«I had Down syndrome twin girls… And now I’m pregnant with twins!»: Mom Shares Adoption Miracle Story

I was 27 years old, in good shape, and in good health. Because I wasn’t ‘at danger’ of having a Down Syndrome kid, this wasn’t supposed to be my story, but someone else’s.’

When my [third] daughter Bree was born through C-section, I just caught a glimpse of her gorgeous round face before she was rushed away. My kid was transferred to the nursery for oxygen, and I was transferred to recovery, only to hear physicians and nurses whispering in the corridor. Finally, the news came… ‘We suspect your child has Down Syndrome,’ says the doctor.

My entire universe appeared to come to a halt. As I glanced at my husband in full shock at these comments, it felt as if time had frozen. ‘We suspect your child has Down syndrome,’ says the doctor. This could never happen to me; what would it entail for our family? What does this signify for our little girl?

My initial feeling was panic, and I hoped they were incorrect. All I could think of at first was the future and how my world as I knew it was crumbling around me. Without Bree in my arms, I cried for the first 24 hours of her existence. I was wheeled into the nursery over 24 hours after Bree’s birth to see her again. My heart was breaking because I hadn’t been able to hold her since she was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. I was in need of her support. When I reached into her little incubator bed and she curled her tiny fingers around mine, I knew everything was going to be [OK]. That experience changed my life forever.

This new world we’d entered was going to be [OK]. I knew as I grasped her small hand that she was holding hands with God and that walking by her side in this life would be a blessing, not a hardship. That day marked the beginning of a chapter in my story that I may or may not have written, but that I absolutely needed to include in MY story. I knew from away that Bree was going to transform my life. Those almond-shaped eyes and that tiny little nose were like portals to heaven, but I had no idea how many other lives she would touch.

When Bree was [two], we decided to try for another child, only to suffer an ectopic pregnancy and then another pregnancy that ended in a late miscarriage at 16 weeks. I was distraught after that late miscarriage. It was my [third] miscarriage, and I needed a kid desperately. I was brokenhearted and felt absolutely alone.

Then I saw the forlorn, sad eyes of a four-year-old child waiting at a Ukrainian orphanage.

This tiny child was a month older than Bree and also had Down Syndrome. But, instead of spending the last [four] years with a family and a home, she had spent her first [three] months of life alone in a hospital’s NICU before being transferred, alone, to an orphanage where she had lived for 4.5 years before being transferred to an adult mental institution as she grew out of the baby house. What if this was the case with Bree? It felt as if a fresh piece of my heart opened up as her face showed on my computer screen. I burst out crying. Her sad, dark eyes pierced my soul, as if to say, ‘You are my mom, and you need to come get me.’

Five months later, after a lot of fundraising and miraculous help from friends, family, and strangers, piles and piles of paperwork, and thousands of miles traveled by plane and then by train, we were finally standing in an orphanage room, wrapping our arms around this little girl and telling her she would never be alone again. Mommy and Daddy had finally arrived. She was finally going to be able to thrive rather than just survive.

I became ill a week after returning home with Mia and assumed it was due to jet lag… It was not jet lag that caught us off guard, but rather the realization that I was pregnant. Furthermore, I was expecting TWINS!

My husband had not come with me because they didn’t realize it was twins until my second doctor’s appointment. I was lying in the doctor’s office as he scanned my heart for a beat when he came to a standstill. I held my breath because I’d seen a similar case where the scanning was delayed owing to a lack of a heartbeat. My heart sunk, and I was confident that this was happening again. I asked him whether he could hear his heartbeat. ‘Yes, I hear… two,’ he replied. ‘You mean besides mine?’ I inquired. ‘You have TWO babies!’ said him. I couldn’t stop giggling. He predicted alligator tears, but all I got was laughter. I mean, here I was, trying to figure out what having a family meant, with basic twin Down Syndrome girls, one of whom had only been home a month and still couldn’t speak English, and now I was having twins!

I had tried Clomid and other fertility treatments without success for years, and now I’m not even trying to become pregnant and I find out I’m pregnant with twins. As if that wasn’t enough, the twins were diagnosed with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and I was told to keep an eye on them. We discovered during my 20-week appointment that their illness had worsened to the point that we would need to go to California in [two] days to have a dangerous life-saving surgery performed in utero.

