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Gotcha Day!

Its Gotcha Day!!

One Year ago…

Thursday June 25, 2015, 9:00 am – When she arrived I had no idea what to expect.  For 3 full days, I read everything I possibly could on Down Syndrome.  I tried to prepare myself for the absolute worst.  But when they brought in this tiny little beautiful girl, all I saw was perfection!  I didn’t know what to even do.  She was strapped in a car seat, and I remember asking the social worker if I was allowed to pick her up.  His response was “Of course, she’s yours!

About an hour and a half later, after lots of paperwork, the social workers left.  Leaving behind our new daughter.  The big kids were still at school and Juan had to leave to get the right size diapers and some more clothes.  Remember, we were originally told she was around 3 months old.  Instead she was a tiny one month old.  Only 7lbs.  So there I was alone with this tiny thing.  I fed her and she soon fell asleep on my chest.  I remember laying with her and soaking her all in.  I was in pure heaven.

That afternoon she had plenty of visitors.  Her grandparents, her great-aunt, our pastor and his wife, and a few more friends.  Most of these guest walked in totally unsuspecting that she would be there!  It warmed our heart to see them shower our new daughter with so much love.  Even though they were scared about the adoption process, they all accepted her and instantly fell in love.  Her big brothers and sister were so amazed by her!  It was like she was always their baby sister!

I would say I didn’t truly feel like her mommy til about 2 am that night.  I had just finished feeding her and she was once again asleep on my chest.  Juan was awake next to us and we were talking about how incredible this situation was.  I knew instantly, this is what I had been dreaming about!  My heart felt overfilled with love and I knew this beautiful girl would be forever mine.

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Take the Pledge!

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March 21st is National Down Syndrome Day (3-21…3 copies of the 21st chromosome)  Since it is just around the corner, Ruby’s Rainbow is using this month as a perfect opportunity to allow you to help young adults with Down Syndrome.

Ruby’s Rainbow Mission:
Our mission at Ruby’s Rainbow is to grant scholarships to adults with Down syndrome who are seeking post-secondary education, enrichment or vocational classes. It is our goal to create awareness of the capabilities of these amazing individuals and help them achieve their dreams of higher education.
We not only grant scholarships; we also love keeping track of Ruby’s Rockin’ Recipients throughout their educational programs and beyond. We hope reading about them will inspire others to go for their dreams!

So what’s the pledge?

Step 1 Donate just $21.

Step 2 Pledge to be kind and considerate to peeps of all abilities.

Step 3 Ask three friends to do the same.

That’s it!!  But I’m taking it a step further…I’m not just asking 3 of you to take this pledge, I’m asking all of you!!  Think of how much could be raised if each of you take this pledge and get 3 of your friends to do the same!  How many adults do you think we can help go to college, work toward their dreams, or accomplish their goals!

So please!  Join me in helping dreams come true!  It will just take a moment of you time, but it can change a life forever!

Click HERE to Pledge

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People Suck!!

So yesterday was Spread the Word to End the Word day.  A movement to remove the words retard/retarded from our society.  This was suppose to be a day of awareness and support for all these wonderful people who never deserve to be put down.  Just a day for the community to rally around these kids to help make the world safer and more accepting for them.  Sounds great right!?

Unfortunately, there are some mean, cruel, horrible people in our world!  A few families that I follow on Instagram posted beautiful photos of their children and asked others to help end the word.  These kids range from 1 year to 10 years old.  Beautiful little kids with amazing families that love and cherish them.  On these public posts, people actually used yesterday to attack these innocent kids!!  Leaving mean messages about how their kids were not beautiful, how we need to not worry about the r-word because that’s what they are and even some saying they should have been aborted!!  Thank God I didn’t receive any of these horrible comments.  (I would not have been a very good Christian if so!!)  But honestly, how can people be so horrible?!  This wasn’t just one or two people…tons of people purposelessly searched these families out to attack them.  We live in a so-called society of acceptance.  Everyone has to watch what they say.  Make sure they are politically correct and don’t offend anyone.  Yet, these innocent kids are put down by strangers!?  Where is their acceptance?!

This seriously upset me so much!!  How am I suppose to explain this one day to Jana?  When people are mean for no reason, where society would rather her be hidden away then accept her for all her beauty!?  It is just so ridiculous!  It really makes me have very little faith in people.  No child should ever feel that they are worthless and put down by adults.  No matter what their situation is!!  This has to stop!!

OK…my rant is done….   UGH!!

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Car Rides

Jana HATES being in her car seat.  About 75% of the time we are in the car she is screaming.  Not just whimpering or complaining…but screaming at the top of her lungs.  We’ve tried a mirror that plays music and lights up.  Her siblings take turns sitting by her trying to keep her entertaining.  Nothing usually works!  Which is kinda ridiculous since about a month after we got her, we drove 16 hours each way to Yellowstone.  Apparently an all day drive doesn’t compare to a 15 min drive to pick up the kids from school.  It has honestly made me dread driving anywhere with her.  I hate hearing her get herself so worked up and upset.  I’ve researched just about all I could find and really there isn’t much more we can do.

