Orphanage in Russia due to the Ban in 20212. They were with her for a week and the Judge was trying to get them back in 2 weeks for Court, but sadly the Ban became Law a week after they returned Home in December of 2012. They still Believe, Hope, and Trust. They also have 8 incredible Biological children 41 to 24 and 11 Grandchildren.
They already have Immigration Approval which they received when they were Adopting their little girls and unfortunately he could not be Adopted then. So now they are trying to push quickly through paperwork and raise all the finances to bring him Home.
11/20/2020 — DOSSIER EN ROUTE
Hi! We are the Quick family. In 2017, we traveled to Eastern Europe to adopt our dearly loved son, Mannix, who just happens to have Down syndrome. We brought him home to join his 8 older brothers and sisters when he was 9 months old, weighing just 10 lbs.
When we were in his birth country, we were able to see the conditions of his orphanage and the hospital where he was frequently sent, along with other bedridden children. We have never been able to forget these kids, who spend their days in cribs with barely enough to eat to stay alive, and no one in the world to love them.
We knew right away we would want to go back and adopt again, if at all possible. We have the room, the love, the time, and the resources to share with another child. However, we do not have the $30,000 in hand or in credit that it costs to bring a child home. We intend to work very hard at making and selling things, taking on extra jobs, selling things around the house and whatever else it takes to give another child a loving home and family. Our hopes are that our family, friends and community at large will come alongside us to make this happen, whether that be in prayer, monetarily, or time.
We thank you for your time and interest in our next journey and hope you’ll follow along.
12/22/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Meet the Bishop family! Brian and Kristin met as teenagers in their church youth group when Kristin was just 13. With many years of life to live before settling down, they both went their separate ways after high school before reconnecting in late 2008. After a whirlwind romance, they were finally married in May of 2010 and have built an incredible life in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Together they have 4 beautiful children ranging in age from 4 to 10. Brian works as a finance director for an automobile dealership and Kristin is the owner of a local insurance corporation in their hometown.
Special needs adoption is something that had always been on Kristin’s heart. For nearly 5 years it was a constant conversation in their home. In 2017, Brian accompanied Kristin on another mission trip to South America and it was there, in the mountains of Zacapa, Guatemala that Brian experienced that same life-changing desire to parent the fatherless. They welcomed their youngest son home through international adoption from South Korea in February of 2019.
Along with serving as bonus parents for teenagers and young adults needing additional support, Brian and Kristin have a convicted heart that all children belong in families. Because of that, they have decided to pursue another international adoption to bring home a little girl with Down Syndrome from Eastern Europe. They feel overwhelmingly grateful for the love and support they have received through both of their adoptions and look forward to meeting their sweet new little one soon!
“He has made everything beautiful in it’s time.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11
11/24/2020 — DOSSIER COMPLETE
Lacy has received a $2000 grant!
Meet the Effhauser Family! Matthew and Sarah live with their five children on a little farm in rural Minnesota along with their two dogs, two barn cats and too many chickens to count. They are high school sweethearts and started their family soon after being married; their children now range from 13 to 2.
A few years into marriage, their eyes were opened to children with special needs living in orphanages around the world. They began supporting families in process and donating to life-saving surgeries for little ones. Soon they realized that maybe they were being called to adoption, someday. The conversations and prayers around adoption began and as they added more children to their family, worked their way through job changes and renovated their 1913 farmhouse, they kept gently hearing the Lord say “not yet”, even when their hearts wished He would say yes.
Trusting in His timing and discerning that the time to adopt was hopefully nearing, Sarah resigned from her teaching position to stay home with their youngest children in preparation to be home with their adopted child someday as well. The Effhauser family participated in the Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign and were thrilled to share a sweet boy with the world and the work of Reece’s Rainbow. Maybe advocacy was only what they were called to do?
Over the years, the couple had shared many pictures of waiting children with one another until one summer day they saw the face of a young boy, just a few months younger than the baby of their family and they knew, now was the time! The entire family can’t wait for their little brother to be home!
10/13/2020 — COMPILING DOSSIER
Phil and Cole met in 2006 during their junior and senior year (respectively) of high school on a group date for Homecoming. Phil was dating Cole’s friend at the time, and Cole was there with Phil’s best friend. By the end of the night, they’d both decided that they were interested in each other. The rest is history…a total cliche. After five years of dating, they got married in November of 2011. In October 2012, they welcomed their first son, Gabe. Caroline joined the family in December 2013, and Nico was born in September 2015. After Nico was born, Cole found RainbowKids, and then Reeces Rainbow. Her mind was blown and her heart was broken by the reality of the orphan crisis. She began “preparing to prepare” to adopt someday…way in the future. A year and a half later, she and Phil brought Rosey home from Bulgaria. Shortly after bringing Rosey home, they found out that they were expecting a fifth child. They lost that baby, a little girl named Bonnie, but welcomed their rainbow baby Auggie into the family in April 2019. Early in 2020 Cole felt that familiar feeling and again began scrolling through the little faces online, looking for their baby. In March 2020 she found M, a sweet 3 year old living in Kyrgyzstan, and immediately texted a screenshot to Phil. He agreed that she was theirs, and they’ve been working diligently to bring her home ever since!
