The First Perspective:
by Sherrie Stuursma, ZCS Inclusion Teacher
One day 7 years ago I was leaving school and I felt an incredible “urge” to take a different way home. I felt the urge to go thru downtown Zeeland. As I drove downtown I saw some beautiful butterflies in the window of a store. I called my daughter, Kelsey, to see if she wanted to come look at the store for some props for her photography business. Right after she got there she saw this little girl in a car seat and realized that she had Down Syndrome.
We walked over to talk to the “mom” who turned out to be her foster mom. This little peanut by the name Adriana was hooked up to so many tubes and she looked so weak and frail. But in the midst of all that there was this beautiful little smile and she seemed to have such a sweet spirit. We talked to the foster mom for a while and told her where I worked. She asked me if I knew of anyone who would consider adopting this precious little girl. She really wanted her to go to a Christian home. She asked me to pray about it and I did for a week. Two names came to mind, one being Lori Slenk. I talked to both families and they both felt that God wasn’t calling them at that time to adopt but they would pray about it.
One evening Lori was at a funeral home visitation with her newborn daughter. Scott and Wendi Los were there as well. Scott took her baby and as he was holding her Lori said to him, “Scott you are going to be such a good grandpa someday.” He replied, “Well, I’m not really ready to be a grandpa yet. Wendi and I have considered adopting again.” Lori asked him if he would consider adopting a child with Down Syndrome. He asked, “Is it a girl?” Lori said yes. He proceeded to tell her that he and Wendi had been doing listening prayers and that they had both felt God calling them to adopt a girl with Down Syndrome! Lori came to my room the next day and got the information about the foster mom and gave it to Scott and Wendi. They made the connection and very shortly after that, they met the foster family and Ady. They will have to tell you the process after that because that’s a really cool story as well. But this is the beginning – many people feeling the Holy Spirit’s urging and following what they felt. It’s probably one of the favorite stories of my life!!!
The Second Perspective:
by Wendi Los, Ady’s Mother
Probably about the same time Sherrie was listening to the urge to go to the store downtown Zeeland, Scott and I were wanting to know if God wanted us to adopt a second time. We had always planned on it since our older daughter was adopted and biracial and we had been encouraged to have more than one adopted child by the adoption worker when we adopted Charissa in 1991. Well, God gave us 4 biological children very close together and then Scott became very debilitated with MS for several years. But by 2010 we were sensing maybe it was still time to adopt again. So we sat together and prayed together one day.
Scott suggested we sit and listen quietly to what God would say to our hearts. We sat together for about 20 minutes and when we were done Scott said he felt God had given him 3 “words”. Little girl. Down Syndrome. Biracial. Hmmm.
We pondered it for a bit and I was a bit surprised by the Down Syndrome part because we had not talked about that before. Then we went about our day and didn’t talk about it again for about 2 weeks. That is when we met Lori Slenk at the funeral home and when she asked Scott about adopting a child with Down Syndrome. My jaw practically dropped (I was overhearing the conversation that Scott was having with her). We could hardly believe God had given us those words just a short time earlier and now we heard this!
We couldn’t stop thinking about it that day and night. We first checked in with our two oldest kids to be sure they would be on board and supportive of the long-term commitment this would be to our family. They were both 100 percent on board. So we got on the phone the next day to get more information. A few days later and we were visiting the foster home and holding Adriana. We knew for sure then that God had planned for her to be in our family. And as far as the biracial part we figure that 2 out of 3 is pretty good as far as discerning God’s words to us. 🙂
He surely got our attention and He also gave us other divine confirmations later in the process. I think He knew we would need the reassurance that this was right because Scott still has MS and we were getting older! It is an amazing story and I love to think of how God had his hand on Adriana to get her where she is today and is using her to bless others.