Tuesday, March 21, 2023

World Down Syndrome Day 2023


The first time I visited Taiwan was at the end of a 2 week trip to China. I was with the Gladney’s Superkids team and we had visited orphanages and seen many children over the prior two weeks. I was tired and ready to get home to my family, but our team was also excited to meet children who needed advocacy in Taiwan. 

Just after we arrived in Taipei we got the news that a typhoon was headed straight for Taiwan and we would not be able to see most of the children we were planning to see. We were obviously disappointed and wondered why we were even there. But we were there, and we weren’t going to be going anywhere for a few days! 

That first afternoon, before the typhoon hit, we saw 3 children one of whom was this darling little baby boy with Down Syndrome. I was wearing a maxi skirt and he loved the way it swished around my feet. He was pulling himself around on his little belly and every time I looked down he was playing with my skirt. He had the cutest hair that stood straight up. To see him was to fall in love. We gave him the advocacy name of Miles and wrote a blog post entitled Magnificent Miles highlighting him. 

Little did we know where meeting little Miles would take us! But I’m going to let his mom and my friend, Michelle, tell you the next parts of this beautiful story.


The very picture and short article sharing information about a sweet little one with Down syndrome named Magnificat Miles came through in my email one morning. His perfectly fluffy hair, almond eyes and baby toes stole my heart at first glance. This was our son! Within hours of requesting more information we had our first call to learn the next steps of our adoption journey. 

In the wait I happily jumped onboard to join the advocacy team to learn all I could. The very first trip to Taiwan with the team I was blessed to meet another young boy with Down syndrome. He and Miles were sweet besties. It was also that very trip I had the privilege to enjoy a meal with the Taiwan team and share my passion for helping to find families for the children with Down syndrome. 

Fourteen months from seeing Miles’ picture in my inbox he was placed in my arms forever. Our adventures together had just begun. He hadn’t just stolen our hearts with his total sweetness he had many people surrounding him with love. He was our whole world and we were blissfully enjoying life through his eyes. His amazing charismatic personality radiating in every single thing he was a part of. He was blooming so much! We were learning so much together. 

Oh and during the time we were bonding and learning our new world with our little guy… we were telling everyone about his bestie that still awaited his forever family. We were so excited to learn he had a family coming for him. 

Then one day a new little one with Down syndrome came through on the waiting for a family list. We knew Miles would be the best big brother ever. We eagerly asked for more information. A little girl that just so happened to have a bit more of a complex medical history. We said yes and our 17 month journey to our precious Maddie began. 

During the wait we learned that two more of the littles ones with Down syndrome the team had been advocating for had forever families coming! Such amazing news! 

The very moment Miles and Maddie saw each other was a moment I’ll never forget. Miles was over the moon that Maddie was his little sister and he could help mama care for her. Their bond grew stronger each and every day. 

Fast forward to today… six years from when Miles joined our family and just over three from when Maddie joined. We couldn’t imagine our lives without our two special littles that so happened to both have Down syndrome. They have shown us that they are able to accomplish anything. The sky is the limit. Their zest for life and eagerness to do their best melts my mama heart each day. Truly I stand in awe at just how amazing both Miles and Maddie are. Perfectly who they are meant to be and such a special part of our family. We cherish every moment and look forward to all the adventures ahead. Living life through their eyes is a true gift. 

We especially enjoy sharing in celebrations like 3/21 by wearing our silly socks and sharing the science behind what having Down syndrome means. Taking the opportunity to share our littles uniqueness is something we find important. Not every family can say they’re just as unique as ours. We are blessed beyond measure to share life’s journey with our extra special Miles and Maddie. 

A special thank you to the team of advocacy volunteers that share such an amazing part of our families story. Adoption and advocacy for special needs children has forever changed our lives. 


Michelle and her husband would go on to add another precious little girl from Taiwan, so now Miles has 2 little sisters and Maddie is a big sister! They came to visit us in November and all 3 of their littles are thriving! So I'll close with one last picture of me with all of their little ones.

Today is World Down Syndrome Day and Michelle is on a mission to let the world know that different isn't scary...it is just different. And different can be amazing!

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Stories of Yes - Silas


Just over a year ago I got a phone call saying that the family of the little boy chose us.
I said, "Are you serious?" 
After I told my husband and then the kids, I looked at his paperwork again. He didn't pass hearing or vision tests, he doesn't eat by mouth, he has Down syndrome and he has IA. What is IA? Google. Oh no! He could have a colostomy for the rest of his life! Do they mean he's deaf and blind? Do I have to learn how to insert a feeding tube? I had not read this paperwork very well when I said yes. What does all of this mean? Can we possibly do this?? 
Yes. We're doing it. 
Four days later, we were allowed to meet this baby for the first time. Once I held him, I never wanted to let him go. He was the baby we had been waiting for. 
We called our son "Silas" and his first year was filled with surgeries, ER trips, more doctors appointments than I can count and ongoing physical therapy. It felt like a very long year. And it felt like a very short year. Because this same little boy who had no mama to hold him in the NICU now lifts his arms and yells for me to rock him. He snuggles his little face into my neck. He stares at my face with perfect vision, and he listens to my lullabies with perfect hearing. He climbs into my lap with no colostomy in the way. 
Silas was once "a little boy with Down syndrome and VACTERL and no mama." Now, he's MY little boy who wants to be tickled and eat bananas all day. He plays peekaboo with his siblings and screams "Dada!" when Daddy gets home from work. 
Silas - and all of us - have worked very hard this last year. But the truth is that God loves children and they progress so much easier when they are in a family who loves them too. 
Silas is such a beautiful and happy little soul who is made in the image of God...and he will ALWAYS belong in our family! 💙💛
- Jessica Peters

