Why Down Syndrome?

People often wonder why we would do tons of paperwork, travel thousands of miles and spend tens of thousands of dollars to adopt a child with Down syndrome. For us it began in 1998, when I gave birth to our eleventh biological child – Sarah. She was born with Down syndrome. Because several ultrasounds during the pregnancy had indicated that this might be the case, we had spent the months before her birth worrying about what it might be like – – Would our older children resent her? Would she take too much time away from the other children? Were we up to the challenge of raising a child with special needs? In June of 1998 she arrived and we fell in love! She was a beautiful baby girl, and as we began our journey with her, we realized that all of our fears were unfounded. We also discovered that there were more blessings than we could ever have anticipated. Having Sarah changed the way we thought. Suddenly, we realized what a joy raising a child with special needs could be. So, our journey of adoption began.


                                                                   Sarah, Age 13

In 2001 we decided to adopt a little girl with Down syndrome from Ukraine. We brought little Caroline home when she was 16 months old. She was extremely small and weak, but quickly began to grow and blossom. 


                                                                  Caroline, Age 11

In 2002 we received a call from an attorney that knew of a couple looking for a family for their new baby with Down syndrome. The baby was still in the hospital because of a severe heart defect. We met the couple and they blessed us with the gift of raising their daughter. I spent several hours every day visiting and holding little Alyssa. She had the most beautiful big eyes and dark hair. Sadly, though, she was too sick to live here on earth for long. She passed away with her biological parents and us holding her and singing to her. It was heart wrenching to see her go, but we knew that she was going to our Father in heaven.

In 2003 we adopted another little girl with Down syndrome – Claire. She was born here in the states, and we were able to enjoy having a newborn baby again. She is now almost nine years old, and a joyful, active child who can be quite a handful at times. She has been through many difficult times with two years of chemo after being diagnosed with leukemia, but has remained a cheerful and happy child.


                                                                     Claire, Age 8

We thought we were finished adopting, but then I accidentally found Reece’s Rainbow, and my desire to adopt again began growing. So, here we are on another adoption journey to Eastern Europe. We still have a long way to go, but we are so excited and hoping to have little Allysen home by this fall.


  1. What a beautiful family you have! I can't wait to follow your journey to bring Allysen home! Our boys are in the same country 🙂

  2. What a gorgeous picture of your children! I came from the link on RR and look forward to following your story.

    Sue H.

  3. Mandy, thanks for the lovely comment. We are very excited and hope to
    get the paperwork done as quickly as possible — maybe I'm dreaming that it will be done quickly. I have heard that the whole process can
    take quite awhile. Your boys are very cute.

  4. WOW…your children are beautiful! This is an exciting journey! The children we are adopting are in the same country as your new girls. We are also in VA. I look forward to following your story! It is so great to connect with other families in our state!


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