Reece’s Rainbow Report #47: Zars Family

When she makes up her mind, Megan Zars like to move. “I’ve had to really find and work on my patience,” she admits. 

But back in 2021, patience was not as important as lining things up to adopt a daughter. Zars and her husband Jacob, a supply chain manager for Bissell, had been caught up in the paused adoption process for China since 2020. But the couple wanted to get a move on and began looking at other countries. 

That led them to a child listed on Reece’s Rainbow from India. Reading through her profile got the Zarses talking to families who had adopted from that nation. That specific child wasn’t meant to be theirs, but an idea began to form. 

”When we started looking into it, we knew India was going to be the right choice for our family,” says Zars, a senior marketing manager at the Ronald McDonald House in Michigan. “And within 24 hours, we had switched countries, switched agencies and were ready to go.” 

Ready to go get their girl, eventually, anyway. In reality, the road to adopt sweet Amirtha “Ami” Zars took three years — perhaps even longer, in a way. But Zars says her only daughter was completely worth the wait. 

“Right away when we brought Ami home, we were on cloud nine — and it’s stayed that way,” says Zars, age 34. “It’s been such a positive experience having her in our home.” 

A significant portion of that positive experience stems from watching Ami, now age two, interact with her big brothers Otto (age seven) and Caspian (age six). “Mom, she’s the most beautiful baby in the world!” they often tell Zars. “She’s so perfect!” 

Zars agrees — with a few acceptable asterisks, of course. Ami is definitely a two-year-old, she says, with all the challenging growth and energy that comes with it. Take your eyes off Ami for one minute, it seems, and the toddler will, in lightning-quick fashion, summit the kitchen counter to serenade the salt and pepper shakers with her favorite song. 

“I wasn’t ready for it, to be honest,” Zars says. “Especially because when we had talked to the agency, they were like, ‘She doesn’t walk, she doesn’t talk,’ but then we picked her up and she’s running up and down the hallways.” 

Zars had long felt a calling toward adoption, especially Down syndrome adoption. Jacob, however, had never even met anyone with the diagnosis. So they began expanding their circle, going out of their way to meet people in the Down syndrome community, including adoptive parents of children with it. They considered adopting an infant domestically. But the couple had already gone through the newborn phase and didn’t want to take that special experience away from any first-time parents. So to international programs filled with toddlers on up they turned, choosing China in February of 2020. 

And then came Covid shutdowns, the agonizing wait and the decision to switch to India. Around three months later, they saw Ami’s profile and instantly knew that the toddler was meant to be a Zars. Fittingly, they got the call saying that she was available to adopted internationally on National Adoption Day 2022. 

Ami was only 20 months old when the Zarses traveled to India that autumn. The toddler with Down Syndrome was tiny yet chunky, with a spitfire personality and a heart condition. It was all so new, so exciting, so wonderful — and so bittersweet. 

Because how could Zars and Jacob not remember the unborn son they had lost just three years earlier?

“If it wasn’t for that situation, we probably wouldn’t have Ami here today,” Zars says. “It’s hard, because we wish he was here obviously, but also I think he lives on in us in a different way, and I think we’ll always think of him when we think of how our adoption happened.” 

After arriving home, Ami’s new dad and mom introduced her to a special nectarine tree in the yard. It was planted in 2019, after Zars miscarried, in the baby’s honor. The family harvests it every summer. “Thank you, baby brother, for our fruit!” they tell the tree. 

Ami may not fully understand the significance of the moment, but she certainly comprehends that she is loved. Just a few months after becoming an American, she experienced Disneyworld for the first time, taking everything in.

“She obviously thought that was the coolest thing ever,” Zars says. “It was so much fun watching her enjoy that.” 

Also on her list of accomplishments since coming home: growing taller, saying “mama” and “bye,” pounding knuckles with everyone at the grocery store, gaining a sleeker frame, learning 20 signs, gaining several inches of beautiful dark hair, invading her new mother’s space bubble, sneaking items off of counters, navigating stairs and deducing exactly which behavior tactic will get her the maximum amount of attention. 

“She has a very big personality,” Zars says. “She likes to entertain and owns a room when she walks into it, which is adorable.”

Given that cuteness, Ami has also entered the modeling scene, with future plans for more. Throw in the daily deep belly laughs that are now simply part of the family’s daily schedule, and it all adds up to a journey and timeline that Zars and Jacob, 37, wouldn’t change for anything. 

“We had to lose a lot of things to get to the point we’re in now, but we know it was meant to happen this way,” Zars says. “This was the plan for our family, and it’s better than anything I could have imagined.”

And that’s a mind made up — and perfectly content to stay put at home with Otto, Caspian and Ami.

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.
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