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Adoption is a loving and selfless decision, especially when you welcome a child with special needs into your home.
In this post, Rachel Rinehart shares her story of adopting Miles, a baby boy with Down syndrome, into her loving family.
The road seems long and hard, but when we are at the end, we see all the ways HE showed up and showed off!
In January 2014, God stirred my heart when two friends started advocating for children who had Down syndrome on Instagram. We have had front row seats to adoption, but we never imagined we would add to our family in that way. Even growing up with a cousin who had Down syndrome (and knowing he gave the best hugs ever!), it wasn’t something on my mind. Until then.
I spent hours looking at precious kiddos on Reece’s Rainbow and praying over why this new desire wouldn’t leave me alone! When God changes hearts, it’s exciting stuff! A couple of months later, my hubby shared my eagerness, and we started the home study process.
Only a few days after that was finished, fall of 2014, we were pursuing a 3-month-old little girl. The months came and went. And with each situation, I lost a piece of my heart to the baby who wasn’t meant to be with our family. It wasn’t always easy, but we learned to wait with hopeful hearts and open hands.
On March 1, we got the phone call we had been dreaming of.
Stephanie, head of the NDSAN, said, “You’ve been chosen!” Our baby boy was due in May. We spent the next few months preparing and building a relationship with our expectant mother. And on May 16, the little boy who had been growing in my heart was placed in my arms. We spent a few days with his birth mommy and 10 days in NICU. Finally, we were home and together as a family.
But then came the phone call that brought me to the floor. Matthias wasn’t ours anymore. His birth mommy wanted him back. On his 27th day of life, we handed him over and watched him drive away. Oh, the pain. We had switched spots, his mama and me. The grief she had felt was now mine. God brought us through the valley I didn’t think possible.
Being paper pregnant wasn’t easy. It brought with it some of the deepest trials … but also pure joy.
I’ve gained a love for my Jesus like I never had before. A love for mamas in hard places. A deeper understanding of how broken and difficult this is for everyone. But despite the loss involved in adoption, I was even more aware of God’s calling on our family.
We went back as active on the registry, but it was quiet. We kept busy and tried to make sense of it all. The months passed, and we neared the one-year mark of waiting. One year. The journey has left us forever changed. We bear scars, but we have experienced our Father’s goodness in the midst of the pain. We trusted that to have loved and lost is better than to have never loved at all.
“Not only is all your affliction momentary, not only is all your affliction light in comparison to eternity and the glory there, but all of it is totally meaningful. Every millisecond of your pain from the fallen nature of fallen man every millisecond of your misery in the path of obedience is producing a peculiar glory you will get because of that.” – John Piper
But as time passed, I questioned my desire. Maybe we were pursuing it wrong.
I had gone on a mission trip to China in January … maybe our baby was there. One Wednesday (September 30), I posted on a domestic adoption Facebook page (which I never do) stating our desire and to pass the word along. On October 1, I faxed two applications to agencies pursuing two different kiddos in China. That road looked big, but I had to know if God opened the door. I was begging for direction that day.
And at 3pm, God answered! Not only with direction … but with a baby boy 1,865 miles away in a bassinet waiting for his family.
A private message from someone who read my FB post and not two minutes later, a call from Stephanie who also saw the post! With shaking hands and a quivering voice, I called. I figured it was too late. But God had this planned from the beginning. I don’t know why I am surprised by the way God showed up! To be a witness to the glorious display of love that happened that Thursday. A day I will record as the work of a faithful God!
We were chosen a few hours later and we said YES! Papers were signed that evening. And we were on a plane to meet our SON early Saturday morning. Meeting you all wrapped in God’s goodness. A moment I will always hold close. With swelling heart and sweaty hands, we walked into that hospital. And I stared at you in awe. I was yours and you were mine. Mama and son only by God’s sovereign plan of faithfulness and redemption!
Our mighty M was born on September 28 and placed in our arms on October 3.
This little boy was wished for, longed for, prayed for, and WANTED. And he was ours. He is our miracle gift. He is our love that came without warning. We stand amazed at God’s faithfulness. Once again He has turned our tears into dancing. To God be the glory … Great things He has done!
Meet Miles. The little man who wrecked our world in a good way. He has a head full of hair, the longest eyelashes, and the biggest smiles. Oh yeah, and he has an extra 21st chromosome. Miles has Down syndrome. We think he is absolute perfection.
What a whirlwind three years it has been. Miles, you are teaching us to see the world through different eyes, with a heart of compassion and unconditional love. You teach us to enjoy life, love big, and laugh often. Loving you has been easy. But on hard days, I cry into my pillow with the desire that others knew you as I did. Only you’d probably just come up to me with your chubby hands and offer a kiss to remind me that hard isn’t bad!
We’ve been thrust into a world of advocacy and education. Fighting for people to see that his worth is not based on his ability. And different is not less than.
We’ve clapped and cheered for every milestone. We’ve prayed through open-heart surgery. We’ve become friends with therapists on our living room floor. We’ve relived the weeks surrounding his birth two times now. Each time I grieve for his birth mama’s loss and burst with joy for our gain. Adoption is risky. But love itself is always risky.
“A child born to another woman calls me mommy. The magnitude of that tragedy & the depth of that privilege are not lost on me.” – Judy Landers
A huge thank you to the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network, the Wright’s with CAC, and our lovely agency Gifts of Grace! Thanks for holding our hands and continually lifting us up on this journey! We are a family through the miracle of ADOPTION!
Is God calling you to adoption? Is the orphan on your heart?
I promise God has a mighty plan for your yes!
We can help you navigate the joys, challenges, and emotions of adoption.
Gifts of Grace Adoption Support Center has worked with expecting moms, adoptive families, and children in the Lafayette, Indiana community since 2013. We believe that quality, affordable, Christ-centered adoption services empower pregnant moms and dads, create thriving adoptive families, and help all children be placed in a loving home.