by Nina Clark
"Sometimes I would like to ask God, why He allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world, when He could do something about it…but I’m afraid He might ask me the same question."
I came across this quote on somebody’s blog, and it moved me to think. We have a child with Down Syndrome, and so have experienced many of the medical issues and challenges that arise. Emma has come very close to death on many occasions in the first six months of her life because of her life-threatening airway issues. God chose to answer my prayers and saved her life again, and again, and again. Five years after Emma’s birth, my eyes were opened. I know part of the reason why she was born into our family: to open my heart for children with Down’s Syndrome that have no families of their own.
My journey began with a Google search of “international adoption”, which led me to Reece’s Rainbow, an international ministry for Down’s Syndrome adoptions (www.reecesrainbow.org). I began following the story of two precious girls with Down’s syndrome living in an institution in Eastern Europe, praying they would be adopted. When I heard that these beautiful little girls had died, I cried for 3 days. From that point forward, I vowed I would make a difference.Emma & Abby Clark
After pursuing the adoption of a little girl in Eastern Europe with Down’s syndrome that fell through for various reasons, the opportunity arose to adopt from China. How excited I was to hear that my 11 year old son wanted to travel with me to meet our new daughter! We took a total of 6 flights and spent 2 weeks in China.
Jacob and I were very excited and nervous to meet Abby for the first time! Would she cry or scream when she met us? Would she like us? Would she have a hard time attaching to us? The orphanage director carried her into the adoption office. She was quiet and thinner than I had expected. She put her down on the wooden bench and I kneeled next to her. I put my arms out to pick her up and she was happy to come to me. It was an amazing feeling to know that she would never be an orphan again! I couldn’t help but wonder how someone could give her up just because she was not “perfect”. How could this beautiful little child be unwanted? Don’t they know how beautiful she is and how much joy she will bring to others? Yes, she has special needs, but she is a child of God and all children are precious in His eyes and deserve a family.
I could never have imagined how much joy Emma and Abby would bring to our family. To say that a special needs child is a lot of work is an understatement, but it is worth all the work when I see their beautiful faces light up with joy. I see them dancing happily to music. I hear Abby babble and squeal with delight as she chases after Emma across the kitchen floor. I hear Abby laugh when Emma tickles her. I see Emma working so hard with her speech therapist. I see my sons playing with them, picking them up, and saying they love them. I see their proud faces when they talk about their sisters to their friends. I can’t help but thank God that He chose our family for a child with Down’s syndrome!
Nina with daughters Emma & Abby at ChristmasWhy do some children have the love of a family and others lay languishing in their cribs day in and day out, with little to no attention, unwanted, because they have Down Syndrome? Nobody said that life is fair, and I sure agree with that, but one person can make a difference! I have read that there are 147 million orphans in the world, but I have also read that if only 7% of the 2 billion Christians in the world would care for a single orphan in distress, there would effectively be no more orphans. Whether you adopt yourself or support an adoption, you are helping to save the life of a child. God commands us to care for orphans and widows, and to love others. This is my way of loving others, through the adoption of these unwanted children with Down’s Syndrome, who remain in poor institutions all over the world. God has opened my eyes; these children are beautiful blessings from God.
Happily, our adoption journey will continue again, this time to Eastern Europe, to save the life of another precious orphaned girl with Down’s Syndrome!
Nina Clark is a member of Neelsville Presbyterian Church
and the mother of five children (soon to be six!)
She blogs at www.saveanorphantoday.blogspot.com.