As August draws to a close, a boy I have seen is more and more likely to have passed his 16th birthday. He had a family coming but no longer does. I don't know the details, and I don't need to. Knowing those details won't change things for him. There is something that could change things though. Maybe there is a family out there who has already sent in their i600a, who is approved to adopt a 16 year old with Down Syndrome. Maybe there is a family out there waiting for Gene.
So many of you know our story with Barton. We sent in our i600a only a couple weeks before his birthday, but he wasn't even on our radar. I saw people shouting for him as he turned 16, and I was so sad when his birthday came and went without a family lined up. Slowly it became clear that there was no other family coming because we were his family. It was truly amazing the way everything worked out.
The big thing was that we mailed in our i600a early. Our homestudy wasn't done. We weren't planning on adopting a child who had already aged out. We had to send in those fees sooner rather than later. We did it anyway. We kept that door open. We kept other doors open too. We discussed with our social worker the wide range of ages and needs we were open to on a case by case basis. Our special needs list was very, very long. We were only planning on adopting older children, but we kept younger ages on our homestudy also in case there were younger siblings we did not know about, or maybe a child we hadn't been considering was the right one for us. Each of those choices to leave those doors open was done consciously. My husband and I talked it over, knowing how unpredictable the process is for the country we had chosen. That was why our homestudy met the requirements to add Barton, and later also Evan.
Please, consider the plans your family is making in your adoption process. Consider keeping your hearts open and keeping those doors open. Consider an older child who has waited for an unimaginable length of time for a family. One of our boys told me yesterday how sad he was in the orphanage. He said he would stay awake at night and ask God for a mama and papa. His brother said that he was so sad too. Wow. These are older boys, who so many people wanted to warn us would be dangerous, would be predators. They have blessed us more in the short time they have been home than I can put into words. My heart breaks every time I think of how long they waited, and how they may never have had a family if we had not seen them for who they are and been willing to step far outside the typical adoption box. We kept our hearts open and we kept those doors open, and it has made a tremendous difference in our lives and theirs.
We are home with Amos, Daisy, Lee and Violet! Meanwhile we have jumped in again for one last very special girl. If you would like to help with that, you can make a non-tax-deductible donation HERE that we can access immediately. You can also make a tax-deductible donation HERE that we can use once we receive travel dates. Or by donating HERE you can help provide her and other children at her orphanage the care and nutrition they desperately need. See all of our current fundraisers HERE. We are thankful for any support you can offer!