Jenny and Dave Marrs’ Adoption Journey

From Vision to Family Completion

Recently, on Family Life Radio, Jenny and Dave Marrs shared their touching journey of adopting their daughter, Silvie, from South Africa and what it meant for the whole family to return there years later.

“When we were in South Africa, we went  as a family. And this was the first time our family had gone back to Africa after adopting Silvie,” Dave said, reflecting on their emotional return to the continent that had given them their daughter. This trip was more than just a visit; it was a homecoming, a moment of connection not only to a place but to the people who are like family to them.

Dave shared. “We really like nonprofit work. It is so important to us in Africa because we have people there that are like family to us. They are so special to us. And so we took all of the kids to South Africa.”

Dave continued, “The boys loved praying for Silvie to come home. But when Silvie came home, Charlotte was two months old, and Sylvie was two and a half years old. The twin boys had gone from a mom and dad with twin boys to mom and dad taking care of a newborn. And, with Silvie coming home, it was much more than even what a newborn would be.” Dave noted it was really tough time for the boys. He noticed it was really hard to get them to include Silvie in the prayers after she came home.

Jenny and Dave Marrs

While in South Africa the Marrs family visited a couple of homes and orphanages. Dave shared, “Even as six-year-olds, they said, ‘Dad, is this is this where Sylvia used to live’ and I said, ‘Well, it was this is the same concept, but it was actually in Congo, and it was a lot harder than what you’re seeing right now.’ You could see the change in their little six-year-old minds. And really, that was the first time in South Africa that they included Silvie in their prayer.”

From the Beginning

“When we got married we both knew we wanted to adopt. Actually, it was on our radar always,” Jenny shared. Their journey was lengthy, extraordinarily challenging and far from straightforward.

Their faith played a pivotal role in this journey. Jenny recounted a vision that gave her hope during their struggles: “At one point God gave me a vision where we were standing at a kitchen island, and there was a gaggle of kids running around us. And I remember seeing a blond headed little boy, and then a really dark-skinned little girl.” Jenny held on to that vision – a beacon of hope, a promise of the family they were meant to have.

Their adoption process, initially thought to be a short one, turned into a years-long endeavor. “What we thought was going to be an adoption process of three to six months, ended up taking … two years,” Dave recounted.

Jenny said, “I just knew at that point [of the vision] our daughter specifically would be born in Africa. We decided to start the adoption process in Ethiopia because that was the only African country open at the time and to get to international adoption. And then we ended up getting pregnant with the boys.”

Pregnant with twins, Jenny and Dave put adoption on hold for a while. Jenny notes one of the boys was very blonde and knew he was the one she saw in her vision. “Once the boys were about 18 months old, we decided to start the process again,” Jenny said. “We opened our file back up, started with Ethiopia. It took about eight months to get all of our paperwork in order. And then we waited about a year [before] we saw our Sylvie’s face.”

Jenny and Dave Marrs

The process of adopting Silvie was fraught with uncertainty and challenges, as Jenny describes: “I saw the photo and called Dave. We had been on the list now for a year and we had to start over. Basically, we changed agencies, changed country programs, lost all of our money, had to redo all of our paperwork.”

Despite the struggles, bureaucratic hurdles,and the fear of the unknown, they were certain about Silvie being their daughter.

God’s Plan of So Much More

Dave’s experience in Africa, especially after meeting Silvie and visiting the orphanage she was in, was transformative. He shares, “We met Sylvie and went to the orphanage that she was at, and now our hearts were broken again for the moms that that have to make that choice.” The trip opened their eyes to the harsh realities faced by many families in Africa, deepening their empathy and connection to the continent.

Jenny said, “Then the country shut down. We thought we’d never get her home. So we clung to those things that God had shown us so specifically throughout that whole time. And we finally got her home after  two and a half years. And in the meantime, we had our surprise baby Charlotte, who we again never thought we’d ever get pregnant. And here we are now.”

Jenny and Dave’s story isn’t just about adoption; it’s about the transformation of a family, the breaking and healing of hearts, and the unwavering belief in a bigger plan. As you read their words, you can’t help but be moved by the depth of their love and faith. They remind us that sometimes the longest journeys lead us to the most beautiful destinations.

Jenny reflected, “God just really changed our whole lives, our hearts for the orphan and the widow and truly caring for both the moms that can’t care for their kids and have to put them up for adoption.”

The Marrs adoption journey was more than bringing a child into their home; it opened their hearts to a broader compassion and understanding.

Read an excerpt from Jenny’s new book, House + Love = Home here.

Jenny MarrsJenny Marrs is a vibrant soul, a designer, author and a heartfelt advocate for community transformation and orphan care worldwide. Alongside her husband Dave, she breathes new life into historic homes in Northwest Arkansas on their HGTV show, “Fixer to Fabulous.” At home, Jenny’s life is a beautiful tapestry of family love with five children and a bustling farm life. Her heart extends beyond her doorstep, leading to the creation of The Berry Farm. This project not only delights local families with berry-picking and events but also supports vital initiatives in Zimbabwe, turning local actions into global impacts. Jenny’s journey is a testament to living a life filled with purpose, creativity, and compassion.

Learn more at https://www.daveandjennymarrs.com/ 

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