1/5/2021 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED; AWAITING OFFICIAL REFERRAL
Ben and Karaline met on the bus ride to summer camp in high school and quickly became close, getting married four years after meeting. Almost immediately after getting married, they were surprised with their first daughter, Posy and welcomed their second daughter, Felicity, a short 16 months after that. Ben is a pastor at a nearby church—he’s humorous, hardworking, and joyful. Karaline currently stays at home to care for the kids—she’s gentle, dedicated, and loving. Posy is four years old and loves to tell jokes! She’s creative, playful, and bold. Felicity is three years old and is a calm and gentle child. She’s loving, silly, and determined. We are a family that values being closely bonded to one another.
Since the beginning of their marriage, adoption was in their minds as a journey they one day wanted to walk. After giving birth to Felicity, it became clear to both Ben and Karaline that their 3rd would come through adoption. Ben and Kara are passionate about permanency for children in families! The more they learned about childhood trauma and common experiences and conditions that arise for children who need a permanent family, they were increasingly drawn to a special needs adoption. As they learned more and more in their pre-adoption classes, Ben and Kara realized that their parenting style and way of life is very conducive to parenting a child with special needs. Kara also has experience working with children with special needs and trauma backgrounds. Along with their strong support system through their large extended family, and their church community, they felt uniquely prepared to pursue a special needs adoption.
At each step, Ben and Karaline expected roadblocks and drawn-out periods of waiting. But at each step, they were pleasantly surprised by how quickly doors were being opened for them to step forward through the process. Out of the blue one day, they learned about an adorable little girl with Down Syndrome. In reading her file, talking with the doctor, and considering this possibility together, they felt huge confirmation that they could care for her needs and that she was the child for their family. The phone call saying their letter of intent was accepted is one of the most joyful moments of their lives! Their joy continues to increase the closer they get to bringing this sweet girl into their family.
They now are completing paperwork as quickly as they can for the opportunity to bring her home! Posy and Felicity have loved preparing her room and praying for her everyday as a staple of their pre-meal routine. While Ben and Kara know that adoption processes are anything but certain, they feel drawn to the world of adoption and of Down Syndrome. They await the joyous day in which they will welcome their newest daughter as a part of their family, forever. Thank you for being a part of their story of permanence as a family with their newest daughter!
12/24/2020 — AWAITING TRAVEL DATES
Mike and Robin have been married for 9 years. They have 9 beautiful kiddos, two who were adopted from Eastern Europe. Mike works as a public servant for the beautiful state of Washington and is the worship leader at Lakewood Grace. Robin is a stay at home mom and wife, and homeschools their kids.
Mike and Robin have a huge heart for adoption. After bringing their two girls home, they felt certain that they would be going back at some point. After much prayer and consideration, they decided to start the adoption process again. They discovered that a little boy they had seen a listing for a year and a half before was still waiting for his forever family. They decided that he should not have to wait any longer.
The cost of adoption can seem daunting but Mike and Robin firmly believe that God has called them on this journey and He will provide. Any prayers, donations, and shares of their story are all deeply appreciated.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after the orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27″
Joe and Jenna live in NY with their 4 daughters Brianna, Chiara, Savanna and Stella. Stella, who was born with Down Syndrome, was adopted from Asia in 2018 and now they are excited to be going back for their 5th daughter, also born with Down Syndrome and a heart defect.
Joe and Jenna’s adoption story began in 2010 when adoption was first planted in their hearts after the loss of their unborn child and the news that they were not able to conceive any more children. In 2013, their 3rd daughter and miracle baby, Savanna, was born. She was truly a blessing that they were not expecting. But the seed of adoption had been planted years earlier, and it was growing.
Even after experiencing this profound miracle, the Neri’s knew that they had so much more love to share. Faith has been the hallmark of the Neri family from the very beginning and has carried them through the most difficult times. They, like many other families, had a heart for special needs adoption. Jenna has worked with adults and children with both physical and developmental disabilities for 22 years and knew the unique challenges individuals with Down Syndrome face. Then Jenna saw a picture of a beautiful little girl with Down Syndrome on Reece’s Rainbow and she knew this was her daughter. They worked hard to bring Stella home in October 2018 and now, less than 2 years later, they have fallen in love with another little girl that they know is meant to be their daughter as well.
Joe has just started his own small business and serves as the youth director at their church, and Jenna works as a Residential Manager for individuals with disabilities. They may not be a family of financial means, but they are rich in faith and love to share with another child. Despite the many uncertainties surrounding the pandemic and international adoption, they are committed to giving this beautiful girl the love, support and family she deserves.
1/4/2021 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED
In 2013, when Nick and Val said yes to adopting a young boy from Ukraine that was being hosted in the US, they never dreamed answering God’s call would impact their lives so much. What they didn’t know was that little boy already had a family pursuing him. After much prayer they decided to continue the adoption journey in Ethiopia. After three successful and life changing adoptions of four children from Ethiopia, they felt the tugging on their heart by the Holy Spirit to adopt again. The tug they were feeling was to adopt a waiting child.
Val decided to get on Reece’s Rainbow. Right away they saw this beautiful little girl (Shelby Mae) and knew right away she was their daughter.
They are rejoicing and so thankful the for that tug from the Lord that led them to their precious daughter. His plan was made clear when they saw her beautiful face. They are excited to bring their daughter home and be family of 10.
1/5/2021 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED in NOV
*** Shelby Mae has received an additional $5,000 Grant! ***
Jack and Emily are high school sweethearts who married in 2013. The couple always knew they would someday adopt. They separately volunteered at Russian orphanages in college and fell in love with the sweet children so in need of families there. Emily remembers holding the children with special needs, designated to a back room of the orphanage, and so in need of affection. Their experiences had a profound effect on both of them as they felt the separate call to someday adopt from this region… it was truly fate.
