Five years ago, on October 6th, we welcomed our daughter Wren into the world. With Wren being our second child, we felt pretty confident that we were prepared for all that adding another child into our little family would bring. What we were not prepared for was learning shortly after Wren’s birth that she has Down syndrome.
We had no family history of genetic disorders, no prenatal diagnosis or suspicions, no experience with individuals with special needs, and to be honest… no idea what Down syndrome really was. To say we felt under-qualified to handle a diagnosis of this magnitude is an understatement. But looking at our beautiful baby girl, who had her daddy’s eyes and her big sister’s spunk, we didn’t see a diagnosis… we saw our daughter.
Down syndrome was intimidating.
But Wren was not.
Those first few months were a bit of a whirlwind learning to navigate through a new world of specialists, therapy centers, medical bills, and early intervention therapists coming into our home. All of the new extras in our life (doctor appointments, therapy, chromosomes 😊) quickly became part of our new normal and really enhanced our life more than we could have ever imagined.
Yes, Wren had to work ten times harder than her neuro-typical peers to meet physical and developmental milestones, but that also made every small success that much sweeter. We worked as a team to help Wren meet every new goal set and as a family we celebrated every small victory. I mean, boy, did we learn to celebrate!
We also learned that with determination and hard work we can accomplish anything together. Our motto coming out of that first year was, “No Limits”. We learned that there are no limits to what Wren can do, no limits to what we can accomplish as a family, and there are no limits to the plans God has for our family.
Fast forward a few years and we began to feel God calling our family to adopt. At this point we had three biological children, Willow, Wren, and Pippa. As we began to dive into the adoption process, we knew with 100% certainty that we wanted to adopt a child with Down syndrome. To know, love, support, and be loved by an individual with Down syndrome is an amazing honor – and to be able to be the parent of a child with Down syndrome is a blessing we would choose a million times over. So we did our research, prayed like crazy, and said a big fat scary Yes to adoption!
Adopting a child with Down syndrome was about the only thing we felt certain of. We had no idea what country we would adopt from or where on earth we would find the money, but we pushed forward and trusted God with all the unknowns.
Eventually, through lots of research and prayer, our hearts settled on adopting from Asia. We initially started in the Hong Kong program, but after a nudge from a dear friend and a post on social media about a little boy with Down syndrome awaiting heart surgery, we moved to the China program.
Through a crazy series of events that can only be described as God (you guys know what I mean, right!?!) we ended up with the file of that precious little one we saw on social media, the one whose face had pierced my heart. His file was basically a compilation of really scary medical records (complicated heart defect, open heart surgery, more surgeries to come, Down syndrome) on and on it read.
This precious little one, just 2 years old, with all of his brave, had already spent so much time in a hospital. It was hard to read through his file, much less have to imagine a child living through it. I can remember desperately searching for the good stuff. My heart knew that first and foremost this was a child! I wanted to know who this little fighter was and not let the medical stuff cast a shadow on his worth.
After reading through what had to have been 100 pages, there, at the very bottom of the last page, I saw these words and they were forever written on my heart… “He is quiet and lovely.” It was on that day that we named our son Fox. We said a big Yes to all of the scary medical unknowns because Fox was more than a medical condition and he was more than Down syndrome, he was our son. He was wanted, worthy, and loved.
From the moment we said yes we fought like crazy to bring Fox home and at every turn we saw God’s faithfulness shine. We traveled in November 2016 to bring Fox home to his forever family, and let me tell you, he is lovely!
I share all of this because I want you to know that God’s plan for our lives is far more creative and spectacular than we are capable of imagining. If you had told me five years ago, in that NICU hospital room when we received Wren’s diagnosis of Down syndrome, that we would someday cross an ocean and choose Down syndrome all over again, well quite honestly, I would have told you that you were crazy.
As it turns out, our God is crazy. Crazy awesome. Crazy faithful. And crazy good.