Before Paul and Maria married, they discussed one day adopting or becoming foster parents. The “plan” was to have all their biological children first, but God interjected in October 2011.  Maria read about Reece’s Rainbow on a homeschooling blog.  She promptly followed the link to Reece’s to read about the ministry and the numerous families who were choosing to adopt children born with down syndrome or prenatally infected with HIV.   Her first instincts were to doubt that this was something Paul and her could ever do.   By this time, they had two biological children under five, but knowing they wanted more, Maria kept clicking through the profiles of all the children.  She saw a little girl, whom looked a lot like their oldest , living in an Ukrainian orphanage with HIV.  Reading about HIV in today’s society, it seemed like normal development and lifestyle were achieved through daily doses of medication.   The idea of adoption that seemed many years off, suddenly became, not only possible, but the way their next child would arrive.
Maria sprang the idea on Paul and while they discussed this game changing plan, the little girl was adopted domestically.  Several months later, not able to shake the feeling that adoption was intended for their family, they started their homestudy without a specific child identified.  Both agreed that if God desired this to work out, then it would.
Maria checked Reece’s Rainbow and Project Hopeful daily, still convinced that they would adopt a child with HIV.  One month later, they identified a little girl on Reece’s and set out to commit to her.  Within the week, they found out she had already been placed.  Again, they felt their enthusiasm deflated.  But that little adoption light still burned.
Two months later, Maria tried to find out more information on a sibling group listed on Project Hopeful, but found out the siblings had been placed the day before!  Frustrated and questioning their feelings, they tried to push aside this urgency to adopt.   Paul was very calm throughout this process, always faithful to the idea that “if it was meant to happen everything will fall into place and it will just happen.”  Maria, truth be told, was not as calm.  The desire to adopt was as strong as ever; it seemed that God was saying “Yes! but no…”
Maria began searching for children beyond the HIV+ diagnosis.  Maria scoured blogs for guiding words of those families who had adopted children with Downs Syndrome.  Together, Paul and Maria, discussed the additional medical care, the extra therapies, and the life long hands-on care of other special needs.   A little girl with Downs Syndrome caught their eye on the additional children page of Reece’s Rainbow.  After speaking with the agency representative, the little one was available, but no more background or medical information would be provide until arriving in country.
So back to prayerfully considering, Paul and Maria tried to decide whether the unknown was enough to stop them.  For a couple of weeks, ‘adoption’ wasn’t mentioned daily, and rather, just in passing.  Their homestudy wasn’t done yet, and both had given themselves to waiting on God.   But then!!!….He unveiled his full plan for this adoption.  He showed Maria the most desparate of situations in a particular orphanage.  Children with varying special needs were “found” living in an orphanage under conditions the country’s government compared to Auschwitz.  Maria told Paul of the atrocities that had been uncovered.  Paul, in his usual confidence, said “That is where we should adopt from.  Find out about the children available.”  Maria jumped on the internet made some contacts and found the five children available on Reece’s from that orphanage.
And there she was, listed as Gemma, the very one God had planned on them adopting from the very start.  Almost audibly, God said with a smile, “Now…you may go and get her!”  Gemma’s diagnoses are vague, it unclear how the extreme conditions she has lived in will affect her longterm growth, or her mental development.   But through every change in our plans, God’s plans were being realized, and now, we for our place in them.

1 comment:

  1. This is the first time I have read your story, Maria, and it is beautiful to see how God led you to Gemma. Thank you so much for blogging! God bless you!