By Marianne Morf
Ashley and Shea Coleman share a strong faith which they believe has brought them a great challenge and blessing in a tiny package.
The young Clear Lake couple has just returned home to Clear Lake with Mikha, a 21-month-old boy from the Ukraine which they have adopted. Mikah was born with Down’s Syndrome and a heart murmur. He has undergone two open heart surgeries in his homeland.
The Colemans say adoption was something they have always known they would pursue, but thought it would happen much later, after all
their biological children had been born. But after their first child, Lauryn, turned one in June, they began to consider adopting much sooner.
“We realized, as we read scripture and grew in our faith, that it was God’s will for us to adopt now,” said Shea.
At the time the couple was stationed in Germany, where Shea was an air traffic controller/tower watch supervisor for the U.S. Air Force.
“We tried to weigh the pros and cons of adoption, with the main con being the financial burden,” said Shea. At the time he was also uncertain if he would be remaining in Germany with the Air Force. The adoption process cost the family approximately $25,000. The couple did some fundraising and sought donations, which covered about one-half of the costs.
They continued to pursue adoption and learned about Reece’s Rainbow, a non-profit organization which is an international Down Syndrome Orphan Ministry, rather than an adoption agency. Its mission is to rescue orphans with Down syndrome through the gift of adoption, to raise awareness for all of the children who are waiting in 25 countries around the world, and to raise funds as adoption grants that help adoptive families afford the high cost of adopting these children.
Reece’s Rainbow seemed to be the perfect fit to help the Coleman’s in their quest to adopt.
“The only problem was, how do you choose a child?” asked Ashley.
“We stepped away from the computer (where they had viewed children’s photos and information) for a while and knew that if it is God’s will, we will know which to select,” added Shea.
The moment they saw “Toby,” their questions were answered.
“His eyes haunted me. They were so empty,” said Ashley. “I couldn’t get anything done. He was all I could think about.”
The Colemans went through a pre-selection process, committing to their decision in November 2010. After completing a home study and supplying detailed information about themselves to officials, they were cleared to travel to the Ukraine May 17, to meet Toby. Ashley’s mother, Linette Heydt, also made the trip.
On May 23 they were finally introduced to Toby, who they now call Mikha. Twice daily, 10-11:30 a.m. and 4-6 p.m., for 30 days they were granted visiting privileges at the orphanage.
“He was very docile. It seemed as there was no life in him,” said Ashley, remembering Mikah’s days in the orphanage. They attributed his behavior to the fact that a staff of 10 nannies tended to the 70 to 80 children there. The constant rotation of - Read More Via e-Edition