Brian and Sarah’s adoption adventure began 10 years ago while attending a marriage conference. There, Steven Curtis Chapman spoke about their adoption from China and that’s when it all changed: Brian and Sarah knew God called them to adopt as well. The family of three, including biological daughter Lauren, grew into a family of seven after adopting Emily from Russia, Kiley and Ashley from Ethiopia, and Katelyn from Guatemala. As the Grandstaff family expanded, so did their challenges. Sarah says that oftentimes they’ll get stares and rude comments when in public. One time in an airport, a man kept giving them ugly looks. That’s when Emily, the second oldest daughter, said to her parents, “What, he’s never seen a beautiful family like ours before?”
The Grandstaffs believe all of their children, from the very beginning, were created to be theirs. Likewise, their girls understand that they simply got to their parents a little differently than most. They know that the Lord ordained every time their family grew. And the sisters love each other well. The differences in their cultures, traditions, and appearances don’t affect the bond that Lauren, Emily, Kiley, Katelyn, and Ashley share. “I’ve continued to be amazed at how our children don’t see color in a world where so many people make it such a big deal,” Sarah says.
Their adoption adventure has also impacted the lives of others. Having a heart for older orphan children (10 percent over the age of 4 never get adopted), the Grandstaffs hosted 14-year-old Anya from Ukraine, who had less than two years before she would be turned out onto the streets. During the three weeks Anya was with the Grandstaffs, it became clear that they were called to find Anya a family. Before she flew back to Ukraine, she was introduced to some of Sarah and Brian’s friends. They finalized her adoption and now she is in a safe, loving, Christian family.
It’s incredible how much the trajectory of our lives come down to the choices we make every day. The Grandstaffs are forever thankful to each of the women who made the choice to have their children, thereby giving them the opportunity to parent these incredible girls. As a result, they will continue to share the remarkable story of their family. “There are 156 million orphans in the world today,” Sarah says. “I can’t imagine where our girls would be if we hadn’t followed the Lord’s call on our lives. I can’t imagine all we would have missed! We are so thankful we said yes to the Lord.”
Guest blogger Isabel Davis is a volunteer writer and artist for SUMMIT MAGAZINE.