Over the past 30 days, I have received several emails asking about our little Charlie. With the 30 day prayer focus on Hopey, I didn't spend any time explaining how we came to adopt him, so over the next couple of days, I thought I'd introduce our handsome red-head to you!
First of all, Chappy and I never imagined we would be called to lead a "Special Needs" family. It all began when we adopted 3 year old Natalie Grace from Russia in October of 2001. She had been in an orphanage her entire life, was the product of a mother who had been an orphan and who had used excessive alcohol during her pregnancy. While Natlie has some of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome characteristics, such as difficulty with learning and focusing, fortunately, her case is somewhat mild. With loads of patience and perseverance, through homeschooling, Natalie and I have managed to stay close to target in her education. Thankfully, Natalie is a hard worker and wants to succeed.
Four years after adopting Natalie, Chappy and I learned we were expecting our love-bug, Hopey. Hope and I began physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy immediately after her 2nd open heart surgery. I was surprised to find I thoroughly enjoyed it! Chappy, the kiddos and I also realized we really, really loved our little special one......alot more than we expected to love her! So, we all started thinking we might like to add another "special one" to the family. ALL of us were excited and eager about the possibility! We were already traveling the "Special Needs" route with Hopey, so what was the big deal about adding one more cutie-pie to our days of therapy?
We began the adoption process by placing our names with Robin Steele who works with the Down Syndrome Association out of Cincinnati, Ohio. She facilitates adoptions of domestic children who have Down Syndrome, and is a tremendous advocate for the Down Syndrome community nation-wide. Within days, she called us about a little baby boy who was expected to be born in our area with Down Syndrome. Thrilled doesn't describe our emotions. After receiving the call during lunch one day, the kids and I jumped all around the room shouting and screaming. Hopey, jumped right along with us!
Soon after, I received a phone call from Charlie's birth mom and grandmother.....they wanted to meet us! We had them over for dinner so they could meet all of us and also see our home, where Charlie would be raised. Charlie's birth mother was single and only 20 years old; she desperately wanted to move forward with her life.....hoping to go to college and get a job. She simply wasn't ready to be a mother, but made the incredible, praise-worthy choice to give life to little Charlie when she could have chosen abortion. For that, our entire family will be eternally grateful to her. She gave us the most wonderful gift she could have given.....the cutest red-headed fella' in the whole world who is full of love and smiles. We are absolutely NUTS about Charlie!!!
More on Charlie tomorrow......
Hopey has had a "fair" day. She has been in alot more pain, sore from the surgery, and I have spent much of the day holding her and trying to bring comfort. It is hard to believe she had open heart surgery one week ago today. I praise God for getting her out of the hospital so quickly.....safe at home!