‘Extraordinary’ shares the journey of adopting children with Down syndrome

‘Extraordinary’ shares the journey of adopting children with Down syndrome
Joseph DiDomenico

Lisa and Marlin Miller and their four children, including three adopted children with Down Syndrome, have been inspired to help create and print the book, “Extraordinary: Stories of Adopting Children with Down Syndrome," a book that walks with families who have adopted Down syndrome children.


Adoption can be a time-consuming, harrowing process for a family looking to bring a new member into their family fold. While adopting may not be for every family, for those who choose to, it is a step of faith.

But adopting a Down syndrome child? Many people wonder why a family would ever want to take that journey.

For those who have adopted children with Down syndrome, the question is never why would you, but rather why would you not?

A new book explores the lives of families who have taken that journey.

“Extraordinary: Stories of Adopting Children with Down Syndrome” introduces readers to 13 families who, with God’s help, agreed to adopt a child or children with Down syndrome and take on what Marlin and Lisa Miller said is one of the most rewarding journeys of their lives. The stories of each family show the struggles, successes and joy they experienced as they welcomed a child with Down syndrome into their forever family.

The book also includes a statement of “we believe,” listing the many reasons children with Down syndrome are more alike than different from a typical child. A resource guide will help readers find general information such as how to adopt and financial-assistance organizations.

“Extraordinary” was published at JPV Press in Winesburg, where owner Marlin Miller has a vested interest. He and his wife Lisa have adopted three Down syndrome children, and they have experienced all of the emotions displayed by the 13 families in the book.

While “Extraordinary” does feature the Millers and their adopted Down syndrome children in the preface of the book, the book is not about them, nor did they want it to be.

Instead it focuses on the joys and challenges of 13 families who have chosen to say yes to adopting a Down syndrome child or children.

For Miller the hope is “Extraordinary” will shed some light on the joys of adopting a Down syndrome child and that it will inspire other families to consider doing so.

“A lot of people don’t realize how many children with Down syndrome are available for adoption,” Miller said. “This is a project that is very close to my heart and very personal. Lisa and I have wanted to do a book like this for years. Every time it just never seemed to pan out with our timing.”

Finally, after a long wait, it came to fruition when less than two years ago Lisa Miller came across the story of Cady Driver. She said she felt Driver might be the very person they needed to take the book from an idea to reality.

It turned out Driver was exactly what the Millers needed to kick-start “Extraordinary.”

“It was amazing. We had 26 families who have adopted Down syndrome kids and who had submitted material in less than four months,” Marlin Miller said. “We had enough information to fill 900 pages, which wasn’t going to happen because that is way too big.”

Driver sorted through the material and narrowed the book’s focus down to 13 families, compiling a list that included adoptive families who are domestic, international and an Amish family, each family telling their stories of trials and triumphs, love and acceptance and everything that goes into adopting a Down syndrome child.

“It is a thing of beauty,” Marlin Miller said. “We have made many women cry, and many folks have put online that they can’t stop crying in reading these passionate stories of families who have adopted out of love.”

Each family in “Extraordinary” compiled their own thoughts and feelings and put them into written form and submitted the information to Driver, who compiled it and gave it to JPV Press, which did the final editing and published the book.

The stories are as varied as they are similar, but the one common thread that intertwines each story together is a loving family willing to commit to adopting a special child with Down syndrome.

“The stories inspire people and contain a lot of different emotions, and there are a lot of great examples of God using families and kids to impact many people beyond their families,” Miller said. “These families have been so blessed and been a blessing."

Seeing the book in print is exciting for every one of the families involved, as well as the Millers, Driver and employees of JPV Press. What they are even more excited about is another idea that stemmed from the publication of the book.

Every single dollar of royalties received from the sale of the book is being donated to Open Hearts for Orphans. The royalties will go to the “Say Yes” that helps create adoption grants for families seeking to adopt a child with Down syndrome.

Lisa Murphy, managing director of Open Hearts for Orphans, will use those funds to help families who are adopting.

“Lisa and Cady have done a remarkable job of investing themselves into this book to create something special,” Miller said. “They have so many contacts and spent a lot of time talking about families who would be nice to feature in the book. Everything seemed to come together perfectly for this book. It is just an honor and a privilege to be able to share these inspiring stories with people through this book.”

The book can be ordered at www.extraordinaryadoption.com, at www.jpvpress.com, and in all Faith View Books stores across the nation and Gospel Book Store in Berlin. It also is available in eBook form.

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