Yesterday, March 21st, was World Down Syndrome Day, a day to raise global awareness about Down syndrome and to celebrate the vital role people with Down syndrome play in our lives and in our communities.
In recognition, our radio program is featuring the story of one couple who found God’s grace through adoption … in an unusual and remarkable way.
Heather and Josh Avis walked a long, difficult journey through infertility. “Why not us?” was their anguished question. At every turn, their faith was tested and nothing fruitful was happening. They felt like their plans for a family had been burned to a pile of ashes and scattered by the wind.
And, yet, in the midst of their pain was something else. They believed God was saying, “I have something special for you – something as rich and as meaningful as giving birth to biological children.”
That plan began to unfold as they sought God’s will through adoption. One day their social worker in Romania contacted Heather and Josh and said, “Babies with Down syndrome were just placed with our agency. It’s hard to find placements for them.”
The Avis’s initially resisted, but they soon reconsidered, believing that the Lord just might be asking them to adopt a baby with Down syndrome despite their reservations and despite the challenges that they knew lay ahead. Ultimately, their decision came down to this: There was a baby who needed a mom and a dad, and Heather and Josh were a mom and dad. That was enough.
Their journey hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding, and they’re here to tell you all about it on our broadcast. Heather has also captured their story in the book The Lucky Few. She shares about the pain and heartache the years of infertility brought into her and Josh’s marriage and how God prompted their hearts to adopt three children, one with Down syndrome.
Join us for “Joyfully Embracing God’s Children” on your local radio station, online, or on our free phone app. I believe you’ll be inspired to prayerfully consider adoption, or at least to consider how you might be able to come alongside an adoptive family to provide some help.
For more information about adoption, visit Wait No More, which is a program that Focus started a few years ago offering couples the opportunity to adopt or – as Jean and I have done – to provide foster care and respite care.
Adoption is close to God’s heart. There is no greater call in my mind than to take care of the widow and the orphan. James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (ESV).
We have Heather’s book, and many other resources related to marriage, parenting, and faith available in our online store.