Dr. Boozman's Check-up
Senator John Boozman (R-AR) submitted the following remarks into the Congressional Record, the official proceedings of Congress, recognizing Bentonville residents Dave and Jenny Marrs and their advocacy of adoption:
I rise today to recognize Dave and Jenny Marrs of Bentonville, Arkansas, on being named National Angels in Adoption honorees by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI).
The CCAI is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and I was honored to nominate Dave and Jenny for their work to support and promote adoption and other critical services for children in Arkansas and around the world.
Since 2001, the CCAI has played a vital role in eliminating barriers standing between orphaned and foster children becoming part of a loving family. As the CCAI’s signature public awareness program, Angels in Adoption annually recognizes outstanding individuals, families and organizations that have made extraordinary contributions to adoption and child welfare.
Dave and Jenny are the parents of five children, including Sylvie whom they adopted from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They had always known they wanted to adopt and, in 2012, began the process to make Sylvie part of their family. It only took a few months for Sylvie to legally became their child, but the couple had no idea how difficult it would be to bring her home to Arkansas when international challenges brought the process to a halt. Shortly after their visit to the Congo, the Congolese government shut down adoptions. Dave and Jenny were devasted, but the hardships only strengthened their resolve to rescue their daughter. It was during that process that my office first met the Marrs family and I am pleased we were able to advocate for them with the U.S. State Department and Embassy officials. After more than 600 days, their Sylvie finally arrived home.
Inspired by their newest addition to the family, Dave and Jenny developed a passion for orphan care, family preservation and adoption. The family started a nonprofit blueberry farm in Northwest Arkansas as a way to help fund a program to educate orphaned and at-risk teenage boys in Marondera, Zimbabwe. They also advocate for children in need, including working closely with the philanthropic organization Help One Now to empower families in developing nations through capable local leaders.
The Marrs family has traveled the world to see firsthand the extreme poverty and truly dark circumstances facing parentless children around the globe. While visiting the Congo, the couple witnessed extreme starvation in the orphanage where their daughter Sylvie was living. This shocked Dave and Jenny, launching them into action. They organized an online raffle to raise money to feed the kids and their program was so successful it was able to feed three orphanages for an entire month. The Marrses have also used their platform on their hit HGTV show “Fixer to Fabulous” to help spread awareness about adoption and share their journey with viewers.
It was a privilege to nominate Dave and Jenny for their exemplary work that led to this well-deserved national honor, and I believe I speak for all Arkansans when I say they have made our state incredibly proud. They join influential and deserving members of this community, including Mohammed Ali and First Lady Laura Bush, as recipients of this important recognition. I am grateful for the life-changing efforts Dave and Jenny Marrs – as well as their wonderful children Nathan, Ben, Sylvie, Charlotte and Luke – have contributed to shine a light on this truly worthy and necessary cause.