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Adoption News Last Updated: May 27th, 2019 - 13:51:51

Couple Prayed to Adopt Baby With Down Syndrome
By Live Action News
Mar 24, 2015, 17:27

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Andy and Mercedes Lara always knew they wanted to adopt. When they brought their newborn daughter Sunflower Mae home in 2013 it was a dream come true.

Sunflower, whose sweet name seems to suit her to a T, is a happy, silly, gorgeous little girl. She also has Down syndrome.

This week the Laras, who recently welcomed a son named Rhodes, visited a California courtroom to finalize the adoption of their now 21-month-old daughter. To celebrate that joyful occasion – as well as World Down Syndrome Day, which is today, March 21 – Andy and Mercedes put together a beautiful video that tells their family’s amazing story.

Take a look… you’ll be so glad you did.

The joy that lives in this family is infectious, isn’t it? Not to mention inspiring.

I recently spoke to Andy about their journey so far, and about the joys and challenges that he and Mercedes experience as they raise their two young children.

He opened up about their decision to adopt, saying it was something they both were passionate about.

“Without knowing whether or not we could bear children ourselves, we wanted to make sure that [adoption] was a part of our life no matter what,” Andy explains. “In 2011 we unfortunately experienced two personal tragedies. Firstly, a miscarriage in October 2011, and then Mercedes’ brother tragically passed away on New Years Day, 2012. He was 21 years old. 2012 was a heavy year of grief for us and as we neared the end we decided going into 2013 that we wanted to start the adoption process not knowing exactly how long it would take.”

As it turns out, it didn’t take long at all. In the two years since they brought little Sunflower home there have been challenges, to be sure. While Sunny’s cognitive development is right on track, her weakened immune system makes illness a major concern, particularly with a newborn in the house.

Andy is quick to note, though, that every parent goes through some ups and downs along the way.

“I can honestly say that time to time yes, it is challenging raising a child with Down syndrome and a newborn at 18 months apart. Sunflower isn’t quite walking yet so it is physically demanding to literally be carrying both kids simultaneously, up and down our homes’ stairs to the car. As one example. Most parents can fill in the blank and imagine any other day with this situation on hand…. [But] day-to-day joy with Sunflower and Rhodes out weighs these challenges bar none.”

Sunflower hasn’t just captured her parents’ hearts – the Laras’ Instagram account, @hooray4sunny, has over 12,000 followers. The photos give a glimpse into the life of a little girl who is clearly loved beyond measure.

So what do Andy and Mercedes hope the future has in store for their two kids? The very same things we’re all hoping for: That they’re healthy, happy and loved.

“I love them to the end of the earth and I would still do anything to see them obtain the life they see fit for themselves,” says Andy. “I’m so proud to be a father to a son and a daddy to my little girl. And that daily joy that follows having an incredible wife and partner, keeps me going everyday. We pray and hope that our choices reflect sound wisdom, thoughtfulness, and Christ-likeness to raising our kids well and practicing strong family values and character with unconditional love.”

Every once in a while you stumble upon something that makes you look at parenting, and at people, in a new light. That’s how I felt when I first came across the story of Andy and Mercedes Lara and their family.

Share their family’s story, and be sure to follow them on Instagram and on Twitter to see what’s in store for them next.

World Down Syndrome Day is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012. Visit the WDSD web site today to learn more about Down syndrome, and the vital role that people with Down syndrome play in communities around the world.

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