Reece’s Rainbow Report #8: Averett Family

by Crystal Kupper
Seeing the world was never the retirement dream for
Utah couple Tori and Dean Averett.
Yet here they are, experienced adoptive parents to four children from China and Taiwan, in addition to six biological sons and daughters.
Life has a funny way of proving you wrong. In the Averetts’ case ― at least with adoption ― the proofs came one after the other beginning in 2012. 
Tori begins listing them: “We had talked about adoption when our bio children were very young, but we didn't think we could afford it. We started thinking about it again after a few of our bio children grew up and moved out.”

When the money issue proved to be surmountable, travel popped up next: “We didn't consider international adoption because of the travel involved. We never traveled much and had never been out of the country. We thought we were looking for a domestic healthy child two or younger.” 
If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans, right? 
Dottie's listing photo on Reece's Rainbow and a photo of Dottie today!

The Averetts did end up with a two-year-old, at least. Dottie came home in 2015 ― but from China, not the United States. Today, as a nine-year-old, Dottie has several siblings who can understand what she’s experienced, including Lilly (age 17), Isaac (age 15) and Gordy (age 14). All four are Chinese or Taiwanese and have Down Syndrome. 
Tori, a baker, and Dean, a mechanic and fabricator, are both in their 50s. As their homegrown children began leaving the nest, the couple talked about foster care and even attended some classes. But that route didn’t feel right for their family, leading them online. That’s when they found Reece’s Rainbow (RR).

“Our hearts broke looking at the faces of all the orphaned children,” Tori says. “I found some blogs and learned about families who had adopted children with Down Syndrome, and I realized that their lives were not very different than our everyday life.”
Lilly, Gordy, Isaac
Isaac (Percy on RR) came first in 2013. Dottie and Gordy (Leandra and Andy) followed in 2015, spurred on by Dottie’s inclusion on the 2013 Miracle of Adoption Christmas Campaign. Lilly’s homecoming was the most dramatic, arriving in the United States just four weeks before she would have aged out in 2018. 
“I wish everyone could know and love someone with
Down Syndrome"
“I wish everyone could know and love someone with Down Syndrome,” Tori says. “We have learned so many things from them. They have a different way of looking at things and the world, take one moment at a time, enjoy the common and little things, and they have huge hearts.”

When the Averetts go out in public, they often draw attention. It’s not often that people see a family like theirs, and questions naturally follow. Why on earth would they choose to start the parenting journey all over again when they were getting so close to the finish line ― and especially with children who will most likely need care for the rest of their lives? 

The children's original listing photos on Reece's Rainbow
Tori has the reasons ready, even if they are usually left unsaid. 

Isaac is very social and tries to fit in wherever he goes. Dottie gives the best hugs and is a cuddle-bug. Gordy has a big heart and some killer dance moves, and Lilly is always energetically willing to help anyone. 

“We never had retirement ‘dreams’ of traveling around the world or country and playing golf,” Tori says. “We love having a large family and having family around us is important. Our children keep us entertained, busy and keeps life worth living.”
It’s a different life than Tori and Dean used to envision, true. But upside-down-and-backwards seems to fit the Averetts just fine. 

“I have discovered more about faith, God, love, family, gratitude, relationships, humanity and myself,” Tori says. 

“Reece’s Rainbow has impacted our life more than anyone can ever know. I can't imagine our life without my four adopted children in it.”
Crystal Kupper
Crystal Kupper is a freelance writer specializing in magazines and special projects. Since earning her journalism degree, she has written for clients such as Zondervan, Focus on the Family and the Salvation Army, among many others.