Tell me what it is you want to do with your one wild and precious life? -mary oliver

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Red Thread Part 2

       I was like a sponge the next few weeks, reading everything I could on Reece's Rainbow, Down Syndrome, Adoption, and family blogs.  If I was awake in the middle of the night, I would come out and read more on the computer.  During the quiet hours of the early morning, I wept over and over as I learned more and more about special needs kids in Eastern Europe.  How could I make a difference?  Some images and videos, I couldn't play or see.  I cried tears of joy as families were introduced and brought their new child into their family.  The spark that was lit soon became an ember of light.  Five blogs were instrumental in leading our family on this path:  Saving Sofia, Angel Eyes Adoption, Loving Alina, Bridget's Light, and Seeing the Upside of Down.  I was religious in reading and rereading their blogs and felt a connection with these women.  These women were my compass rose, leading me on this path:  Kristin from the South, Sarah from the East, Jen from the West, and Lisa, the true north!

The next 1 1/2 months, I began having "signs"  pointing me towards adoption and Down Syndrome.
    *Late May, I signed up to take an online Sign Language class for professional development.  (I thought I signed up because it was on my Bucket List:)

    *June 22:  During a sunny midday, Austin told me out of the blue that he wanted to be a big brother, and I needed to have a baby.  He was tired of being the youngest.  I'd never heard him say that before.  I laughed him off and said he needed to talk to his father:) 

    *June 26:  While vacationing in the Carolinas, Andy and Austin were walking together by the pool.  Austin said to Andy, "Mama needs to have a baby so I can be a big brother."  Andy told me later what he said, and I laughed him off.  God was working in our lives.  I began to pray that if this was a path to take, he would definitely need to work on my husband's heart because I could not spring this on him out of the blue:(

    *Began reading Zoya's blog.  I learned that Sarah is a special ed teacher.  This is the first time I read about someone adopting who was not a stay at home mom and without a special needs child already at home.

    *Visiting a toy store in Southport, NC, I was perusing the book section when my gaze stopped at the book front and center:  Why I Chose You?  A book on adoption.  I am a book enthusiast and frequent many bookstores, and have never seen a book displayed on adoption.  I could not believe it.  Even on vacation, God was sending me signs.

    *After we got back from vacation, I was catching up on my blog reading.  Zoya's mother blogged about the book I saw on vacation and the same video I used in my class that spring on Making a Difference in the world around you. 

    *I began feeling led to help Reece's Rainbow. 
That moment I decided that if we could not adopt, I would donate my professional conference/trip funds to help some children on Reece's Rainbow. 

    *Early July, I began emailing Sarah about some thoughts on adopting and Down Syndrome.  My questions did not lie in the now, but the later on.  She made a statement that has stuck with me and I began internalizing it.  "We are at peace with not knowing what the future holds."   I began researching adults with Ds and found some blogs to store up for when I talk to Andy.

    *My children began reading and looking at the pictures on the blogs and asked questions about orphanages and adoption.

    * I was reading a book and this struck home with me.  "A physician's son was born with a defect that crippled him for life.  Someone asked him how does he plan for down the road.  Adversity is too overwhelming to think 2o years from today.  God doesn't give grace for 20 years today.  He gives it day by day."  I started thinking if we adopt, that needs to be our thinking.  Live day to day and celebrate our child. 

    *At church the next Sunday, the message was on Facing Our Fears.  We need to chase our lions and take a leap of faith.

   *We had a friend visit us biweekly and twice she brought her granddaughter with special needs.  She is 18 or 19, and I started asking questions about IEP's, how long she'll be in school, and more.  This girl made an impact on my heart. 

    *It was the middle of July, and I knew I needed to approach Andy and have a conversation.  I was teaching Vacation Bible School at my church.  The theme verse:  Jeremiah 29:11 for I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.

    *July 13:  I was catching up on my TIVO when both shows had adoption references on two talk shows where the topic was not even about adoption.

    *July 16:  I grabbed a couple books to read at the library without reading the summary or previewing the book.(Don't tell my students:(  That afternoon, I was reading one before my nap, and it's about adoption.

    *July 20:  Again Austin asked about becoming a big brother. 

    *July 21:  My sign language professor mentioned in our chat that she adopted two of her children.  Austin is now looking at the kids on Reece's Rainbow and commenting on how cute they are.

    *July 23:  Andy and I had a date night and at Pei Wei, a father came in with his adult son with Ds.  Sitting outside, I heard a DJ reference adoption in a commercial.  Another rerun show was on adoption.

