ABOUT MINA:

Mina is a precious little girl recently rescued from an orphanage in Eastern Europe who is now finally home with her forever family! She had been without a mother or father to love her & care for her each day. No one to rock her, kiss her gently or tell her she's loved. She is blessed with an extra chromosome known as Down syndrome, which for her that meant a life of being viewed as worthless in the country she was born into & a life without hope. Because of this her parents gave her up at the age of 6 months when they found out the diagnosis & from there her life progressivly went down hill. We are the Gower family residing in OKC who recently adopted this little angel. She was extremely malnourished and unable to do just about anything when we first met her. She will be 2 in January & is the size of a 3-6 month old weighing 14lbs. She continues to amaze us at how quickly she is progressing with love and nutrition. She has learned to sit up, roll over, feed herself finger foods, hold her own bottle and loves to interact with toys and other children. Her life has changed so much in such a short period of time and will forever be changed! Thank you Lord for putting a burden on our hearts to rescue this little blessing and making her apart of our family!

Monday, February 15, 2010

THE BEGINNING OF OUR ADOPTION JOURNEY

Wow, so this is the beginning…


Not just the beginning of me becoming a blogger-

but the beginning of what could be a long journey – from all the stories we’ve read and heard.

My husband Jim and I feel like God has put a deep passion and desire on our hearts to love the unloved children in the world. To give a home, care, and above all- LOVE to those we can. To give a hope and future to one that might not live if left in his or her given circumstances. We don’t know where God will lead us or what the future at all holds… and we won’t pretend to. We are just going to blindly step out in faith and trust in the Lord and let Him lead and guide our hearts.

So this is where it all began. I grew up always thinking I’d one day adopt. I’d go on mission trips, visit orphanages, or in villages in Africa and handed a baby and asked to take them home. Oh how I would have loved to- but of course we all know it doesn’t work out that way and is not nearly as simple. So, one day we are driving in the car a couple months back and Jim looks over at me and says, “What do you think about adopting?” I was thinking wow, are you kidding me- that was random, but awesome! Those words touched my heart, and I think at that moment I fell more in love with him. Jim’s oldest sister was adopted, so he has had a desire on his heart to adopt as well.

So a couple months went by, a few times it was mentioned, but nothing in depth and nothing to make us run out and get started until now- when God got a hold of us. I guess He thought we were taking too long in our own timing and since we hadn’t jumped on the band wagon yet- He thought He’d give us a giant push. Needless to say I’m listening to my daily audio bible, and at the end of the message he starts talking about this IHOP Adoption Program. Well, that sparked an interest in my mind. I ran to my best informational buddy Google to fill me with knowledge. Well in my silly mind I was thinking IHOP, yes the restaurant, had started an adoption program. Well it’s not that. It is International House of Prayer. So I ran across a families Blog- which led me to another and another- all amazing!!! Touched my heart so much. I think I spent the next 2 days practically in tears and this burden and desire just kept growing deeper and deeper. I’ve been spending lots of time researching trying to learn all the info I can on adoption- and boy is there a lot.

The blogs I had come across were about adopting children with down syndrome or special needs from the Eastern Europe. On the blog a banquet dinner flier to raise funds for a family to adopt a little girl from there jumped out at me, and then I realized it was only 30 minutes away and in 2 days. What are the odds. I knew I had to go. Well, I went and think I practically cried through that whole thing as well. Afterwards I got the opportunity to meet and talk with the two families whose blogs I had come across.

Now to rewind a little bit I read a book a month or so back about God winks. And it talks about how when certain things happen in a way most people look at them as coincidences, but we really should look at them as God winks- God communicating through to us by bringing certain situations, events, or people into our lives to fulfill His greater purpose. Well, to me I feel the odds in what happened, when it happened, how it happened are pretty slim to be a coincidence and believe with all my heart that it was from the Lord- and He was just directing our path.

Another ironic thing is the day before Jim left for California for work, before any of that happened, we sat down and were going over our goals and things we’d like to accomplish in our lifetime. Well one of our biggest top dreams we talked about was that one day if we ever could we’d love to have a large piece of land and home with many many rooms where we could have a loving home for as many children and have people with hearts for these precious gifts to help pour their lives into them every day. We talked about trying to brainstorm to figure out what steps we’d need to take to make it one day happen, but it seemed so long and so far out of reach- and to be honest almost feels impossible- of course that’s in our own power. What we didn’t realize at that time was that God would be saying start here, start now the same week!

