Several years ago we delivered our sixth child, Justus - who had Down syndrome.
An extra chromosome, completely unexpected.
This led us to do some research and we happened upon a site that advocated for children just like our Justus - born in other countries. These children were often abandoned at birth, simply due to having that extra chromosome. Left to live out their existence in orphanages.
No family. No voice. No hope.
Our hearts were burdened, but we had never planned on an international adoption, let alone a child with possible significant needs. We soon found ourselves heavily burdened for these children. We started praying specifically for two children - that a family would step forward and give them hope. Give them a family.
We quickly realized - that we were that family.
Again - completely unexpected.
We created a blog to chronicle our journey - and entitled it: An Extra Leaf. (likened to An Extra Chromosome) I also wrote a poem that speaks to the beauty of the unexpected extra leaf. You can still read our entries from that time. I will sometimes go back, and reminisce.
We brought Maxim and Ivanna home six months later. We also watched as five more children through the same organization were committed to and brought home to families as a direct result of our adoption. People just needed to know the need.
They needed to hear the stories.
Hearts were impacted, and lives were changed.
An Extra Leaf: Finding beauty in the unexpected.
We never knew the beauty that could arise from what most would deem as a defect - an extra chromosome. It has changed and impacted us significantly, not always easy - but beautifully designed for our good.
An Extra Leaf is also so much more than that of our experiences with Down syndrome and adoption. Again, in the spirit of finding beauty in the unexpected:
I am a mama to many children. My body has gone through changes over the years from delivering sweet babies. It’s such a hard thing to have this beautiful baby in your arms, but yet feel unattractive because your body is not what you recognize. The torment of knowing you should feel joy, while insecurity creeps in. Clothes not fitting well. Confidence dropping. I know that feeling, and it just does not have to be.
When we started in the boutique world - I realized how powerful clothing can be. I discovered that finding clothing that fits your body and flatters can be so impactful. To feel beautiful, no matter what phase you might be in - is powerful.
You may not “be” at the place where you want to be, but you can find beauty in your unexpected.
Our hope is to provide beautiful well made clothing and accessories that only work to highlight your confidence.
We hope to do that while sourcing from businesses and vendors that are making some kind of social impact. To be able to provide clothing and accessories while knowing our purchases are supporting other beautiful endeavors. We realize this may not always be the case. Perhaps we choose to offer items that we simply love and want to share. In those instances we would like to still allow those purchases to make an impact by giving a portion of the proceeds to organizations like that of which helped in our own adoption.
Our heart is to highlight those beautiful things that can often be shrouded with doubt or uncertainty.
An Extra Leaf is just so much more than a simple boutique, and we are thrilled to have you along for the journey.