Born in 1998 in beautiful Hangzhou, China, Graci Green is an inspiration. At the tender age of five, she found herself in an orphanage. Because of the severity of her heart condition (pulmonary atresia and a VSD) she was soon placed in the care of a wonderful foster family. For four years, this family took excellent care of her and fell in love with Graci's cute, quirky little ways. Because doctors had told her it was too strenuous on Graci's heart to use stairs, every day Graci's foster mother would go to Graci's school to carry her up and down the stairs so that she could use the bathroom. She flourished under the love and attention of this foster family and received excellent medical care, but her heart condition remained serious enough that agencies could not secure a family to adopt her.
Halfway around the world, the Green family fell in love with this beautiful, sparkly girl! Because of her fragile health, her adoption moved quickly and in December of 2007, she came to her new home in America. Within two months of coming home, Graci endured her first open-heart surgery. Though extremely complicated, she fought through the painful and complicated process, surpassing the doctors' expectations in every way. She went on to have another open-heart surgery later that same year and many smaller heart surgeries in the cath lab. She has also had a spinal cord surgery since she came to the Green family. Though these surgeries were successful, Graci developed pulmonary hypertension. Two years ago, she was granted a wish from the Make-a-Wish Foundation and chose to take her whole family on a Disney Cruise! Graci continues to fight and surpass the expectations of her cardiologists - we are all in awe of her strength!
Graci loves princesses, art, reading, dancing, and dabbling with make-up. She is the best big sister in the world, and her younger siblings jockey for position at the dinner table each evening over "who gets to sit by Graci." She loves everything Chinese, and is so excited to attend Chinese camp this summer. Graci, you are amazing!
Just one look at this little guy and you will fall in love! Seven-year-old Xander Commander was born in China and adopted at age four. We loved following his adoption journey on the Greens' family blog and reading about when his parents first met him: "He was smaller than we were expecting, and 1,000 times cuter! I cannot even describe his mega-watt smile!! It lights up a room!!! I walked over to him and he immediately grinned and gave me a big hug-it was a breathtaking moment. Jer and the girls were close behind, and he was equally happy to see them. He knew who we were from the photo album we sent, and seemed completely at ease with us.
We immediately discovered that whoever filled out his original paperwork was dead wrong on one aspect. They said he was an introvert! He is instead the most extroverted little ball of energy! He immediately went to town opening up his backpack and discovering all of his treasures. Jeremy and I were smitten. Cancel that-we ARE smitten. We couldn't wipe the smiles off our faces, and I think we have said, "He is SO CUTE!" about a hundred times today! Jeremy won him over with all his funny little tricks, and has had him laughing all day. I cannot wait to see him with our boys-he will LOVE them! He is such a boy! Loves to be silly and play. He is also very, very smart. He picks up on things very quickly, and is super observant. He has charisma galore, and I think Jeremy summed him up when he declared, 'This boy is going to be student body president!'"
The Greens' description was spot on! This handsome little guy is just all kinds of fun. He is doing well in school and has many friends who adore him. Xander has CLOVES Syndrome, which affects him from the waist down. He has endured several sclerotherapy sessions and just underwent major debulking surgery on his leg. He is one cute little trooper!
At the sweet age of eight, Lexi has already touched and inspired hundreds of people. Born blind, she has risen above her physical challenges and is an example of joy in the face of hardship. Lexi spent her first five years in an orphanage before being adopted by the Green family in December of 2010. After being home less than two years, she has already mastered English and all of the braille letters. She has many friends and finds so much joy in everyone she meets. Surely the friendliest little girl on the planet, Lexi will talk to any stranger and have them wrapped around her finger in five seconds flat. She tells practically everyone she meets that Jesus will someday fix her eyes, and she believes it with perfect faith.
Says her Dad: "Lexi yearns for sight. She often says, 'I don't like blind! I don't want blind!' She is constantly telling us about things she sees. A couple of days ago I was driving with Lexi, Jesi and Graci. I pointed out a train that was running parallel to us. Lexi asked, "Can I roll down the window so I can see it?"" She rolled the window down about an inch and said, "Oh that's so cool!" and then rolled the window back up.
These poignant little moments occur often. I wish I had more to give her. I wish I could explain things better so she could envision them more fully. Despite the frustration that her blindness sometimes causes her, dear Lexi is a bright, optimistic soul. She finds the joy in so many of life's experiences. She is a great example of looking at the bright side of life!"
