We’ve recently gained quite a bit of followers. Because of that, I wanted to take a moment to share once again a little about Jana’s (Peanut) story. Also, with it being Down Syndrome Awareness Month, it seems pretty appropriate.
Almost 4 years ago I started having an overwhelming desire to parent another child. Juan and I were already proud parents of 3 amazing kids (Joey, Mason & Jaylen) and didn’t have any plans to have more. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t shake the feeling of having another. Month after month I would fall into a deep depression when my cycle arrived. I would beg God to just take this desire away from me. It was destroying not only me but our marriage as well. My poor husband had no idea how to help me through this, or why I was even so set on another child.
Soon my heart changed…I convinced Juan that we should become foster parents. That maybe we were just being called to love a child even for a short time while their family got their life on track. Truthfully, he was hesitant about this with good reasoning. He was just so worried I would not be able to understand that it would be all about reunification. But, he knew how much our community was in need of foster parents, so we went ahead and went through the process of becoming certified. I was so excited to finally welcome a young child to care for. I felt like finally, this desire was making sense.
So we waited…and waited…and waited. In a community where foster parents are turning away children because they are too full, we still had not received one call. To say I was stressed out was an understatement!! Why were we not being called? Why are we still waiting? I soon started having a recurring dream. I was holding a baby girl that I knew was mine, but I didn’t give birth to her. I never saw her face, I just knew she was ours. This added to my anxiety and stress. Again, we had no idea why all this kept happening and were desperate for relief.
Then on June 22, 2015, our social worker finally called me. I remember the conversation almost fully. She said they had a young baby in their system. She was roughly 3 months old (later finding out she was only 1 month) and needed a forever home. This wasn’t a typical foster placement. They needed to find an adopted family because this little girl had Down Syndrome and needed stability. She informed me that they were struggling to find someone who would look past the diagnosis and take her in. She was hoping we would be that family. She had me call Juan right away and see what he thought. I held my breath after I told him the situation, praying he would feel the same way. Almost instantly he said “YES! We’ll take her!” I called our worker back and after 2 days, we finally met our baby girl!
After countless hours of researching Down Syndrome, I had prepared myself for the worst. I am ashamed to say that I was expecting a child who would be deformed and ugly. How horribly wrong was I!! She came to us bundled up in her car seat, a tiny little thing only weighing about 6 lbs. (hence the name Peanut) I asked our worker if I was allowed to hold her, she replied “Of course! She’s yours!” When I held her, I didn’t see diagnoses. I saw the perfect little angel. She had the most beautiful almond shaped brown eyes, sweet button nose, and perfect color skin. Honestly, I saw her big sister in her almost instantly. When my husband held her, I swear I saw magic happen. Those two bonded instantly! She was immediately Daddy’s little girl.
I didn’t instantly feel connected to her. Part of me was terrified they would take her away. But that first night will stay with me forever. We had just fed her at 3 am and she laid asleep on my chest. I turned to Juan and told him, this was it! This was the dream I had been having all those months before. God had been preparing my heart for this special moment. She was always supposed to be ours…we just had to wait!
It has been almost 2 years since Jana’s adoption finalized. I am still amazed at how she came to be with us. I am still in awe at her beauty and love. I am still forever grateful to the workers who gave us our baby. Peanut is special! This girl has a way of making everyone she meets fall in love with her! She captivates hearts and brings so much joy to those around her. She is strong, independent, strong-willed and loving. She has brought so much happiness to our family. We’ve had people ask if we understood what we were getting into. As if she would break our family apart because of the diagnosis. They can’t see the love that our older kids have for her. The laughter that is heard in our household on a daily basis. The patience and kindness she has taught each of us. Down Syndrome does not define Jana. She is so much more than that! She amazes us daily and we are so honored that she picked us to be her forever family.
It hasn’t been easy. A lot of stress, pain, and worry comes from Down Syndrome. We’ve had countless doctors appointments, nonstop sleepless nights, surgery, and hospital admissions. But let me tell you, this girl is worth it!! She has completed our family. She was our missing piece that we didn’t realize was gone. Down Syndrome did not break us apart, if anything, Down Syndrome was the one thing our family was missing.