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C1ADA891-032C-4D5F-86C1-F952A232DF3D*This is in Sofia, Bulgaria at the hotel right after we adopted Maria.

Eighteen years ago today, my husband and I walked into an orphanage in Stara Zagora, Bulgaria and met our daughter for the first time. Maria Dean Maxwell

Maria was 5 1/2 when we adopted her, she is now 23.

“Gotcha Day” is a phrase that denotes the anniversary of the day on which a new member joins a family in the adoption process. Wikipedia

With skinny bird legs and a big bow in her hair, this dark haired, dark eyed little girl ran immediately to Kevin and threw her arms around him.

She put her Winnie the Pooh backpack on, took our hands and was ready to go home, and never looked back.

F27070F9-5A8E-4B1E-BBB0-383D8DE69D21*This is our first trip to Walt Disney World!

Adoption is not for everyone. I believe that God has to lay it on your heart and in your mind long before you start to talk about it.  I know, because he did this with us.

“He has told you what is good
and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

E41850B9-12C1-49C6-A25A-5FE20CB37295*That girl has always loved watermelon!

We knew that Maria was special needs, and we also knew that raising a special needs child was part of God’s plan for us. He whispered in my ear that he would never leave or forsake us on this journey He called us to travel on.

“Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

6E6AE5D6-626D-45BF-862E-4751C0C20F74*One of Maria’s field trips at school!

Maria is Traumatic Brain Injured with Cerebral Palsy on her right side. But none of this slows her down, and it does not define who she is. She is one tough cookie and has a personality that everyone loves! She can make you laugh with her wit. And make you cry when she accomplishes things you never thought she could.

A9BB488E-020E-42BD-9E67-DD0130D52FF4*Maria graduating from High School!

I have never worried about Maria’s future because I know who holds it!

6546E6B3-A931-418A-A42C-084F53EF8AE9*At the Tim Tebow “Night To Shine Prom” this year!

She is a blessing to all who know and love her! Happy “Gotcha Day Maria Dean!”

The Author

Hey glad you dropped by! My name is Elizabeth Maxwell, but everyone knows me as "Beth." I am the wife to Kevin Maxwell of 38 years. We have 3 grown sons, one daughter-in-law, and our adopted daughter Maria. God laid on our hearts to experience an awesome journey in 2000, in adopting our special needs daughter, Maria Dean. God has truly been with us every step of the way on our journey. I live in the beautiful foothills state of Tennessee. I love my beautiful Tennessee home. From the foothills to the whippoorwills, God's beauty shines forth here. I love to laugh often. I enjoy old movies, reading books, and I love to sing in my award (Dove) winning choir at First Baptist Church! I love my sweet little job, working with Kindergartners...and yes "kids do say the darndest things!" I am encouraged by God's word and I love to dig into it. I am by no means a scholarly expert, but I do delight in His encouragement for me. I am a friend of God...after all, God's got my back! And not just my back - "He goes before me." (Deuteronomy 31:8) "He's right beside me." (Hebrews 13:5) and, "He surrounds me on every side." (Psalm 125:2) These verses remind me that I am not alone while traveling on this "Journey Called Life!" Won't you travel with me? My prayer is that you will be encouraged, and know that you are not alone on this journey called life!

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