Everyone in the world should have a chance to meet Sophi! She has an impish grin, cute little voice, beautiful almond eyes, and gobs of personality. But what sets Sophi apart from other darling four-year-olds is that she does everything they can do, and she does it without arms! Watching Sophi use her cute little toes, chin, and teeth to accomplish tasks is truly inspiring. She finds a way to use a fork and spoon, turn pages, open wrappers, play with toys, brush her teeth and she can even eat an ice cream cone with one foot! She does all of this not only without arms, but while missing the fibula in her right leg as well. This missing fibula makes her right leg weaker and shorter than the left, and doctors didn't know if she would ever walk. Of course, Sophi surpassed expectations and practically runs!
Sophi was born in China in 2008 and was adopted in December of 2010. She loves chocolate, Sprite, and hamburgers-truly an all-American little girl! We love reading all about her antics and the things that come out of her mouth, like this:
Dad: "Sophi, you're wonderful!"
Sophi: "Yep! Uh-huh! I wonderful! Dat's right!"
Watch our YouTube video featuring Sophi!
We've been told that parenting eight-year-old Elli is easily the biggest challenge that the Greens face. Completely blind, Elli was found abandoned on the side of the road at age 6 months. She spent time in two different orphanages and in foster care before being adopted by the Greens at age two. They, of course, knew that Elli was blind and had developmental delays, but have since learned of the overwhelmingly hard diagnosis of severe autism.
Elli is a very special little girl who brings immense joy to her family. Her siblings love her and treat her with such fondness and patience. Christianne has said that her favorite sound in the world is that of Elli singing. Though she has very limited communication, Elli knows the words to perhaps hundreds of songs and finds great joy in music.
Elli attends a special school for children with severe, multiple special needs. She has wonderful, patient teachers who love her. Elli is very destructive. Because of her blindness, her needs are very sensory-based. She loves to "explore" how things sound as they are thrown, how things feel as she makes messes, how it feels to balance on things on which she shouldn't be climbing... you get the point! Elli and the entire family would greatly benefit from a space designed specifically with her needs in mind. A room where she could explore to her heart's content, balance, climb - and do all of it without getting hurt or hurting someone else.
Her mom writes on Elli's special blog: "I am absolutely basking in the angel that is my little girl. She brings me so much joy. And while I continue to pray and yearn for miracles for her, I am learning more and more that SHE is the miracle!!! That having the privilege of her presence in our home IS THE MIRACLE!"
Beautiful Jessica is said to be "pure magic." The love her family has for her is apparent in the way they write about her. We love reading about all of the funny, sweet things that come out of her mouth! Her love of tea parties, dressing up, fashion, and all things pink show us what a fun girly-girl she is.
While Jesi may seem like a typical nine-year-old, many people don't know that she has faced many challenges in her life. When Jesi was just a year old, her pediatrician had some concerns about her development, and the Greens set course on a five-year stint of therapists, medical appointments, and IEPs. As doctors struggled to identify just exactly what was wrong (they finally just gave up and termed it "Jessica's Syndrome"), her aunt Jenny declared, "Well, whatever she has, everyone should have it!" Indeed, Jesi's charm, innocence, and personality endear her to all those around her. She is a very special girl!
Last year, after facing some serious medical issues, Jessica was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. This is a connective tissue disorder, caused by a defect in the synthesis of collagen. It affects her in many ways - one of which she is very proud: her hyper-flexible joints make her able to contort her body into some pretty amazing positions! Though this is a fun effect of Ehlers-Danlos, the rest of the signs and symptoms are not so fun, and Jesi is still Little Miss Sunshine through it all!
Taylor is the Green's first-born child. He is an amazing young man who has just entered his teenage years. Taylor is an excellent big brother, looking out for the needs of both his siblings and his parents. He helps around the house and the yard, sometimes without even being asked. He is a Star Scout and continues to make progress towards his Eagle. Taylor loves sports, reading, camping, sports, skiing, playing games, school and sports. His favorite sport is basketball, and he has put in many hours practicing his shot and his ball-handling skills. He is a dedicated young man and is very determined when he puts his mind to something.
As the Greens have gone down the road that has led them to such a large family, Taylor's support and enthusiasm for these changes has been indispensable. He has willingly spent much time helping his brothers and sisters with homework, household chores and horsing around. When the Greens kneel down for family prayer, it is not uncommon for Sophi or Lexi to find Taylor and sit in his lap. His kindness and love is much appreciated in the Greens' home.
One of Taylor's teachers was recently asked to compose a letter of recommendation for an application Taylor was submitting. This teacher summed up Taylor pretty well in this paragraph: "In essence, Taylor is all the amazing words that you can think of - kind, honest, respectful, spirited, willing, knowledgeable, humble, etc. I would like to think that I helped him become these things, but he came to me already possessing those qualities. I know that Taylor Green would be the best choice in any opportunity that comes his way."
