Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Living

May 10, 2014

A different route to parenthood provides unexpected blessing

CHEROKEE COUNTY — Love – and motherhood – can come unexpectedly.

Just ask Jacksonville resident Laura Mullenax, whose foray into the world of adoption with her husband, Tim, began with a challenging start and ended with an unexpected blessing.

The couple, who are owners of T&L Automotive, are parents to 21-year-old TJ, Tim's son from a previous marriage. However, “we wanted a child between us,” Mullenax said.

Health concerns led them to consider adoption, and in 2004, they couple began searching through international adoption programs in Eastern Europe and Central America, but were plagued with problems.

Disheartened, the Mullenaxes decided to stop their search by the end of 2007.

God, however, had other plans, she said.

“Marina was completely, totally meant to be” a part of the family, she said. “We had totally given up, then were contacted at the beginning of 2008 about a baby who was about to be born who needed a family. We were going to completely give up when we heard about her.”

The couple was present at their daughter's birth on Feb. 8.

“It was less than a month for us going from ‘we’re not doing this again’ to ‘we’re Mom and Dad,’” Mullenax said.

With Marina –who was born in California– “adoption was a very simple thing, because it is obviously what God wanted for us,” she added.

Marina now attends kindergarten, “absolutely worships the ground her brother walks on” and is extremely outgoing when she gets to know people, her mother said.

“She's shy at the beginning, but most of the time she acts about 17,” she laughed, then added that her daughter has taught her “to try not to let the negatives of the world to bombard you.

“She looks at everything through positive, it's-gonna-be-okay eyes. And it's amazing.”

When Marina turned six earlier this year, her family told her about her adoption, and while it’s still “pretty new to her, she has handled it pretty well,” Mullenax said. “She wanted to know if she could talk to her birth mom.”

While the Mullenaxes experience with parenthood have been slightly different from the norm because “we didn’t go to the hospital and have” their daughter, the experience has been an unexpected blessing, she said.

“Adoption is not an easy road by any means, but it's definitely worth it,” Mullenax said.

Pausing briefly, she added, “it's the ultimate gift. I still can't even fathom the concept of having a child and placing it with someone else. It's the ultimate sacrifice of love.”

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