God started shaping our adoption story long before my husband, Ben, and I even knew it. When Ben and I met, he told me about his cousin who had Down Syndrome and how he had always wanted to adopt a baby of his own with the same condition. The bond between Ben and his cousin is unbreakable. It’s so strong that Ben had told me that I had to be OK with adopting his cousin if anything were to happen to his aunt and uncle. I lied and said I would be OK with that, but in my mind, I thought I could never adopt a child with Down Syndrome.
Fast-forward a couple of years: Ben and I were newly married and we felt called to start a family, but we didn’t go the traditional route. We decided to become foster parents. Foster care was familiar to me and bringing a brand-new life into the world seemed too overwhelming at the time. Growing up, my parents fostered and by the time I graduated high school, my parents had adopted four of my younger brothers. Ever since then, I knew I wanted to foster and adopt too. Ben and I could never have imagined how God would give us the desires of both of our hearts.
Two months after getting our foster care license, Ben and I were at a dinner fundraiser with Christian Family Care’s family recruiter, Jamie Procknow. Jamie was a friend of the family and knew about Ben’s heart for children with Down Syndrome. She began to tell us about how CFC was looking for an adoptive family for a boy who had Down Syndrome through their Specialized Youth Permanency program. She looked at us and told us she knew we would be the perfect fit. After the fundraiser, she sent us his information, and it was love at first sight.
The transition to move little Jasiel into our home took about two months. In that short time, we knew we loved this little boy like our own, and we couldn’t live another day without him. However, people didn’t understand our decision to adopt Jasiel. They would ask, “Why would such a young couple adopt a 9-year-old with Down Syndrome?” People said we were too young, he was too old, he needed too much care, or we should have biological kids first.
If we had waited for everything to be perfectly in place, we would still be waiting 60 years from now, and we would have missed out on the joys and blessings our boy brings to us every day.
Foster care and adoption is hard, but that’s what makes it such a great leap of faith, and I encourage you to jump. Jump, and let God lead you to live a life greater than what you had planned for yourselves. It’s worth it.