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Dave and Jenny Marrs Discuss Journey to Adopt Their Daughter Sylvie

Photo from Dave and Jenny Marrs’ Instagram

Dave and Jenny Marrs Discuss Journey to Adopt Their Daughter Sylvie

By Movieguide® Contributor

Dave and Jenny Mars recently shared the journey they took to build their family and adopt their daughter Sylvie. 

“I got an email from an [adoption] agency that has kids that weren’t placed,” Jenny said. “[Sylvie] was on that email, and I just knew. And it wasn’t like I just got these all the time, you know, it wasn’t like that at all. I was like, ‘Oh wow, this is our daughter.’” 

“We didn’t know the country that Sylvie was from, they don’t list any of that,” Dave added. “You’re just taking a big leap of faith that you literally have to start all over… [Jenny] called and said ‘this is her. I know, I know it. This is her.’” 

“It was a long, hard process,” Dave continued. “We didn’t realize what we were getting ourselves into the moment we said yes.” 

Dave and Jenny waited to visit Sylvie in the Democratic Republic of Congo until they had her U.S. visa and the entire process was complete because instability in the country meant that adoptions often fell through. 

The Mars’ adopted Sylvie in August of 2013 and were her legal parents, but had to leave her after their first visit to finalize the travel arrangements. A couple of weeks after they left, but before they could bring Sylvie home, the Democratic Republic of Congo prohibited all children from leaving the country, affecting 700 kids in the adoption process at the time, including Sylvie. 

“We got [Sylvie] moved out of her orphanage so we knew she was somewhere safe, but still it was not ideal conditions for your child,” Jenny said. 

As weeks turned into months, Dave and Jenny started to lose hope that they would ever bring Sylvie home. 

“We had kinda gotten to the point where we were like, ‘Okay, this is not meant to be. We’ve gotten [Sylvie] into a good foster home, so we just need to talk with Laure, who was her foster mom, about taking over care for her,’” Dave said. “We were just kinda resigned to the fact that she wasn’t going to come.” 

“We basically just decided, let’s make sure we set a plan up and let’s just surrender control of this,” Jenny added. 

A couple of weeks later they got a call that Sylvie was permitted to fly to the U.S. and Dave and Jenny would be able to bring her home. Even then, they didn’t believe it was actually happening until Sylvie was in their arms and their 602 days of waiting were over. Jenny celebrates that day every year, thanking God for bringing home their daughter. 

Movieguide® previously reported on Sylvie’s adoption: 

Family, faith and love are at the heart of everything Jenny and Dave Marrs do, the stars of HGTV’s FIXER TO FABULOUS renovation show. 

In a recent post, the couple celebrated the eight-year anniversary of adopting their daughter Sylvie from the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

The couple previously opened up about God’s call on them to adopt and the joys and challenges of their journey. 

“I feel like God put [it] on our hearts that she was ours and right when you knew, it was just like, ‘Yup.’ It was a key in a lock,” Dave told PEOPLE in an exclusive interview. 

“The emotion of it was really similar to the birth of our bio children — that first time holding them,” his wife added. “I get emotional thinking about it, ’cause it was just really special.” 

The renovation duo shares four children in addition to Sylvie. 

Jenny said that their interest in adoption grew when they researched the challenges orphans face across the world. 

“It felt a little overwhelming when we started to learn about the need and all the kids without a family, but you can only do what you can do,” Jenny said. “We thought, ‘We’ll focus on one and see.’ So even though it felt like ‘This isn’t really making much of a difference,’ we know that we did. We made a difference for our child and our daughter.” 

Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


Now more than ever we’re bombarded by darkness in media, movies, and TV. Movieguide® has fought back for almost 40 years, working within Hollywood to propel uplifting and positive content. We’re proud to say we’ve collaborated with some of the top industry players to influence and redeem entertainment for Jesus. Still, the most influential person in Hollywood is you. The viewer.

What you listen to, watch, and read has power. Movieguide® wants to give you the resources to empower the good and the beautiful. But we can’t do it alone. We need your support.

You can make a difference with as little as $7. It takes only a moment. If you can, consider supporting our ministry with a monthly gift. Thank you.

Movieguide® is a 501c3 and all donations are tax deductible.


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