Aubrey and Ryan Bauer knew before they ever got married the Lord was calling them to adopt. They started dating in high school and continued dating through college, always staying on the same page about their future. After having their first two children, Ellory and Emmett, they knew it was time to start answering the Lord’s call. But not only did they know they wanted to adopt, they knew they wanted to adopt a child with special needs.
Through the adoption process, the Lord opened the door to India, where the Bauers learned of a young boy with severe special needs. They welcomed their son, Elias, home in 2021 when he was 21 months old, being told he would never be able to walk or talk. Elias was born with a genetic disorder where he lives without the left side of his brain. He also has cerebral palsy, global developmental delay, and scoliosis.
Aubrey said that when Elias first came home, he was hospitalized for weeks and needed several surgeries, including the removal of his colon and the insertion of a feeding tube in order to survive.
“The Lord really has taught us so much and grown us so much and has just surpassed so many more things than we thought, even in these short two years that he’s been home,” Aubrey said.
One of Elias’ therapists encouraged his parents to enroll him into intensive therapies built for children just like him. They decided to give the programs a try and immediately began seeing Elias make amazing progress. With glimmers of hope, the Bauers said they knew they had to keep sending Elias to the intensives, but the programs were thousands of dollars and not covered by insurance.
Aubrey and Ryan had brought Elias home with the help of a Show Hope Adoption Aid grant, so they were aware of Show Hope’s Medical Care grants. But at the time, Ryan said he felt guilty applying for medical aid.
“To be honest—and maybe this is just me—but in the back of my head, I was always thinking, Well, you know, we are so blessed in terms of the job that I have,” Ryan shared. “Nevertheless, these are expenses that we didn’t really plan for. It’d be great to be blessed with that, but maybe there’s someone else who deserves it more. I think that probably was one reason for me [as to] why I was hesitant to apply, almost feeling a little bit guilty.”
But Ryan said through talking with Aubrey and the encouragement of their supportive small group, the Bauers decided to apply and were accepted.
The grant covers 18 months of intensive therapies. And defying medical predictions, it was during a recent therapy that Elias, who is now 4 years old, took his first step. He has a walker, can say words like all done and dad, and can sign other words to communicate.
“We’ve seen so much progress that I don’t think we anticipated,” Ryan said. “Yet there’s always an element of the Lord can do whatever he wants through whoever he wants.”
Aubrey said it was encouraging to see the hands and feet of Jesus through so many people involved in the pre- and post-adoption process and having support with medical bills took such a weight off her’s and Ryan’s shoulders.
“I don’t know that we can articulate just how grateful we are that all of that was given,” Aubrey said. “It really did take such a load off, especially when you carry a lot mentally and emotionally. It was really great.”
Elias’ medical needs are vast, initially leading the Bauers to believe they wouldn’t adopt a second child living with special needs. But as God would have it, he slowly began changing their hearts, this time to adopt domestically.
In the spring of 2023, the Bauers welcomed home Emma, a 2-month-old baby with Down syndrome, living just one county over from their home outside of Charleston, South Carolina. Aubrey and Ryan also brought Emma home through the help of a Show Hope Adoption Aid grant. For those considering adoption or on the journey already, the Bauers want other parents who are hesitant to apply for an Adoption Aid or Medical Care grant to not feel guilt like they had.
“Somebody told us, ‘Let other people be a part of your story,’” Aubrey said. “And this is a tangible way for allowing other people to be a part of that. That was so freeing to us.
This Christmas, we have strategically planned to raise $600,000 for the continuing impact of our work, yet we cannot reach that goal without you. Today, will you prayerfully consider a gift to our Gifts of Hope campaign? We need you.