The Good Stuff

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Renee, Tyson, Shataria, Ren, Henry and Ty Griffin at beach.

BY COCO MCCAINWelcome to “The Good Stuff” where we shine a light on the good things that happen every single day! Everyday acts of love, bravery and kindness.  Everyday acts of determination, generosity and triumph in face of tragedy!   Do you believe all things are possible? Do you want to hear more of the good stuff?  If YES, then get ready because “The Good Stuff” is on its way!



When we think about a New Year, we think about fresh starts and new beginnings.  Today’s “good stuff” story is all about fresh beginnings, but it’s also about miracles.  Today’s story is about the Griffin family and the miracle of adoption.

Tyson and Renee Griffin are your typical “All-American” couple. Renee is smart and pretty and kind.  She looks like a cheerleader, but she’s actually a schoolteacher — Renee teaches English- as-a-Second-Language at a public elementary school. Tyson is handsome and strong.  He has a good head on his shoulders and he makes his living as a Youth and Family pastor.

The Griffins were your average American family — complete with a SUV, two kids, and a house — until the miracle of adoption changed their lives.  With two biological children and no fertility challenges, people often ask them, “Why adopt when you have your own kids?”   The Griffins answer says it all, “Our family was just not complete.”  One of their daughters was in China and the other on the South Side of Chicago.

The Griffins have two miracle babies.  Renee met their first miracle baby, Shataria, in 2001 when she was teaching school in Chicago’s Inner City.  On the first day of school, Renee recounts that Shataria was the most challenging little girl she had ever taught and that she did not know how in the world she was going to be able to get through to her.  So … Renee just thought

of different ways to show love to Shataria.  Under this love and care, Shataria blossomed!  Shataria is now a tried and true member of the Griffin clan and her parents report she is a very outgoing, very loving, and very wonderful teenager!

Renee, Tyson, Shataria, Ren, Henry and Ty Griffin at beach.

The Griffins celebrated the arrival of their second miracle baby on August 25, 2010 after a four- year search to find their daughter Ren.  Their search for Ren involved hundreds of hours of paperwork, prayer, and meetings with adoption agency counselors.  Because the Griffins felt their daughter was in China somewhere, their journey also involved adoption fees in the sum of $29,500.  As a teacher and a preacher, part of the miracle of the Griffin story involves the generosity of others.

The Griffins used their personal savings to find their daughter, but they knew that would not be enough.  Each step of the way, they were surprised by the generosity of others. Each gift left them more amazed and humbled than the next.   One family anonymously donated $4,000 at a critical point in the filing process.   Another couple heard about the Griffin’s story and gave them the $10,000 they would need to travel to China to gather their precious daughter Ren.  (The family giving the $10,000 saved this money for two years.  They were saving for a special purpose but did not know what it would be when they started saving.  This $10,000 gift was a significant part of the income of this donor family, as both the husband and wife were social workers.)

Ren Griffin.

The wait for Ren was long and hard, but worth it all and more the night they received the call that they were going to be parents!  They would be parents to a baby girl born far away in China, but already so close to their hearts. In Renee’s words, She was not born from my womb, but born from my heart … and we could not wait to bring her home to her forever family!” The joy and excitement they felt was “surreal.”

The only person touched as much as the Griffins was perhaps Ren’s birth mother.   Ren was born in China.  In China, the government uses various means to control population growth and at times they sanction the number of children per family.  We don’t know the full story of Ren’s Chinese birth mother, but we do know she loved her daughter very, very much.  On December 13, 2008 Ren’s birth mom loved her enough to take her to a safe place.   Ren was found outside a medical building, wrapped in a red floral blanket.  A note was pinned to her blanket.  The note says it all, “Kind-hearted people please save this baby!  Born November 29, 2008 at 4:15 pm.”

What makes people like Tyson and Renee click?  What calls them to love?  How do they handle the pressure of the finances?  Why do they do it?   The Griffins’ reply, “When you are called, you go!”  They explain their desire to adopt as a longing so deep in your soul that you just cannot not do it.   For the Griffins, their daughters complete their family and they feel privileged to be a part of the miracle of adoption!  For them, their joy is complete.

Since bringing Ren home, the Griffins have started a non-profit called “The Levi Circle” to help support other families wanting to adopt.  Four families close to the Griffins have chosen to adopt as result of witnessing Ren’s story.  My guess is that there will be countless more … and in my book that’s good stuff!

Help me “shine a light” on the good things you see every day!  Share “your story” with me at COCOMCCAIN.COM.  I hope to hear from you soon — but between now and then may you LIVE…GIVE…and…GROW with all the good in life! Copyright © 2010 The Good Stuff LLC All rights reserved.