In honor of Down Syndrome Awareness Month, we asked some of our families who adopted kids rocking an extra chromosome to share some of their stories! Here, Darla shares about her family’s journey to adopt their daughter from Bulgaria.
After having a biological daughter with Down syndrome and experiencing the amazing amount of joy that she brought to our family, the Lord placed on our heart to adopt again. We reached out to Reece’s Rainbow, because we knew of their focus on helping people adopt children with Downs. We found a beautiful little girl and the team at Reece’s lead us to Madison Adoption Associates to learn more.
We learned that our future daughter was currently in Bulgaria, and she had recently turned 2 years old. Over the course of the next few months we learned more about her and spent lots of time praying for her. It was fun to share the videos and pictures we received with our children, and we all grew in our excitement and anticipation to welcome her into our family.
Our first trip to Bulgaria was in late summer, and we were blessed with spending a week with our new daughter and the wonderful foster mom and social workers. She was full of joy and enthusiasm, and oh so, so cute! She was just learning to walk, so we spent a lot of time at parks and playgrounds and toddling around in the sand. We laughed and laughed. She loved swinging on swings, and sliding down slides, and climbing up steps, and being hugged and carried and fed. She was very joyful and active, and walked and played with abandon. Everything in life was met with smiles and giggles. She was accepting and bright-eyed when engaging us, from the start and through the whole week!
Back at home we had weekly video calls to stay connected and continue to see and hear each other. The language barrier at times made these calls seem slow and a bit long, but looking back we could see that this was a highly beneficial way to have our daughter continue to know us and bond with us, including seeing and hearing her new brothers and sisters.
We went back for a second time to bring her home 3 months later, and this time brought three of our other children. The travel there was impacted by winter weather and had more than its share of surprises and adventure, but the Lord’s favor was on us every step of the way. In great anticipation, we awoke on our “Gotcha Day” so eager to see our daughter again. Through many hugs and tears we were able to welcome our daughter and with deep thanks to the foster family and social workers we set out to spend a week together finishing the adoption process as a family. She welcomed us right away and seemed especially comfortable to be with us from the start, which we believe was due to the time we spent together 3 months earlier and the ongoing connections we made through video and talking while we were apart.
Back home all of our children have loved spending time with her. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with an excited, joyful, eager, driven, fun-loving little sister that loved to give you a hug and smile and snuggle with you? Teaching can take longer and with more repetition. Growing can be slower and expect more practice and patience. Some have commented that we’re doing a great thing for her, but we know that the truth is she is doing a great thing for us in ways we cannot even always put into words. We are blessed beyond measure, and we wouldn’t change a thing.
Adopting a child with Down syndrome may not be for everyone, but for those who do we would say you will love more than you can imagine. And while at times we do think that it would be great if our daughters did not have the limitations or challenges that come with Down Syndrome, when we think about what is most important to all of us – to experience and share joy, love, grace, peace, friends, family, contentment and have great faith – it is clear that those of us without Down Syndrome have the greater challenges in life.
Thank you to Glen and Darla for sharing their family’s story! If you are considering adopting a child with Down syndrome, fill out our free Prospective Adoptive Parent form to connect with an Adoption Specialist and learn about the children waiting for adoption!