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‘Everything is in God’s hands’

Wright couple celebrates life while awaiting life-changing call

By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic

WRIGHT — Some day, Rachel and Doug Trombley will sit down with their adopted child and tell him or her the Cinderella story of how they met and fell in love.

But before that time can come — before they can sit their child on their lap and share the story of makeup and music and acting and one big fib that led to that first date — they wait.

God willing, the call will come, and a child will enter their life. If and when it happens, it will happen with the help of the Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas Adoption Program.

“We feel very comfortable with Catholic Charities; they have our best interest in mind,” said Rachel, who first approached Catholic Charities with Doug in July 2016. “All the support they show the birth and adoptive family. … We feel very comfortable, safe and confident with them.”

Catholic Charities, like most adoption agencies nowadays, uses the open adoption system, in which the birth parent continues a relationship with the child after the adoption. It sounds strange at first, but when you think about it, it’s not difficult to understand how such a relationship can eliminate difficult issues later on. There are no mysteries to solve.

Doug admitted that he, like many adopting parents, had concerns about the system.

“At first, I wasn’t so sure about it,” he said. “I grew up at a time when people didn’t talk about adoption. It was kind of a struggle at first. But because of their support and knowledge, Catholic Charities helped me to change my mind.”

“You think about opening your heart and home to a child, but also to the birth family,” Rachel added with a smile. “At first it was overwhelming, but then you see the pros and benefits.”

Rachel was born in Las Vegas, New Mexico and reared in Yukon, Oklahoma. When she was younger, she used to listen to a close family friend that she called “Grandma” tell stories of how she came to Oklahoma on the Orphan Train.

“I would help with their reunion conventions in Oklahoma City,” Rachel said.

Doug moved to Dodge City as a boy from Michigan when his father was hired as an X-ray technician. Doug and his two younger twin-brothers began attending Sacred Heart Cathedral School.  Today Rachel teaches at Comanche Middle School, while Doug works for Servi-Tech, a crop consulting firm and agricultural laboratory.

The Cinderella Story

Rachel, an opera-style singer and actor, has long been involved in theater. While directing “Cinderella” at the Depot Dinner Theater in Dodge City, two of the actors had to bow out to take part in a Catholic mission.

Enter Doug Trombley, a trombonist with a yen for performing at the Boot Hill Museum, and his brother.

“I play the town drunk,” Doug said of his work at the museum. To this day, he still enjoys getting into costume and delighting the tourists at the museum as his friends shoot it out in the guise of the old west.

The couple’s first meeting came in the makeup chair, when then-Rachel Rickner sat Doug down and began a nightly application of makeup before the performance.

“There were no thoughts of romance,” Rachel said. “At the end of the show’s run, he said he hoped I would have a terrific life and that maybe we’d see each other again.”

Then came “Jekyll and Hyde”, and the pair once again found themselves sharing the same backstage.

“I moved props on and off and she was part of the cast,” Doug said. “The woman who got me involved in Cinderella said that Rachel wanted my phone number so that we could go out. I figured I’d call her and leave a message.

“It was up to her if she wanted to call back,” he added with a grin. “The ball was in her court.”

She did call back, and it would be several months later before they learned that Doug’s future wife had never asked for his phone number; it was a fib designed to get the two together. It worked.

On May 23, 2010, Doug became the first and only Boot Hill Museum performer to propose to his wife in the midst of a performance.

Today, as they wait for that call, they celebrate their life and faith in a community they love. 

“We love this town,” Rachel said of Wright, a town not so unlike the Oklahoma town of Yukon in which she was reared. They moved to Wright from Dodge City two years ago.

“We love the church community. We love Father Bob [Schremmer] so much.”

“We love his homilies,” Doug added.

Rachel belongs to the Altar Society, Liturgy Commission, and (pause for a breath) the Parish Council. And she has a great love for gardening, which was well known to her neighbors in her former Dodge City neighborhood.

Doug is a Knight of Columbus, and is a member of both the Parish Council and Property Commission.

As if that weren’t enough, they both serve on an inquiry team, in which they meet with those who are in the very first stages of discerning whether they’d like to join the Catholic Church.

It’s not easy, waiting for a phone call that will change your life, so they decided some time ago to let go of their nervousness, and let someone handle it who’s quite adept at things like this.

“Everything is in God’s hands,” Doug said. “If we have a child, that would be great, but if we don’t, then God has another plan for us.”

“While waiting, we are living our lives to the fullest,” Rachel added.

Diocese of Dodge City

910 Central PO Box 137 Dodge City, KS 67801 | 620-227-1500

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