Jack served as an Infantry Officer in the US Army and the two have lived all over the country in their seven years of marriage. They have now settled into their civilian lives in West Virginia. Jack works in manufacturing and Emily, a former English teacher, now stays at home with their children and homeschools them.
Jack and Emily have two boys, Mark and Joseph, who are 5 and 2, as well as a daughter, Eloise, who was born earlier this year and lived for a short time after birth. Eloise had a rare genetic condition, and though she was too sick to live, she changed them in countless ways and continues to do so. Jack and Emily learned firsthand how every child, regardless of health or ability, is deserving of the same love and dignity as any other child. Eloise taught them that not only did they have the capacity to love and advocate for a child with significant medical needs, but that their hearts were open to the blessings of it.
Almost a decade after Jack and Emily volunteered at those Russian orphanages, it became clear that it was time; they were now being called to adopt a child with special needs from Eastern Europe. They hold to the truth that God’s ways are above our ways and they have seen the beauty of it in their lives in so many ways, most especially with this beautiful little girl with cerebral palsy who is waiting for them to bring her home. Jack and Emily and their boys are so excited to welcome this sweet child into their family and are counting down the days until she will be here.
They thank you for your support and prayers on this journey!
1/11/2021 — USCIS APPROVED
We live in the mountains of East Tennessee on a small family farm. We own our own business allowing us both to be home with our 9 going on 11 children. We currently have 4 girls and 5 boys. Our adoption journey started a long time ago before any of our children were even born. We both had worked with orphans on the mission field before we got married and had known we wanted to adopt before we even met. We finally completed our first adoption in March of 2018 when we brought home our son, Joshua, from China and what an adventure that was!
We felt the call to start the process to adopt again this past fall and so we just really started praying about when and where the Lord wanted us to go this time. With many less options being a larger family it was pretty easily narrowed down to about 3 places. After much research and prayer we really felt called to go to Eastern Europe this time around. When we went to pick up Joshua from China all 7 of our children at the time went with us to get him. On that trip their eyes were opened to the enormous need for families for special needs children. When we started the process of matching with children, our children were as broken hearted as we were at the number of waiting children and how long some of them have been waiting. Several of them asked if we could adopt all of them. haha They continue to witness the amazing transformation of their brother Joshua who had come to us deaf with no language at just shy of 5 years old. Needless to say adoption has changed all of our lives and our prospective in big ways.
We have recently matched with two precious little ones and are so ready to get them home! We have been and continue to be so amazed and blessed by the ways the Lord has and is using others to come alongside us in raising the funds needed to bring our little ones home.
12/10/2020 — AWAITING COURT
*** Gracelyn has received a $2,000 Grant & a 2,596 Waiting Child Grant! ***
*** Antonio has received a $2,000 Grant! ***
Gary and Denise became members of the Reece’s Rainbow Family in 2006. First by advocating and supporting International Adoption for Ukraine and children in Eastern Europe. After adopting both Makayla and Patrick in 2000 and 2002 they wanted to return to adopt but decided on adopting from Bulgaria Chrissie 2009, then Jake and Gennie in 2011 from Bulgaria. Sadly Gennie died of complication of organ failure from her Cystic Fibrois shortly after arriving in the US. Little Jake also suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. But the Davis Family devotes their love and time to caring to ensure Jake gets the very best medical care. After Gennie’s death the Davis family hearts ached. But also the Davis family heart was for another little girl so their hearts were led to Ukraine and adopted not one but two little girls Penelope and Katya. As time quickly passed by read of a little girl Sophia who needed major ortho care and a young man they named Grayson who received a donor kidney. These two children needed out quickly to survive and without medical care Grayson would have died. And Sophia now can run and dance like other children.
Advocating for Reece’s Rainbow did not end after their adoption of Grayson and Sophia in 2019. Denise followed each child as they were listed and daily prayed each found a home. Speaking to many families through her blog she shared her journey with the assistance of Reece’s Rainbow. Many times there would be certain children or families who touched Denise’s heart. So she helped by donating and advocating to families adopting. This pass year there was a particular little girl with two healthy sisters. Her name on Reece’s Rainbow but not her given name was sitting on a couch watching her sisters play. This particular video Denise watched over and over. Each night the girls were in Denise’s prayers. Soon the entire family prayed for this little girl. She sat in an old blue pair of pajamas as her healthy sister dressed in party dresses. Both playing with dolls and pushing doll strollers. Watching a video of a small girl who so many people viewed yet never inquired or cared. As months passed she sat once again on the same couch but this time alone. Her precious beautiful healthy sisters were chosen for adoption. Makes one ask theirselves why not little Cassandra also. Make children like Cassandra are over looked. Her clothes still old and mismatched. Could they have placed a pretty dress on her? Add on a big beautiful bow? Made you wonder if she knew her sisters were not coming back. Knowing this one little girl once she is 4 or 5 wll be moved to an older child’s orphanage or even worse an adult institutional setting. Yes there are thousands of orphans in the world but not one child out of the thousands chose to be an orphan. Not sure if many of you have visited an orphanage. The Davis family and their adopted children can tell you this is not a home nor a family. Children need a Father a Mother, sisters and brothers. And maybe a few cats or a dog to snuggle with and play ball with.
