Katerina's Family

My husband and I were not able to have children of our own and chose to adopt! We adopted a boy in 2011 and 7 months later had the opportunity to adopt again. The boys are the same age. We always dreamed of having a large family and we started to pray. We prayed as a family for God to send the child that was meant for our family. In 2016 we felt called to adopt a baby with Down Syndrome. We prayed for over a year and began to work with Stephanie from NDSAN. We began working with her in October of 2017. In March of 2018 we were chosen by a family in MO. It was the most exciting time for our whole family and a little scary too. The baby had some heart problems and needed open heart surgery. We couldn't wait to bring our little one home. She had some troubles and remained in the NICU at Missouri Children's Hospital for 4o days. During this time our whole family stayed in hotels until we were accepted at the Ronald McDonald House. After 10 days my boys and husband drove 16 hours back to Minnesota and I remained in Missouri with our baby. We ended up taking out a $15,000.00  loan to pay for our Adoption Lawyer in Missouri, an agency here in Minnesota to do after placement visits and to the Lutheran Family Services agency. We also ended up traveling 4 times back and forth to Missouri from her birth on April 11th to May 20th when they released her from the NICU. One of our plane expenses was $2,500.00 due to it being very short notice. We are so very grateful to God to have little Katie (that is what we are calling her) in our life. She has brought such joy and immeasurable happiness to our little family. The boys adore her and take turns holding her and both play with her all the time! Her open heart surgery to correct a complete AVSD and and AV canal defect on September 14th went well and she is recovering wonderfully. We take her back and forth to her cardiologist in Minneapolis often for check-ups which is 6 hours away for us. We are so very grateful for this grant and it will help us to pay back our loan. Thank you so  much from the bottom of our hearts.
Gratefully, Mike and Jenny 


Katie is doing great! Teething now that she is 9 months old and we are working on having her start to crawl! She is so strong - it is hard to believe she had open heart surgery only 4 months ago! She is just what our family needed and we all love her to pieces! Here are the latest pictures we have- some of her taking her first sled ride with her big brothers! We are having so much fun with Katie! What a joy she brings! If you are on Instagram Joyce - you sure can follow me there where I post about our life!

Christmas Illies Family 2018.jpg
Heidi Browne