Walking the Path to Joy
Lemonade, walk-a-thon raise funds for family to adopt baby daughter
by Rachel Rabold
What do you get when you combine the money raised from gallons of lemonade and miles of walking with months of waiting and a 22-hour flight to Asia?
The growing family of Craig and Melissa Gross of Dowell.
Every cup of lemonade sold and every mile walked bring the family closer to funding their international adoption.
Weekends the Grosses perch outside Southern Maryland supermarkets selling lemonade. Elijah, seven, Gavin, five, and Aidan, three, pour cup after cup to shoppers, earning dollars to bring their new baby sister, and fifth child, home.
An August 2 Miles for Josie walk-a-thon at Solomons earned a couple hundred dollars more as family, friends and sponsors walked laps named Joy, Hope, Glory and Faith.
The Gross family’s interest in adoption began long before they totaled six. Fertility therapy gave them Elijah and Gavin. A third pregnancy, which ended in miscarriage, would have added a child with Down syndrome. In that baby’s honor, they decided to adopt a baby with Down syndrome.
Meanwhile Aidan and Selena were born.
Undeterred, the family is now in the home study stage of adopting Josie, a 10-month-old Asian girl with Down syndrome, among other disorders. They are also taking an adoption course. Next they will apply for immigration approval.
The process is not cheap or swift.
Because of Josie’s health problems, Melissa says, “We need to get her to the United States as quickly as possible. “Our rough date is May or June of 2009.”
With $15,000 to raise, the five Grosses (Selena is only one year old) keep filling the cups and asking family, friends and well-wishers to hurry their new child home.