Birdie’s Gift

IMG_4316In celebration of National Down Syndrome Awareness month, we share a bit about our own Down Syndrome gift – Miss Birdie.


Once upon a time, our little Birdie was being knit together in her mother’s womb.  By God’s great knowledge, love and mercy, as the miracle of life unfolded our sweet little baby girl was gifted an extra chromosome.  Birdie’s formation was no accident.  God knew and gave His gracious stamp of approval on her beautiful little, fragile life as she grew in her pre-born home.  He loved her when He formed her and He loved her as her birth mom lovingly carried her (He loves her birth mother so much and so do we, although she is unknown to us.)

The Lord had His ministering angels protecting little Miss Birdie as her brave birth mother gently placed her in a setting where she could easily be found.  He was surrounding her with His tender love even as her tiny little life waited for the perfect person to lift her up and carry her to the police.  God was ever present as the police would place her in the exact orphanage she would need to be in to be found by a precious westerner (now turned dear friend) who lives a life of being His hands and feet.  That westerner would come to the exact orphanage at the exact moment when one broken little Birdie would need her.

The brave woman would swoop in to rescue our very sick and dying little baby girl in desperate need of open heart surgery.  The courageous, fiercely loving woman would call her husband and say, “I’m bringing home a little one who is very sick or she will die if we don’t help!”

Our great God was orchestrating each detail, every piece of official paper needed as she was tenderly lifted out of that orphanage and into the care of that baby-wearing western family.  Their lives were already full, but they knew how desperately she needed medical care and they had told God a long time before, “Use us however you see fit.”  They fought for her, they advocated for her and they relentlessly loved for her.  (We cannot ever thank them enough!)

The family moved swiftly to get her medical care and the open heart surgery she so desperately needed. No doubt our Birdie is a brave little fighter and champion heart warrior!  Time would pass and eventually He was orchestrating behind the scenes when that western family’s assignment was ended and they had to leave the country and return stateside.  He knew all along that was coming but He also knew that He had already been preparing a sweet Godly physician, who already loved that little Birdie unconditionally (because she was friends with the western family).  The physician would take over her care and be her next family as the western family left for their home country.IMG_4320

When the physician’s assignment was finished in-country and the kindhearted doctor had to move on, God was still watching.  His presence surrounded our baby girl and I just have to believe that her sad little heart was remembering what she had with the loving family and the gentle physician.

Birdie would be moved about from orphanage to orphanage to orphanage to orphanage to orphanage but all the while our great and merciful God had His hand on her life.  So that when her adoption file was made, she would be advocated for on the site of our favorite adoption agency who we were already in the process of using to bring home our Johnny.

In keeping with His loving ways, He had already moved on our hearts to ask our social worker to put approval for “2” in our home study.IMG_4321

Why did we put “2”?  Oh because you know…”2″ is always better than “1”! 

Think about it.  Ice cream?  Two scoops surely are more fun than one!  Pieces of chocolate?  Well of course, two are better than one.  And cups of coffee?  Two are much more yummy to sip with a friend than just one.


And in our book, two kids at once are always better than one! 

By His divine will God had been working on both of our hearts since we were both young and we knew our family would one day include a Down Syndrome Darling all our own!  We saw her little face on our adoption agency’s  (Chinese Children Adoption International) site and our hearts screamed, “She’s ours!  That’s the one we’ve been dreaming of our whole lives!”

Since we were already approved for two and our dossier was almost ready to go to Ch*na for approval to go get Johnny-boy, well, we just knew – she belonged with us.  She even looks like a Saunders!  She was the answer to years of longing for a Down Syndrome Darling of our own.

Of course there was that “little” age-thing (Ch*na regs at the time said we were too old, but we’ve found that when God says “yes” it does not matter what regs say.  He moved on her behalf because He knew how much we all needed each other.)

Admittedly, she had a pretty rough start when I met her.  She thought I was the worst thing to ever happen to her.  For weeks, she didn’t want much to do with me.  How could she trust me?  She had loved and she had lost.  But slowly, through prayer and persistent love and lots of baby-wearing, the icy walls around her very broken emotional heart began to melt.  Her smile began to emerge.  Soon her giggle began to appear and the walls around her once-broken-heart fell.  She began to love her mommy and now Mommy has become her all-time favorite.  (Daddy might argue with that, but hey, this is my blog and I can say what I wanna. Haha.)


