It seemed like a far off possibility until she stumbled across the Reece's Rainbows website. The nonprofit is an international Down syndrome orphan ministry based in Maryland. She read through the site and learned about a 3-year-old boy in an Eastern European orphanage who has the chromosomal condition that causes delays in mental and physical development.
"How could that little face not call you?" said Silva, 33. "He has those big eyes and a big gorgeous smile. It breaks my heart."
Silva told her husband, Mike, about the boy.
Mike Silva, 36, said he agreed to think about adopting the child named Noah. There were financial factors to consider and he also wanted to ask their four daughters and three sons how they felt about adding a 10th member to their family.
"I asked all the children, 'What do you guys think about it?'" he said. "When I asked, they were all excited about it. You would think at least one or two of them would say, 'No, I really don't want another brother or sister' but they didn't."
The Silvas expect to hear when they can travel to meet Noah next week. They are not disclosing the country where they plan to adopt from for fear of the information interfering with the adoption process.
Grace Silva and her oldest daughter, Elisha, 11, plan to stay in Europe for six weeks while the adoption process is completed. Mike Silva has enough vacation time at his job as a web developer to stay for almost three weeks. The other children will stay with family.
Grace Silva said she plans to bring clothes with her that are meant to fit her 20-month-old son, Titus. She knows Noah is small, malnourished and has a heart defect. She doesn't know if his parents are alive.
"He's most likely what they call a social orphan which means his parents are still alive but either they felt like they couldn't take care of him or the stigma was too much," Grace Silva said. "We need to get to him. It's not that we're just doing this for us, he really needs help."
The entire adoption costs $24,000 and the family has raised much of the money themselves.
Amy Patterson of Lake Stevens met the family one month ago through The ARC of Snohomish County Parent-to-Parent program for families with Down syndrome children. She learned the Silvas had raised money through yard and craft sales but had yet to organize a large fundraiser. Patterson, who is the mother of a 9-year-old girl with Down syndrome, volunteered to organize "Noodles for Noah."
Proceeds from the spaghetti dinner and auction fundraiser Saturday at Ebenezer Lutheran Church will go toward raising the remaining $7,500 they need.
"They are such a great family and I'm so glad people are reaching out," Patterson said. "They are making room in their home and have room in their hearts for Noah."
At the Silva home, Beth, 4, likes to tell her mother that she'll teach her new brother to talk, walk, and comfort him if he cries. She keeps a collection of toys ready for him in a small cubby hole.
"I'll teach him how to blow bubbles," Beth said.
Amy Daybert: 425-339-3491; email@example.com.
You can help
A spaghetti dinner and auction fundraiser, "Noodles for Noah," is set Saturday to help Mike and Grace Silva of Lake Stevens adopt a boy with Down syndrome from Eastern Europe. The event is scheduled from 5 to 8 p.m. at Ebenezer Lutheran Church at 2111 117th Ave. NE. in Lake Stevens. More information about the fundraiser and Silva adoption can be found at www.silvamoose.com or reecesrainbow.org/sponsorsilva.
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