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TOTALLY EAST TEXAS: Home for the holidays — A story of adoption and love

Not all Christmas presents come wrapped with a bow on top.

TYLER, Texas — Not all Christmas presents come wrapped with a bow on top. Sometimes, they're wrapped in love...so much LOVE!

And in this case, there's also a bow on top of sweet Mary Blake.

"We always wanted a family," said Catherine Goodgion. "And she is such a precious addition to our family. And she's made us a family. So we're still pinching ourselves that we get to have her forever.

Mary Blake, who's over a year old, is Catherine and Sam Goodgion's adorable daughter who they adopted in Oct.

 "It was a zoom adoption, which was different," Catherine said. "But it was exciting."

"To this morning, it's still a surreal feeling," said Sam."To get the opportunity to see this beautiful little child grow up into a wonderful young lady. And hopefully we have that opportunity with other children."

The Goodgion's journey to adoption wasn't easy, but it was necessary to lead them to their little miracle who they prayed would be theirs one day.

Their road to Mary Blake began with infertility issues. 

 "We tried to have a family of our own and a lot of fertility and miscarriages," said Catherine. "So we were invited to a special event that had Kirk Cameron, which was a childhood crush of mine, by a wonderful agency, and who ended up being our adoption agency."

That led them to their calling, fostering to adopt, which can be a rollercoaster of emotions, especially when it doesn't work out the way the family had hoped, but the Goodgions know they're needed.

"If we can help out, bring the child into our house and love them like they deserve to be loved, then it's all worth it," Sam said.

Before Mary Blake, the Goodgions fostered two other precious children. 

"We pray for all the kids that we were able to have in our home, and we're still an open home," said Catherine. "So we'll have more kids come in. But it is it's a tough road, but the kids are absolutely worth it. And our hearts can be broken and repaired."

That happened about 14 months ago when hey received the call that would change their lives forever. 

Mary Blake had been living in a loving foster home since birth. The Goodgions already knew Mary Blake, because she had been living with family friends.

"We were able to get Mary Blake into our home," said Catherine. "And she's been here ever since."

You can understand why the families believe it was God's plan all along.

"And it's really been a family ministry," Catherine said. "Being able to see God's hand over Mary Blake's life, and we were just along for the ride. And it's been a wonderful journey and all of her her kids love Mary Blake. And so we all stay really involved in each other's lives through Mary Blake." 

And while this isn't the Goodgions first Christmas with Mary Blake, it is their first as a forever family.

"That's been really, really special," said Catherine. "And she's here for good and forever. And so we've gone extremely overboard and have had the best time doing it. So she's she's gonna be spoiled rotten, and we're so excited about it."

There's not doubt many of those Christmas presents under the tree have Mary Blake's name on them, but for her the Goodgions, she's the best gift of all.

 To learn more about fostering and adoption, check out the Fostering Collective and Christian Homes and Family Services.

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