June 14, 2023

A Heart for Adoption

When Phil Graves graduated from Cedarville University in 1994 with a degree in history, he never anticipated that he would end up meeting his wife eight years later while serving at a small church in Knoxville, Maryland.

Phil and Kristie started dating on August 26, 2002, got engaged nine days later, and by April 12, 2003, the two were married.

The Graves have had an interesting life.

In 2011, he was called to be pastor of First Baptist Church of Brunswick, Maryland, and that’s where they’ve been since.

Phil and his wife have not limited their ministry to the local church, but have faithfully pursued adoption as part of God’s calling for their lives.

Phil and Kristie felt called to pursue international adoption after having three biological children. They connected with an organization called Reece’s Rainbow, which focuses on the adoption of international children with special needs.

In 2017, they adopted their daughter Eliana from Armenia. Eliana was born with spina bifida, causing her to be unable to walk on her own.

Phil thought Eliana completed their family, but his wife felt differently. Kristie came to Phil saying she felt the Lord was calling them to adopt another child.

After 16 months of answered prayers, paperwork, and unforeseen challenges, the Graves adopted their fifth child, Brizi, from Ukraine.

Listen to Phil tell their story on the Cedarville Stories Podcast.

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