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Spring Hill family working to adopt two Ukraine boys

Published:   |   Updated: December 8, 2013 at 02:51 PM

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SPRING HILL - Jennifer and Martin Quinn have never been to Ukraine. But they know it's where "their" boys, Dunham, 1; and Edgar, 2, live.

And by spring the Quinns hope Dunham and Edgar can leave their orphanage in Odessa for the family's Spring Hill home.

The path toward adopting two boys with Down syndrome started about one year ago, Jennifer Quinn said, during a seemingly unrelated task of buying a water filter on Craigslist.

Quinn said when she went to Lindy House's home to pick up the item, she was greeted by three boys with Down syndrome who House, a local photographer, had adopted.

"They climbed all over me, and I fell in love," Quinn said.

Quinn said her husband and two children, ages 15 and 19, came to share her enthusiasm for adoption, and the family sought out others who had adopted a child or were in the process of doing so.

Through a local adoption group, "The Ripple Effect," the Quinns and other families share stories and knowledge about both U.S. and international adoptions.

"These families would take any child; we don't separate by country," Quinn said. "And each family has a story inside a story."

The Quinns, who recently added a now 2-month-old baby to their family, ultimately looked to Ukraine to adopt because they wanted their newborn to grow up with brothers about the same age as him.

Another motivation was the way special-needs children are treated in some other countries.

Quinn said in Ukraine, children born with Down syndrome often are relinquished by their parents and put into orphanages. If children are not adopted by age 6, they are sent to mental institutions.

Quinn said the two questions she hears most frequently from those who learn about her family's desire to adopt are: "Why Ukraine?" and "Why a child with special needs?"

"And that's the answer . Our government takes care of our needy children," Quinn said. "We don't abandon them in mental institutions."

Quinn said her family recently completed its home study, during which a social worker inspects and signs off on a family's finances, health and social environment and approves an adoption. The next step was fund-raising though Reece's Rainbow, a nonprofit group that creates grants for orphans around the world with Down syndrome and other special needs.

"The grant secures money for children, and it stays with the child," Quinn said. In addition to donations on the site, the family plans to raise money through giveaways and raffles on its Facebook page.

"You have to trust in God to come up with the big numbers," Quinn said, adding the families in her support group have moderate incomes.

Which is why Quinn and her family are "skipping Christmas" this year. Even her 15-year-old is on board, Quinn said.

The Quinn family can be reached by email at walknfaithquinn@gmail .com. More information on the family's adoption can be found on their blog or Facebook page.

wbiddlecombe@hernandotoday .com

(352) 544-5283

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