Friday, October 22, 2010

Common Threads, Namesakes & Blessings

“The Red Thread” is a Chinese proverb which says that the people who are meant to know one another in this life are connected by an invisible thread. The thread may twist and tangle, but it will never break.  It is not affected by time, place or circumstance. Those connected by it will find each other, one way or another.

It is impossible to predict which people and circumstances will be significant in our lives and which will pass quickly through. 

Sitting across from Sara's third grade teacher at fall conferences six years ago, I had no idea that one day Sara and I together would lead her to her daughter. 

The following is a fairly long post, but it tells a story you will want to hear--of the "red thread" which connects Sara and I (and Bridget and Alina, as well as a few other people you may know) to Sara's teacher and her family. 

This is a story of love and light, of faith and fate, of hope and fulfillment of destiny.  It is a story about taking chances, giving thanks for blessings, and making a difference.

* * *
Fifteen years ago on this day, October 22, 1995, we welcomed a precious little girl into our lives.  (We were--and still are--such proud parents.)

Sara is the oldest of our six children.  She is wise beyond her years and has the kindest heart.  She's my right arm, helping wherever and whenever I need it.

Sara has always adored Bridget, and even though she was only ten when Bridget was born, she saw "the bigger picture" very quickly--that people with Down syndrome are people first.  She was excited about life with her new little sister and envisioned the wonderful relationship they now share.

When we discovered Reece's Rainbow Down Syndrome Adoption Ministry (RR) last December, Sara was deeply moved.  She saw beauty and potential in the waiting children.  I remember her talking about all the ways Bridget has added to our lives, and about how much it hurt to think of all of the children who are without homes simply because they were born with Down syndrome. 

I told her we would do whatever we could to help the children on RR.  Sara is often my sounding board, and I confided in her that I was going to talk to her dad about saving Alina.  She was in.  Immediately.

Fast forward to one day in early June, after Alina was already home.  I was going through the waiting child listings on RR, and came across a picture of this little girl (right), which stopped me in my tracks. How had I never noticed her before?  She grabbed my attention, and my heart.  And her birthday was the same day as Sara's.  I felt myself starting to ask the question...Is there any way...?

I sat down and wrote about her here, with the hopes that she would capture the heart of a family who was in a better postition to go get her and bring her home. 

Little did we know, there was a family--a family we knew--who was looking to make a difference in the world, and whose hearts were being moved toward adopting a child with Down syndrome. 

Right before school started, I received an email from Sara's third grade teacher, Shelly Archer.  The message came as a surprise, as we had only crossed paths and exchanged hellos in the halls at school from time to time since Sara was in her class.  But she'd heard about Bridget's diagnosis four years ago, and had also heard of our decision to adopt Alina.  It was her family who had been talking about ways to give back.

The Archer's had discovered Reece's Rainbow through Loving Alina.  They began reading Bridget's blog and several other blogs from our blogrolls, and had learned all about Down syndrome and the plight of orphans with Ds in Eastern Europe.  Like us, Shelly and Andy had not been planning on adding to their family.  But also like us, they felt the pull towards adoption.

I'll let Shelly's post fill in all the details, but the short version is that the Archer Family is bringing home the beautiful little girl with the brown eyes in the pink dress :), so she will be living in our community.  And they will be naming her...Sarah. 

There is so much significance in the name they chose for their little girl--it brings me to tears any time I think about it.  Our Sara and Sarah Ely (a young adult with Ds who blogs about her life and also lives in Ohio) were instrumental in the Archer's decision to bring their daughter home.  Shelly and Andy also followed Sarah B's blog (Angel Eyes, about adopting Zoya). 

Sara, Bridget and I met Joyce and Sarah Ely last March.  At the time, none of us had any idea that--together--we'd inspire another adoption. I'm smiling thinking of the five of us (Bridget, Sara, me, Joyce & Sarah) talking and laughing & enjoying the moment, yet having no clue that we would play a huge role in saving the life of another child with Down syndrome. 

Sarah and Shawn B. were in Ukraine to get Zoya at the same time we were there to get Alina.  We almost connected in Kiev, but the volcano threw things off.  We ended up coming home the day after they came home. 

There is a common thread that connects all of our families.

Beyond the name Sara(h), there are so many meaningful connections.

There are blessings beyond belief.

Happy Birthday TODAY to Sara & Sarah (and some other very special people: Pops, Uncle Sid and my dear friend Sally--whose given name is...Sarah!)


  1. lisa, this is such a beautiful story...thank you for sharing and thank you for all that you have done to spread the awareness about all of theses sweet souls blessed with that magic chromosome. your heart must be so happy it could just explode to have such a part is bring sarah home to her family.

  2. What a wonderful story. Happy Birthday Sara!

  3. This is so wonderful and amazing!! (and Happy Birthday, Sara!)

  4. Wow, I have goosebumps just thinking about how awesome this is. I love the Red Thread idea... it is so true in our lives as well. And you, Lisa, are in our lives (via blogland) to help us navigate the school years and to encourage us as well. Your blog was one of the first I stumbled upon a couple years ago and the beautiful photography and inspiring posts have made such an impact on my life as well. That red thread travels through cyberspace as well :-) Congrats to your teacher friend. Sarah is a beautiful little girl!

  5. Happy Birthday, dear Sara!! I shared your post at school today with friends and so many were moved to tears!! Beautiful!!!