After we’d waited a year to bring our son home you’d think I’d be prepared for when we finally got travel approval, however that was not the case. The day after we received approval I was flying to Houston for three days for a heart cath. Cole and I were busy searching for flights, changing appointments, rearranging his work schedule, making childcare plans, not to mention school beginning the following week. It was a CRAZY week filling out 2 million back to school papers for 9 kids, packing, worrying about my mom coming to stay with our 3 littles and two foster daughters, arranging some help for her and having a few surprises thrown in like car trouble and Traye having to have his two front teeth removed due to an accident and all of that left me staying up way too late packing last night but I got about 2 hours of sleep before the alarm went off. Who cares… I’m gong to get my son!

We left home about 4:45 headed to Birmingham. We had an 8am fight to Detroit then on to Beijing. About half way to Birmingham my mom called to say that Delta had called and delayed our flight 2 hours to Detroit which would cause us to miss the flight to Beijing. We immediately got on the phone, actually 3 phones calling Delta. We arrived at the airport and still had not had an agency representative answer. We stayed on the phone and waited in line at the gate. We finally made it to the front of the line ( over 90 minutes on hold and still no agent)> He tells us the system has automatically rebooked us for a similar schedule the following day. Well, if you’ve ever been in the path of a mama trying to get to her child then you can only imagine my feelings. He said that was really the only option so we decided to wait for a ‘Red Coat” to see if he might could help further because mama bear was about to go cray cray on this man telling me to come back tomorrow when I was sure tomorrow would have brought the same delays. I was adamant that we were getting somewhere today that would allow us to be where a flight to Beijing departed.

After waiting over an hour the Red Coat finally showed up. Cole was telling me to be salt and light and how kindness gets you further. I thought he had that covered pretty well so I went forward with the mama passionate about getting to my kids and positive that there was a way to get us somewhere today. When he walked off to see what options he could find I assured my kids we had shown him the best of both world: kind, patient and cooperative as well as making the urgency clear in getting to my son! In the end it seemed to be my mama’s passion that motivated him the most 🙂 and he came back with a plan for us to leave for Atlanta, catch a flight to Tokyo ( at least it’s Asian), then Beijing then on to Zhengzhou, Henan. We were originally scheduled to get into Zhengzhou after Midnight and then get Jim that morning at 9:30. Due to the delays and flight changes we knew we’d miss the last flight out go Beijing for Zhengzhou that we had been scheduled for but off we went, and figured we’d figure out a plan when we get there.

Our flights were pretty uneventful. We originally and all the kids lined up in a row all with wind seats so they could have a place to rest their head on the 15 hour flight but that was no more, but WHO CARES…. we were on a plane getting closer to my son!


Eli’s Adoption Story

by Joy Portis on January 26, 2007

Cole and I began feeling led to adopt a child with Down Syndrome in the fall of 2007.  We fell in love with MANY children on Reece’s Rainbow but long travel requirements for many of them were not practical for our family.  As we continued to pray and research we were shocked to discover that over 90% of babies diagnosed with DS in the US are aborted.  Shortly after learning this there were two babies in need of adoptive families because they were not previously diagnosed and when they were born and diagnosed the original adoptive parent backed out.  They both required homestudy ready families since they needed immediate placement.  We decided to get our somestic homestudy ready specifically for a child with Down Syndrome.  About 7 months later we saw a post from an agency looking to place a 2 month old baby boy but the mom didn’t want to consider families with more than 3 children….we were out.  Two months later I saw another post, mom looking to place her now 4 month old son with DS.  Something in me just felt this was my son all along.  I called my social worker to see if she would call the agency and explain that we were not just hoarding children and if there was anyway they would just show the mom our profle anyway.  I was fine if the mom saw our family and read our profile and said “no way” but the thought that the social worker was making that call dorve me crazy.  When I explained to my social worker about the situation and told her the name of the agency in TN she hesitated.  She informed me that she thought our music ministers aunt ran that agency.  (are you kidding me, God you continue to amaze me)  Our music minister used the same social worker a few years earlier.  I called him and asked if he would mind calling his aunt and explaining the situation and vouching for our family that we weren’t crazy (maybe just a little) and see if there was anyway they would let the mom view our family profile.  The next day we were called because the birth mom wanted to set up a conference call for the next day.  We did, it went great, she amazed my with how she knew every deatil of our family.  She had studied that homestudy in detail and she wanted us to meet in person.  We headed to Nashville that Thursday and Friday morning, February 13, 2009,  we met in a room at Mariam’s Promise with the social worker, birth mom, her older daugher and sweet baby Eli.  It was an emotionally exhausting meeting.  Not knowing the right words to say to this precious mom who clearly loved her son dearly, as evidenced by her sacrifice and persistence to care for him herself until she found the right family.  One that she knew he would be loved and adored so that she could move on and heal.  She and her sister had been adopted and had a wonderful adoptive family so she knew how good adoption could be and needed to have that peace because sadly, her circumstances we not such that she could care for another child with special needs.  Sweet Eli was an angel and fell asleep in my arms while we were visiting.  You could feel the birthmoms peace as she saw us connect and she was relieved to see him so content.  After visiting for about an hour or so and answering some questions we all went to lunch together and get to know each other better.  We really enjoyed getting to know mom and sweet big sister.  She wanted us to take custody as soon as possible so we made plans to return the following Friday to take custody.


to be continued……kids are up from naps 🙂