Mississippi is filled with incredibly brave and loving mothers. Today, we are thrilled to feature our interview with one particularly inspiring woman. Deborah Edmonson is the mother of five lovely children, and an advocate for adoption and those with special needs. We reached out to Deborah to learn more about her faith and her family.
Tell us about yourself! Did you grow up in Mississippi?
“I grew up in Mississippi and attended the University of Mississippi where I majored in Special Education. When I started college, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up! I changed majors so many times. One day, I volunteered at a preschool and met the most precious little blonde-haired girl who just happened to have Down syndrome. That little girl changed my life. I changed my major to special education and fell in love with all the children and adults I have met through the years.”
Tell us about your sweet daughter, Taylor
“I am a crazy mom when it comes to my children and I know God used this time in college to prepare me for our 4th child, Taylor. She just happened to be a beautiful blonde-haired little girl with Down syndrome. :) While she was in the NICU at UMC, one of the social workers gave me information on adoption. Not how to adopt but how to place my precious daughter up for adoption! I was so angry! Stephen and I talked about adoption, not putting Taylor up for adoption, but adopting a child with special needs… but it just wasn't the ‘right time.’"
What inspired you to adopt Lillee?
“Time passed and one day God knocked me to my knees and let me know without a doubt that Stephen and I needed to adopt from China. We found out that children in China and many other countries that have albinism are seen as cursed or as demons. We prayed and prayed and one day our social worker called and told us she had a file on a little 9-month-old girl with albinism. We immediately accepted her file. Five months later, we traveled to China to add our Lillee to our family.”
Tell us about all five of your children!
“Lillee is our 5th child and first adoption. Katherine is 21 and attends the University of Colorado. She volunteered two summers ago at a foster care center for children with special needs in China. John is 16 and a sophomore at Jackson Academy. Karlie is 7 and attends Ann Smith in Ridgeland. Taylor is 6 and attends Ann Smith as well. Then there is our Lillee Mack who is now 2 1/2.”
How does Lillee inspire you and how has she completed your family?
“Lillee inspires me through her determination and strength. She survived 14 months in an orphanage in a communist country without a mommy or daddy. Her vision is not very good and you would NEVER know it! (All people with albinism have very poor vision). I don't know if I can say she ‘completes’ our family. We may be complete but you never know. :)”
Why is Mississippi a great home for your family?
“Mississippi is a great place to live with Lillee because there is such a strong adoption community. We have so many friends that have adopted from China, as well.”
Deborah, thank you for sharing the story of your beautiful family! To learn more about the Edmonson family and their adoption story, you can visit their blog here!
The wonderful family photos were captured by the talented Christina Foto!