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.
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.
10/26/2020 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
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 APPROVAL
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!
10/3/2020 — HOMESTUDY in PROCESS
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.
9/29/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
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)
10/19/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
Aden and Jamie Hirtle’s story began in 2000 when they met in college. They became good friends but went their separate ways shortly thereafter and remained friends for 8 years. In 2008, they were reunited, began dating and were married in 2009. They lived in Calgary, Alberta, Canada together for 7 years and then moved to Utah in 2015 and have been there ever since. In their 11 years of marriage they have welcomed 4 beautiful girls.
In May 2020, Jamie randomly happened upon an Instagram account advocating for children in Eastern Europe with special needs who were available for international adoption. This page pulled at her heart stings as she had lived in Russia for a year (2001-2002) and had studied Russian in college afterwards. She had also worked for years with children with disabilities. Scanning those faces, she never thought adoption would be in her future but suddenly one little face called to me.
The little boy in the picture looked so much like her nephews and brothers when they were younger that she felt like she was looking at someone from her extended family. She felt a jolt in her heart the instant she saw him and she couldn’t stop thinking about him for days. When she found an adoption video of him, she knew they had to give him a family and she cried and prayed for him all day.
Another exciting happenstance occurred when she looked up his diagnosis: Patent Ductus Arteriosus. She didn’t realize the nickname for this is PDA. She is very familiar with PDA because their twins both had this as preemies in the NICU and were treated for it. She felt prepared to be this little boy’s mama, not only because of his diagnosis but also because she speaks his native language.
Through much prayer, discussion and tender mercies, Aden and Jamie both came to the decision to start the adoption process. Their girls were over the moon because she had told them of the bleak future these orphans face and they were adamant that they bring this little boy into their family.
From the beginning, she has felt an urgency to get through the adoption process. They are pushing forward as quickly as they can and are just hoping and working to get enough funds secured to make this adoption possible. They have tightened their budget and dropped activities and are even running a successful facemask making fundraiser but cannot meet their financial goal without the generous help from grants.
9/24/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE
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.
9/24/2020 — AWAITING USCIS APPROVAL
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.
9/14/2020 — HOMESTUDY COMPLETE