Adoption opens new chapter for Norfolk couple
When former missionaries, Simon and Tania Davies from South Norfolk adopted two special needs siblings it opened a new chapter of blessing and joy. Sandie Shirley reports.
Despite sleepless nights and endless therapy, three-year-old Harley and younger sister Daisy are heaven sent.
"They inspire love and have expanded our ability to love," says Simon. "We have also seen another side of love from our own teenage children who readily agreed to a new expanding family," says Tania, who trained as a nursery nurse and has worked with special needs' children.
She explains: "I have always been passionate about children and especially those with special needs. Three weeks after we married, and while working at a nursery, the fostering of two little boys broke down and I just wanted to bring them home."
Eighteen years later the couple are bringing new life and hope to two youngsters with learning difficulties that few wanted to adopt.
"Most people want the perfect baby to enlarge or create their family," says Tania. The couple now want to join with other Christian adoptive parents or foster carers in Norfolk for mutual support and to help champion the vision in the local church of Christian charity, Home for Good, to see a home for every child who needs one.
The couple's mission of love followed their return from Andalusia after six years with the Spanish Gospel Mission. Tania was diagnosed and healed from Hodgkin lymphoma - a life-threatening cancer - while overseas and tells of a divine encounter while receiving her first dose of chemotherapy in hospital.
"I was listening to some worship songs and I felt the physical hand of God on my hand because when I opened my eyes there was no-one there."
Her faith received an immediate boost but the extra challenges finally took their toll on Simon. Burnt out and depressed from supporting his wife and caring for their children while preaching at four Spanish churches in a difficult spiritual environment, the couple returned to Norfolk seven years ago. Looking to God for the way forward, they moved to Mulbarton and joined the church, finding a community of love and care that helped re-build and re-envision their lives.
New direction came after reading about an inspirational Christian musician who adopted three Chinese children. "I had been thinking of what we could give. We are not very well off so we could not give much money but we did have a family and a bit of space to give a child a loving secure home and there are plenty of children here in the UK that need homes," says school teacher Simon.
The couple began the long and gruelling adoption process, but after set-backs and disappointments their application was fast-tracked with a series of divine connections.
Harley was seven months old when he joined the family home and two year-old sister Daisy, who has vision impairment, followed at 10 months. The couple celebrate their birthdays and adoption days and in January Daisy and Harley met three of their siblings for the first time at a union party in Mulbarton.
Daily therapy and specialist help encourages their development but Tania is unafraid of the challenges: "I have worked with children who have autism and cerebral palsy which has given me experience and a network for professional help. The intervening years have also been an adventure of faith, preparing us for the uncertainties that lie ahead and I feel God has something special for both of these children.
"A church thanksgiving service was held for Daisy and Harley and we continue to persevere and take them to Sunday services; it is wonderful to see the joy on everyone's faces when we arrive."
Says Simon: "It is not going to be easy but God has prepared these children for us and he will continue to give us strength and provision for a walk of faith."
He adds: "We would love to hear from other Christian adopters and foster carers in Norwich and Norfolk to create a support network, arrange informal gatherings and discuss ways to encourage churches to consider how they can support families to get involved in this important task under the umbrella of Home for Good."
Contact Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit: www.homeforgood.org.uk
Pictured above are Simon and Tania Davies.