Much to our surprise, we had an interview with the Daily Times last week! It all started when Chad's mom went in to the Daily Times' office to run an ad. She ended up speaking with a reporter that wanted to run a story about our adoption. They were so nice and did a very nice article. Here it is:
Four working on six: Maryville family seeks to adopt from Ghana
A family of four is crossing its fingers in Maryville hoping to become a family of six — but the two new additions will have to journey thousands of miles to make it a reality.
Chad and Stephanie Bowling, married eight years and with two sons of their own, are in the process of adopting two beautiful children from Ghana, South Africa. Christiana is 5, and her brother Bernard is only 9 months old. Paperwork has been turned in, a home study has been completed, and now this young couple is waiting for their next instructions. Chad and Stephanie said they will have to make a court appearance in Ghana before they will be able to make a return trip there to bring their new family members home.
The ball started rolling on this monumental life-changing decision about six months ago. This isn’t something, however, that these two have decided on a whim.
A promise takes shape
“Before we were married we talked about a lot of things,” said Chad, a graduate of Heritage High School. “One of those was adopting. We weren’t sure about the timeline or how many.”
Chad, who works at DENSO, said they thought at first the finances should be in place before attempting to adopt. It never seems like the right time when you are trying to get every detail in place beforehand, the couple said they learned. They felt God tugging at their hearts to make this happen.
The couple attends Fellowship Bible Church in Knoxville. That’s where they became aware of a nonprofit started by an 11-year-old girl, called Feeding the Orphans. Chad and Stephanie at first began financially sponsoring Christiana and Bernard in Ghana before learning they were adoptable.
And while the Bowlings have never been able to hold the two precious children who are thousands of miles away, pictures and stories about Christiana and Bernard have been frequent. There are other families within the Bowlings’ church that have or are in the process of adopting from Ghana. They have visited and brought back lots of photos and information on how the two orphans are doing.
Christiana and Bernard were born to an underage mother whose family couldn’t take care of them. They are presently living in an orphanage with 40 or so others.
Details into place
Chad and Stephanie said they know they are doing God’s will. The money has been tight, but things have worked out as each step has progressed. Like the time they needed to raise $1,600 and were $500 short. Stephanie got a text message one day from a woman she had met only once before. She met Stephanie in Knoxville to hand her a check for $500 — not knowing that was the exact amount they needed.
“I didn’t look at it until we got in the parking lot,” Stephanie said. “Me and the boys knelt down and thanked God.”
The family has held yard sales and is selling T-shirts on their website to raise the money needed to complete the adoptions. Stephanie has her own photography business and she has set up some sessions to raise additional money.
Airfare to Ghana is currently about $1,200 per person for a round-trip ticket. Chad and Stephanie said they would like to take their sons with them when they go pick up Christiana and Bernard but that hasn’t been decided yet.
As for other children in their future, the Bowlings said they are open to the possibility of adopting more. Right now they are focused on bringing Christiana and Bernard into their Maryville home.
“We don’t have a huge house,” Stephanie said. “We are paycheck-to-paycheck people. If there is anything that comes out of this, we want people to know they can do this. God will provide. It is not about us or the money we have. He will make a way.”