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Raising a family is difficult under the best of circumstances, but for Gina and Greg Grant, the difficulty is one they embrace.
Greg and Gina met in the spring of 2002 and dated two years before deciding to get married.
"We were kind of rushed into getting married because in mid-September we found out Greg had kidney cancer and needed to have surgery immediately," Gina said. "So we married a few short days after finding out this news."
Greg fully recovered from the disease and has had no recurring problems.
"We always kid each other about spending our honeymoon at the hospital," Gina said.
The couple knew they wanted to have children, "but to our surprise God had other plans as to how that would happen," Gina noted.
"In January 2005, I had to have a complete hysterectomy because of some tumors they found. It was a very depressing time in my life because I felt like I'd never get to be a mom, which is all I ever dreamed of."Â
Instead of giving up on their dream of having children, Gina and Greg became Therapeutic Foster Parents.
"We were honored to have special children become part of our lives." says Gina. "That's how we met Charles. He came to us in the fall of 2009."
Charles was adopted into a family as an infant and tragically lost both his parents within a year. Charles is legally blind and has developmental delays from shaken baby syndrome. Â
"It took a lot of explaining for him to understand that if we adopted him that we wouldn't die," says Gina. "He felt like that had something to do with his previous parents' death. He is so glad he made the decision to let us adopt him. He is a big mamma's boy. He officially became a part of our family Sept. 6, 2012."Â
Dennis was born as a great-nephew to Gina and Greg. "He came to us when he was 5 years old and became our son on May 8, 2010.Â I was working for a pregnancy crisis center and a young mother had asked me to adopt her baby, but sadly we got a call and she had changed her mind.
"Though it was very sad, I know now that God had other plans, for on that same day, just three short hours later, we received the call on our girls. I knew right then that God shut the door on the baby because he knew my girls needed us more."Â Â
Emma and Aubreana are biological siblings who experienced things that Gina says no adult should have to ever experience. "They are a sweet and loving pair of sisters who love to please others. They became forever ours on April 3, 2012. TheÂ Lord has been so good to us and given us the privilege to adopt four amazing children. I don't know what I'd do without the miracle of adoption."Â
Now Gina and Greg want to adopt a baby and grow their family to seven.
"It has always been my dream to have a baby and name it after my grandparents and I have prayed that if it wasn't part of the Lord's plan that he'd take that desire away and fill my heart in ways that only he can do," Gina said.Â Â
The Grants expect the adoption process to be a slow one "because it takes a lot to raise the funds needed to adopt and still raise and provide for the children we already have.
"We have several fundraisers in place in hopes of raising some money to fund our adoption," she said.
Some of the events include a yard sale at the former Bedding Gallery at the corner of South East Street and Edison Avenue on July 11 and 12. Items have been donated to the couple for the sale.
On July 15, from 5 to 9 p.m., Dickey's BBQ in Bryant will host a fundraiser for the family.
Chicken Express in Benton will donate a portion of its proceeds from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 28.
Customers must mention they are there to help the Grant family in order to assist the business in contributing to the Grant family.
Another planned event is Family Fun night from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 9, at Trinity Baptist Church on Edison Avenue. This will be a carnival-type event with games for children and fun for adults.
The family also has bumper stickers that read "Peace, Love, Adopt" for sale.
An auction on the Facebook page "Grants' Many Adoption Blessings" has been set up to help get the word out regarding the Grant family and their desire to adopt a baby.Â
Additionally, donations are being accepted through PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org and at Simmons Bank using the name Grant Family Adoption Fund.Â
"We would like to personally thank anyone who offers support," says Gina, "and prayers are always a blessing."Â Â