Popular home improvement show stars Chip and Joanna Gaines helped bring a family together this fall through the joy of adoption.
The “Fixer Upper” stars gave a Missouri family $16,203 toward adopting a 2-year-old boy with Down syndrome from China, according to Country Living.
Jason and Melinda Simmons, of Carthage, Missouri, said they felt called to adopt a child with special needs and began the adoption process earlier this year.
“We want to tell the world that people with different needs and abilities are valued and deserving of life and love and what better way to do that, than to allow our lives to be forever changed for the better through the beauty of adoption!” they said.
In September, the Simmons applied for the Gaines’ Chipstarter contest, which encourages people to realize their full potential and provides money to help them achieve their dreams. In October, they learned that they were one of several people chosen as winners.
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“The adoption process is very long and very stressful and very expensive,” Melinda told Country Living. “The knowledge that Chip and Jo were providing the last large amount that we needed in order for our adoption to be fully funded was just unbelievable. It is such a weight off of our shoulders to know where the money is coming from for this final stretch. It’s such a gift.”
The family said they have raised more than $36,000 to adopt their son, Ezra James, from China, and the money from the Gaines’s was a huge boost.
“It isn’t easy to fundraise,” Melinda said. “It’s a very humbling process to ask for help. But the staff at Magnolia made us feel like it was their pleasure to help us. They treated us with kindness and made us feel like family. We will be forever grateful.”
The couple’s desire to adopt a child with special needs makes their win all the more worth celebrating. Children with Down syndrome and other disabilities face discrimination all across the world. Some do not make it outside the womb, and others are abandoned by parents who either cannot or will not care for them.
To the Simmons, Ezra is no less valuable because he has a disability. They said he is a “beautiful boy” who has been “blessed with an extra chromosome,” and they cannot wait to finally bring him home.