Larry and Melissa met in 1987 at Pt. Loma Nazarene College (now University) where Larry was studying Applied Communications and Melissa was working on her Theater degree. They shared several classes together and were both cast in a musical drama group called Wings of Praise. After the requisite "Big Break Up" (that we think every lasting relationship should go through at least once), they realized they couldn't live without each other and eventually got married right before their senior year in 1990 (Didn't realize we were that old, did ya?).
Landen was born in 1994 and several years later in 2007, they adopted Isaac through a private domestic adoption facilitated by Adoption Center of San Diego . Five months later they were surprised to learn that Emma was on the way! Emma was born in 1998 and they thought their family was complete (Ha!).
In 2004, they moved to Granger, Indiana and within a few months were on their way to China with Landen for a mission trip. What they experienced there rocked their world. They came home knowing that they were going to adopt and specifically from China. They found their daughter on the waiting child list with Children's House International. Nine months later they traveled to Nanning, Guangxi, China PR to bring Madeleine home. While in Indiana they founded ''Father's Heart", an orphan ministry at their home church and advocated for adoption through speaking engagements and writing.
In 2008, the family returned to the San Diego area and settled into life as a Southern Cal family of six. Through a series of events in the first few months of 2013, God began to stir up a passion to "live a life that is a story worth telling." Inspired by the life and untimely death of friend, Chris Gennaro ( a missionary to Africa and fellow adoptive parent) and the Storyline Conference, Larry and Melissa were prompted to consider their subplot in God's story and how to pursue an eternal purpose. In March 2013, they were introduced to "Leo", a little boy in China with severe heart defects, through an email from their former adoption agency, CHI. Immediately, Melissa felt a deep urgency to advocate for him and began to gather as much information as possible on him and then tell anyone and everyone about him. The more she found out about him, the more she realized that he was a really good fit for their family. In the midst of family discussions, investigating health insurance coverage and his medical needs and much prayer, they decided to pursue the adoption of little "Leo". They named him Benjamin Li.
At one month into the process, they have been amazed at the outpouring of support they have received from family and friends and the ways that God has opened door after door in the process. Their prayer is that God will sustain and preserve his life while they do what they can to expedite the process to bring him home.