Years ago before Matt and Mandi were married they talked at length about adopting a little girl from China. Mandi expressed her desire to Matt that somehow, someway, she would have a daughter from China. So, they came up with a plan. They would get married, save up some money, have a couple of kids of their own and then look into adoption. Thirteen years later, they had three beautiful, healthy biological children and not a penny in savings, but Mandi’s desire to adopt was stronger than ever. In 2008, they turned their dream into a reality when they brought home their daughter from China. At the same time, Mandi knew that there was more to adopting than she could have ever imagined. When she left China with their daughter, she knew without a doubt that she would return.
Matt and Mandi have now been married 20 years and have 7 beautiful children (3 biological, and 4 adopted from China), that bless them every day. After returning home with their last daughter in 2012, Matt was adamant that they were done. Mandi on the other hand knew she had another daughter somewhere. After months of trying to convince Matt of adopting “just one more time,” Mandi came to the realization that maybe they were done. She stopped asking Matt about adopting and became content with the 7 children they already had. That is until Matt came to her and said that he had been thinking and praying and he came to the realization that if adopting was what Mandi was supposed to do, and this is what God was telling her to do, then who was he to stand in the way?
They began to review files of little girl in the 4-6 age range, but nothing felt “right.” They were recently review a file of a 6 year old little girl when there was a boy being shared on multiple Facebook pages, and advocating sites. They all said the same thing, “URGENT, this boy ages out in 3 months, and is desperate need of a family.” Mandi posted how handsome he was and she how wished they could bring him home. She knew that adopting another aging out boy was out of the picture for them at this time. Adopting in general can be challenging, but adopting an older child comes with a whole new set of challenges. Anyway, she shared on her Facebook about this boy in hopes that someone would see him and immediately start the process to adopt him.
Several families were showing interest in him, but no one was committing. Mandi talked to Matt as soon as he got home that night, knowing what his initial reaction was going to be. Of course it was a “no,” but after getting over the initial shock, they sat and talked about it for hours. Matt is not a spontaneous person. He does not make decisions based on emotions. He is definitely the more logical person in their marriage. Knowing that everything would have to be done in 3 months, it was all about the money to him. He said he needed some time to think it over, and to not push. Of course Mandi knew that time was not something that could be wasted. The next day she kept checking with people to see if his file had been locked, hoping and praying that it had so she could move on. As much as she wanted him to be a part of their family, at the end of the day she just wanted him to have A family.
To make a long story short, within 72 hours of bringing it up to Matt, they were saying “YES!” So, it is with complete faith that they are once again answering the call to open their hearts and their home to another of God’s children. Unfortunately, this journey is nothing like any of the others they have taken. They have less than 3 months to get a year’s worth of paperwork done. Instead of having a year to save, and fundraise, they have less than three months. Their journey is just beginning, and knowing that they are moving at warp speed both excites and terrifies them. Knowing that this boy still has hope, that his family is out there is motivating Matt and Mandi to get all the necessary paperwork done and whatever it takes to get the money to bring him home. They are racing against the clock to bring him home. They are 100% committed to doing whatever it takes to add this handsome young man to their family.
They want to bring Erix — soon to be named Owyn — home to a big, loving, crazy family. They want to fulfill his hope of being adopted. They found out from another visiting parent that he wants to be adopted and is terrified because he knows his time is running out. He dreams of living in the middle of the United States, and becoming a doctor someday so he can help others. Matt, Mandi, and all 7 of their children are completely in love with a child they have never met. They are all completely invested in making this boy’s dreams come true.
One thing is for sure, when Matt and Mandi started the process to adopt, they had no idea the twists and turns that would be involved. But with every door that closed, another was opened. Adoption is not easy, in fact, it can be quite difficult physically and emotionally. However, the end result is worth the sacrifices, the worry, the unknowns, the up and downs, and anything else in between. They cannot imagine their family without all of our kids. In fact, when asked how many kids we have that are adopted or bio, many times they have to stop and think, because to them, there is no difference.
3/26/15— USCIS APPROVED; ON “AGE-EXPEDITE”, NEED TO TRAVEL BEFORE MAY
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at mattmandi.blogspot.com