Shelby has always loved working with children. From a very early age, she knew she wanted nothing more than to be a mom. When she was a preteen, there was a little girl with special needs in her church, and every once in a while Shelby would be asked to hold her while her grandmother sang a special. That’s when she grew a special place in her heart for kids with special needs. Though that particular child did not have Down syndrome, Shelby felt a strong tug on her heart to one day adopt a child with Down syndrome from around that age.

A dear friend, who Shelby only knew via the internet, had posted the Reece’s Rainbow profile page of a little girl with Down syndrome. Once Shelby clicked the link, she knew she was brought there for a reason. Shelby could not adopt at the time, but she discovered a deep love for advocating for these children and for the families adopting them. She continued to advocate for many years, hoping that one day, she would be on that journey to bring her own child home. She nannied and worked in a PRTF, researched and reached out to families to learn from their experiences. She did anything to take steps to prepare for the child who would one day come into her home.

Gaining strength from God through an ectopic pregnancy and a messy divorce, she picked herself back up and continued to work towards that goal. On Christmas day, 2021, covid struck hard. Shelby was in the hospital being rushed to ICU to be put on a vent, and wondered if that was the end for her. God saw her through, and she truly believes she’s still here for a reason. The calling that God laid on her heart a long time ago was more pressing than ever, and she asked herself, “Why not now?” With her supportive nanny job boss/friend, she took the first baby-step, and just kept stepping away. With your help (thanks, so much, by the way), she is baby-stepping all the way to bringing her baby home. She can’t help but feel that that dear friend who shared Reece’s Rainbow with her, all those years ago, and has since passed on to be with the Lord in Heaven, would be loving watching this all unfold. If you can’t adopt, advocate…it really does make a difference.

9/18/2023 — USCIS APPROVED

$9,733.15 has been donated towards the cost of our adoption!

Make the most of your gift, consider sending a check! Online donations to children with committed families incur a 3% PayPal transaction fee.

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


$4,193.68 has been donated towards the cost of our adoption!

Make the most of your gift, consider sending a check! Online donations to children with committed families incur a 3% PayPal transaction fee.

Hong Kong


Lucille (1)



Chad_Aug 2012




Olga Ellise 2015

Olga Ellise 2015