Sunday, October 18, 2009
A Love Story
Last night I attended a fundraising banquet for Bethany Christian Services, the adoption agency that we used for both our Hong Kong adoptions. The theme of the banquet this year was "Love Stories", and they asked us to share one of ours. Here is what I shared:
Five years ago, my husband Adam approached me with the idea of adopting a child with special needs, specifically a child with Down Syndrome (DS). Adam had an adopted sister with DS and she had a significant impact on his life, and was the major influence in his choice of a career as a nurse. Unfortunately, she passed away due to an unexpected health issue when she was only 8 years old, so I had never had the opportunity to know her personally. I told Adam that I wasn’t really interested in growing our family beyond our four children, and especially not adding a child with special needs. I was sure I wasn’t “equipped” for the challenge of parenting a special needs child, and I was fearful of what it would mean for our future.
A few months later after much prayer and the Lord’s work in my heart, I found myself at a Bethany information meeting. My heart melted at the picture of a precious little boy named Ivan in the Lifelines magazine. Ivan fit none of my criteria for a child for our family. He was too old (nearly 7), he was in Hong Kong (we were looking at adopting through US foster care again), and he had Down Syndrome. We filled out our application and received information on several waiting children, but in my heart I knew Ivan was our son. We took what felt like a huge leap of faith, and committed to adopt Ivan. Nearly nine months later, we were in Hong Kong to bring him home. The day we met him is one of the favorite memories of my lifetime. He was an immediate joy and blessing! All fears I had about parenting Ivan were gone.
Everyone who meets Ivan is forever changed for the better. He has a wonderful warmth and affection, an enthusiasm for life, and he has a great sense of humor. Ivan was the inspiration for our church to start a program for special needs children in Sunday School. He has touched the lives of all his school teachers and therapists, his doctors, and has influenced other families we know to pursue the adoption of an older child.
Ivan is one of the most amazing and inspirational people I have ever known. He accepts others unconditionally and has transformed the lives of every member of our family. He brings limitless love, joy, and laughter to our home. Ivan is directly responsible for inspiring us to adopt four more special needs children, three of whom have DS like Ivan. We are so grateful that the Lord chose to bless us with this most treasured gift of a son! We cannot imagine our lives without him.