I first met the Bauman family three years ago when we moved to Southern California. They are hilarious, fun to be with, and beyond generous to others. At the time, they had three kids ages 6, 4, and only a few months. They turned into the kind of friends who were happy with us dropping by for a quick visit, or staying up laughing until 3am together. Stuart and Crystal’s love for others is overwhelming and inspiring.
Last year, they had the opportunity to adopt a newborn with Down Syndrome. I remember watching as they dropped everything, in the midst of their fears and worries, to drive for hours day after day just for a chance to hold and have a look this new baby that may possibly become theirs. And when she came home, Tessa easily became part of their family. They are such a beautiful testament of love. You can follow along with the Bauman’s story by clicking HERE or on Instagram at@baumanpartyof6.
Here is their story, told by Crystal:
You already have three biological children. What made you want to adopt a fourth?
You know, there are so many reasons. We had talked about it for years, we kept saying we would do it later, we’ll adopt after this life event, after that…And then we both just felt like God was putting it more and more on our hearts. Why wait? No child is ever ready to be an orphan, and our lives are never going to be perfect and organized and as ready as we think we should be. If the Lord puts something on your heart, just dive in! He is faithful to equip you in ways you never dreamed of!
Psalm 68:5-6 says “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families…”
There are so many ways to be a “father to the fatherless.” That looks different for each one of us. For our family, it looked like bringing a child into our home to love as our own. Jesus adopted us into His family unconditionally; we want to do that for this little girl.
As Christians claiming to be pro-life, I feel like we, as the church can’t just sit idly by and say these empty words from our safe cozy living rooms. If we are going to encourage women to choose life for these babies, it’s imperative that we provide support and an alternative for them. If they choose life, and there are not enough people willing to take these children…then what?
Why a baby with Down Syndrome?
I’ve been told as many as 94% of babies with Down Syndrome are aborted. That is a heart breaking statistic. We said we would be open to it, but it wasn’t really something we had given a lot of thought to (seeing the chances were so slim).
We were shocked when we got the call for Tessa. In the words of one of my friends, it was like being given a beautiful gift, and after you take off all of the paper and fancy bows you kind of want to hand it back and say, this isn’t what I wanted.
But how can we do that to God? Tessa was fearfully and wonderfully made! He has mighty plans for her life. All of the reasons we wanted to say no were so selfish. We are so thankful for how God transformed our hearts to see her how He sees her. We adore her and she has been such a tremendous gift to our family.
Having Tessa and her medical needs has forced us to lean into the Savior more than we ever have before. When another scary wave comes, we are forced to find refuge in the cleft of the rock. That is a blessing.
As Tessa gets older and as we are falling even more in love with her, we are amazed by her sweet little spirit and the joy she brings. Her smiles and little giggles make our hearts overflow. Children with Down Syndrome are more like all of us than you realize. We all want the same things in life, mostly to just be loved.
Tell me the story of Tessa!
Tessa was diagnosed at birth with Trisomy 21, (Down Syndrome). Her birth mother didn’t feel like she would be able to care for her physically or financially, and wanted a better life for her baby.
We are so grateful and admire her courageous decision to choose life for this precious baby girl. I hope we get the chance to tell her someday.
Shortly after birth, Tessa was also diagnosed with TEF, where her esophagus grew to her trachea. She had 3 holes in her heart as well as a few other heart defects. When we first heard about Tessa, we were so excited, and yet terrified at the same time. We had so much fear of the future, the unknown, and the myths our culture tells us about Down Syndrome.
When we first went to meet her in the NICU, we walked into a big room filled with the tiniest and most fragile of babies. It was quiet except for the whir and beeping of machines fighting on behalf of all of these sacred little lives. It wasn’t that thrilling exciting moment you dream of. It was sobering, and scary, and I had a pit the size of a grapefruit in my stomach. When they lifted up her isolate and I saw her fragile tiny body with wires all over, and I looked into her big bright eyes, I felt instantly in love. THAT was our baby.
We gave a whispered yes, and we prayed that it would turn into a thunderous testimony of Gods mercy and grace.
How did your kids react to the adoption?
My other 3 children (ages 8, 6, and 2) have been nothing short of incredible in this journey. From the second they laid eyes on Tessa they have been head over heels in love. They have stepped up in ways you can’t imagine. Constantly offering to help with her medications, her g-tube, anything she needs. They often accompany me to long appointments and have been such a testimony of sacrificial love to me.
To see the unconditional love God has put in their hearts toward this baby girl is truly amazing. This little darling who had so much stacked against her at first, is now being treated like a royal little princess. Because that is how the kingdom of God works, folks!
I pray that compassion, love, and the desire to serve others will grow in their hearts more than it ever would have without sweet Tessa in our lives. And that they would be able to see past what society tells us about people with special needs. I hope they grow to see people through God’s eyes, as loved and valuable. I can’t wait to see how this incredible gift impacts their lives in the future!
I think having Tessa in our family forces us to get outside of ourselves more. To realize life isn’t about me, or what we think we are entitled to, its about serving God with all of our hearts and following wherever he calls you. Even if its messy, or hard, and not what you ever imagined. Those are the places you find him the most.
What have been some challenges with this adoption?
I think for me, the biggest challenge has been people who don’t understand or approve of our journey. There haven’t been many, but we all want 100% approval, I guess. I want them to see our hearts, and the value of her life, the incredible value her life adds to our family, and that even though we have made changes, and our other children have made some sacrifices, it’s so totally worth it. Beauty is so often found in the seemingly scary places. #theluckyfew