Brady Murray and his wife, Andrea, are on a mission to bring love and light to families. For the last several years, they have been doing that by inspiring families to adopt a child with Down syndrome through their non-profit foundation, RODS.org.
And their efforts just received a $1 million boost and partnership with Tim and Katherine Ballard’s Operation Underground Railroad project called Children Need Families. Ballards’ foundation is focused on saving children from slavery, especially in the sex trade.
“One of the best ways to help children is to make sure they don’t get there. (Being raised in a loving home) is a preventative measure,” said Brady. When he and Andrea sponsored a RODS (Riding for Orphans with Down Syndrome) event in March, one of the Ballard’s foundation board members saw the news coverage and brought their efforts to Ballard’s attention.
“These kids have superpowers to love unconditionally,” said Murray. He and Andrea are the parents of seven children, two of which have Down syndrome. One is theirs biologically, the other is theirs through adoption. They are also in the process of adopting two young girls they have been taking care of through the foster-care program.
To date, the couple’s foundation has helped about 50 families find and adopt a child with Down syndrome. The Murrays have identified 491 such children in orphanages throughout the world who are ready to be adopted.
“We would like to help families understand that having a child with Down syndrome is a positive thing, and there are resources to help,” said Brady. Andrea concurred. “You don’t have to do this alone,” she said.
When their son, Nash, was born 13 years ago, Brady remembers being unsure about “what this meant for our little family. I really learned, very quick however, that this isn’t something bad,” he said.
What he found, was that in an effort to save a child with Down syndrome, a couple ends up being saved themselves, he said. “You become more patient, more kind, more Christlike. In the end, the child pulls out the best in (families raising them). ...we saw that influence on our other children. It became natural for us to start thinking about adopting a child with Down syndrome.”
It was in the process of finding Cooper, now five, that the family decided to help other children with Down syndrome to find families. Ultimately, these children have been abandoned and unless a loving family finds them, they are moved into adult institutions as they age out of orphanages. RODS.org helps finance such adoptions.
“Every day we are called to do something and I would ask people to answer that call to adopt. Take courage, have faith. It has a generational impact. My unborn children and grandchildren will be blessed by their Uncle Nash and Uncle Cooper,” said Brady.
Brady and Andrea are natives of Cache Valley. Brady graduated from Preston High School in 1997, where he was known for his accomplishments on the baseball diamond. Andrea grew up in Cove. He is now a financial advisor, specializing in plans that help families with special needs children. He shares information gleaned from what he has learned as he plans not only for his future but his sons’ futures.