Prepare for your hearts to burst: Chip and Joanna Gaines just made one couple's adoption dreams come true.
As part of Chip's annual program, the Fixer Upper stars gifted a Missouri couple with the $16,203 they needed to adopt a two-year-old boy with Down syndrome from China. Jason and Melinda Simmons, who applied to Chip's contest earlier this fall, are now able to bring their son home.
The pair were two of the many Chipstarter 2.0 recipients recognized by the Gaineses at Magnolia Market's Silobration this past weekend. Ahead of the event, Mr. Demo Day arranged to fly them down to , and then surprised them on stage with the much-needed funding.
"The adoption process is very long and very stressful and very expensive," Melinda told Ikaroo.info. "The knowledge that Chip and Jo were providing the last large amount that we needed in order for our adoption to be fully funded was just unbelievable. It is such a weight off of our shoulders to know where the money is coming from for this final stretch. It’s such a gift."
Jason and Melinda, who have been married for 21 years, began the adoption process in February. After a series of fundraisers, and now with the Gaineses' contribution, they were able to raise over $36,000 to take home son Ezra James.
"We are so thankful and humbled to have had this opportunity," Melinda says. "It isn’t easy to fundraise. It’s a very humbling process to ask for help. But the staff at Magnolia made us feel like it was their pleasure to help us. They treated us with kindness and made us feel like family. We will be forever grateful."
Meeting the HGTV stars was also a bucket list moment for the husband and wife. "They were both gracious and kind, as you would expect them to be," Melinda said. "Jo was calm and made everyone feel seen and right at home, and Chip’s energy was contagious."
Melinda and Jason, who are already parents to a 14-year-old daughter and 10-year-old twins, felt a calling to grow their family and raise awareness for kids with special needs, which is why they applied to Chip's program. "We believe that children with special needs are absolutely deserving of a family," they said in their .
Over the course of the weekend, the Magnolia Market founders passed out more than $85,000 for folks to start projects, sponsor charities, and more. Everyone on stage at the event knew they were a finalist, but had no idea that Chip was going to support them all.
"The moment that we found out that all six finalists were actually winners was one of the most special moments of our lives," Melinda said. "The dreams on that stage represented so many different backgrounds and visions and it was just beautiful to see all of the dreams fulfilled."
"This whole experience has been surreal," Melinda added. "I just had a feeling that we were going to be a finalist. I felt like it was God’s plan, but when it actually happened—it was nothing short of amazing."