Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A Father's Perspective: Planting a Seed

Adoption has been in my heart for quite a long time, at least the idea of adoption has appealed to me. I’m not exactly sure why. I do have three adopted cousins, two on one side of the family and one on the other, so there’s that. But whatever the reason, Marianne and I have always toyed with the idea of adoption, and even before we had any biological children of our own we had talked about the possibility of adoption. But talking about adoption and adopting are two different things. And though it was an idea that had always appealed to me, it was an idea that began to take root first in Marianne’s heart.
What had only ever been an idea began to grow into a real and ardent desire about a year and a half ago. I had flown to California to attend a conference. While there I spent a couple of nights in the home of the Franciscos (some dear friends from my seminary days). There was nothing all that unusual about the visit; just a good time hanging out with David and Julie and the kids. I always love hangin’ with those Frisco kids (see the photo at the bottom of this post).
One of the kids (Andrew) has Down syndrome. He’s a cute little guy with beautiful eyes, a big heart, and his father’s sandy red hair (which like his father he’s probably destined to lose). Anyway one night we were all just sitting around talking and somehow the subject turned to another beautiful child with Down syndrome, a little girl whom Julie had just heard was to be given up for adoption.  Her parents did not want to keep her once they discovered she had Down syndrome shortly after birth.  Julie knew that we had considered the idea of adopting in the past and so with a giggle and a grin threw out the suggestion that we should adopt this little girl. I remember just sort of laughing it off and saying something like… “Well you’ll have to run it by Marianne first.”
I really didn’t think she would… but she did. What happened after that is simply what you’d expect to happen when a good seed is planted in fertile soil…it began to grow. This little seed of an idea began to take root in my wife’s tender heart, and before long she was scouring the internet for information on adoption and Down syndrome. What she found was alarming, and only served to shower water on this budding idea. Since prenatal testing for Down syndrome began in the United States, a vast majority of those whose children were likely to be born with Downs were “terminating their pregnancies” (i.e. – aborting their children). Coming to terms with these horrific statistics in themselves was a bit mind numbing, but the net effect of it all was that there just were not very many children with Down syndrome available for adoption in the United States.  The babies that do make it to see the light of day and who are are given up for adoption, find families very quickly.  That was the case of the baby girl that Julie knew about. Before we could even seriously consider it, another family found her quickly.
That’s when Marianne discovered Reece’s Rainbow. Reece’s Rainbow is a non-profit organization that essentially functions as an advocacy group that seeks to find loving families for special needs children throughout the world. Although if you’re reading this blog you’re probably well aware of their fabulous work on behalf of these orphans…if you’re not familiar with them, we invite you to click our link to their site and get to know this wonderful organization. As it turns out, there are many children with Down syndrome in need of families; they’re just not in the United States. They’re in a thousand orphanages scattered throughout the world, and in one of those orphanages is our precious Darya.
And that is how this little seed planted in my wife’s heart began to grow. Watered by the grace of God at work in her heart and nurtured by the rays of light beaming from the faces of a thousand beautiful orphans on her computer screen, the little seed sprouted.

1 comment:

  1. Such a sweet post Joel! We feel like Darya is a part of our family's story too and can't wait to have her to visit in Oceanside where Ethan can teach her the ways of the force and Andrew can have a big hug-fest with her.

    I remember so clearly your visit with us and how Andrew worked his snuggle magic on you. And the reason I had such a big smile on my face was that I knew Marianne would be the perfect mom (and you the perfect father), for a little one with ds. Thank you for introducing us to Reece's Rainbow. The kids love watching their daily prayers being answered by having families commit to the ones they have been praying for. We love your friendship and look forward to the future together!

    PS Never underestimate the genetic pre-disposition Andrew may have for tons of hair on his head....just think, he may have gotten tripled chromosones of MY hair gene which means he would be more like Sampson rather than George Costanza..ha ha!!