Enough with government shutdowns, ObamaCare failures and squabbling politicians; let’s celebrate life! Here are three stories representing courage, goodness, and joy to make you smile and cheer.
An Orphan Makes a Plea for a Family
Have you heard the name Davion Navar Henry Only? Young Davion is 15 years old and has been in foster care since birth. He was born while his mother was in jail, and he learned she recently died. Davion is available for adoption, and his caseworker has tried to help, but he admits he had some anger issues. After his mother died, he realized he needed to change.
He decided it was time to reach out and ask for someone to adopt him. So where did he go to seek a family? He asked his caseworker to take him to the St. Marks Missionary Baptist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, because “he’d heard something about God helping people who help themselves.”
“I’ll take anyone,” Davion said. “Old or young, dad or mom, black, white, purple. I don’t care. And I would be really appreciative. The best I could be.”
When Davion addressed the crowd from the pulpit, he said, “My name is Davion and I’ve been in foster care since I was born. … I know God hasn’t given up on me. So I’m not giving up either.”
His courageous plea has been heard. The adoption agency handling Davion’s case has received more than 10,000 inquiries about adopting him! Several hundred people responding have also said they are open to adopting other children in foster care. Davion may not realize it, but he might have made great strides in not only getting himself adopted but perhaps also some of the hundreds of thousands of other children in foster care waiting for their chance to be adopted into a family.
Penny Young Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, strongly believes that churches can help these children. She urges the faith-based community to lend assistance, “through adopting, fostering, helping those who do, or encouraging your place of worship to get more involved in caring for foster children.” Nance also asks churches to promote Orphan Sunday, which is the first Sunday in November.
There is little doubt that God has the right family in mind for Davion, and they are among the 10,000 expressing interest. Let this be just the beginning for Americans to open their hearts and homes to our nation’s orphans.
Homecoming King and Queen Make History
West Orange High School in Florida has a new homecoming king and queen. Meet the winners: Semone Adkins and Travjuan “Bubba” Hunter. Semone looked beautiful, and Bubba was all smiles and waves. Out of a class of 800 seniors, and competing in a field of 12 for the titles, they triumphed. They also made history.
Semone and Travjuan have Down syndrome and are the first special-needs students in Orange County, Florida, to hold the titles of homecoming queen and king.
And they almost did not survive their beginnings.
Semone’s mother, Karen McNeil, wanted to abort her when she found out Semone had Down syndrome, but her pregnancy was too far along so the doctor refused to perform the abortion.
“When she came out, I was scared to look at her,” McNeil said. “I wasn’t educated about Down syndrome, but then I heard the doctor say, ‘She is beautiful.’ From that point on, I started hemorrhaging and almost died, but I promised God that if He let me live, I would love her and take care of her forever. When I said that, that’s when my blood pressure started coming back up.” She also said, “I thank God He did not let me be able to have that abortion. That’s why it was such a big deal for me when Semone won because she really wasn’t supposed to be here.”
“Bubba” Hunter struggled to make it too. “He was born after 23 weeks of pregnancy and weighed in at less than three pounds. The baby stayed in the hospital for another two months before Hunter’s mom could bring him home. But by that time, Hunter’s dad had already left. He didn’t want to raise a son with intellectual disabilities.”
It is obvious Bubba’s father lost out on the privilege of raising such a wonderful son, who is beloved by his friends. Classmate Tyler Hartman said, “Bubba and I talk every day now. He just makes everyone’s mood better, because he’s a fun guy.”
Semone and Bubba wowed those in attendance at the talent contest. “Adkins, usually quite shy, turned into quite the diva with an enthusiastic rendition of Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies.’ Near the end of the performance, Hunter walked onto the stage, dropped to one knee, and put a ring on it.”
October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and this story is perfect for it. So is this next story.
Clothing Company Has a New Model
Karrie Brown loves the Wet Seal clothing line. It is her favorite store, and she wanted to be a model for their clothes. Her mom Sue took some photos of Karrie sporting her last fashion acquisitions on the first day of her junior year of high school and posted them online.
Karrie has Down syndrome and autism but does not see them as a barrier to getting what she wants. Her mother says, “She knows that sometimes, even though she tries very hard, it might take her longer to accomplish what she sets out to do. But she does keep trying. Karrie is not defined by her diagnoses. She is simply who she is.”
Well, it did not take her long to become Wet Seal’s latest model. On the Wednesday after her mother posted her photos online and a Facebook page went up about Karrie’s modeling dream, Wet Seal challenged Karrie to get 10,000 “likes” in two days. Karrie had 11,000 “likes” by the next day.
She is now a model for Wet Seal.
During the photo shoot, Karrie’s mom was worried she might be overwhelmed. Instead, Karrie asked for some Justin Bieber music and proceeded to pose for the camera like a pro. Her mom said, “I love that even during the day itself she showed me exactly what happens when you start [to] underestimate someone. All it is — is a reflection on you.”
When Sue Brown was told she was pregnant with a child who has Down syndrome, she said her world “came to a skidding halt.” Her mother, though, gave her some sage advice. She said, “Your baby might have a disability, but she will only be disabled if you make her that way.”
Karrie is an inspiration to everyone who reads her story. Karrie’s mom should be an inspiration to parents everywhere. Ninety percent of babies with Down syndrome are aborted. (For more resources, click here.)
Davion shows that where there is a will, there is a way. Karrie, Semone, and Travjuan show that Down syndrome is what they have, but “funny,” “ambitious,” “sweet,” “kind,” and “determined” are words to describe who they are.
We can all learn from the way these four young people celebrate the lives they have and live each day to its fullest.