Mike and I met on April 10, 1999 and quickly knew we were meant for each other. We fell in love and got engaged the night before Thanksgiving of that year and were married on July 1, 2000. At the time, my first daughter, Kayla was just about to turn 6 years old. We had just moved from Pittsburgh, PA to Coplay, PA.
After losing my work at home job, I got my real estate license and began working while Kayla was at school. Within a few months, I became pregnant with our youngest daughter, Madelyn who was born in March of 2003, about a full year after I began working again. I've been a stay at home mom ever since.
|Nicholas, Christmas 2005|
Mike and I have both grown during our 11 years of marriage. Our focus has gone from ourselves to God and our children, our friends and family. We've had ups and downs and we certainly aren't perfect but we all love each other very much.
A little over a year ago, friends of ours announced they were planning on adopting two children in Eastern Europe. I'll never forget the day my friend texted me the pictures of the children we now know as Grace and Malachi. We went out for coffee the night she made the announcement and she patiently answered many of my questions about the children and the process. I think I stayed up until around 2am the next morning, reading about the orphan crisis. Something hit me and it changed me forever.
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Looking at the faces of the children, reading about their potential futures, Mike and I decided then that for us, no charity would be more important than helping these children find homes. We both spent several sleepless nights crying and praying for the children we saw, hoping families would find them and bring them home. We committed to donating to our friends adoption funds and then continuing to donate to other families adoption funds. We decided that if we weren't going to adopt, we should do all we can do help others who were in the process.
For some reason it never occurred to us that we could be one of those families until October 2011. During that month, God began speaking to my husband. He began to look at the profiles of the children on Reece's Rainbow daily. He stayed up late thinking about them and on more than one occasion, attempted to keep me up late talking about them.
Then, one day he showed me a picture of a little boy that had been on his heart. It appeared as if our son was staring back at us from the other side of the world. We both felt we needed to bring him home and make him our son. We began praying and researching home study agencies and finally agreed that we definitely needed to move forward. So we did.
Just a few days after mailing our initial paperwork, we found out that he had already been adopted by a couple in his own country. Although we felt as if we lost a member of our own family, we couldn't help but be happy for him. At his age and with his medical condition, the chances of him finding a family in his own country were slim. We were glad that he was able to join a family without the culture shock of moving to our country.
To make a long story short, we ended up trying to commit to two other children who were not available so we've decided to move ahead without an official match. We may decide to commit to a child at some point before we travel, but we also may wait until we get to our country.
Before you decide that we are completely insane, you should know that our home study will specify age, gender, medical needs, and other criteria. We will not be able to adopt or be asked to adopt a child whose needs we cannot meet, but we are definitely planning on adopting a child with special needs.