Heather Avis and her husband Josh are the adoptive parents of three beautiful children—Macyn, Truly, and August.
But this wasn’t the original plan.
Although adoption was something Heather and Josh had talked about, they had always counted on being able to have biological children first. After Heather struggled for three years with infertility, the couple decided to brave the road of adoption.
“We chose a private adoption agency out of southern California where we live because that was the best way we could control the situation, meaning we really wanted a healthy infant,” said Heather.
Unfortunately, at that time twelve years ago, the adoption waitlist was long. After ten arduous months, Heather recalls a passing conversation with their social worker, “She let us know things were really slow. She mentioned they’d had a couple of babies with Down syndrome placed in the agency and it was always hard to find homes for them. She then told us to hang in there.”
Heather recalls pausing after those words from the social worker. There was a stirring in her heart. Could God be leading them to adopt a child with Down syndrome?
“It felt like I couldn’t say yes, but I didn’t want to say no.”
After speaking with Josh, the couple prayed for over a week and decided to proceed with the adoption of a child with Down syndrome. This is when Heather and Josh heard about the little girl who would become their first daughter, Macyn.
“At the time, Macyn was only six weeks old and it was discovered that she had a congenital heart defect that would require open-heart surgery. She also had a pretty serious lung condition that would require her to be on oxygen,” said Heather. “I later found out they didn’t think she was going to live very long so they weren’t going to place her with a family.”
But Macyn did live.
And at four months old, Heather and Josh brought her home. One month later, she had open-heart surgery.
“By God’s grace, none of Macyn’s health problems mattered to me once I became her mother,” said Heather. “I knew the day after leaving the discouraging meeting with the cardiologist that God was giving us this beautifully wrapped gift and who was I to question it?”
Adopting Macyn changed everything for Heather and Josh. Stepping into a frightening journey of faith ushered them into a what Heather calls a front-row seat of God’s miracles.
At two years old, Macyn’s body had miraculously healed itself. She went off of the oxygen and was deemed healthy.
The healing in little Macyn’s body wasn’t the only transformation. Heather’s heart had become “more like God’s,” and by the time of the adoption of their second daughter, Truly, Heather says, “We had finally realized that God was going to give us the child He wanted us to have anyway, so why fight it?”
Six-month-old, Truly came home in 2011 when Macyn was almost four. And in 2013, their son, August, was born and came home to be part of the Avis family.
Josh and Heather’s marriage of over 17 years and their adoption journey has touched the lives of thousands through social media. Heather started a blog in 2008 followed by the mega-popular Instagram account @theluckyfewofficial which eventually led to writing two books.
Perhaps you have seen Heather on the Today Show or have read her best-selling books The Lucky Few and Scoot Over and Make Some Room. In her latest book, Scoot Over and Make Some Room, Heather shares the joyful moments of parenting and also the heartbreaking moments when her children were denied a place at the table and when she had to fight for their voices to be heard.
Heather shares, “at the Lucky Few we are narrative shifters, shouting the worth of people with Down syndrome as we make this world a more inclusive, loving, and feaking awesome place for all of us.”
Faith and trust in God have been the glue that holds the Avis family together through the rollercoaster ride of adoption, medical issues, and raising children with Down syndrome.
“Somewhere off the rose-petal path where ease, normal, and nice bloom, true beauty lives in the muck. But only the lucky few of us who step off the path will find it.”
Heather and Josh chose to step off the easy path, but would never change a thing.
“Adoption starts in a broken place, and there is no way around that. But God doesn’t redeem things that are whole – He can only redeem things that are broken.”