Caitlin Kurtz and her husband Alex are in the process of adopting AJ, a baby from Columbia who has Down syndrome. They started the adoption process in January and it will likely be finalized this summer. The couple has joined support groups to help them during the experience.

The couple always knew they wanted to adopt. About eight years ago, they had even taken notice of Reece’s Rainbow, a grant program that helps families adopt children who have Down syndrome.

One day Caitlin ran into a friend who had just adopted a baby from Columbia. When she held the child, something magical happened. “I remember her putting him in my arms … I just started crying. I mean, I just, my heart … I felt like I was going to explode with joy,” Caitlin said.

That night, they reached out to Reece’s Rainbow and saw the first picture of AJ. Caitlin and Alex recognized him as their son immediately.

The legal process has been an extensive one. Caitlin and Alex are trying to raise $40,000 to pay two sets of agency fees, as well as travel and accommodations to pick up AJ from Columbia. “I didn’t realize the wait and the money it was going to take to get it all done,” Alex said. “But it should be worth the wait.”

Caitlin says, “The hardest part is not having him right now because I would do anything to bring him home tomorrow.” Even after all they are going through to get this special adoption finalized and to bring AJ home, there will likely be more challenges as the child grows up. Caitlin’s experience as a teacher makes her confident that they will make the best advocates for their son.

Reece’s Rainbow started as a social outreach program to battle the stigmas associated with Down syndrome and other special needs. From there, the program has excelled as an advocacy group. Thanks to their grants and guidance, over 1,300 children have found loving homes.

You can donate to Caitlin and Alex’s YouCaring page here.