MAA family, Candace and Joe, graciously share their adoption story¦

œAre we crazy? œCan we really do this?  So many questions were swimming through our minds as we sat there looking at the most precious face.  A dark hair, pig tailed, dimpled cheek, sparkly eyed little 3-year-old girl stared back at us on the screen with an extra-large smile and such a joyful spirit about her that we couldn’t stop looking at her.  Over the next few days we couldn’t stop thinking about her too.  œIs this our daughter? We hadn’t necessarily been thinking of adopting a child with Down syndrome.

Our oldest son, Wyatt, was born back in 2004.  He had catapulted us into the roles of mother and father, and special need parents at the same time.  Although we were surprised and scared to find out around 23 weeks that Wyatt would be born with Down syndrome, we have since had 14 years being his parents.  Experiencing the wonderful blessings that his uniqueness brought to our lives, we were cautiously open to the thought of welcoming a new little one with the same uniqueness.

Still, there were lots of questions and prayers placed on the table as we felt more and more drawn to this girl who had stolen our hearts. So, with excitement and a little fear we pushed œsend on the email requesting more information about her.  Over the next few days we felt more and more confident that God was asking us to move forward with this adoption and to trust him with the details.  The year long process of paperwork came and went with lots of anticipation among all the members of our family.  Besides our 14 yr old, we also have a 12 yr old son Owen, and a 9 yr old daughter Ruby, who was also adopted back in 2009 from Ethiopia.  There was lots of talk about how our new life was going to look after we brought our new daughter home.  But the truth is you can never really fully prepare for your new normal until you meet your child and begin it.

So on that hot, humid day in July, in the most northern province of China, in the City of Harbin, after what seemed like a never ending process and airplane flight, we walked into a conference room at the social services building. There, sitting sweetly in a big black office chair was a pigtailed little girl in a pink lace dress and white sandals.  She was gently ushered over to us and we were introduced to her as her mama and papa.  Through all the uncertainty that had proceeded this meeting, through all the uncertainty that surrounded us in that room, and through all the uncertainty that we knew would still be waiting to come, through all of this, we KNEW that this was our daughter.  We also knew there would be challenges to come, there would be losses to grieve, attachments to begin and adjustments to be made, but through all of this we knew she was ours and we were hers forever.

Since that first meeting a few month ago so much has changed and love has grown exponentially as we have become a family of 6.  All of the children have fallen head over heels for their little sister.  She is cuddly and independent, sweet and a little naughty, curious and timid.  She is learning that we are her mom and dad and whatever she needs we will provide.  She is her own unique, perfectly formed self.  Her future is bright and exciting to us and we see her impact on earth as limitless.

When we were discussing names back before we ever met this beautiful child, we knew that it needed to embody her little personality well.  We decided on the name Chloe Joy.  Chloe means new tender growth. So her full names means: New tender growth of Joy! To us this is perfect and could not be more accurate as she continues to bring joy into every new life that she encounters.  We are so blessed that God chose us to be together forever.

For more information about adoption, and our programs, please visit our website.  We are happy to offer a special grant of $1,500 in celebration of Down Syndrome Awareness Month.  Any qualified family who commits to adopt a child with Down syndrome during the month of October will receive the grant, in addition to MAA’s regularly available grants.  Email for more information.