Twelve-year-old Parker Green is the Greens' second-born child. He is a special young man who is always looking for ways to help those around him. He is extremely attentive to the needs of his younger siblings, and can frequently be found spending time with them, despite the age differences and their sometimes challenging special needs. Many of Parker's teachers and other adults he has associated with at school have commented on Parker's kindness and sensitivity not only with his friends, but also with the kids who aren't quite as popular.
Parker's bright copper-colored hair makes him stand out in a crowd. When he was in China, as the Greens adopted Graci, Parker was asked hundreds of times if he would pose for a picture with random people who had never seen a redhead before. But Parker stands out even more because of his gregarious personality and sweet nature. He is one of those people that makes friends with just about everyone he meets.
Parker is a sports nut. He loves to play baseball and basketball, and works hard to excel at both. He loves to read, ski, visit extended family, hike, camp and hang out with friends. He is willing to work hard when needed and helps out both inside and with the yard work. A bigger house would be a huge blessing to Parker, since he would otherwise be sharing a small bedroom with both Taylor and Xander, once the Greens come back from China with their new additions.
Twelve-year-old Conner is currently in a Chinese orphanage, but the Greens hope to change that soon! After seeing this video of him, they were immediately drawn to him in every way, and felt as if he were always meant to be in their family. Lots of prayer confirmed in their hearts that they were indeed to pursue this talented young man, and they couldn't be more excited about it! Conner is described as bright and hardworking, and that is easily apparent from the way he plays the piano. He will fit in well in a family where both Mom and Dad are accomplished pianists!
Conner was not "paper ready" when his video was taken, and the orphanage is currently working to get everything prepared so that Conner and the Greens can be officially matched. Though the Greens are approved to bring home two children from China, and have been unofficially matched with this sweet young man, they are still awaiting to have final approval to adopt him.
Cali joined the Green family in December of 2012 and has already won the hearts of everyone here with her sweet and shy personality. She is slowly picking up English and quickly picking up friends! She is delighted to be going to a “regular school” (in China her health issues prohibited her from going to public school) and loves having a closet full of clothes to pick from each day! She loves spicy foods, texting friends, and anything pink!
Cali’s life has been full of trials. She was orphaned at the age of three. At about the same time, she underwent surgery for spina bifida. Following the surgery, she lost her ability to walk and has been in a wheelchair ever since. She lived with her grandmother until the age of seven, when she was sent to live at the orphanage. She watched as most of her friends were adopted and tells of how she prayed earnestly for a family of her own. Beautiful Cali, we are so glad that you finally found your family—welcome home!
Jeremy and Christianne Green and their family are one of the most amazing families that those of us on the fund raising committee have had the privilege of meeting. Surprisingly, the fact that they have nine beautiful children isn't the amazing part of this family. The amazing part is the amount of love they share with each other and their ability to share that love with people outside of their family. You see, of their nine children, three are biological and the other six are special-needs children that the Greens have adopted from China. In the next few months, they are planning to bring another boy, Conner, into their family. Conner is 12 years old and is blind. Currently, Jeremy and Christianne's nine children have disabilities that include the life-threatening illness of pulmonary hypertension, severe autism, blindness (two of the children), CLOVES syndrome, heart disease, and sweet little three-year-old Sophi, who was born without arms. Within the last year and a half, seven of their nine children have been in the hospital for reasons which include spinal cord surgery, prolapsed rectum, seizures, heart disease, and several surgeries for their son with CLOVES syndrome.
Though the Green family deals on a day-to-day basis with many unique challenges, they somehow manage to stay smiling! People are drawn to them wherever they go, not only because of the unique special needs of the children, but because of the obvious adoration and love they have for each other. Besides the service that they give within the walls of their home, they have given tremendous service to their church and community. Both parents and children are true examples of selfless living.
This soon-to-be family of 12 currently lives in a home which is approximately 2,600 square feet. Their home is not wheelchair-accessible, nor does it have the special amenities that could enrich and make easier the day-to-day living of their children.
We have a sincere desire to help them build a home for their family that will give them the much needed space to continue to care for all of these special children. While Jeremy and Christianne have been able to budget for the numerous hospital stays, doctors' visits, surgeries, and adoptions, as well as provide their children with extra-curricular activities and fun family times, they would greatly benefit from our help. Building the best kind of home for their family is simply more than they can handle on their own. They have never requested help of any kind, but the magnetism of their situation drew us together into an irresistible movement on their behalf. And our group is representative of the natural response of hundreds of people who have come to know the Green family, or even merely heard about them. They are truly an inspiration.