Marley and Eden enjoying the sweet life at the Evans home
AVB’s Dan Evans and family open their hearts and home to newly adopted daughters
By Andy Kriege, YSN
When BrandSource first partnered with foster kid advocates Together We Rise (TWR) in 2020, it resonated with Dan Evans on a level that was uniquely personal.
“I fell in love with the TWR collaboration right from the start — I was literally living it in real time,” the AVB Marketing project manager recalled.
Indeed, Evans was in the process of adopting two little girls whom he and his family had known since they were born and had grown to love dearly.
With the adoption now complete, Dan and Lorie, his wife of 30 years, are experiencing parenting small children all over again. The story of how this transpired for the Evans family is an epic journey of unwavering faith, selflessness and love.
Evans heads up the Over-the-Top (OTT) advertising program for AVB/BrandSource, which he joined in 2019 following a 28-year career with BrandSource member Big Sandy Superstore. Now in their middle years, the Evans’s nest in the small town of Worthington, Ky., was nearly empty when they made a leap of faith that changed the trajectory of their lives — and those of two little sisters in desperate need of a stable, loving home. Signing up to raise two young girls from a broken home was going to be a lifelong commitment with no turning back, and the entire Evans family was all in.
Sisters Marley, now 9, and Eden, 7, are woven into the family’s fabric as they embark on a new and unexpected chapter in their lives.
YourSource recently caught up with Evans, who shared the moving story of his two youngest daughters.
Describe the journey that culminated in your adopting two little girls.
The girls’ mother graduated with our eldest daughter, Courtney, so we knew them since they were born. They belonged to our congregation and Marley began sitting beside us when she was very young. Soon she was coming home with us after the Sunday service and would often stay with us for days at a time. Our entire family fell in love with Marley, and she began spending more and more time with us.
What were their lives like?
The family had a lot of issues over the years [with alcohol and drugs] and no stability whatsoever. They would move frequently to avoid the authorities and left the area for extended periods of time. They finally resettled nearby, and we were able to rekindle our relationship with Marley. I can’t tell you how grateful we were for that. When she was gone it was as if we had lost one of our own children. We felt blessed to be able to spend time with her again.
At one point we discovered Marley was failing her spelling tests on Fridays, so we quickly arranged for her to stay with us on Thursdays. That routine of studying, a good meal and a good night’s sleep resulted in perfect scores from that day on.
When did Marley begin staying with you regularly?
After she experienced more issues with her biological family, a social worker called and asked Lorie if she would be willing to come and pick up Marley. Lorie didn’t have the heart to leave her younger sister Eden there, so she took them both home.
Countless prayers went up about what to do and how we could help. We always knew the day might come when these girls might need a new home; however, we didn’t anticipate that we would be faced with this particular situation. We decided as a family that we would let Marley and her younger sister Eden stay at our home.
What were your biggest concerns going into this?
One of our biggest concerns was whether, at age 50, we ready to start all over again. Our daughters Courtney, 27, and Bethany, 24, are both married and away from home. When we took the girls into our home our youngest, Zach, was already 16. We were within a couple of years of being empty nesters. But with a lot of prayerful consideration, we realized the unique position we were in. I had a great career at Big Sandy, and we had truly been blessed in that we never really were in want. We felt we needed to share that blessing with these two little girls who had, in a lot of ways, nothing but want. We felt in our hearts that we needed to do what we could and to care for them, even if that meant putting our plans on hold for a few more years.
In addition, we were concerned about the trauma these kids faced in the past as well as the stress associated with being taken from their family and put into a new home. Even in our situation, knowing the children as we did, we had no idea how they would adapt, having never known the expectations of normal family life.
Describe the process itself.
In the spring of 2019, we began the training process to become foster parents. It took a year and a half before the authorities determined the children’s family members couldn’t regain custody or even visiting rights. It was at that time we formally petitioned for adoption. The waiting was the worst. Even though the birth parents voluntarily surrendered their rights, the time involved and the red tape were incredible.
Last summer I left the BrandSource Convention a day early on Aug. 25 to attend our final adoption hearing. That is the day it became official; the girls were now ours.
How are the girls adjusting to their new family life?
They are amazing! They have grown immensely in the past two years, physically, spiritually and emotionally. They are both doing well in school, enjoying ballet and learning how they can help in our family worship.
Tell us about them. What are the sisters like?
Marley is very outgoing, a never-met-a-stranger type. She wants to be liked by everyone she meets and tends to wear her emotions on her sleeve.
Eden is bubbly and has a great sense of humor. She is very intelligent and loves reading and math. She can be a bit of a handful in her own right, as nothing is ever her fault. Did I mention that she’s seven? Ha!
What advice would you share with others who may be considering adoption or foster care?
If you are in a position to help, do so, but be sure to count the cost. And I don’t just mean financially. Regardless of whether you have already had children, don’t underestimate the time you’ll need to dedicate to the kids. Time is one of the most important assets you must give. Be certain you can devote the time.
On balance, I would say that while it can certainly be challenging, the rewards are priceless. The joy, love and the peace of mind you get knowing that these kids are safe in your care is immeasurable.
BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.