My wife, Mary Grace, and I have been married for 18 years. During this time we have been blessed with one biological son, Ethan. Throughout our marriage we tried to have more biological children, but to no avail. We felt God calling us to grow our family, so we responded to this call and began our adoption journey.
Mary Grace was born and raised in the Philippines, and I am fairly fluent in the language and culture. Thus, it seemed very natural for us to gravitate towards an international adoption. After what seemed like quite a lot of paperwork, we completed our dossier, and then did our best to execute the virtue of patience.
During our wait for a match, I was called up to deploy to Afghanistan. Wouldn’t you know, God answered our prayers for a match while I was in Afghanistan? I remember receiving the word at 1:25 am in Afghanistan…the best in the middle of the night wake-up I have ever had in the military. We were matched to a beautiful two-year-old girl named coincidentally enough, Mary Grace. We immediately accepted this match and counted down the days until I returned from Afghanistan (an understatement). Ten months later, I returned home and we were off to the Philippines the next day to pick up our new daughter.
We stepped off the plane in the Philippines filled with hope and a fair share of anxiety. Would little Gracie accept us? Would we be able to balance our new family after I had been gone for a year in a war-zone? How would this affect Ethan? Was Gracie healthy? More paperwork, are you serious? All of these thoughts crossed our minds, but I will tell you, we loved each other, and we thanked God for being together. That last bit provided more than enough courage.
We met our little Gracie two days later, and our hearts melted. We then met her foster mother and sister and were almost in tears after the session ended. The weeks and ensuing months after bringing Gracie home were not easy ones. She fluctuated between being a giddy two-year-old and an extremely sad, defiant little girl who longed for her prior home. Thankfully, Gracie now knows that we are her family and understands that we are committed to her forever. We make trust of primary importance in our family to help Gracie feel safe. We learn more and more about each other daily. She has brought a special vibrancy to our family. In fact, it is very difficult for any of us to believe that she hasn’t been with us from the start.
We want to express our deepest thanks to all the Show Hope supporters. Our agency once told us that financial constraint should not keep a family from adoption, and it is organizations like Show Hope that help alleviate these constraints. Without your financial support, prayers, faith, hope, and charity, it would have been much more difficult to bring Grace home. God bless you all.
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