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Green Bay family celebrated during adoption fundraising event in Milwaukee, then helps pay it forward

Posted at 9:25 AM, Apr 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-22 10:25:07-04

MILWAUKEE — The chance to live the joys of parenthood is something George and Ashley French were able to experience with the help of others, and Sunday afternoon they worked to pay it forward.

The couple told reporter Tahleel Mohieldin that bringing Gianna, their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, into their lives was not easy. The Frenches are a blended family, meaning their daughter was adopted as a newborn.

“It’s changed our lives absolutely for the better 100 percent,” George said.

“Every morning when we wake up is happier. Every day has more purpose,” Ashley added. “She is just the sunshine of our whole world.”

Portrait photo of Ashley, Gianna, and George French III
Ashley and George French III, adopted their daughter Gianna two weeks after she was born with the help of non-profit Gift of Adoption.

It’s a process, George said, that takes a toll on a lot of families — including his own. Adoption agency expenses, legal fees, and travel costs amount to thousands of dollars.

That’s where the Gift of Adoption Fund steps in. The non-profit organization provides grants for families eager to adopt but who are struggling with the substantial financial costs.

At the group’s fundraising trivia event Sunday, 'There's Nothing Trivia(l) About Adoption,' the French family helped the group support more families like their own.

The trio made the trip from Green Bay to Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee to share their family story.

George French III
George French and his wife Ashley received a grant through the Gift of Adoption.

“The Gift of Adoption Fund took a huge stress off us,” George said. “There’s a lot of financial barriers to it. There’s a lot of red tape.”

Ashley said by removing the financial burden, Gift of Adoption Fund gave them the time and energy to grow as a couple and prepare for Gianna’s arrival.

Ashley French
Ashley French and her husband adopted their daughter with help from grants by the Gift of Adoption.

She said she spent a lot of time researching from every point of view: biological moms, adoptees, adoptive parents, and even those against adoption altogether.

“A biracial adoption takes a lot of responsibility on a family, and we just want to do the best for her,” she said.

“I kind of had an outdated thought process of adoption going into it where thinking maybe closed adoption would be easier for us,” she explained. “In learning and educating myself, we learned that open adoption regardless of its struggles or maybe internal processing issues for the adoptive parents, it’s better for her.”

The Gift of Adoption Fund's Wisconsin chapter has helped 487 children find permanent homes and awarded $1,450,000 in assistance grants in the Midwest.