Last night on our way home from church, the crying started.  Unfortunately we needed to stop for gas so I was bracing myself for 10 min of screaming.  Our oldest son, Joey, was sitting with her and didn’t want to see her cry.  So he did the only thing he could think of, sing to her 🙂  I recorded just a short bit of him playing Pat-a-Cake with her.  My heart melted as I watched my 14 year old do whatever he could to prevent his baby sister from having a meltdown.  I am so proud of the little man this guy is becoming.  Jana has him wrapped around her little finger and I think this video proves it 🙂

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And Then There Were 4…

Day 9 of 21 Day Challenge…

Yesterday I really loved sharing with you a little from our kids.  I pray you were able to get a sense of our family and how wonderful our 3 “big kids” are 🙂  So today I wanted to give Daddy a chance to share his thoughts as well.  I’m honored to introduce my guest writer today…my awesome hubby…Juan Benito.

Many people have asked me why we chose to adopt a child, especially since we have 3 biological children. And the follow up question was, “Why would you adopt a child with Down Syndrome?” I hope that I can answer some of those questions with this post and provide insight into the process thus far. First I will clarify that initially our goal was to be foster parents and if any of our foster kids ever came up for adoption then we would be willing to adopt.

I honestly believe that a child should always have a home and home should always be a safe place. I also believe that when the Bible says that we should care for orphans in James, that it means exactly that. Just because I believe that it doesn’t mean that it was simply to accept.

Prior to Jana joining our family, Jen and I had talked about foster care and adoption as something that we wanted to do. However, if you know me then you know that I am a very analytical person. I had a ton of fears that kept me from saying yes. I was worried about our finances, transportation, not having a big enough house, etc. How would we make things work? And to be honest I was comfortable with where we were as a family. I had it all planned out. Jaylen would be turning 18 in 10 years and Jen and I would have all our kids working, or in College, and we would be child free. So why would we start all over.

A few months ago our pastor was talking about how we make promises to help and do things for others but yet fail to act on those promises and at times fail to even do anything. So the challenge was simple; instead of promising to do everything, just do something. The next day I found myself talking to a social worker at work about how many local children were being placed out of county because they didn’t have enough homes to place the kids in local Foster homes. I decided then that I would do something! I would trust God! We (our family) would step out in faith and take care of all the things were within our control and get cleared to be Foster Parents and we would let God take care of the rest. I accepted the fact that God would provide and realized that my selfish desires was not a good enough reason to say no.

Our families desire was to provide a home for whatever child God placed in our care and to love them, for however long they were with us. Growing up I was blessed to have my best friends dad in my life. After a very difficult episode in my life I found myself feeling alone and honestly homeless. My best friends dad’s comment is something that I was never able to forget, “I can’t promise you the world but I can promise you a home”. So we set out to do the same thing. To provide a home and love for whatever child God placed with our family.

I will apologize in advance but because of our pending court case I am unable to provide specific details about our process at this point but I will do the best I can.

I was at work when Jen called me to inform me that our social worker had called to let her know that there was a 2 month old baby that needed a home and they felt we would be a good fit. However, there was a catch. Would we be willing to adopt her, and she had Down Syndrome. I can honestly say that my immediate answer was Yes! I don’t know why, it just was. 3 days later I held Jana for the first time and I knew immediately that we had made the right decision.

As I held her nothing else mattered. I didn’t see a foster child, I didn’t see Down Syndrome, I saw my daughter and I immediately fell in Love with her.

We have had Jana for 3 ½ months now and my love has only grown deeper and I have become the most overprotective father ever. Please understand that it has not always been easy. We have faced many obstacles. Some of those obstacles have been financial, personal fears, legal barriers and at times wanting to punch someone for making inappropriate comments. Despite all that we have faced and the unknown to come I would not change a thing. I cannot imagine our family without Jana in it. Jana has helped us to look beyond our self-centered perspective, our narrow view of life around us and she has helped us step out in faith.

Jen and I have gone to bed at times scared and praying about court dates, Dr’s appointments, assessments, transportation and finances. And God has answered and shown Himself to be faithful and true. That doesn’t mean that all of our prayers have been answered but all of our needs have been provided for and we have seen the Love of God through the actions of those around us.

Many have said that Jana is blessed to have us. Although their intentions are good they are so wrong. We have been and are very blessed to have her in our life. Jana has taught us so much about Life, Love and Faith and she has only been with us for 3 months. I am excited about what is to come and I am looking forward to seeing what God has in store for our beautiful baby girl.

In closing I want to say thank you. Thank you to all of you who have supported our family, have lifted us up in prayer and have loved our Jana.

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