By Skyler Lee
Thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines’ 2018 Chipstarter contest winners Jason and Melinda Simmons will now be able to adopt a little boy from China with Down Syndrome.
Chip and Joanna Gaines are known for home improvement, but in their spare time, they also help improve the lives of fans who wish to fulfill their dreams through their annual Chipstarter program.
The program launched in 2017 with the mission to help fans accomplish extraordinary things. The second annual contest was hosted in September 2018, which is when the Simmons, who have been married for 21 years and are already parents to a 14-year-old daughter and 10-year-old twins, decided to enter.
They shared their story as well as this video:
“Our big dream is to bring home our two year old son, Ezra James, from China. We have been matched with the most beautiful boy who is blessed with an extra chromosome! It has long been a dream for our family to adopt a child with Down Syndrome, and we decided to start taking steps to make that happen in 2018. We want to tell the world that people with different needs and abilities are valued and deserving of life and love, and what better way to do that, than to allow our lives to be forever changed for the better through the beauty of adoption,” their application read.
When asked how they knew Ezra was the one Melinda Simmons told Human Defense Initiative, “We have known for many years that we wanted to adopt a child with Down Syndrome and last February, we decided it was time to stop making excuses and start trusting that God would guide us in this process. It sickens me to know that babies are being aborted simply because they have Down Syndrome. We wanted to do more than just speak out about it. We wanted to put action behind our beliefs. As soon as I saw our son’s picture, I knew there was something special about him, and it didn’t take me long to be assured that this was the boy who would carry the name ‘Ezra James’ that God had placed on my heart two years ago.”
To make their dreams come true, the Simmons had already raised much of the funds needed to bring their son home and were seeking the remaining $16,203 from Chip and Joanna.
After being touched by their story, Chip and Joanna arranged for them to fly out to Waco, Texas along with the other winners. They all knew they were finalists but were surprised when they found out the Gaines were going to support them all. Over that weekend, the Fixer Uppers awarded more than $85,000, including the money needed for the adoption, so the contest winners could start projects, sponsor charities, and more.
“The moment that we found out that all six finalists were actually winners was one of the most special moments in our lives,” Melinda told Country Living. “The dreams on stage represented so many different backgrounds and visions, and it was just beautiful to see all the dreams fulfilled.”
“Being a Chipstarter winner was an experience that we will never forget. When someone shows radical generosity to you, with absolutely zero reason to do it, it leaves a mark on your heart. That is what Chip did for us. He doesn’t know us personally, he has no reason, by the world’s standards, to do what he did. He is showing the world a generosity that is rarely seen today. We are beyond humbled and thankful,” Melinda told Human Defense Initiative.
Thanks to Chip and Joanna Gaines, the Simmons’ lives are changed forever as they prepare to soon welcome home the newest member of their family.
“Right now, we are days away from being DTC, which means Dossier To China. We have had a lot of bumps in the road when it comes to paperwork, and it’s honestly been more frustrating than I ever thought it would be. The adoption process involves so much frantic work but also so much waiting. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. At the end of the day, there’s a beautiful boy waiting for us on the other side of the world, and we will do anything possible to get to him,” Melinda updated Human Defense Initiative in regards to their adoption process.
We wish the Simmons family all of the best throughout their adoption journey!