No child as they grow up wonder why they were not in a family. Many times families do not adopt because they are unsure or afraid.. Adopting a child involves a ton of paperwork, many tears, many prayers and yes one adoption can cost over $34,000. Without prayers, love an support of others through donation can not be possible. Please in your heart Take that Leap. The Davis Family prays that the funds they need are provided as needed during their adoption. Every dollar goes to saving a little girl or boy sitting on a couch alone or laying in a bed.
9/21/2020 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
Hi! My name is Holly and I would like to introduce you to a crazy family… Mine.
I have an 11 year old son named Jakob and for a while it was he and I against the world. Then in 2014 Jake and I married Ronnie. He tripped me in Walmart, and I fell for him. Literally. Together the 3 of us built a beautiful little family. In 2015 we added Genesis to our family, and in 2017 God gave us our two boys.
We had been introduced to Reece’s Rainbow and international special needs adoption a year-ish before when our church participated in a fundraiser to help a local family to bring home a waiting child from Reece’s Rainbow. Around the same time another Reece’s Rainbow child had gone viral for their amazing transformation since being brought home. I would scroll through the photo’s of the children, share the fundraisers for the families, and pray for all. I never thought we would be one of the families! But then it happened. One day I was scrolling through the photos and I saw a face. I felt it in my whole being that she was part of our family and we jumped in heart first!
We had no idea what we were doing, and there were many hiccups along the way! We kept pushing forward though. Then in April 2018 we found out that the child we absolutely loved had passed away. My heart was shattered. Since we were in an incredible custody battle for the two boys we decided not to continue with the adoption at that time. We needed to focus on keeping the boys safe.
Then in October 2019 it happened again. I was scrolling through Reece’s Rainbow’s Facebook page and I saw a little boy who looked so much like my 4 year old that my heart just stopped. We had just purchased our new home days before. We were in a new state, new house, starting a new chapter of our lives. I showed his picture to Ronnie expecting that he was going to talk some sense into me. Instead he tells me “we actually have room for two”. So much for being talked off the ledge!
Ronnie works for the public school system with developmentally disabled children. I work for a nonprofit organization as a Direct Support Professional in residential group homes. We are NOT wealthy people by any means. But what we lack in dollars we make up for with love. God has brought us to this, and I know he will provide for us to be able to bring our children home.
Please keep our family in your prayers as we work endless hours of overtime, fundraise, and try to navigate the international adoption process.
1/8/2021 — AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
Adam & Kara met at church in late 2003 and became friends. They started dating in 2004 and married in 2005. Both wanted a family and saw that their shared faith and a strong relationship among the parents and children was important. Adam loves Kara’s passion for children and her focus on family. Kara thought Adam was also loving and good with the kids at church and with friends. One thing they appreciate about each other are their servant’s hearts and how they have a will and desire to help others whether spiritually, physically, materially, financially, or any other need that arises. Adam and Kara firmly believe that strength between the parents, helps create a firm foundation for a family.
Adam and Kara have considered adoption and opening not just their home, but also their family to another child for most of their marriage. Adam was raised by both parents and his oldest brother was adopted. Adam has a total of 4 siblings. Kara was adopted as an infant and was raised by both parents and when Kara was 4, they adopted her younger brother. Kara met her Birth Parents when she was 18 and maintained a loving relationship with her Birth Mother. Adam and Kara’s biological children were raised to see adoption as an amazing and beautiful opportunity for a family and a person who needs a loving family. It was obvious that their efforts were fruitful when they told the other children that they started the process to adopt. The children were all filled with joy and excitement and were brought to tears. They also immediately started to look for ways they could help with changing living arrangements, how their school and activity schedules could change, how they could help with fundraising, how they would protect and teach their new sibling, and many, many more topics.
The children in the Horbett household are such a mix of personalities and abilities. While all of the kids are different and can bump heads, they care for each other deeply. They will stand up for each other in social situations, and help each other when it is needed. Their favorite family activities are movie nights- when we get pizza and snuggle up on the couch. They also all love to go to the neighborhood pool, where there is also a toddler pool that the new addition may enjoy playing in. The kids love sidewalk chalk, bike riding, playing on the swing set. The Horbett family is often found outside whenever the weather is nice, getting together with neighbors and friends and the family loves taking walks together.
The Horbett Family is eager to bring home their new daughter, and they are so appreciative of all of the support they have received from family and friends.
1/18/2021 — COURT PASSED
Meet the Geno family! Matt and Brynne Geno have been married for 3 years and have a one-year-old boy named Levi. Brynne works as a special education teacher and Matt is a chemical analyst in a chemical plant. They live in south Louisiana.
Both Matt and Brynne felt a call to adopt before getting married. Brynne served on two summer mission teams in Eastern Europe in 2012 and 2013. Matt served in Ukraine for 6 months doing mission work in 2013. Also, Matt’s younger sister is adopted from Ukraine. They have both felt called to adopt from Eastern Europe, specifically, due to their time serving the Lord there.
They have committed to a sweet two-year-old girl with an infectious smile. She is diagnosed with cerebral palsy and developmental delays. They are committed to her and currently wrapping up our home study. Thank you in advance for your generosity, and please keep them in your prayers!
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40
11/18/2020 — AWAITING TRIP ONE
The Lewandowski family are in the process of adopting an aged-out boy – or two – from Eastern Europe.
Kevin and Natalia met online. Both grew up in totally different communities, totally different surroundings, and totally different countries. Kevin was raised in family-oriented Polish community and has always seen his own role as a person who is supporting strong family bonds.
