Blessings given, undeserved
For Minot native, Kevin Burckhard '87, and his wife, Paula (Herslip) Burckhard, '86, life has never been about shining a spotlight on themselves, but instead being ready to "answer the call" and allow God to provide direction in their lives. This mindset had them going to Serbia last spring to bring back a second adopted child - making it three children in their family with Down syndrome.
After 10-year old daughter Grace was born with Down syndrome, Kevin and Paula eventually reached the point where they asked, "If not us, then who?" As in, who else to better take care of, love and raise a child with Down syndrome than the Burckhard family. So, Bella, then 4 years old, was brought home from the Berizka Orphanage in Kiev, Ukraine, in mid-2009. This was accomplished through the help of the non-profit organization, Reece's Rainbow, an international Down syndrome orphan ministry.
"Our purpose, or hope, in telling our story would be so that someone would consider adopting to make the life of a child - and in turn, your own life - that much better," Kevin said.
The sharing of their family's story has attracted national attention, with a full page of coverage in the Woman's World magazine.
It wasn't long after the adoption of Bella that the topic of adopting another Down syndrome child returned. As Kevin put it, in response to his wife's question of if he was ready for another special addition to the family, "there is room for one more ... and one more ..." With the adoption of Novak, the Burckhard family will have grown to seven people. A true reminder of one of Kevin's oft-quoted phrases: "Adopting a child will not change the world, but for that child their world will change."