Friday, April 23, 2021

The Jameo family


In April, we served the Jameo family in Uganda as a form of "orphan prevention." Their father passed away, and their widowed mother struggles with providing for the children. The daughter, Bashira, who was under medical care for hydrocephalus at the CURE Hospital in Uganda, unexpectedly passed away last month. She was nine years old. We covered the hospital bill that her mom was unable to pay, along with the funeral expenses for Bashira. We pray that lifting those financial burdens will help Bashira's loving mama, and her siblings, as they mourn the tremendous loss in their lives. We are still working on plans to serve them going forward with education and more permanent housing. We will keep you posted and please pray for this family.

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Ott family


Meet our "Say Yes" grant family #8 of 2021 - the Ott family! 

Julie informed Matt on their first date that she would love to have adoption as part of how a future family was grown. Matt had agreed that he had a heart to adopt as well. After marriage, they were blessed with three biological children - Amelia, Eliza, and John. They say, “Though we both knew we wanted to adopt, we didn’t expect the excitement or peace we would have about the process of growing our family through the adoption of a child with special needs until Down Syndrome came into our hearts.” Both Julie and Matt had been touched by children with special needs throughout their lives and this need felt like such a natural fit for their family. The Otts spent time reading books to their children about Down syndrome to prepare them for their new brother, and it's clear - from this photo - that their mission was accomplished! Little Timothy James was born five weeks early, on February 27th, and after two weeks in the hospital, he is now home with his forever family!

Timothy James came home with the help of our Downright Lovable grant, specifically for families adopting children with Down syndrome. Thank you so much for your support of our grant fund so we can continue to bless open hearts like these!

{Photo cred: Heidi April Photography, heidiaprilphotography.org, @loveheidiapril}

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Stories of YES #60 - Two months


Two months have passed since we landed back home in North Carolina, and every day her little smile melts my heart with so much joy. Every day I look at her and I see nothing but God's love for us. This little sweetness is such a breath of fresh air. Just take a moment to look into those eyes...

She was worth it.
She was worth every tear.
She was worth every up and down.
She was worth every mountain climbed.
She was worth every nerve wrecked. 
Two months home and she has grown a whole inch.
Two months home and she has perfected using so many words in the right way.
Two months home and she loves to go to church and get her church clap on.
Two months home and she has celebrated three family birthdays and three major holidays.
Two months home and she has bravely faced many doctor's appointments and one surgery.
Two months home and this face is what two months in a family looks like!
She tells us about many friends who need Mommies and Daddies and Mawmaws and Pawpaws. When she talks about her friends at her "Ashwini Piper Home," this momma's heart begins to beat fast. And my throat tightens. And my eyes get watery. Because no child should have to experience the brokenness of searching for families for her friends. No child should ever have to shoulder that burden. But my child, and many others, sit in the same spot as we do - longing for those who remain to find forever families too.
Thank you to every person that has taken the time to pray for our family. Thank you to every person that donated even a dollar. That dollar was not in vain. That dollar was LIFE. That dollar is this smile. That dollar was one less orphan. 
 - Tiffany House
{The House family was a recipient of our "Say Yes" Downright Lovable adoption grant in 2020.}

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Stories of YES #59 - God's most precious jewels


"What if we had said no?
We could have. 
We should have. 
On paper it was a bad idea.
Many told us we shouldn’t do it. 
Many said it wasn’t wise.
We already had 3 jewels.
We didn’t have the finances.
We didn’t have space in our house.
We were already so tired.
We didn’t plan on having more jewels.
We were already deep in trauma parenting.
Parenting was already so hard.
What would people think.
How would we do it.
This was what we considered. These were some of our obstacles when we were praying through adopting our Kody.
This is what we have considered and prayed through every time we’ve heard God call us to adopt. Usually the list of why not to do it is bigger than our reasons to do it.
But God. He still called us.
But God. We still said yes.
But God. He still wants to use us to take care of His precious jewels.
Right now there’s about 100,000 kids in the United States in foster care who ARE paper ready and waiting for a family. And so many more also waiting globally.
I’m so so thankful we said yes. We didn’t have to. We could have said no.
But God. He writes the best stories. This jewel is amazing and I love being his mom. As is each one of our jewels."
- Maria Hansen-Quine