Growing up in a Ukrainian blue-collar family, Natalia always had a heart for those who were in need. Living and volunteering in Ukraine and the USA for multiple church and community services gave her opportunities to reach out to those who were living below the poverty level such as the elderly and people with disabilities. There was something special about Ukrainian orphans though that was always on her mind over the past 2 decades: orphanages are meant to provide shelter, clothes, and basic nutrition, but cannot ever be a substitute for real FAMILY.
Kevin and Natalia hosted a 16-year-old boy during the summer of 2019. It was not an easy summer, but it gave them a chance to feel an orphan’s emotional pain and trauma. Kevin and Natalia understand that it may take a lifetime to help their son learn to cope with the physical and emotional trauma caused by institutional and parental neglect. The other boy they are considering was also hosted but his family, after deciding to adopt, was not able to proceed. Other families that had been interested in this boy assumed he was being adopted, and by the time the family discovered they could not proceed, it was too late for another family to do anything because he had aged out.
Raising funds for a teenager’s adoption is not easy task, but both Natalia and Kevin strongly believe that they were called for this adoption and God will provide by using people’s hearts and hands. Please consider teaming up with this family in this financial challenge that will change ONE orphan’s life, or maybe even TWO.
6/16/2020 — COMPILING DOSSIER
Rodney and Alisha Keim live in Atkinson, Nebraska with their children Josiah, Selah, Jeremiah, and Tallulah. Jeremiah was adopted from Thailand in 2015 and Tallulah from Asia in 2019. The family was first matched with Tallulah through her advocacy page at Reece’s Rainbow. In one of the photos, she was pictured with another little boy who also captured their hearts. Had it been possible to adopt them together, that would have been their desire. The family met Eli while in country finalizing the adoption of Tallulah in May of 2019.
Their “happy family” picture was taken at the orphanage. Just after the picture was taken, the Keim family left the orphanage with Tallulah. Just before the photo was taken, Eli was taken back to join the other kids without families, bawling. The Keim family longs for the day they can see him again, the day his friend will become his sister. They pray he will come to understand how much he was loved that day and that he holds a piece of their broken hearts in his.
The last piece of paperwork the family will need in order to submit their dossier has been sitting on a desk in the USCIS office since March (just before immigration biometrics offices shut down due to the COVID-19 Pandemic). The family asks for your prayer: perhaps the God who moves mountains can push that little piece of paper on through soon. They also ask you to consider giving a donation to help them bring Eli home! Rodney and Alisha are each self-employed by small businesses that have been impacted by the Coronavirus shutdowns. God continues to provide graciously for their every need… perhaps you are one way he will provide for the adoption of Eli!
10/1/2020 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED 9/2
*** Elijah received a $5,000 Grant! ***
We are the Rinehart family and we are adopting! This will be our third and final adoption from Asia. We have six grown children and multiple grandchildren. Our home and family are full of people and love. Our two youngest daughters (ages 8 & 6), adopted in 2017 and 2018, are eagerly awaiting their little sister! We began our adoption journey in 2016 after the Lord laid in on our hearts over a several year period to adopt. The journey was like chipping away at stone to reveal the diamond underneath. The first time we saw her picture we were hooked! Little did we know then that we would repeat the process two more times. Like her sisters before her, our newest little one has stolen our hearts and we know that she is our daughter! We hope to bring her home this fall. With all of the uncertainty in the world, we would appreciate your prayer. Please pray for our family to get through this process quickly and that travel would be safe and available when it comes time to travel. If the Holy Spirit moves you to donate, we would certainly appreciate that as well. Thank you!
12/22/2020 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED
We are Carrie and Ken Woods, parents of six children, four adopted from Asia and two biological. We met in high school and have been married for almost 34 years. Our children range in ages from 8 to 31 and we are also excited to soon be grandparents. We started our first adoption in 2000 and over the years we have been fortunate to grow our family one at a time. Our last adoption in 2015 started with looking at several files and came down to two beautiful girls. It was a difficult decision but we are thankful that we brought our new daughter home when we did because she has needed significant medical care over the last 5 years. Fate would have it that the file for the other little girl came to our attention at the end of last year and we felt we were in a place to move forward and bring her home. She has always been in our hearts and now she will be in our lives and loving home.
12/1/2020 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED in OCT
Mollie doesn’t remember the exact moment when adoption was put on her heart and in her mind. But, she does remember it was all consuming. She tried to get away from it. But, she couldn’t. It was there and it wouldn’t go away. It was 2015. By early 2016 she finally worked up the nerve to bring it up to her husband, Bryan. It’s not that they didn’t talk often, or that they kept secrets. It’s that she thought he would think that she was crazy! You see… they had seven biological children and they thought they were done. Their family felt complete.
Earlier that year their youngest, at seven years old, had had open heart surgery. She had recovered and was doing great. Their oldest son was engaged to be married. Life was good. But, that nagging adoption thing wouldn’t go away. So she told him. And, the miracle of it all was that he had been thinking about it, too.
In April 2017, one month after their first grandchild was born, they came home with not one, but two sons from China. They were their pride and joy! But life wasn’t ever going to be the same. It was overwhelming! But, one day at a time, one sleepless night at a time, they got through it.
They went into adoption with their eyes wide open, or so they thought. In the end both boys, their sons, had needs that had been undiscovered. The words deaf and autism, and global delays were added to their family. But guess what? These were their children, the ones they fell in love with before they had ever met them! They held on because God knew what they needed. They needed to depend upon him totally. Three years later their adopted sons are thriving and their biological children have learned so much about love and the privilege to know people with special needs.
