"The kids were so excited about it and there was never a question in their mind," Steven recalls. "We had a few friends that were immediately encouraging, but that wasn't the overwhelming sense going into it."

 

"Every family considering adoption needs to ask the same question: 'Are we able to parent a child not born to us?' " Bouwma says.

 

"Some parents are not 100 percent sure of that, but they proceed on faith. A number of times friends and relatives are more unsure than the adopting family."

 

Steven admits this was true. "Our first announcement to Mary Beth's parents was difficult. They are sweet folks, and they would never say, 'You guys are stupid,' but that's what they were thinking. You could see it in their eyes!"

 

Mary Beth, especially, wanted her mother's support for the adoption. The Chapmans had been talking about it for some time, and one Christmas Steven and Mary Beth gave her parents a special Chinese gift.

 

"This was the official 'it's happenin'," Steven says. "But my wife's parents still didn't understand."

 

The Chapmans continued to follow their conviction at the same time praying that their extended family would share in this conviction.

 

It was while watching a Sunday afternoon football game that things changed for Mary Beth's parents. The halftime special featured star NFL quarterback Dan Marino and his family. Even though the Marinos had four biological children, Dan and his wife described traveling to China to adopt a fifth child.

 

"My in-laws are big football fans," Steven says with a smile. "That's one more way we got to see God work miraculously, because we saw Mary Beth's parents begin to embrace the idea of having an adopted grandchild."

 

Join us for Part Two tomorrow.

 

Chris Jeub is a senior online editor at Focus on the Family.

 

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