Saturday, August 8, 2009

Down Syndrome, Special Needs, and Adoption

When Nichole was a baby, I found a forum for parents of children with Down syndrome (downsyn.) It was a wonderful place for me to ask questions, be honest about my feelings, and also to receive support during the hard days of dealing with a new diagnosis.

What caught my attention was that several of these parents were in the process of adopting…another child with Down syndrome or with special needs. At the time, it blew my mind that these people were willingly choosing another child with a disability, it made no sense.

It did not take long for me to understand what these parents already knew. Having a child with Down syndrome had turned out to be better than good. Our lives had been transformed in such profound and positive ways that the thought of another child with Down syndrome was received with open arms. That, and the fact that many children with Down syndrome are not wanted and live their lives in Institutions until they die. They have no mommy or daddy to love them, to comfort them, or to cry for them when they die. It is heartbreaking. When you have been touched by someone with special needs, you cannot help but want to do something about this, to love on these children and bring them home.

For a long time I wondered when it would be us. I found myself looking at the little faces of precious children on Reece’s Rainbow and couldn’t help but fall in love with some of these kids. I would choose a child and pray and pray that they would find a family. Both kids I have prayed for have found a forever family.

If anything, I would encourage you to do the same. Visit Reece’s Rainbow and pray for one of these children!

On November 13, 2008 I wrote in my journal

“Lord, my heart aches. It aches for all the children in the world that do not have families to call their own. I look at all the little faces on Reece’s Rainbow and I cannot help but cry. These babies were not wanted because they are “less than perfect.”…I think about Nichole…you entrusted her to us, and I am thankful. I love her so much, you knitted her together in my womb and you do not make mistakes…Lord I pray that someday we are blessed by adopting one of these children…I am excited by what is to come. Our family will be richly blessed simply because we know you. If everything was stripped away, we still have you…Do in me as you please…I am fully and completely yours.”

Well…that day has come.

We are adopting!!!

Our daughter’s sweet face is on the left column of this blog, and we want to bring her home!

A few weeks ago Andy and I were looking at the orphans from Reece’s Rainbow. We always assumed that we would adopt another child with Down syndrome, but her face stole our hearts. She just looks like a Stumbo! Our sweet daughter has Cerebral Palsy, and she needs a loving family that will work with her and provide her with the help that she needs J Isn’t she sweet!

So here we are… we find ourselves allowing God to guide us and take us through this journey. We are trusting Him completely because by this world’s standards it makes no sense at all! We surely do not have the money, but we are trusting that God will provide, any way He chooses to do so, even if it is through a loan (people do this all the time to buy cars---was Andy’s cousin comment, so true!)

Pray for us as we embark on this new adventure. Pray for Nina. Pray for our family as well.

Life sure is exciting!


  1. Woohoo! Yay Nina! I'm so excited for you guys. And I'm super excited to meet you in the Ukraine!

  2. Oh, Ellen!! I am so incredibly happy for all of you!!

  3. yay! :) this is beyond exciting!! im so happy for you guys and im so glad i have such a wonderful couple to look up to! :) cant wait to meet your sweet baby girl!

  4. I am so excited for your new little one, I prayed for her to find a family. She is so beautiful, fearlessly and wonderfully created by God!

  5. I am so happy for you!! She is beautiful!! EXCITING!!!

  6. Anonymous4:52 PM

    Oh my goodness, I had a few extra miutes today and decided to browse Reeces Rainbow (as I often do) and when I saw the Stumbo family had committed I was so excited I had to come over and read your blog. I will be following your blog and clapping on the sidelines for you. HOW EXCITING!!!

  7. Congratulations!!!!! I'm so excited for your family!

  8. WOW you are truly amazing people with huge hearts. Keeping you in our thoughts !

  9. Amiga! te quiero mucho,estas en mis pensamientos y oraciones, dios los bendiga!

  10. Oh, what wonderful news! Can't wait to hear about your adoption journey.

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  12. Hi, Ellen,

    I was very moved to learn that you will be welcoming another little girl into your household, and yes, Nina really does look like a Stumbo (she has those sparkly Stumbo eyes!)

    I knew my mother and sister would be interested in reading your post, so I forwarded them the link last night. Today, I recieved the following email from my Mom:

    "I spent some time reading the blog; also went to the Reese's Rainbow site and read about children who need adoptive parents.

    Increasingly in our society there is the underlying assumption that a life of lesser quality is not really worth as much as a healthy one. Even as Christians we tend to unconsciously absorb this viewpoint. I was challenged and moved by Ellen and Andy's decision and their affirmation of the worth of handicapped children."

    We are praying for your family as you embark on yet another new jouney, and cannot wait for little Nina to come home. She couldn't join a nicer family!

    Much love,
    Christina Johnson

  13. Hi Ellen, I found you on the forum "Life's Journey with Down Syndrome". Well, actually, you found me when you commented on Matthew's walking video.

    I am deeply moved by your post. And I feel very happy and excited for you as you begin yet another new amazing journey! I had written a post in May where I stated that adoption was probably not our route (maybe I should leave a window open?) but I certainly admire families who choose to adopt. You are a shining example of good character and strength and love. I hope you'll have Nina home sooner than later. I have your blog on my reader now and I look forward to updates. :-)

  14. Your prayer is so beautiful, Ellen. The way you allow yourself to be "a handmaid of the Lord." Congratulations on this huge step. If you haven't heard of Gianna Jesson, you've got to check out her website. She's a beautiful young woman w/ CP who has spoken at the Walk for Life West Coast in SF. Very inspiring story. What a gift in adopting Nina.

  15. Congratulations Andy and Ellen on the adoption of this young girl. She is a beautiful little girl. It has been a while since I have read many blogs and commented but I am glad that I took the time to read of your unselfish love displayed in this way - this is truly the love of Christ that lives within us. I congratulate you two on answering this call and pray that the Lord will provide the means and the love that this little girl needs as well as your own natural children to grow up to be an adult who understands and knows the love of Christ for them.


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