Little did I know God has been preparing my heart for this moment for quite some time. I recall back in school always having a heart for children with special needs. I loved spending my lunch break sitting with a wonderful girl helping her eat her lunch and walking her home after school. She always wanted to race me in her wheel chair :) Those times brought me great happiness. I loved helping out with the special Olympics events through school as well. That’s another interesting thing. The beginning of this year one of my new year’s resolutions was that I wanted to get back involved with the Special Olympics. I had been saying it for years and just never taken the time to do it. So I sat down figured it out, sent in my application, and signed myself up for events. I was asked if I wanted to be a part of their management team- and told them yes I’d love the opportunity to. Now what are the odds in that. I feel like God has been preparing my heart each step of the way.

So while Jim was out of town I sent him a picture of a precious little girl named Mina (pictured below) who is 1 year old that has Mosaic Down Syndrome found on http://www.reecesrainbow.org/  For some reason she just jumped out at me and I just felt like I wanted to grab her up and hold her in my arms. So Jim’s response, “She is amazingly Perfect, so how do we get her, when can we meet her?” So here we are starting this whirlwind of events- researching, reading- trying to gain every bit of knowledge we can, and just jumping in with Faith.

Needless to say, after having been on cloud 9 feeling like I knew without a doubt for certain that’s what we are supposed to do my human nature kicks in and I start to doubt. What am I thinking, how can we do this, have I lost my mind? Questions fill my mind. So I went to the Lord, and just prayed to him that He would make our path clear, and show me so I know without a doubt- as if He hadn’t already shown me enough. And literally right after praying that this is the scripture He showed me:

So you want 1st Place? Then take the LAST place. Be the servant of all. He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, He said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me- God who sent me.”

Mark 9: 35-37

CONFIRMATION, CONFIRMATION, CONFIRMATION… So here we are jumping in whole heartedly taking this giant leap of Faith and being content with the fact that our wonderful Provider and Father knows our future and a step we’ll take at a time.

SIDE NOTE:

Here is some information on what happens to “special needs” little blessings and gifts from God and another reason in why we felt we wanted to adopt from Eastern Europe. The information was found on eliproject.com

When a baby is born that is different than “normal” babies, they almost certainly will never experience the love of their biological family. In most cases, these babies leave the hospital and enter the orphan system when they are just a few days old. The special orphans are transferred from the hospital to the baby home where they will merely exist. The baby home is designed for children from birth through age 4 or 5. So if un-adopted by then they will be sent to mental institutions. In some facilities the children are literally tied to their beds 24 hours a day.

• Approximately 50-80% die within the first year of being transferred

• The children are pretty much waiting to die

We have 2 nieces that have special needs and they are such a joy to our family. They always have the biggest smiles and can light up a room. I just can’t wrap my mind around or comprehend the thought of these poor children sitting in an orphanage waiting to die. I couldn’t imagine that situation at all for my nieces or any other child in my life that I love so dearly. Children are such a wonderful blessing and gift from the Lord no matter what health circumstance they are born with or acquire. They all deserve to be LOVED!

Oh what an amazing gift and Joy it will be to have the blessing and opportunity to change a child’s life and give them the love they so desperately need and deserve.

Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, and forgotten by everybody I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.


Mother Teresa


INTRODUCING OUR PRECIOUS LITTLE MINA



Mina (means Love)

Girl, Born January 15, 2009


Miss Mina has blonde hair and big blue eyes! She has Mosaic Down syndrome. She does have an open oval window, but it is expected to close on its own. She is able to sit on her own, is working on her crawling, and is just waiting for mommy and daddy!

10 comments:

ashleypmo said...

So happy for you and for Miss Mina!!!

Christine said...

Hi. Congrats on your decision to walk this amazing journey. I look forward to following. :)

Michelle Z said...

Hi! Congratulations on your adoption! Mina is beautiful!!

We are adopting also :) Look forward to following you on your journey!

The Land Family said...

I'm so happy that Mina has found her family. She has been one of my favorites. I have so many favorites on Reece's Rainbow.

We also homeschool our current children (dd 9 and ds 6). We hope to commit to three children on Reece's Rainbow within the next month. We are trying to raise funds for this.

God Bless you in your journey!!
Amy Land

Holly said...

Oh...sooo happy for you! Mina seems like she is sooo much made for your family! She looks like you and her soon to be sister...It even sounds as if the names were planned...Mina, Myla...sooo cute...she is just perfect! May God bless you guys greatly!

Maria and Family said...

she is so beautiful. i have loved her :) she actually looks a bit like your daughter ! how cute will they be together :) congrats!

Chris and Mary Malone said...

We are SO excited for your family! God's going to do AMAZING things!!

the Gower Fam said...

Thanks for all your support!!! We truley appreciate it!!

thedickinsonfamily said...

It was great to meet over dinner with you guys and the Malone's this evening. We are so very excited for you. This is the adventure of a lifetime. Enjoy the journey! We are glad we can follow along as we know God has wonderful things in store for you all.

Anonymous said...

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