Today's featured family is one that has one domestically adopted son, one internationally adopted son, and is in the process of adopting a daughter internationally! June is a sweet mommy and a good friend. Their son and daughter are children they found through Reece's Rainbow!
Hi, I'm June Berger and my husband is Robert (Bob). Our six year wedding anniversary is this month! We have six children between us. Michelle 32, Amanda 23, PJ 19, Joey 11, Anah almost 11 (still in Vietnam), and Jonathan 2 1/2. Anah will be coming home to us from Vietnam within a month or so, she has Down Syndrome. Jonathan came home to us last November from Guatemala, he also has Down Syndrome.
Since I was 16 I always knew I wanted to adopt a child with Down Syndrome. I can only say the Lord put it in my head and heart since I didn't even know anyone with Down Syndrome at that time. Fast forward many years to my marriage to Bob. We wanted to grow our family and adoption was our way to do it. We already had Joseph who was adopted domestically, he has ADHD. PJ, 19, is insulin dependent since age of 11 and I am a Registered Nurse (disabled with Lupus), so as you can see, we are very familiar with various health issues and comfortable with them. Our "niece" (best friends daughter) has Down Syndrome and we spend a great deal of time together. We felt that there was a need to adopt children with special needs and that we were very well suited to do it.
As for my children, Joseph is adopted from the US, he has ADHD and some learning disabilities. He is 11. Jonathan is 2 1/2, he came to us from Guatemala, he has Down Syndrome, a very small PDA (heart defect) and will need glasses as he gets older. Anah will be coming to us soon from Vietnam, she turned 11 on Oct. 17th. Anah has Down Syndrome, "cardiac issues" (unknown to what degree), and she has not had any therapies or education that we know of.
To be honest, the most difficult part of the adoption process is the length of time it takes and the huge amount of paperwork. I know all adoptions/children/countries are different, but it was even more than I had anticipated. I was also surprised by the many restrictions there are on what types of families can adopt, especially children with special needs that are so obviously considered "unadoptable" in their own countries. To say the cost was surprising isn't actually true, but the often unexpected fees/costs did get to be a bit much at times. (some countries have age/marital status/religion/health status/income requirements. Others have less or no requirements so it differs country to country on who can adopt from where)
It feels as if Jonathan has always been here. We still do everything that we did before, we just bring Jonathan along. Admittedly he is a very "easy" child. He goes with the flow, eats anything, sleeps almost anywhere and just enjoys life in general. We have had to make sure we are home for his therapies, since I don't want him going out for them, but now that is just part of our routine and fits into our schedule easily. All of our family is MADLY in love with Jonathan and he with them. He has been a perfect addition.
I guess that fact that the most difficult part of parenting a child with special needs is that Jonathan has to have constant supervision. All little ones do, but Jonathan's will most likely be longer term than "typical" children. Bob is retired from the Navy and I am also home, so it really isn't much of an issue for us, it's just something we have to be constantly aware of.
Jonathan has brought so much life, joy and love to our family. He is everyone's little pick me up. When you see him, you can't help but get a smile on your face and be happy. He is such a love!
You can follow the Berger family blog as they write about life with their special little guy, Jonathan, and their upcoming adoption of Anah HERE: http://ajourneyofgrowth.blogspot.com/
If you are interested in donating to the Berger family's adoption of Anah, please visit their Family Sponsorship Profile at www.reecesrainbow.org/sponsorberger.htm
Thank you, June and Bob, for sharing your family with us!
More children with Down syndrome can be seen on the Christmas Angel Tree Project, http://www.reecesrainbow.org/angeltree2008.htm ALL of these children are currently available for adoption and the grants that are being raised are to help a prospective family to bring them home!