This local family is using coffee and kindness to help adopt orphaned children in China
Brittany Mann of Winter Springs has known she wanted to adopt since she was in grade school.
“My parents were missionaries in Russia when I was six years old,” Brittany says. “In the very early ‘90s, when the Iron Curtain fell, we were some of the first Americans who went in, and my family visited a number of orphanages. Some of my very first memories are going in and playing with the kids. I distinctly remember one time there was a little boy, probably four, and he was clinging onto my mom’s leg when it was time for us to leave. I remember begging my mom to take him home. In my six-year-old mind, I couldn’t understand how there were kids here who needed moms and dads, and why we couldn’t just take them home.”
Growing up, Brittany says she didn’t know exactly where her life would take her, but was sure that adoption would be a part of it. Fast-forward to November 2018 when Brittany and her husband Darren brought their son Titus home from China.
“Twenty-five years later, it was amazing to see it finally happen,” Brittany says, but the adoption brought major financial challenges.
“One of the most surprising things about adoption is the cost,” says Darren. “You need about $28,000 to $32,000. We knew that going into it, but we just trusted God.”
To raise funds, the family hosted a large garage sale, with friends and neighbors supplying items to sell. Local businesses donated food, drinks, and treats, and the family also participated in a remodeling charity project to earn some money toward the adoption fees. Generous donors even wrote checks.
“We ended up paying only $2,000 out of pocket,” says Darren. “It was neat to see how God worked to help provide the money for us.”
The couple qualified for adoption in July 2017, but a month later, China changed its adoption requirements. By that point, Brittany had given birth to a daughter, Eden, and the new rules stated that any children in the home had to be at least two-and-a-half years old before families could qualify to adopt. So, the Manns waited.
Eden turned two-and-a-half on November 28, 2017.
“We put in our paperwork that same day,” says Brittany, “and we were matched quickly with our son.”
That son, Titus (whose given Chinese name is, as fate would have it, Man), was officially adopted by the Manns on November 28, 2018, one year to the day that they filed the paperwork.
During the adoption process, the Manns were able to visit Titus’s orphanage – a clean, bright, well-run facility located in the city of Sanmenxia, about 500 miles southwest of Beijing.
“We saw 20 or more other kids, and it was the worst feeling in the world to walk away and just have Titus,” recalls Brittany. “Seeing all those other little kids – how can you not try to go back and get as many as possible?”
The Manns are eager to adopt again, but instead of relying on the community for financial help, they want to pay that generosity forward to fund not only their next adoption but future adoptions for countless other families, too.
And they’re doing it with coffee.
Brittany and Darren have started a grassroots, nonprofit coffee company called Hao Bao Bao, which means precious baby in Chinese. Darren roasts the coffee in the evenings after work, and Eden, who is hoping for a sister, always offers to help. Once their next adoption is funded, the Manns plan to continue generating income for other families to adopt.
“We understand the burden to raise money, and we also feel blessed by those who have given us money to adopt,” says Darren. “We want to see other kids adopted and have forever families.”
“Once you really see the need, you can’t help but do as much as you can, as soon as you can,” says Brittany.
Darren agrees. “It’s great to be able to be a dad to a child who didn’t have parents,” he says. “It touches my heart and gives me joy.”
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