Twenty-four year old Chelsie Denson cupped a vanilla cupcake in her hand while her two small sons Makai and Josiah took turns licking at its icing.
Donning matching plaid shirts, the brothers dressed the part of twins on Saturday. Though, in reality, that isn’t the case.
Denson and her husband Robbie, 26, adopted Josiah at birth, one-and-a-half years ago. The family was one of about thirty to partake in an adoption celebration thrown Saturday morning by A Chosen Child Adoption Services. The non-profit child-placing agency is located in Summerville and provides services for both domestic and international adoptions.
The event was held at Celebration Town on Bacons Bridge Road in Summerville, and featured face painting, food and other treats for the dozens of children to enjoy.
For a moment, Makai, a 2-year-old with straight blonde hair and a pale complexion, took a break from playing to rest his hand on Chelsie Denson’s knee. The young mother smiled at her biological son, then busied herself wiping away the red and white frosting smeared across his little brother’s olive-toned skin.
For Chelsie and Robbie Denson, the decision to adopt was simple and rooted in their faith. The young, Christian couple said they aspire to live their lives by Christ’s example.
“We were processing what we thought was the clearest picture of the gospel, and for us it was adoption. What greater thing is there than to bring someone into your home who isn’t yours and is broken and in need of love,” said Robbie Denson, a young adult pastor at Northwood Church in Summerville.
The Densons decided to move forward with their adoption plans just three months after Makai’s birth. They didn’t want to waste precious years before making a difference in a child’s life, Robbie Denson said.
“It was definitely a scary, nerve-wracking, exciting process,” Chelsie Denson said. “We didn’t know when we’d get the call, or what the timing would be like. And it was emotional because at any point our birth mom could change her mind. We wanted her to make the best decision for her, but we also wanted to provide him a home.”
The family welcomed Josiah into their lives shortly after birth. He is six months younger than his brother.
“They’re going to be in the same grade through school. I love that Makai will never know a day without Josiah,” Robbie Denson said.
A day will come when Josiah will ask his parents about his birth mother. As newly adoptive parents, Robbie Denson said he and his wife are still determining what role the woman will play in his life.
“Our goal is for him to know that she’s a hero. She did something impossible so that he could have a better life,” Robbie Denson said.
Saturday’s adoption celebration came shortly after the Department of Social Services announced that it finalized 473 adoptions in the last fiscal year. In the 2012 fiscal year, the state department placed a record 833 children from foster care into permanent homes, a news release stated.
A Chosen Child Adoption Services’ Executive Director Denice Fisher cited the economy as playing a role in the recent uptick in local adoptions.
“I think what we’re seeing is an increase in the number of couples who maybe already have one or two children, and financially they cannot afford to parent another child,” Fisher said. “Plus open adoption is becoming more and more popular. Birth parents really want to actively participate in the adoption by meeting the adoptive couple and having pictures and letters sent to them.”
While holding her infant son Joey in her arms, Jenna Campbell said that she and her husband Peter often take pictures of the baby to send to his birth mother as he grows.
The couple tried to get pregnant for five years. After multiple failed attempts at in vitro fertilization, they decided to pursue adoption instead.
“We figured our money would be better spent on a child who needed a home,” Jenna Campbell said. “When we finally got him, it was like all of those years we spent struggling and worrying sort of just melted away.”
Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.