My name is Kelsi. I am the mama to seven children ranging in ages from 13-1 and you might already know about my passion for sharing the beauty of my two youngest with Down syndrome if you came here by way of my Instagram page at Downrightwonderful.
When our sixth child, Colt, was diagnosed with Down syndrome shortly after his birth his little something extra was a surprise, but it was something wonderful, changing our lives and hearts forever and led us to the adoption of our seventh child, Nic, who also happens to have an extra chromosome.
We learned that Colt was gifted with an extra chromosome shortly after his birth in July 2014. We knew that our son was "fearfully and wonderfully made" in the image of God and there are no mistakes.
In Colt's birth announcement we wanted to make it known that we celebrated his Down syndrome and had just as much joy with Colt as with our five others who have all developed at their own pace, and had their own little package of health and behavior issues with the only difference being that their "package" was not given a title or cute physical traits that might define their issues into a specific group.
I could carry on about his smile, hugs, perseverance, love, funny faces, endless goodnight kisses, dancing, signing, his insistence on waving at strangers until he gets a wave back, and more, that add so much joy and love to our family. But, Colt has added so much more than that to our lives.
Our love for Colt opened our eyes to our fear of discomfort, disabilities, pursuit of ease, and the safe road that keep us from the joy of living a life in a deeper trust in God and a deeper love for others.
We had never thought about adoption before but through our son’s birth our eyes were opened to the needs of children all around the world with a special calling to those with Down syndrome and special needs.
When we learned about Reece’s Rainbow, a ministry whose mission is to find families for orphans with Down syndrome, at our first Buddy Walk and read that in other parts of the world these children are viewed as outcasts with no ability to learn or be functional members of society, languishing in mental institutions, hidden away from the world in shame, our heart broke for these children. We saw their faces and pictured Colt being born into those circumstances. Our family knew that we must do something.
We stared at the babies on the Reece’s Rainbow web site for almost a year, saying that we will adopt “one day”. Then I saw the picture of this precious baby boy from Reece's Rainbow on a friend's Instagram page. He was only a few months old, abandoned to live his life in an orphanage because he had an extra chromosome.
That is when we realized that we would cross the ocean or give our lives for every single one of our children and the only thing holding us back from doing the same for a child, "our boy", in an orphanage in Ukraine was fear and God is so much bigger then any of our fears. He is powerful and faithful and we needed to trust in Him with the details of the plans that He had laid out for our family.
Adoption was a crazy process but God did take care of every detail from the funding to the travel and every challenge that came along the way.
In January 2017, we arrived home from Ukraine with Nic. We celebrated his first birthday one week later. The first year of his life was spent alone in an orphanage crib but he celebrated his first birthday surrounded by a Mom, Dad and six siblings! What a beautiful day!
Arriving home with Nic! January 21st, 2017
Nic has been home for over 7 months now and I can't imagine life without him or if we had succumb to our worries and fears. We don't pretend it is easy but we know that our "stillwater" that God leads us beside is not always comfort and ease but wherever it is that He has us, trusting in Him through it because His plans are so much greater and deeper then we could ever imagine for ourselves.
We continue to be amazed at the way Nic blossoms every single day. His smiles come easier and little things that we take for granted with our other children, such as a giggle when something delights him, can brighten our whole week. It's amazing to watch the transforming power of love in him and also the way that he is transforming us.
The world seeks the beautiful, perfect, or “normal”. They are quick to abort, mourn over or throw out anyone they deem inconvenient, less worthy or less able. And these are the very ones that God has chosen to use to free us from these worldly pursuits and teach others in ways that none of those that the world considers "great", "beautiful", "rich" or "famous" could ever do.
I am so thankful for what these boys teach us and the love and joy that I get to experience and share because of them daily.
I hope that by sharing I can help others to see the beauty in Down syndrome but more importantly share the message that we are ALL created in the image of God, fearfully and wonderfully made, worthy of life and the sacrificial, unconditional love that God demonstrated for us.