    *July 26:  Andy and I were going to watch a rental when the dvd player broke.  We played cards and then I shared with him what was on my heart.  He already knew something because he was looking at the history on my browser and saw the Reece's Rainbow and adoption sites.  He agreed to think and pray about adopting, and we committed to walking in the Buddy Walk. 
The next morning at church, the message was on living one day at a time and seize every opportunity to do good.  I could not have planned it better myself.  Inside I was grinning at God for putting this message in place.  But, I was very patient and did not mention our conversation again, nor would I for the next few weeks. We decided to email Lisa to ask some questions we wanted some honest answers, so I began composing an email that would sit in my draft box for a couple of weeks. 

    *July 28:  I was driving to Lima, flipping radio channels.  I stopped on a talk show and it was on adoption.  Read another random book at my parents' house...adoption references in it.  We took the kids to the movies in Lima, and a group home of adults with Ds came in. 

    *I wrote and rewrote the email to Lisa
.  I was scared and apprehensive that she would feel let down if we did not go forward with the adoption.  I still did not know where Andy stood.  (It was very hard not to prod and ask, and I was learning patience!!)  I began checking books out of the library on adoption and Down Syndrome.  I started reading The Boy From Babyhouse 10, and found myself agonizing over the fate of these children. 

    *August 6:  I hit the send button on my email to Lisa.  She sent back a reply, surprised but with information for us to think about.   The red thread is closer than ever.  She was honest and open, understanding the questions we might have.  I was on a friend's  Facebook page and she shared photos of her son's adoption from Russia!!  I never knew...

    *August 10:  I also began emailing Andrea at Reece's Rainbow about home studies, process, and more.  I had one week left before school was to begin, yet Andy had not said anything. I was going to approach him soon, but was trying to find the right time.

    *August 15:  Andy finally opened up that he was being led to commit, also.  We talked until the wee hours of the morning, going through all scenarios.  I will still teach because I feel that is my ministry, also.  When I asked him when did his mind change, he said the next morning after our first conversation.  It was the sermon at church.  He said,  "Whoever said God has a still small voice, was wrong.  It's like a huge truck hitting me in the heart!!"

The story continues.... 
"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but will never break." - Chinese proverb 


  1. I have goosebumps all over my body! Thanks for sharing your beautiful journey, Shelly!

  2. Beautiful!


  3. Thank you for sharing Shelly. I am adopting a beautiful little girl whom I found through Reeces Rainbow as well. Should be travelling in a few weeks or so. I am a single mom with two grown children. Can't wait to follow your journey.

  4. I think a lot of pre-adoptive / adoptive parents will tell you how many signs they were given....I guess God is funny like that.

    I noticed you have our blog linked on the left! Thanks! Did you get an invite to the private blog? If not, email me at ashli smith @ mac . com and I can send you one.


  5. Welcome to the RR family. Look forward to seeing your journey unfold. We are nearing the end of our paperwork chase and are ready to submit our dossier (hopeful for next week).

    We are parents to six beautiful children with our youngest having Ds. We are hopeful to adopt three children from E.E. - Matthew and Ivanna, and the third is a blind referral.

    Congrats! I have always had my heart tugged by little Brian in your soon to be daughter's same orphanage. I am continually praying/advocating for him.

    Again - congratulations and welcome!

    Charrissa Browning
    Adopting Matthew and Ivanna ~

  6. I'm Jackie, new to the blogging world and I also recently found RR. The little girl you chose was one I was looking at! I know now is not the time for us to adopt, I am so glad she will have a forever family! I look forward to reading about your journey!

  7. Thank you for your book references. I am now ordering "The Boy from Babyhouse 10" and "The Red Thread" from Amazon. I find myself constantly looking at the little faces on Reece's Rainbow. I see adoption in my future and appreciate and enjoy being able to follow the blogs of those who are currently on this journey. Thanks!!

  8. Beautiful post. I can already tell your gift of writing will soften many hearts toward doing the same thing you are. I felt like I was reading our story as you described all the signs that gave you the courage to go forward, and how awesome your husband was about stepping out in faith like this. None of our children have special needs, either, so I know just how you feel. Worrying about the future does nothing good. It's all about the journey!

    Looking forward to following your story!

    Heather F.
    adopting Tatiana (age 5) from Russia. Hoping to travel in about a month!

  9. Isn't it amazing when God leads us on an unexpected journey, a scenic detour of sorts? Congratulations and I can't wait to see how your unravels!