Our Newest Treasure: Evan Ray
Evan is the fruit of years of praying and years of waiting. We officially joined the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network in 2012. Before that we spent about 18 months praying, reading books and blogs, and talking to people that were parenting children with Down syndrome. So really, Evan has been on our minds and in our hearts for many years. I still cannot believe that he is ours and that God brought such a treasured gift into our family.
I love how we make plans, but God in His sovereignty determines our actual path. Less than one month after being on the NDSAN, we were matched with an agency here in Texas because we had been speaking to a birth family about a possible placement. That agency was Gladney. That family ended up parenting their daughter, but God used that opportunity to link us with this fabulous adoption agency. Just a few weeks later I got a phone call from the adoption agency. I was visiting my sister, Jennifer, in Irving. I remember where I was standing-I was in my niece’s bedroom. She said that they did not have a baby with Down syndrome, but she had a little boy with spina bifida. He was born in early December and was needing an adoptive family. She asked if we could possibly be his family. It was so exciting and actually very overwhelming. We had spent almost two years preparing for a baby with Down syndrome. I knew almost nothing about spina bifida and honestly we had not really considered a physical disability like that before.
I immediately drove home. I knew that this was not a decision that we should make together over the phone. Bryan and I spent a few hours together talking, praying, and researching. We decided to sleep on it and see where God led us in the morning. I think we both knew immediately in our hearts that Ezra was ours already, but we wanted to make sure that we were indeed hearing God correctly. Early that next morning Bryan said, “We are a yes. Of course. He is just a sweet little boy that needs a family. We will figure out the wheelchair.” I remember in that moment bursting with so many emotions. I knew Ezra was ours and I could not believe that he was already born and that we loved him so much and had never even met him.
So, God took us on a beautiful detour that led us to our beloved Ezra Luke. Parenting Ezra for the last almost three years has given us such a confidence in our ability to parent a child with special needs. Ezra is very uniquely knit together. He has a few other genetic findings that have come with challenges. Ezra is doing so well. He is very stable and growing and developing into such a beautiful boy. Ezra made us passionate about people with disabilities and renewed that desire in each of our family members to parent a baby with Down syndrome. Ezra has a contagious joy. Here he is with our Ezekiel-having fun on the go.
We have kept our home study current and have been getting calls off and on from the NDSAN for all these years. This summer we spoke with a birth mom for over two months. It was such a sweet time for us to minister to her and to encourage her. We loved her so much and are so very proud of her. She chose to parent her daughter. It was the right decision for her and we were so glad to have been a part of her journey. It was also very hard on all of us. We loved her daughter like our own and it really was a loss for us. We knew that God was in control and that He had a good plan for us. We were honored to love on her and pray for her daughter this summer. Our hearts were pretty raw and in God’s perfect timing our little Evan was born just one month after her daughter was born.
The call that changed our lives:
I was running late to get my hair done and as I was pulling into the parking lot when Stephanie from the network called me about Evan. The whole time I was getting my hair foiled I was talking to our social worker and the agency that was placing him. It was a whirlwind night and a few hours later our social worker was telling us that it was looking very promising that this little one would be ours. It was so surreal!
I will never forget telling our kids about him. They had just come off of the loss of the little girl we had prayed for all summer. The tears and celebration will be etched on my heart forever. I love that my kids are willing to put their hearts on the line and love completely even before they know if this is a sure thing.
By the next morning we had most of the details figured out and we were planning to meet birth mom that Thursday at the hospital and take custody of little Evan. In God’s perfect timing our Ezra was having surgery that same morning. The birth mom agreed to place with only meeting me. My sister and biggest supporter in this adoption, Jennifer, drove in from Waco to drive me downtown to meet this brave mom and to meet our new son. Thank you Jennifer. Not just for what you did that day but for never once questioning what we were doing. Thank you for celebrating our eleventh child with as much excitement as you did our first. Your support has given us more strength than you will ever know. Thank you for already asking to include Evan in cousin camp. I just love you so much and love that you accept him just as we do. You are a treasure to us!
Thursday was a beautiful. Thursday was also emotionally so hard. Adoption never comes without cost. We were given the greatest gift. Evan’s birth mom was so precious and brave. I am so thankful that we have an open adoption and that she will get to see him grow and develop. Pray with us that we will love her and her family well. I offered a visit before the holidays and hope that it will be a time of healing and growth in our new relationship.
We have had Evan for 20 days today. I still marvel at him all the time. The faithfulness of God is more than I can wrap my brain around. Thank you for loving him and for supporting us. So many of you have asked what we need and how to help. Please pray for us as we continue to adjust to our new normal with a newborn. I know that babies don’t keep so I am soaking up every minute of snuggling him and making bonding with him our first priority. All of my kids have been so helpful and supportive. This is the first week that we have been back in full swing with school and activities. Luckily we have no doctor appointments this week. The craziness of that starts next week. As we shared on facebook, Evan has already had a leukemia scare and we are so grateful to God that his blood work now looks great. Evan also has some other medical needs that we will share in time. He begins to see some of the specialists next week. Pray for wisdom for us as we try and learn about his medical needs and as we start the evaluation process for all of his therapies.
I teased my kids at every dinner since the beginning of summer that I was praying for a baby before the holidays. God answered that prayer and we are so excited to celebrate this holiday season and the birthday of Christ with our newest treasure- our Evan.
Thank you for loving us and supporting us. Please share our fundraising page and help us reach our goal. I have no doubt that God will use the body of believers to come along side of us and help us with the financial cost of this adoption. If you have already given- thank you. Your generous gift made this possible for our family. We could not have done this without your support. From the bottom of our hearts-thank you. You have played a part in this amazing adoption journey for us.