An Unexpected Family

Nov 21, 2017 - Success Stories, Why I Volunteer


Grady Gay was four months old when he met his mom and dad.

Foster parents Chris and Danielle Gay had not planned to adopt. “It’s hard to explain how we knew he was the one even though we didn’t know we were going to adopt,” says Chris.

While they were making their way through the adoption process, the Gays learned that Grady’s birth mother was pregnant and that she had been drinking and doing drugs. But the couple didn’t think they could handle another child with disabilities—their 15-year-old daughter, Jo Ellen, has Asperger’s Syndrome.

Grady’s little sister, Arlice, was born three months early. The children’s birth mother was arrested soon after. Danielle, a high school math teacher, heard of these events and was consumed by thoughts of Arlice. She could barely concentrate on teaching and decided to call Chris. She had to meet this baby girl. “I knew that call meant we were going to adopt her,” says Chris.

Today, Grady is a lovable, outgoing 3-year-old who wants to hug everyone he sees, including the doctors and therapists helping him work through speech and hearing difficulties. Arlice is a 2-year-old fireball with curly red hair. “She has physical and mental developmental delays,” says Danielle. “But nothing can stop her.”

Throughout the foster-to-adopt process, Danielle and Chris credit PCHAS with providing the love and support they needed. “We’re still a licensed home and whenever we see PCHAS staff they ask about Grady and Arlice. They remember their birthdays. They want to see how they’re growing up,” says Chris. “It’s been amazing to see their involvement during and after the adoption process.”

Although the Gays did not plan to adopt, they can’t imagine their life any other way. “It’s just love,” says Danielle. “We don’t ever use the word ‘adoption’; they’re our children.” Of all the journeys in their lives, Chris said adopting is the most special. “To take in a child who has little to gain from the environment they were in, give them the care they deserve, and watch them grow up—it gives us the best feeling,” says Chris.

Danielle and Chris are still open to adding to their family, which includes Tyler (23), Luke (19) and Madelynn (14). In Chris’ own words, the Gays’ foster care and adoption journey is “to be continued…”

In honor of National Adoption Month, PCHAS is sharing the stories of just a few of our amazing adoptive families. PCHAS is proud to provide Christ-centered foster care and adoption services. Learn more about fostering-to-adopt. 

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