Birdie was still recovering from chicken pox when the above picture was taken a few weeks ago. 

Oh Birdie-girl!  We love you to the moon and back!! You are a sweet pile of lovin’ and we just couldn’t imagine our lives without your raspy little voice around this place!  You are our favorite little shoe-thief ever.   Your bossy little self barks your BFF Isaiah into line like no one could!  The three words you say daily, you say like a champ: Isaiah, Mom(!) and Ree (for Ruby).


Who could have guessed the transformation of your little heart?  From sadness and smile-less to overwhelming joy?  Each day we laugh over the antics of you Birdie-girl.  You and Ruby love each other so much.  You are tender, gentle and very watchful of Ruby.  You are kind to all.  Some days you think being a puppy is more fun than being Birdie and you make us giggle at all your puppy-ways!  You love to be gently tickled and your deep raspy giggles are a delight to our home!

Friends, there is a vocal, outspoken push around the world to try to rid the Earth of future Birdies.  Some would think that lives will be “perfect” without Birdies (and Rubys and Jubilees).  We contend that Birdie is perfect and she makes our lives perfectly delightful – just the way she is!  Birdie adds a joyful dimension to life in our home that we would not have without her.  She (and Ruby and Jubilee) cause us to be reminded of the things that truly matter.  Three daughters precious lives that give us so much more than we could ever give them.  They have caused our family to be a gentler, kinder, more caring family than we could ever be through reading any book.  Birdie, Ruby and Jubilee are where the rubber hits the road.  Their needs are insignificant in comparison to their profound blessings.   We wouldn’t trade our lives for anything offered.

Our Down Syndrome Darlin’ and Our Hydrocephalus Dolly and Our Rare Chromosomal Anomaly Jewel are the three greatest gifts we could have ever been gifted.  Today we celebrate God’s creation of their lives and we cannot ever thank Him sufficiently for the gift they each are to us.  When God gives gifts He showers us with wealth in ways that is immeasurable,  We gives thanks to Him for His astounding faithfulness in our lives.


I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever. 

Psalm 86:12







10 thoughts on “Birdie’s Gift

  1. This is a word aptly spoken and needs to be heard over and over again, even within the church! If we believe that God is Sovereign and that He creates everyone on purpose, with a purpose, then we can trust that He knows exactly what He is doing when He creates a child with special needs. If we are all created in the image of God, that includes even those of us who seem to be broken. We, as Christ followers, must lead the way in affirming the intrinsic value and preciousness of all the children who do not fit in a “survival of the fittest” worldview. Birdie is so precious! So are all your sweet kiddos! I never tire of hearing what a blessing they are to you.

    1. You are so right!! Sadly, many in the church cannot ‘lay it down’ to care for those with special needs. Emma one time had a pastor tell her, “I’m so glad God called you to this and I’m so very glad He didn’t call me.” As I type that I feel a blog post coming. xo

  2. Awesome Linny! Thanks for sharing!

    Unfortunately, the “push” wouldn’t stop there. It would expand to include autism, FASD, diabetics (my baby girl), maybe even cancer patients, etc. It’s crazy to think as “advanced” as our culture is those “advancements” are robbing us of lives every day.

    1. It’s true. The “push” is already underway, just a little more subtle than the now-vocal push against those with Down Syndrome. And you’re welcome for sharing. I can’t keep quiet!

  3. Awe, she’s such a pretty lil’ lady!!! Downs syndrome people have such a positive outlook on life, always a big smile <333 They're some of my favorite people to be around <3

  4. What a sweet post Linny! So thankful.your daughters have you in their lives too.. Precious jewels and keep on loving all your adorable children. God’s blessings always my dear! Hugs!

    1. Thank you Becky for your sweet words. I wish everyone could hang out with our pile, and specifically my three “lifers” – they would begin to really grasp the joy they truly bring. We cannot ever thank the Lord enough for His bountiful blessings!! xo

  5. So beautifully said, your words and your life are the Gospel being presented over and over again. Thank you for all you do and for reminding me over and over again to be a voice and to stand up for those who need a voice and protection. Our family is all in!

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