This post marks the beginning of our journey through international adoption to bring Alina home! We are so excited :)!
We have a large and close family with five children already: Sara (14), Kyle (12), Brian (10), Emmy (7), and Bridget (3). Bridget was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. Although the diagnosis came as a shock, we have found that Down syndrome itself is not something to fear. We adore Bridget. We see her potential and hope to help her share her special light with others.
We were not initially looking to adopt a child, but wanted to make a donation to Reece's Rainbow for their annual Angel Tree fundraiser as a part of our holiday giving and Down syndrome advocacy efforts. We found Alina's picture and began to feel as though our lives were about to change. We soon realized that we were a perfect match for her, and quickly made the commitment to bring her home as soon as possible :).
We know that there will be challenges along the way, and that our path is full of uncertainty. We also know that what's most important is worth fighting for, and that there will be untold rewards. We move forward with hope and joyful anticipation of Alina's arrival.
Here is our family profile from the Reece's Rainbow website:
Chris and Lisa met at The Ohio State University in the fall of 1988, on the first day of classes during Lisa’s freshman year. Chris was a senior at the time. They married four and a half years later and now have five children ranging from 3-14 years in age.
Their youngest child, Bridget, was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth. Although they were previously unaware of Bridget’s diagnosis, they quickly came to understand that she is truly perfect, and perfect for them. Bridget is now three-and-a-half years old and is thriving. Lisa wrote a chapter for the book Gifts, 2, about Bridget and all she has brought to their lives. The entire family is involved in Down syndrome advocacy efforts. Lisa also writes and manages Bridget's Light, a blog about life with Bridget.
The Peele family was not initially looking to expand, but rather visited Reece’s Rainbow to donate for the Angel Tree fundraiser. They came across Alina’s picture and noticed that she looks a lot like Bridget. Lisa and Chris were immediately drawn to her. Lisa looked up the meaning of “Alina” to discover that her name means “light”—a major theme in their lives thus far.
They also realized that Bridget would benefit from having another sibling with Down syndrome so close in age, and that the whole family was entirely prepared to welcome Alina. Together, they decided that not only could they manage another child, but that Alina herself was meant for them, and they for her.
Chris and Lisa both feel that the events of the past 15 years have prepared them for Alina and for their journey of international adoption.
They were ready to commit to adopting her, and wanted to make sure the rest of the kids were in agreement.
The older Peele children are sensitive and compassionate and excited to welcome another sibling with Down syndrome. “This little girl needs a family, and we are the perfect family for her,” said Kyle (12). A show of hands at the dinner table was unanimous to make Alina part of the family and bring her home as soon as possible.
As a group, the family has decided to keep her name. They think “Alina” is beautiful and meaningful. They also know that she will need to adjust to many new aspects of life soon, and would like for her feel some comfort in being known by her given name.
“Alina” is a variation of Eileen, which is particularly special, as it is the middle name of Lisa’s aunt Denise, her mom’s sister. Alina’s middle name will be Caroline--after another very special family member who passed away in 1997.
Alina’s arrival in the United States is greatly anticipated by immediate and extended family and a large network of friends. She will be loved, cherished, and offered every opportunity to live a full, healthy and happy life.
Her adoptive family is committed to giving her everything she needs to fulfill her potential and her hopes, whatever each may be. They look forward, with happy hearts, to learning more about her and helping to make her dreams come true.
Alina \a-li-na: means “light”. Origin Meaning: Arabic Noble, beautiful; Celtic Fair, beautiful; Chinese Big Bright Eyes, Yes definitely beautiful!; Dutch Outgoing; Gaelic Bright, noble, smart; German Diminutive of Adilene, From the Old German "Athal" meaning noble; Greek Light, beautiful; Irish Beautiful; Latin Of the nobility; Polish Beautiful, Bright, kind; Russian Scarlet (color, connoted in Russian with hope and anticipation of happiness); Slavic Noble, Kind; Teutonic Noble smart; Romanian To heal.
Caroline: “Joy. Song of happiness.”
Please keep us in your thoughts. Prayers and good wishes are welcome and appreciated for Alina: for her continued health, safety and comfort; and for us: for energy as we work through the details of her adoption, and for patience in waiting to bring her home.
We invite you to follow along and share in our joy as we become a family of eight!