Julian, Our Greatest Gift

Stephanie and her husband, Gerald, adopted Julian 16 months ago through Bethany Christian Services, the largest national adoption and family services agency in the United States. She agreed to share her heartwarming story with Sasee in honor of Mother’s Day.

May 2008 Candid

Our daughter, Lily, is now 6 years old. When she was two we had a second child, our son Darwin. While I was pregnant, the doctors discovered a brain abnormality in Darwin, and after he was born this tiny baby had so many problems! He couldn’t swallow, so he had to have a feeding tube. Poor muscle tone prevented Darwin from sitting up or crawling, and he had to undergo major heart surgery. As Darwin grew and developed, he continued to have more and more problems. At 20 months old, our precious little boy passed on. Even in our grief, we knew our lives had been so blessed by this special child.

Gerald and I knew we wanted another child, and had talked about it many times before Darwin died, but because of what happened to our sweet baby boy, we were afraid to have another biological child. Fortunately, Lily is perfect in every way. Around that same time, we met a family that had adopted two children through Bethany Christian Services. Both children were of mixed race, and as we got to know this family, we decided we would like to adopt a child of color, as more of these children are waiting for homes.

Three months after Darwin’s death, we applied to become adoptive parents with Bethany Christian Services. After completing a lengthy application, (about 22 pages) we were visited by Michelle, our social worker. She asked if we would consider a child that was 0-3 months. This excited me because a three month-old would have a birthday close to both Darwin and my husband. But, what happened later convinced me that this baby was meant for us.

One day, before the adoption was final, Michelle visited our home and asked us to sit down, as she had something to tell us. Michelle told us that Julian’s birth mother did not really know his birth father and was reluctant to talk about him at all. The only thing she would say about him was that his name was Darwin! I knew then that God had sent us this child. Julian’s birth father, Darwin, gave him life and our little Darwin inspired us to adopt.

On December 28, 2006, we became Julian’s parents! We thought it would take forever, but our paperwork was completed on November 9 and less than two months later we had our adorable baby boy! This is VERY unusual – most of the time it takes much longer to adopt. Julian is truly a miracle child.

Bethany offers several types of adoption, and we opted for a semi-open type which gives Julian’s birth mother the opportunity to find out how he is doing through the counselors at Bethany, but she hasn’t tried to contact them. I think about her constantly and hope that one day she will want to know about Julian. What a wonderful and unselfish act to give your baby to someone who will provide a loving and caring home for him. I hope she knows how grateful we are for her great gift to us.

Bethany Christian Services has an office in Myrtle Beach. For more information about their mission, call Ginger at 843-849-5433, or visit www.bethany.org/southcarolina. The 4th Annual Bethany Charity Tennis Tournament will be held on June 7 & 8 at Prestwick County Club. For more info, call Mike at 843-828-1000.

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