In 2020 that call to adopt has become strong in their family again. This time they have felt called to consider adopting a little girl with that beautiful extra chromosome. They want to add a child with Down syndrome to their family. And, once again it’s the same, that all consuming desire is there to give a child a family. Would you please pray God will make a way?
10/2/2020 — DOSSIER SUBMITTED; OFFICIALLY MATCHED
Dave and Erin Briar have been blessed with eight children – two boys, five girls and one older “daughter-of-the-heart” – Alicia. Dave and Erin met Alicia at church while serving overseas in the US military. They quickly bonded with Alicia, invited her into their home, and “adopted” her at age 20. In essence, a daughter-of-the-heart. They love all their kids from oldest at age 28 to the youngest at age 12. Caliana will be a much-loved and welcome addition to their family — another daughter-of-the-heart.
The last five years have brought a lot of change to the Briars’ lives. Dave retired from active duty. The family moved back to their home in Tok, Alaska, where Dave works for an Alaska-based company. Several other aspects of their family situation changed and they felt the Lord wanted them to be doing something different. That ‘different’ was being introduced to Reece’s Rainbow by one of their daughters. From the very beginning Caliana caught Erin’s heart. After much prayer and talking it over as a family (who are all very much excited by another sister!) they have started the journey to bring home another daughter-of-the-heart!
Dave served in the US Air Force for 30+ years and the Briars moved around quite a bit before settling in Tok, Alaska. The Briars have lived in Texas, Delaware, South Carolina, Mississippi, Kansas, Nevada, Maryland, and Alaska. They also lived in Germany for six consecutive years and South Korea for a total of six years on three separate assignments. In addition, Dave did an unaccompanied tour in Honduras and two combat tours in Iraq. As a result, the Briars are no stranger to overseas living and culture. But living in a foreign country never slowed down their desire to grow their family. In fact, four of their children were born overseas – two in Germany and two in Korea. They feel that having a daughter born in Eastern Europe will further add to the international flavor of their family. And Caliana will ensure that the Briars born overseas outnumber those born in the US!
1/18/2020 — APPT in MID-FEB
We are Jeff and Mollie, parents of 9 living children, as well as one, Hannah, who passed away in 1991. Three of our children still live at home, while the others are married and living independently, or in college. We have one grandson at this time! His name is Austin and he is two. He is the center of attention most of the time and we love opportunities for him to come and stay the night.
We met while Jeff attended college and Mollie’s mother met him in a bookstore and invited him to church. It was in church we met for the first time, became best friends, dated, and in March of 1978, we became engaged then married in 1979. We both had a calling from God to serve in some capacity in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. We moved to the area near Chicago and attended Bible college. After graduation, we began our career in the field of ministry. We’ve had the privilege of Pastoring 3 churches and working in a Bible college in Texas. We have been completely in love with each other and with our children. As a family we are actively busy serving in our churches in a variety of ways. We are a musical family of pianists, guitar playing and singing. Our family has known the satisfaction that comes in truly making a difference in the lives of those who need us in our communities and churches, from our seniors and our ministries to people with special needs, and those in our inner cities and nursing homes.
Our family loves to laugh and have fun but also practices our faith and applies a “person centered” approach with each of our family members. We are a family of a variety of backgrounds and races. We adopted our oldest son from Honduras and another daughter from Seattle who is part Eskimo Indian..
We do have our times of stress but have learned to talk things out and pray together about our differences and show love and support to each other.
What is important to us is making a difference in the lives of children with special needs. Our first born daughter Hannah, was born with Down syndrome. She died at age 4 after her 4th heart surgery. We were told we would never have more children and began to adopt. Then we had three more biological children! Each person in our family is so unique and plays a vital role in our family structure. Jeff is now a retired Pastor but does teaches others through an online Bible college. Mollie works with the state of Ohio as an independent provider for adults and children with special needs. We also have helped churches start ministries to include people with special needs within the congregation. We feel this is so vital today. Not long ago, we saw a photo and read the narrative on Vivi and wanted to help her so began to call families we knew. After not finding someone who would undertake this we decided why not us? We want to adopt her ourselves and pray Vivi can be a part of our family. This will more than likely be our last adoption as we are getting older! We know that God can open the door for us and make this happen and we would appreciate your prayers and support. We are both in good health and love our busy happy family life and feel Vivi would be loved and happy here!
12/7/2020 — AWAITING COURT
Leah is a lifelong Navy sailor who grew up as a dependent and is now active duty. When she was a young girl living in Hawaii, her stay-at-home RN mother fostered several children under 2 who had special needs for a few months and one at a time while they were between more permanent homes. Even though she was only 5 years old at the time, she fell in love with a baby named Emily whose smile she can still remember and was old enough to understand that adopting meant adding a child who didn’t come out of her mommy’s tummy. Since then, adoption has been at the forefront of her mind when it comes to adding kids to a family of her own.
In 2015 while stationed on a ship, her church hosted an adoption agency that talked about older child adoption. They told her that even single women who work full time on a Navy ship can adopt. Leah knew that her time was coming when she would add to her family of one.
In January of 2019, a friend shared the Reece’s Rainbow page of a girl who was aging out and Leah felt the tug on her heart. She began prayerfully considering adoption in the near future and knew it was almost time. Almost one exact year later, another girl with the same special needs was shared to Facebook by a friend who had already completed an adoption for a child on Reece’s Rainbow and was working on her second. Leah knew it was time and began her home study that month.
First time international adoption can be a long and difficult process and the child that Leah is working toward adopting doesn’t have much time! Any kind of help is welcomed and appreciated and thanks to all who follow this journey to make the Davis family go from one to two!
