One family

Friendswood residents Mike and Amy Lanni with their children Michael, 7, and Taylor, 2. Taylor was adopted one year ago.

KEVIN M. COX/The Daily News

FRIENDSWOOD — According to Catholic Charities, there are 13,000 children in Texas waiting for adoption. This is the story of just one of them.

Taylor is the bright and happy, 2-year-old daughter of Mike and Amy Lanni of Friendswood. She’s also sister to 7-year-old Michael to whom she is so closely bonded that it’s hard to imagine she was adopted. It all still seems miraculous to her new parents.

“We wanted to adopt long before Amy and I even met,” Mike Lanni said. “We both knew that there were children who needed families. I would say it’s something in your gut that speaks to you, but it’s more like it’s engraved in your soul. You just know deep within you that it is what you are meant to do.”

Colleen Kitowski is a clinical supervisor at the Catholic Charities. She has helped more than 300 children like Taylor find their forever families.

“I believe that adoption is a very Christian concept as Christians believe they are adopted sons and daughters of God,” she said. “It also has roots in scripture, as Moses was one of the first adoptees ever recorded in history. Adoption is a sacramental sign that gives us unique insights into the wondrous design that God has for all humanity.”

November is National Adoption Awareness month. The mechanics of adopting can seem intimidating — a conglomeration of attorneys, legal forms, CPR training classes, home inspections and perhaps the most difficult part, the long uncertain wait once the pre-approval process has been completed.

“Be patient,” Mike said. “It will not happen overnight. Be persistent. Pray.”

But the payoff for such persistent faith can be priceless.

“Bringing her home was exciting,” he said. “Sharing the experience with our son made it all the more special. Taylor was like an angel.”

The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard pondered the need for a leap of faith, a trusting plunge into the unknown. Amy’s counsel is less existential, but perhaps just as difficult.

“Most importantly, think about the children whose lives will forever be changed by your love and support,” she said. “Then, throw your heart out there and trust in God’s plan.”

The Lannis have one special belief that they didn’t have before Taylor arrived.

“I used to believe that God chose the parents for his children,” Mike said. “I now believe that God sometimes chooses siblings for his children. When I see Michael and Taylor together, I know that God chose them to be siblings and that he guided us toward adoption.”

One of the things about miracles is that they are often easier to see in hindsight. When Taylor first came to the Lanni household, she was still in foster care and subject to recall. She wasn’t a permanent family member. Michael’s parents explained to him that Taylor might only be passing through, but the young boy didn’t buy into that.

“Well, they can never make me stop,” he told his mother.

“Stop what?” she asked.

“Make me stop loving her,” Michael answered.

His mother summed up their experience by citing the wisdom of the very young.

“Our 7-year-old son got it,” Amy said. “Families are made from unconditional love.”

For details on adoption options through Catholic Charities call 713-874-6760.

Rick Cousins can be reached at

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