This is a story about love, family, and the power of generosity. This Thanksgiving, I want you to keep this beautiful family in mind. Be thankful, selfless, and demonstrate LOVE. Life is so very good.
When I found out that my old classmate since elementary school was on a journey with her husband to adopt a special needs child, my heart immediately went out to this incredibly thoughtful family. I couldn't offer them money... but what could I provide? I finally came up with the idea that I could give them photographs to document their son's homecoming. I was terrified because I have never photographed people, let alone children before. My worries disappeared the moment I saw that smile.
Let me tell you a little bit about their story...
Lindsay, her husband Matthias, and their beautiful daughter Emerald felt compelled to open their hearts and lives to a new family member. They openly sought out a child with Down syndrome. Yes, you read that correctly. To CHOOSE a child with Down syndrome shows how selfless this couple is. There are so many precious children that are either aborted or given up for adoption just because they have an extra chromosome. It is heartbreaking.
Through much prayer, the Handrich family discovered a little boy that lived in Ukraine and felt a connection to him. The English name that the adoption agency had given him was Emory, which was one more sign for them that this was meant to be. Emory was the name the Handrichs originally chose for their daughter Emerald when they thought she was going to be a little boy.
They discovered that this poor child also had anal atresia. Knowing that this could cause future complications, they still chose to go forth with the adoption. After saving up and raising enough money, the Handrichs were able to travel to Ukraine. They endured a ton of paperwork, court dates, and 55 days of waiting in Ukraine until they were finally able to bring little Emory home!
I have been keeping up with their blog and it is incredible to see the transformation of this little fellow. He went from staring off into the distance to interacting, smiling, and loving life with his new family. They saved him from a sad fate in an adult mental institution where he would have been neglected and ignored. Now he will get so much stimulation and love that he will grow by leaps and bounds!
There is something special about the sweet nature of children with Down syndrome. The smiles they give are filled with so much joy and warmth. It will be such a pleasure to see him continue to blossom.
Welcome home, Emory! You are a blessing!
Click here for a link to their post about being selected to adopt.
Click here for a link to their post about some of the challenges they have faced.
P.S. A special thanks to my mum for providing the children's adorable outfits!