One question I am asked the most in regards to special needs adoption is “Why Down syndrome?” It seems like a fair question, but I just don’t seem to remember a specific event in my life that echoed “You will parent a child with more chromosomes than you!” Overwhelmingly, when you speak to families who have adopted a child with DS as ask them why, their immediate response is “Why not?!” (I like their spunk!)
As a pediatric trauma nurse I had more than one delightful interaction with children with Down syndrome and their families. When they were babies, I looked forward to their sweet smiles and cuddly little bellies. As they got older, their inquisitive nature and pure minds stole the hearts of everyone who cared for them. (After one particular 15 year old got her appendix out, she asked worriedly “what did the doctor do with my appendix?” I skipped the details and assured her that her appendix was his favorite so he put it in a picture frame and hung it on his office wall. She didn’t miss a beat, whipped her head around and stared at her father. “SEE, I told ya!”). But that isn’t the reason I adopted a child with designer genes.
Because the truth is, I didn’t adopt a child with Down syndrome…I adopted my son. He was there and I was here and that 5,935 mile gap had to be closed, extra chromosomes or not. I knew that our journey in life would be a bit different than those around us because of that little bit of extra. There would be a few more medical appointments and some parenting efforts that other families wouldn’t have to have. The hard days would be particularly hard, maybe even what-have-I-gotten-us-into-?!-hard.
But the good days… oh, the good days. They are SO. VERY. AWESOME. The joy that radiates from my child is incomparable. It’s not a joy that can be taught or conjured or even inherited. It is Christmas morning and slow dancing in the rain; it is warm, wet sand between your toes and a brand new box of crayons; it is a hot chocolate with marshmallows and the perfect road trip mix tape… and all because I put purple jam on his morning toast. That little bit of extra that makes my boy ‘different’, and ‘special’ is what makes him perfectly created by our Heavenly Father.
And perfectly matched for my heart.
Two summers ago, the Bamboo Project was started as a focused advocacy initiative through Bethany Christian Services specially for children with Down syndrome waiting in China for a new forever. Isaac and I have gotten to see nearly twenty children with their little bit of extra bring joy into their new forever families. It has been such an honor to pray for these precious babies as they wait and for the unknown families as they step out in faith in adoption; to meet and cry with and rejoice with matched families as they bring their children home; and even to lament over lost sleep and celebrate the smallest of victories once these families have entered their new normal. It’s been an awe-inspiring journey with some incredible people. God’s hand has been miraculous.
With the success of the original Bamboo Project, the authorities in China have identified twenty-two more children with Down syndrome available for adoption. All of these beautiful children are under five years old, over half are under two. Each of these sweet hearts are full of a perfect joy carefully knit into their very DNA. Each waiting for a new forever in the arms of their loving family.
Will you join us in advocating for these perfect children?
1. Pray for their physical, emotional and mental safety as they wait in the orphanage in China. That their little hearts would be protected from fear, anxiety and hopelessness.
2. Pray for the nannies and foster families that are providing care for each of these beautiful children. That no medical issue would be missed and that compassionate care would abound.
3. Pray for soft hearts of forever families to hear God’s call to step out and welcome their child HOME. That they too would be protected from fear and blind to anything other than the Lord’s call.
4. Pray for God’s perfect timing and perfect will in each of the children and families’ lives.
5. Share about the Bamboo Project openly with your friends, family, coworkers, etc. Some one’s heart maybe waiting for ‘that sign’ from God that comes from your voice of advocacy.
6. Give your extra pennies or dollars or more to Bethany attn: Bamboo Project. Every cent goes towards bringing these precious ones HOME.
7. Pray that the Creator of these beautiful children would be glorified here in the US and in China through the Bamboo Project. That ultimately there would be no need for the advocacy initiatives like this because of the overwhelming value of life in both countries.
As you continue to pray and children are coming home, we’ll keep you updated! (Don’t you just want to smooch them all?!)