We are Andrew and Michelle. We are blessed to have seven incredible children. Six of our children are adopted. We have traveled to China, Ethiopia and the Philippines to find our sons and daughters. Our latest addition, Julie, seemed to find us. Michelle saw a post about an eleven-year-old girl with Down syndrome who needed a forever family on social media. She “followed” the post, hoping to see the “Child has found her family!” post but it never came. We were not thinking of expanding our family again at the time but from the moment that we inquired about this little girl, we knew she was meant to be our daughter. Julie was placed with our family in June 2018 and she became officially ours in January 2019. Julie came to us barely able to express a single thought or feeling clearly. Being that five of our children are Deaf and use ASL to communicate, Julie started to pick up signs in order to communicate with her new forever siblings. Now, nine months later she is fully communicating in ASL, she has even interpreted for her Deaf siblings! We know what Julie is thinking and feeling. She has a freedom to express herself that she never knew before. Watching her interact with our family and others is a joy unlike any other. We cannot imagine our family without her. We are so blessed to have Julie as our daughter and sister. She is incredibly loved.
The work of the NDSAN, the Adoption Family Grants Program and GLADS (Generating Learning and Appreciation of Down Syndrome) is greatly appreciated by our family. The costs of adoptions have been a “common burden” on our family and yet one we gladly accept. The grant issued to us was a tremendous assistance to our family. Words cannot express our sincere gratitude.