autism, children with disabilities, communication, compassion, Down syndrome, family, inspiration, non-verbal, non-verbal communication, parents, seeing with the heart, unconditional love
On June 29, this young man celebrated his official Adoption Day and became Timothy William Evans, the son of Mike and Melanie Evans. As Melanie puts it, he was knit in his mother’s womb and yet placed in our hearts.
Eight-year-old Timothy was the third child to be adopted by the Evans and the second with special needs. They also have two biological children with special needs. God has fashioned some people with hearts that are extra deep with compassion and Mike and Melanie are two of those people.
In all, Mike and Melanie have eight children. Andrew is their oldest and the first adopted. Jeremy, their first biological child, came next. Savannah, Ethan, and Mariah are triplets. Due to cerebral palsy, Ethan needs a wheelchair for mobility. Mariah cannot talk or walk. Forever, adopted five years ago and destined to live out her life in an orphanage, has frequent and severe seizures that so far medical treatment has not helped. The youngest member of the Evans Eight is Christian, born last year.
Timmy has Down syndrome, autism, and is non-verbal most of the time. He is pretty good with sign language and will sometimes use his voice, but on rare occasions. What I see with Timmy is how his heart speaks, how it plays out through his expressions. (If you click on the pictures below, there will be captions of each situation.)
I have a personal connection with the Evans family that goes back about 10 years and I’ve loved watching how they nurture and seek the best for each of their children. Yes, they have people to assist them, but the bottom line is Melanie and Mike are responsible for their care and quality of life 24/7. I would love to tell you more about each of these children, but this is about Timmy, so let me get back to him.
I am particularly drawn to this picture of Timmy being held in his white father’s arms. It is the same security I saw in the face of Forever, also African-American, when she was chosen by the Evans. It underscores what I learned from my years of working with mentally challenged people: they do not see color. They see deeper, into the very heart, I believe.
Sundays mean church for the Evans family and Timmy was there with his family two days after adoption. Melanie said Timothy reached one arm high and with palm outstretched wide, spontaneously started worshiping. He had not seen someone else doing it; in fact, it isn’t commonplace in their church. Doesn’t that show you the very real connection he has with his Creator? Do you see that he knows what has happened for him? He is a little boy with major disabilities, but his heart is sound and full of purpose. God has a plan for Timothy just like He does for each of us.
Melanie has this quote about adoption on her Facebook page and it sums up how she and Mike see it: “Adoption is not the call to have the perfect rosy family. It is the call to give love, mercy, and patience.”
Timothy, I’m so grateful the Evans found and chose you. You hit the jackpot of families who see and love with the heart. Happy life, Timmy!
My blog, Meet “Maddie and Wilda,” October 2017, features Melanie’s mom, Wilda Lahmann. Both Mike and Melanie grew up in homes where fostering and unconditional love were modeled for them.