Phillip and Charrissa are very much blessed. They have six children: Isaac, Gabriel, Ethan, Elisabeth, Chloe and Justus. Every child brings much joy to their home. When their youngest child, Justus, was born with Down syndrome and a heart condition, they were reminded of just how a child could impact not only them, but those around them. Justus' testimony at only a year old is quite extraordinary in how it brings glory to God. He underwent heart surgery at four months old, and almost did not make it through. However; Christ saw fit to allow differently.
Many prayed across the nation for Justus, many who did not even know him. Many lives were touched as they saw how Christ was leading and directing during that time. All of which is a story in and of itself. Justus not only pulled through, but is now thriving.
It was during this time that the Browning family was made aware of the larger community of Down syndrome and other special needs. These children may have had special needs, requiring more care, but the spirit of both these children and their parents were far from fragile. Phillip and Charrissa saw it every day during their stay at the Children's Hospital - parents rallying around their children; urging and praying that they would survive whatever battle the child was facing. It both humbled them, and spoke to their hearts of something bigger ... they just did not know what yet.
Now, more than six months later they "accidentally" came upon Reece's Rainbow's website. Only this was no accident, but a divine appointment. The faces listed there were overwhelming. Even more overwhelming was the fact that these children had no rallying or urging as Phillip and Charrissa had seen during Justus' hospital stay. In fact, these children had no parental support at all. They were all orphans. Left to fight medical battles alone, and sometimes with no interventions. Sure, there were caretakers in the orphanages, but no nurturing from a mother's arms or wrestling matches with daddy. Once more, the moment these children reached the age of four or five, they were transferred to a mental institution. Once transferred; there is a statistic out there that states that about 80% of them will die during their first year due to an environment that can be described as dire - at best.
Phillip and Charrissa know that they can't rescue every child, but to simply turn away with that as an excuse did not set well. They prayed and asked for wisdom, guidance and provision. God answered. They know that this is a leap of faith, but feel called to it. They are aware that this will require more work - but consider it a labour of love. They prayerfully committed to adopting Matthew and Ivanna from an Eastern European orphanage. These two children are in great need of a forever family. Matthew is five and Ivanna is four. Both children are in very real danger of being transferred. The Brownings hope to bring them home before that can happen.
Every child is special. Every life – precious – fearfully and wonderfully made. These children are no different. They are no better or worse, but designed with 'an extra leaf' (extra chromosome). Because of that extra leaf, they are deemed not worthy of investment and are tucked away in a land that offers no voice and no hope. We pray that many will join in and lend them that voice. That through Christ - hope will be given.
We are happy to have you along with us as we seek to answer His calling in this journey of adoption. Our prayer is that, not just Matthew and Ivanna will come home - but that more children will find their forever families as a result of our journey. Our ultimate goal, above all and in everything, is that Christ will be glorified. We thank you in advance for your prayer and support as we seek to add to our family these very special "extra leaves".
Loving Others, Despite Yourself
2 years ago