1/12/2021 — COMPILING DOSSIER
James and Colleen met when Colleen was freshman and James was a junior, in college. We started dating five years after that and we married 2012. We found out in 2014 we couldn’t have children biologically. As it broke our hearts, we immediately knew we were meant to adopt. Before we got married, we spoke about the possibility of fostering and adoption, as Colleen knew as a young girl she wanted to adopt. At that time, we found Reece’s Rainbow, and instantly we found our son. We adopted Jacob in 2016 from Bulgaria and he will be 7 in July. Four years later, a little girl in Eastern Europe has our hearts and God has very clearly said go, just like what happened, four years ago.
1/20/2021 — USCIS APPROVED
The Reinecke family is no stranger to international special needs adoption. They returned from Eastern Europe last summer with their twin girls and are now ready to go back for a little boy!
Rebecca started researching international adoption while she was in college, knowing that with her own health conditions she might not be able to build a family in the traditional way. She already had three cousins added to her family through adoption and felt that this could be a good plan for her as well. She spent hours reading the blog “The Blessing of Verity” and fell in love with the idea of adopting a child with special needs. Years later, she became engaged to Brendyn and was listed for a pancreas transplant shortly after. Plans were in the works to build a family through both biological and adopted children and then a pancreas became available, which changed their lives forever, in the best and hardest ways possible. The surgery that was supposed to make conceiving easier, ended with complications that made carrying a child dangerous for mom and baby. Always planning on adopting anyway, they decided to move the plans for adoption to the forefront and began researching. Rebecca remembered that blog from so long ago and started sharing the idea with Brendyn who agreed that adopting a child with special needs would be something they were well situated to do with Rebecca’s nursing experience and personal experience with medical conditions. On July 17, 2018 Rebecca saw an advocacy post for 3.5 year old twins and they decided to get more information. It was love at first sight and they had the commitment paperwork with them to mail out on the first day of their honeymoon a couple weeks later. Twelve months after they saw the picture they brought Margo and Rose home to Wisconsin.
A few months after returning home with the twins, a little boy on Reece’s Rainbow named “Klein” started popping up on Rebecca’s newsfeed. She couldn’t help but notice how similar he was to Margo, who is completely blind from Retinopathy of Prematurity. He still had the light in his eyes that was quickly fading from Margo when they picked her up in July. He was sitting in a room familiar to the family and had the same black hair and dark eyes. They were not yet eligible to adopt and he became the first Reece’s Rainbow child that Rebecca advocated for. A couple months passed and he was still listed and tugging on Rebecca’s heartstrings. The time was coming when they would be eligible to adopt again and Rebecca brought him up to Brendyn and they requested more information. After much conversation, they decided it was meant to be and they signed on with their placing agency New Year’s Eve 2019. Since signing on with their agency they have dove into the paperwork and doing everything they can to get him home as quickly as possible. Rebecca, Brendyn, Margo, and Rose are all excited to welcome this little boy into their family!
1/8/2021 — COURT LATE JANUARY
Brian and Stephanie’s family has been grown in nearly every way possible: biology, step parenting, foster care and international adoption. Eight of their children are “permanent members” but a handful of extras call them mom and dad from their years as foster parents and Brian and Stephanie love the crazy joy that their large family brings.
When they brought home their daughter, Nadya Rose, from Eastern Europe right before Christmas in 2018, Stephanie said “see you soon” to their daughter’s birth country as the plane took them home to America. Fulfilling that promise, the Higgins family is adopting another tiny “homie with an extra chromie” and are excited to watch their littlest daughter become a big sister to the little one they are affectionately calling “cheeks.”
12/17/2020 — PASSED COURT; FINAL TRIP in JANUARY
These families are in country now…meeting their child for the first time as a result of your life-saving donations
Brian and Julie Swegle are the parents of 7. After raising their 6 birth children, they decided that they were still young enough and brave enough to add more children to their family through adoption. Because Julie is a teacher for the visually impaired at a school for the deaf and the blind, they felt particularly equipped to parent children who are blind. So, 1.5 years ago they welcomed a daughter from China (who is deafblind) to their family. She was such a joyful addition to the family that they decided to grow their family through adoption for a second time.
Through a series of seemingly well-orchestrated circumstances, Madeline and her need for a family to adopt her immediately came to the attention of the Swegle family. When they read Madeline’s story they fell in love with her and realized how well she would fit into their growing family. Brian and Julie are hoping to bring Madeline home as quickly as possible. They are so grateful for the opportunity to be Madeline’s parents and for all those who are joining them in helping Madeline. Thank you for joining the Swegle family on their journey to Madeline!
1/5/2021 — DOSSIER NEARLY COMPLETE
The families listed on this page have made it to “the end of the rainbow”.
Your sponsorship is most critical now, as their final agency, country, and travel fees are coming due. Your help will make such a huge difference!
Thank you for your generous gift of life and love!
Sponsor one or more families to help with the financial burden of their adoption journey.
Thank you for your generous gift of life and love!
Hello! We are Madisen and Allen Crapo. We are so excited to finally be in this place and would love to share a small part of our story with you. When we were dating and things began to become serious, I (Madisen) brought up the possibility of adopting a child with DS in the future. I was nervous to hear his response, but he was equally as excited and on board. We always knew adoption would be part of our lives, though we didn’t know what a large part it would play. As teenagers, we were blessed with a beautiful little girl, who we chose to bless another family with. We were not prepared financially or emotionally at the time for a child and are so blessed with our new family. We were thrown into the adoption community, and we have learned so much.
