Stuart and Maria Down hired me for their wedding years ago. We went to the same church at the time, and Stuart actually designed my very first logo for Amanda May Photos. Then, I moved away to Nashville. We kept up with each other through social media, but it wasn’t until we moved back years later that we realized we attended the same church again. Only this time, we had no idea. We came back and chose Shoreline, and they moved to West Knoxville and chose Shoreline.
A couple years into our partnership at Shoreline, they launched a foster/adoption fund. They started collecting a part of tithes and offerings every week to put towards helping families become foster parents and adopt children. If you know anything about the adoption process, it’s looooong and hard and so so so expensive. It’s heart wrenching and exciting and emotional and joyful all at the same time.
Nearly two years ago, Stuart and Maria became foster parents and got placed with baby Rey. They went to battle for this little girl. It was not a smooth journey, and as much as I want to share all the ins and outs, it’s not my story to share. What I can say is that God was so so so faithful. Oh my goodness, you guys, Jesus was just so faithful! They have a testimony for the ages, and on the morning of April 23rd, Rey officially became theirs. No more going to bed worrying someone could come take her away. She is theirs. And she was their Plan A. She was worth fighting for all those days and long nights and hard conversations.
It is SUCH an honor and SUCH a blessing to have gotten to walk alongside this sweet family the last couple years. Stuart and Maria have been so gracious with letting us in on their journey. We even got to join the Zoom call where we witnessed Rey legally becoming their daughter. There were 72 people on that Zoom call and more in the waiting room that didn’t get to join. The judge said it was the largest call she had seen since they started doing it over zoom.
There is no doubt God is using their story. No doubt God is present in every facet of their lives. I’m so thrilled for them and so overwhelmed with the joy that comes with sweet baby Rey!
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