Amazing Grace, an Adoption Story

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fall 2013 cover jpgThe McKnight Family

And Grace Makes Five

Amazing… Amazing… Grace. That’s what Desiree McKnight has titled the blog that chronicles their miracle international adoption story.

“We were the most unlikely people to ever do this. We didn’t have the money. We live in a small house. But we believed that God wanted to show us what He could do and who were we to stand in His way?”

Drawn initially to the plight of orphans at church, Desiree and her husband Nate, planned to help the orphan ministry as volunteers. Desiree was already inspired by The Missional Mom, a book that encourages “regular” moms to find ways in their life to make a global impact. So when her heart moved on “Orphan Sunday” in the direction of adopting a child into their own home, she felt ready.

“Once you make the decision to adopt, the long paper chase begins,” she said. It took them six months for the paperwork, one step at a time, to get to the point where they could enlist the help of an overseas agency. After much research, they chose America World for an Ethiopian adoption.

At this point, prospective parents are put on a waiting list if they want young, healthy babies. There is another waiting list, though. The list that contains special needs and older children waiting for families to want them, too.

“I saw her picture on the waiting list and I just knew that she was meant to be our daughter.” That was December 2012 and the girl was estimated to be ten years old. They started the paperwork immediately and by June 2013, they brought their new daughter home.

It took two visits to Ethiopia to handle proceedings, something that changed Nate and Desiree’s perspective on life forever. The extreme poverty shocked their souls. It was a harsh contrast to the abundance and waste in America. For the daughter from Ethiopia, now named Grace, the adjustment to her new, wealthy homeland is an adjustment for her sensibilities.

Imagine growing up where children starve and then a week later shopping at Publix.



Despite the cultural and language adjustments, Grace is now in a loving home with two little brothers and two parents who give her acceptance and security. And a very different future.

“None of this would be possible if we didn’t get help from a community of friends,” said Desiree when asked about the costs for the adoption. Without a big savings account or credit cards, the McKnights put their story out on the Internet and began fundraising.

Their first step was to contact, a website started by a mom who wanted to help orphans by raising money for worthy parents who lack the $20,000+ for adoption fees. The concept is to donate one dollar per week to the family of the week featured in a video on the website. “Thousands of people give a dollar every week. They are probably people who can’t adopt, but want to share in the miracle of adoptions. We received help from all over the world and it was wonderful to share our joy with them in return through our blog.”

One post had 4,000 hits in one day. Every time they needed extra money for another round of fees, their new friends responded quickly. Fundraising paid half the fees. The McKnights worked second jobs to pay the other half.

You can follow their new journey as a family of five at and you can let Grace touch your heart in her video.

I always want family. It is really hard to wait. I was sad. I was crying. She called me in to talk to me. I was thinking I had family. She told me I had family. I was praying and waiting and praying and waiting. So God hear me. So God gave me family. It was like dream. Because I can’t believe it. All kids want family.

Thank you Amazing Grace. Thank you.
Editors Note: November is National Adoption Month. Children are waiting locally and around the world for families.

This story was written by Pamela Settle and ran in the Fall 2013 issue of GoodLiving® Magazine. It is protected by copyright laws. No use without permission. 

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Written by Pamela Settle, owner of Light Shine Media Group and publisher of GoodLiving® Magazine. All Rights Reserved. No part of this blog may be reproduced without permission.

GoodLiving Magazine® is printed six times a year for families in Pinellas County, Florida, home to municipalities including Clearwater, Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Largo and St. Petersburg. The densest county in Florida, population is near 1 Million people. Past issues are available for viewing digitally on the website.

As an advocate for children and families, Pamela Settle serves as the local committee chairperson for The Children’s Movement of Florida, a non-partisan advocacy organization that works on behalf of the well being of children throughout the State of Florida.

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