Dodge City couple journeys the heart and soul of the Catholic Charities Adoption Program
By Dave Myers
Southwest Kansas Catholic
Ross and Tracy Smith had just returned from a company ski trip to Breckenridge, Colo. when the Southwest Kansas Catholic visited their home in Dodge City.
One of the stories they shared from their bus trip provided a look into just what kind of parents the couple would be to the child whom they are hoping to adopt one day soon through the Catholic Charities of Southwest Kansas Adoption Program.
“We were on I-70 and were hit with a bad snow storm,” Ross said.
“There was a long line of buses and semis on the side of the highway putting on their chains,” Tracy added.
“We could see the other bus drivers out struggling by themselves to get the chains put on,” Ross continued. “We all got out and helped. He had half of the bus out there working. We made short work of it.
“Our driver felt pretty lucky that he had a bunch of Kansas farm boys on his bus!”
One day—hopefully soon—a little child will be equally as lucky, facing life with the support of two loving and hard-working parents.
Ross and Tracy met while attending Kansas State University in Manhattan.
“His friend had a Dodge City tee-shirt on,” Tracy recalled, smiling. The two could have been from anywhere across Kansas. Even well beyond its borders. Kansas State University is, well, Kansas State University after all!
Turns out, Ross and Tracy were raised just 30 miles from each other, Ross in Cimarron and Tracy in Ford. And with that, a new family history began its first stages.
Tracy was raised on her family farm, the daughter of Ronnie and Dina Herrmann. She has two older siblings, Milo and Erin. She attended Bucklin High School and eventually earned a degree in Human Resource Management; she now serves in recruiting and event planning for Crop Quest.
Ross was born in Paris, Tex. and moved to Cimarron as a toddler. He learned a love for farm-work from his father, John Smith, a cattleman, and his mother, Mary. He has three older siblings, Rachel, Nicole and Joshua. After earning his degree, he taught geography and history at Dodge City High School for five years before devoting himself full time to working on his in-laws’ family farm in Ford.
“I want to pass down some of the things that my parents taught me,” Ross said of parenthood. “They did a good job. They worked hard. I gained a lot of values from them.”
Having spent two semesters in Spain and Mexico to learn the Spanish language—as well as the Spanish and Mexican culture—Tracy said she is very open to adopting a boy or girl of a different cultural heritage.
“I would look forward to mixing some of our culture and values with their heritage,” Tracy said.
The couple recognizes that it must be an agonizing decision for the birth-parent to choose the adoption process.
Tracy said she appreciates the fact that Catholic Charities “would help the expectant mother’s decision to either parent the child, or go through the adoption process.
“We’re taught that the first priority is the baby, then the birth parents, then the adoptive parents,” Tracy said.
They admitted that the thought of open adoption (in which the birth parent(s) continue to be a part of the child’s life) was intimidating. But through the classes that the Smiths took as part of the Catholic Charities adoption program, they learned that open adoption is ultimately helpful to the birth-mom in coping with her decision. And it helps the child, who will never face the enduring mystery of their birth-family.
Tracy and Ross have been married for five years. They attend the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Dodge City. They are hard-working, farm-stock Kansans, as is attested to by the amount of construction work they’ve both put in on their Dodge City home. The work-in-progress shows a skill and talent for construction and woodworking from both parents.
One day they will have a child, and that child will be lucky. He or she will more than likely develop an artistry for working with wood and other building materials; they’ll appreciate and respect the Kansas farmer as being the heart of the heartland; and they’ll love animals (Doug and Gabe, right, were out enjoying their big backyard the day of our visit).
But most importantly, the child will be enveloped by the love of two good people intent on passing on their love of life and love for God, who has already blessed them so deeply.
For more information about the Smiths, see their introductory profile at http://tiny.cc/RTadopt, or view their Facebook page “Ross And Tracy Hope To Adopt”.