As a family, we knew we were being called to adopt as we began that process domestically in the United States. God led us to adopt a baby boy with Down Syndrome through that journey. While our hearts and minds were opened to the needs of little ones born with special needs, God opened them even wider to include China. We knew that many children have Down Syndrome who needed forever families. As we began praying through the decision to start an international adoption, a friend we had met through the adoption community made an advocacy post on social media with the picture of the cutest little fella, Jordy (Song Yinglin). We knew then that he was our son and that we would be heading to China to bring our Cody home.
During the months we were completing paperwork, we found out that he was living at Shepherd’s Field Children’s Village. We were both relieved and excited to find out he was there, especially as we learned more about the programs and therapies they provided to the orphans in their care. We eagerly followed their Facebook page to catch glimpses of our Cody participating in the various activities they held for the kids. We loved seeing the monthly birthday parties and Children’s Day celebrations, and we also saw pictures of him working with the therapists who taught him to walk. Seeing so many smiles helped ease the heartache of waiting on the steps paperwork to be approved.
When we finished all of our adoption paperwork and completed that last step of getting travel approval, we were excited that it worked out to visit SFCV and meet so many of the caregivers who loved Cody so well. Seeing them in person felt a lot like meeting celebrities after following them online for months. We saw firsthand how well the children were cared for and loved through daily care, games, and activities. We know that because Cody was cared for at SFCV, he had a head start in learning to adapt to a family and communicate his needs with us. In addition, because he had loving nannies and caregivers, he was better able to connect with us.
Cody has been home now for six years and has made many gains. He has learned more words and knows when to ask for things he needs. He is our son’s big brother, whom we adopted as a baby, and we also traveled back to China a couple of years later to bring his other little brother home. The boys share a room and have a blast playing together. Cody has learned to initiate new games with his brothers, and they are all learning more about using their imaginations as they play. He also has five older sisters, and he has each of them wrapped around his finger. He enjoys cuddling with them and talking them into getting him snacks. They adore him as well. Cody is an amazing boy, and we have loved watching him grow and learn new things.
While he has changed in many ways over these six years as he has found his voice and gained confidence in his skills, he fit into our family from the first day we met him. He somehow knew we were meant to be family. While we know there was a loss in his past, we are thankful for his time at SFCV and for the journey that led us to China and to him. Adoption has taught us many things and helped us create our beautiful family.