Through our new found friends, we found Reece’s Rainbow. The plan was eventually, when everything was perfect, to adopt from an Eastern European country whose children we felt a strong pull to. God had other plans, and a few years ago placed a sweet boy in our hearts. We became determined to start the process much sooner than planned. We had to wade our way through school and starting careers while trying to wait patiently. We are so grateful that we saw his picture, while available, to give us that extra push to have faith. Though we know there is no guarantee of receiving his referral, we have already seen countless miracles in our process that confirm to us we are on the right path. Our daughter (5) is so nurturing and we are excited to see her welcome her new brother and become officially outnumbered (our son is 2). We are incredibly thankful for any help, both spiritual and financial, that you can provide!
3/4/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Phil and Maggie have been married for 10 years and have been blessed with 5 beautiful children, ages 9, 7, 6, 4, and 3. Phil is a writer and works from home. Maggie homeschools the children and the whole family gets to spend most of their time together, which is something they do not take for granted.
Maggie felt drawn toward adoption from a young age and, through experience with family members and through volunteering at a local organization that employs those with special needs, she developed a special love for those with Down syndrome. Phil has not always felt called to adoption, but Maggie asked him to pray about the possibility of adopting. Several years later, after finding out that his grandfather was adopted, Phil’s heart opened and he was on board. They both felt called to international adoption from the start and, through prayer and various circumstances, they discerned that God was leading them toward an Asian adoption.
There were three little boys that they felt drawn to during the referral process. Two of these boys had families hoping to adopt them once their home studies were approved, which gave Phil and Maggie peace about pursuing the third little boy. Something about his picture really grabbed their hearts and they were so excited that he might become a part of their family.
After a roller coaster of twists and turns and many months delay, they finally received pre-approval to adopt Chip. Their other children fell in love with him instantly and already consider him a part of the family. The 3-year-old loves to pray for “Chippy” and they can’t wait until they get to meet him face to face, as they feel like he has been in their hearts forever.
They feel so blessed to have been called to the beautiful journey of adoption. Financial hardships have been many throughout the process, but they are trusting that the Lord will provide for them as He always has. Thank you to anyone willing to assist in bringing their new son home! May God Bless you!
10/13/2020 — DOSSIER in COUNTRY
We are Jaime and Gary and we hope that our story can help you understand why we have chosen the wonderful yet difficult path of adoption. We are the parents to three internationally adopted children from China, Shawn 8, Ryan 5, and Robin 3. We are often asked why we chose to adopt internationally rather than have our own biological children. We answer them how Vernon Pierce, a pastor and foster parent, does. He describes the mirrors between adoption and Gods love. He says “I like to tell people that we were the people in the back of the filing cabinet with the red stamp saying: Do not adopt. You look at the file on humanity and it says: Prone to rejection, prone to running away, prone to disobedience. There is no reason why God should have loved us and yet God did love us. He set his love upon us and it was a redemptive love to reconcile us to himself, to restore us to himself and restoring a people to himself. We were meant to be part of the family of God. We fell away and God still brings us back to himself”. When we adopt, we willing to choose the “red stamps” of life; those who are hurt, both physically and emotionally. We as parents set our love upon them and watch as Gods redemptive and restorative power work through us to directly change our children. It’s a truly powerful and miraculous thing to watch. It is also why we believe that the most profound thing we can impart to our children is the love of Christ. While we set our love upon our children we also disciple them with this message, that it is only Jesus who can save and change a heart from the inside.
In 2012 we started our journey with the adoption of a 2-year-old boy, Shawn, born with a cleft lip/palate. We followed his adoption up with two others in 2016 and 2017. Ryan was adopted at 3 and was diagnosed with Lamb-Shaffer Syndrome, a rare genetic deletion causing intellectual disabilities, speech impairments, and ataxic muscle movements. Little Robin arrived home at the age of one. She was diagnosed with cleft lip/palate, a heart defect, and hearing loss. As with all institutionalized children, their early childhood trauma and fear manifests in various ways. We meet them where they are, set our love upon them and trust God to redeem and restore the broken, just as Christ does for us.
Each one of our children has their own individual stories. Yet, they all share a similar heritage and can relate to each other through their medical needs. While they recognize the others struggles or disabilities they don’t capitalize on them but overlook them; the abled helping the disabled, the better signer helping the non-verbal to communicate more effectively, playing as a sibling unit despite ability.
We are seeking to adopt Caleb, a 7-year-old with arthrogryposis. We had the privilege of speaking with Caleb’s American foster family and gaining insight into his personality. His foster parents describe Caleb as a peacemaker with a sweet personality. He tries to find ways to accomplish tasks on his own despite his physical disability. Caleb also lives with foster siblings that have a variety of needs, ranging from Trisomy 21, Cerebral Palsy, Autism, and Clefts. His foster parents feel that Caleb would thrive as a middle brother who could not only look up to his older brother but also be a helper to his younger siblings. Caleb is receiving excellent care at his healing home but cannot reach his full potential there. He has already had seven surgeries and will require several more to achieve greater range of motion in his extremities. We have a translated letter written by Caleb expressing his desire to be adopted. You can also hear the sadness in his voice as he feels overlooked while he watches all of his friends be adopted.
We are humbled that you have taken the time to read our profile and thank you as you consider donating to help us bring Caleb home!
11/19/2020 — AWAITING TRAVEL DATES