Just in case you didn’t know, October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. If you’re anything like my cynical self, you might be thinking, “Here we go again with another ‘thing’ to celebrate. Must we bring awareness to some issue or people group EVERY month? Geeze.”
WELL, I’M NOT ASKING THAT QUESTION ANYMORE, PEOPLE. That’s right. This month, I’m partying like it’s 1999.
Why? Because we were finally able to bring our baby home!
To get a better picture of our reason to celebrate, check out this timeline of the past several months of our lives:
November 2012: Began to pray and seriously consider the possibility of adopting a baby with Down syndrome.
December 2012: Decided that this was the road the Lord was leading us to travel.
January 2013: Began the overwhelming process of researching adoption agencies. Prayed. A LOT.
February 2013: Chose an adoption agency. Began to research grant organizations.
March 2013: Met with our social worker to start the insane amount of paperwork necessary to complete our home study.
April 2013: Had our first home visit, where a social worker came to our house to meet with our family of four. Registered with the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network (NDSAN), an organization that matches birth families with adoptive families specifically looking to adopt a child with Down syndrome.
May 2013: Officially home study approved. Continued with grant application process. Read books on adoption. Read books on Down syndrome. Read, and read, and read.
June 2013: Heard Selah and Jude pray for the first time, “Dear God, Please bring our baby brother or sister home real, real soon.”
July 2013: No news from NDSAN.
August 2013: Received our first phone call about a potential baby. Waited for 36 hours, then received word that birth family did not choose us. We were devastated.
September 2013: No news from NDSAN.
October 2013: No news from NDSAN.
November 2013: Spoke with Stephanie, Co-Director and adoptive family contact of the NDSAN. Wondered if we should explore international adoption or if there was more that we could be doing while we waited. Encouraged to continue with the domestic adoption process.
December 2013: Received a phone call about potential baby. Learned 24 hours later that we were not chosen. We were saddened. Received a phone call about a potential international case, then waited for two weeks, only to learn that this would be an in-country adoption only. We were saddened again. At the end of this month, we received a phone call about a potential birth mom.
January 2014: Spent the bulk of this month sharing details of our lives with potential birth family and eventually met them. After we drove away from our meeting, I put my head in my lap and cried to my husband, “They’re not going to pick us. They’re not going to pick us.” After that emotionally draining day, I came home and cleaned like mad. While on my hands and knees scrubbing the floor, a deep sense of peace came over me as I thought, “These babies are not meant to be ours.” Then, I had another good cry.
February 2014: Our suspicions were confirmed when we learned that we were not the intended choice for this birth family.
March 2014: Received a phone call about another international case. Learned that this baby would not be ours to parent. Received a phone call about potential baby. We were not chosen for this little one either.
April 2014: While on vacation, we received a phone call about another potential baby. Within a week, we learned that birth mom had chosen another adoptive family. We were saddened. Updated our home study, an annual requirement in our state.
May 2014: While sitting at our desk, updating our adoption profile for the NDSAN, I got the overwhelming sense that Stephanie was going to call about our baby. That’s right: OUR BABY. In fact, I was so sure that she would call, that I stood up and walked toward the phone, which had yet to ring. Ten steps later, it did. Caller I.D. read: STEPHANIE NDSAN. She shared of a baby boy due in August. I stifled a cry. I knew in my spirit that this baby was to be ours.
June 2014: Made contact with birth family. Began to navigate complex legal matters for out-of-state adoptions. Made tentative travel plans.
July 2014: Continued contact with birth family. Continued navigation of legal matters. Continued travel plan preparation.
August 2014: Lived out-of-state for most of this month while working with medical team and legal systems. Baby boy was born August 12th, 2014, exactly one year later from the birthday of that first baby we had learned of through NDSAN.
September 2014: Returned home to settle in as a family of five!
What seemed like continual rejection over the past several months was really God’s faithfulness in disguise. Some weeks, that painful truth seemed nearly impossible to accept. While we knew that our loving God was behind all of those closed doors, there were many days when we did not feel His presence. Our son’s name, Samuel (God has heard) Creed (to believe) reminds us however, to believe that God hears our prayers.
After all, He answered ours in the form of a ten pound baby boy who has the most beautiful almond-shaped eyes we’ve ever seen.
Photo taken by Richelle Gregory Photography