We are in the process of adopting Gianna, who's been blessed with the gift of Down syndrome. We were with Gianna in the NICU for a week after she was born and in the PICU for five days when she, at five months, endured open-heart surgery to correct an AV canal defect, common among babies with Down syndrome. This surgery was necessary and lifesaving. Through it all, Gianna has been an inspiration to us and numerous others, and we're ready for whatever God hands us next. We want to share Gianna's story and her sweet little face with the world in an effort to raise Down syndrome awareness and demonstrate what a true gift those with Down syndrome are to everyone who knows them.
Our adoption was divinely inspired: Having tried more than four years to conceive, we decided to look into adopting. A week and a half after making that decision, we received a phone call from someone who'd been praying on our behalf, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, at the time still in Milwaukee. He called to check in with us, as he did every so often. That is when we told him we were considering adoption. The next day he called again to ask if we'd consider adopting a child with Down syndrome, because it turned out moments after he learned we were going to seek an adoption the very next call he made was to a family who'd decided to give their child up for adoption. God's providence was clearly at work, and the Archbishop discerned that it was God's will to bring us together with Gianna's birth family.
Still four months pregnant, Gianna's birthmother was urged by her ultrasound doctor to have an abortion, despite her strong pro-life views and a chart that read "no termination." He never mentioned adoption as an option. Our hearts break thinking Gianna might not have had the chance to grace this world with her gorgeous blue eyes had her mother not been so firmly pro-life. With five boys, one of whom has severe cerebral palsy and requires 24-hour care, another child with special needs was too much for her family, but they thought perhaps this baby could be a blessing for somebody else. We were that somebody else, and Gianna is most certainly the greatest blessing we have ever received. And ours is an open adoption, which means Gianna's birth family will continue to play a role in her life, and she in theirs.