Because the twins shared resources, one of the babies gave all of her nutrients to the other, causing her body to shut down. Both babies were dying because the baby receiving all of the nutrition was at risk of heart failure due to an excess of fluid, and we needed to act soon. I’d never felt more afraid and alone than when I lay on that surgery table in a strange hospital in another state. Because my husband was unable to accompany me into the operating room, I remained awake during the procedure, watching on a monitor at my bedside as my two unborn kids struggled for their lives. ‘Congratulations, you have now been cured of twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome… we are now waiting to see if the kids survived,’ the doctor remarked after the treatment. We had to wait 24 hours before performing an ultrasound to see whether or not the kids were still alive. My husband and I clutched hands closely as the doctor began the scan. ‘There is one heartbeat… and then another.’ It was nothing less than extraordinary.

We traveled home to begin our [five] months of bed rest and delivered two healthy babies at 37 weeks. Neither of them spent a minute in the NICU. In 10 months’ time, we had gone from [three] children to [six] children, assuming our family was complete. But we were wrong once again.

In Ukraine, a mother gave birth to a son in May 2015. When she found out her son had Down Syndrome, the doctors informed her she had to abandon him since he was not normal. Her husband told her she had to choose between this baby and him and their 10-year-old kid since they couldn’t take this baby home. This woman had to make the difficult decision to leave her baby alone in an orphanage. She walked away, unsure of what would happen to her son.

All she could do was pray… pray that there was a God, that He was listening, and that He would somehow hear her prayers and send someone to save her son. So she prayed every day for ten months for the Lord to hear her prayers and link them to another mother who could love her baby and save him from the life he was doomed to live there. She wasn’t sure whether her prayers would be answered, or if her kid would live long enough to be found in the orphanage, but she knew she had to act.

I was fortunate to be that other mother, a mother on the other side of the world who was linked to the prayers of a mother in Kyiv, Ukraine. So we returned to Ukraine in search of a baby brother. Noah, the infant.

While in Ukraine, we had the unique opportunity to meet Noah’s birth mother. That day, an indescribable love and power transcended over that small orphanage room, breaking through linguistic barriers and connecting puzzle parts that none of us were aware were missing. We’ve had the pleasure of staying in touch with her via social media since then.

We had no idea that the day Bree was born and our life as we knew it came crashing down would be the start of such an unbelievable journey of love. We would fly around the world twice more and CHOOSE Down Syndrome because of her and her extra chromosome, her effect in our lives, and the way she loved and taught us to love. ‘How did you go from crying in your hospital bed when you found out Bree had Down Syndrome… to now having THREE children with Down Syndrome?’ I am constantly questioned. It was difficult for me to respond because, despite the fact that we now have three children with Down Syndrome, we went through the same emotional, upsetting, and uncertain phase that anybody goes through when finding that their child has Down Syndrome. We were worried and sobbed. We were scared. We were confused and lonely. So, what has altered?

How did we go from the tragic days of Bree’s diagnosis, which still provoke emotions as if they were happening right now…

to travel halfway around the world for the same diagnosis twice? Belief and trust… with this Abraham Lincoln quotation: ‘The great thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.’

We all have periods in our lives when dread takes over and veils any image of the future we may have had prior, and we have to make a decision, whether it’s Down Syndrome, infertility, or something else. We chose to embrace our fate rather than merely accept it! We take each day as it comes, and before we know it, we’re looking back, puzzled as to how we got here. I’m still bewildered as to how those fearful storm clouds morphed into a breathtaking sunset of delight.

We now have [seven] children, ages 16, 14, 11, 11, 6, 6, and 3. I am a wife and mother to [six] princesses and one prince. Blessed by Down Syndrome, adoption, identical twins, and lots of love. Three of our seven children carry that same extra chromosome, but just like each of our children, special needs or not, they are each their own miracle, leaving their own mark on the world as they teach us all what matters most… love. Through the course of our family’s story, we have witnessed love-making miracles. We have felt the heartaches of infertility and miscarriages and have been carried through to the beauty of identical twins on the other side. We have come to know the fibers that intertwine to make up adoption, a level of beauty and happiness, heartache and hurt that transcends anything I thought I knew about love before.

Before adoption, I could never have imagined the countless layers of a mother’s heart, the depths of love, and the paths that weave together to write motherhood. God is in the details, and sometimes those details are absolutely breathtaking. We have witnessed tears of fear and sadness for the life we thought we were losing transform into tears of joy and gratitude for the unexpected miracles of this journey.

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