We gave our first grant to Wendy and Jeff Reed, who you'll hear from in just a bit. The sweetest little 8-year-old boy, Joel, you could ever imagine is patiently waiting for them to bring him home, and I am thrilled that our little community gets to be a part of the process to give him a mama and daddy of his own. Joel lives at New Day Foster Home. I knew him when we lived there, and now, 2 years later, we had a chance to see him when we were there this Fall working on our new product line. While I was sad to see him still waiting, his spirit was remarkably lighter and happier... why? Because he knew he had a family. He was so excited to tell me about them. I can't wait for the day when he's home with them.
Thank you for being a part of bringing Joel home... It is because you buy our products that we're able to give this $500 grant! If you want to get involved with the Reed family's fundraising efforts or learn more about their story, check out their blog. (password: joel2013)
Now, without further ado... The Reed Family Story, by Wendy Reed.
We are Wendy and Jeff Reed, and we would like to take this opportunity to tell you a little bit about our family and about the journey God set us upon to bring home our son, Joel, from China. We have been abundantly blessed with 8 precious children, four born to us and four through the miracle of adoption! Our adoption story really begins with our youngest biological daughter, Mikayla. Mikayla was born in 2003 with a congenital heart defect and an extra special chromosome called Trisomy 21, better known as Down Syndrome or what we lovingly refer to as her “Designer Genes.” Although Mikayla’s first year was extremely rough medically, she began to grow healthier and stronger and she is now a spunky 10 year old! Mikayla is such a joy and a blessing to our family, and she brings a smile to the face of everyone she meets! She has taught us the joy of parenting a child with special needs and grew in our hearts a desire to help another child with special needs that did not have a family to love them and help them reach their fullest potential.
In 2005 we began our very first adoption journey towards bringing home a baby girl from China that had special needs. Jenna, who has a corneal defect in her right eye and is blind in that eye, joined our family in 2006. What an honor and a privilege it has been to watch Jenna blossom and grow before our eyes! We knew when we were in China adopting Jenna that we left a piece of our hearts in that country and that we would be back again soon! We also wanted for Jenna to have a sister that she could share her Chinese culture and heritage with. We returned to China just a year later to bring home our daughter, Sadie, and then went on to bring two more beautiful girls (Ellie in 2009, and Khloe in 2011) home from China, all with various special needs including heart conditions, cleft lip and cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and Down Syndrome. And now our story finally turns to Joel!
On our last journey to China in Sept 2011, our daughter Mikayla joined us to adopt her baby sister, Khloe, who happens to share the same “Designer Genes.” During our adoption trip, we had the honor and privilege of meeting the Foster Family that Khloe lived with for two years. What a wonderful opportunity to spend time with these people who selflessly poured out their love and attention on our little girl and gave her such a wonderful foundation of trust to build upon. While we visited with them and with Khloe, we also had the opportunity to meet and play with Khloe’s foster brother, Joel. Joel is 8 years old and has spina bifida. Both Jeff and I really enjoyed playing with Joel! He is such a clever little boy with such a kind and gentle spirit! What a blessing he would be to any family! As we were nearing our visiting time, Joel’s Foster mom asked Joel if he would like to go to America with Khloe’s new mom and dad. Joel enthusiastically replied that he would love to go home with Khloe’s parents and he wished that they could be his mom and dad too. Oh, how we would somehow love to make his wish come true!
Joel has been on our hearts since we left China in the fall of 2011. Mikayla’s heart was touched as well, and she began praying every night and at the altar on Sundays for Joel to become her brother. Jeff had been hearing God speak to him for some time (since last spring 2012) that Joel was to be a part of our family. We really connected with Joel, and knew that he would fit perfectly within the dynamics of our family, but it really came down to finances as well as the stress Jeff was under with the hours he was away from home due to his job which was 2 hours away in another state. Jeff had shared with me how he was feeling so convicted that God was calling us to Joel, and I was feeling that as well. I scheduled some time to talk with a very close friend of mine who also has a heart for adoption as I knew that she would understand where I was coming from. As I was talking to her, and telling her how our hearts felt so convicted to move forward with the adoption but had no idea where the funds would come from as we were just beginning to get back on our feet, I felt God stopping me right there. Had I learned NOTHING through the four adoptions He had already brought to completion down to the very last cent??? God clearly said to me during that conversation with my friend that He had that covered as long as we were faithful and obedient to His call! From that point on, I KNEW with all my heart that God would be leading us on another wildly wonderful adoption journey with twists and turns only He would know how to navigate!
Jeff and I spent a lot of time in prayer over the summer and had some lengthy talks about how the adoption could possibly come about during our family vacation at the beach. We were also blessed to meet up with another family who had adopted Khloe's former Foster Brother before Joel, during our stay at the beach. Our talks really strengthened our conviction that we were following God's will and had been led to the right adoption agency. We knew that we only had a small portion of the amount needed to begin the adoption, and we really did not know where the rest of the fees would come from. We certainly were not going to ignore God's calling anymore though, and we knew that if He wanted this to come about then He would provide a way! When we returned home from the beach, this is the verse that was waiting for us during our church service: "Now to Him who is able to do IMMEASURABLY MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to His power, that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! AMEN!" Eph. 3:20-21. Yet, another confirmation that we were indeed hearing His call and acting accordingly! And to top that off, we had a pretty major storm system passing through our area later that afternoon that blessed us with the most GORGEOUS double rainbow in the sky!
So, in Sept 2012 we once again stepped out in faith and contacted our adoption agency to begin the process to bring Joel home! We worked as fast as we could to get our Application into our adoption agency so that we could send in our Letter Of Intent for Joel. We were so excited when we received word that we received our Application Approval, but later that same day, Jeff also found out that his department was going to be let go in just two weeks! We decided that instead of getting worried and upset, we would rejoice because we KNEW that we were following His plan and His will! We have a Mighty God who is bigger than any obstacle that he can throw our way! Jeff had such a calmness about him and told me with complete faith that God was going to take this situation and turn this into something "immeasurably more than we can imagine!" We and a group of close friends prayed in faith that God would answer our prayers and give Jeff a new job, closer to home, meeting the financial requirements for the adoption, and that it would start as soon as possible after his last day at his work place so that the severance could go straight towards the adoption. The very next day after Jeff was told about the layoff, before he contacted or reached out to even one person about a new job, THREE recruiters contacted him about jobs in our area! There have been no job openings in Jeff's line of work in our state for over two years!!! Just three weeks after Jeff found out his department was being let go, Jeff was offered a job that meets all of the salary requirements to bring another child home to our family and he will be just 45 minutes away! PRAISE GOD!!!! With Jeff starting his new job right after the end date of his current job, the first agency fee was covered and we could continue to move forward towards bringing Joel home! Nothing other than a miracle from God that this came about! HE is so faithful!!! Joel's LOI was sent to China on Sept. 4, 2012, and we received Pre-Approval to adopt Joel just 6 days later on Sept. 10, 2012! Currently, we are wrapping up our home study and gathering the necessary documents for USCIS approval and our Dossier.