We are a family with a passion for adoption. Before we met, we both felt a desire to adopt. Josh felt the tugging on his heart after he became a Christian and started to grow in his faith in college. Sarah remembers listening to a Focus on the Family radio broadcast in college on adoption. Dr. James Dobson was comparing earthly adoption to how God adopts us as His children.
When we began dating seriously and our conversations turned towards children, we discovered our similar passion. We had always said, “have two, adopt two”, meaning that we’d try to have two biological kids and complete our family with two adopted children. We loved the idea of international adoption, fostering to adopt, and adopting a sibling set.
A few years later, Sarah heard another radio broadcast, this one discussing Embryo Adoption. The guest speaker was discussing the issue of infertility and how devastating it is. He began listing options for couples who desperately want to become parents. Then, he went on to describe a newer option: Embryo Adoption.
He articulated that there is a need for couples to adopt embryos that remain frozen after fertility treatments and successful pregnancies. This option gives the added benefit of allowing the adoptive mother to carry and give birth to the child. Sarah was hooked. We were then focused on still trying for two biological children and then adopting two or more embryos.
A short while later, we were blessed with a pregnancy. Sarah’s pregnancy was uneventful and she gave birth to our baby boy, Charlie, in 2011. Charlie was a dream baby. He was a great eater and a great sleeper, but at about 5 months old, we were noticing that he wasn’t meeting developmental milestones. This was the beginning of a long journey towards a diagnosis. We met with neurologists, pediatricians, genetic counselors, a geneticist, and battled with the insurance company over the genetic testing. Finally, when he was 2 ½ we got the devastating news that Charlie has MECP2 Duplication Syndrome. This is usually passed down by the mother. Sarah was immediately tested and found out that she is indeed a carrier. Each of her biological pregnancies has a 50/50 chance of passing on this genetic duplication. (To clarify, this genetic abnormality is found in Sarah’s eggs and would in no way affect donated and implanted embryos).
We grieved this news, and then immediately began researching embryo adoption. One of Sarah’s favorite sayings is, “You can’t keep the birds of sadness from flying over your head, but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.” The last thing we wanted to do was dwell on this sad news. We had always wanted to adopt, so we were simply going to move in that direction sooner than we’d planned. Clearly our plans weren’t God’s.
We found a few embryo adoption programs by researching online and we spoke with them over the phone and through emails. We decided to choose Snowflakes based on their comprehensive program and desire to be available for any questions and to guide us on this journey. We are SO EXCITED to start this next step. We would love to have two, three, or four more children. We are open to whatever God has in store for us. Sarah was blessed with the ability to carry a baby and deliver him successfully and we can’t wait to do it again. We believe that adoption will be beneficial for us, for the adopted child(ren), and for Charlie. Experiencing an adoption allows us to view a unique glimpse of God’s character.
We feel that this in an ideal time for us to pursue adoption. Our families are overjoyed and can’t wait for a “new addition”. We have a core group of supportive friends who are praying for us. Charlie is doing so well. He is happy and healthy and just started preschool. We feel that this is a perfect time for him to grow and learn with a sibling. Raising typical children alongside a special needs sibling opens their eyes to a different world; a world full of finding joy in the simple things, appreciating small blessings, and expressing childlike faith. Parents that we’ve talked with say that it is valuable character building for all children in the family. We are excited to welcome children into our loving, safe, and FUN home.
If God blesses us with twins or triplets, we would love them! Josh has always wanted twins. He says that he fell in love with Sarah a little more when he found out she has twin cousins on both sides of her family. When they went in for their first ultrasound of Charlie, Josh asked the technician if she was sure that there wasn’t another baby hiding somewhere.
We would love to adopt a child of any race. Although Josh’s family is mostly Italian and German, and Sarah’s is mostly of English decent, we have several friends who have a more “diverse” heritage, including several family members. There are no reservations with our friends and family about adopting any child. We will be flexible as we raise our future adopted child(ren). We hope to base all of our decisions regarding the openness of the adoption on what is best of the child. We also want to be sensitive to the desires of the genetic family and hope to have a long-term relationship. As a baseline for our level of openness, we would love to send letters with pictures and updates of the child(ren) and our family as a whole. To help the child(ren) with their identity development, we would be open to relationships with the biological family. We feel that all interaction should be dependent on the developmental appropriateness and the level of maturity of the child(ren). We are open to having Snowflakes aid us in facilitating any or all contact. The bottom line is we want to do what is best for our wonderful newest family member.
Josh and Sarah Landis
3 Ways to Support the Landis Family Adopt
1| Sarah and her sisters are “Crafting their way to adoption.” Check out their shop where they sell super cute things:
2| “Like” their Facebook page.
3| Follow and encourage Josh & Sarah’s Journey through their blog: Three Tall Trees and Counting
And don’t forget to share it with others!