I grew up in a small mining town – Globe, Arizona – where I met beautiful Mary and fell in love with her at the age of 15. We were married four years later in 1971.
I had my sites set on going to medical school when I began at the University of Arizona. I worked in a Residential Treatment Center for emotionally disturbed boys during college and within 2 weeks of starting this work I knew I had found my passion in life: to help children and families. I changed my major to Psychology with a minor in Sociology and graduated in 1973. I received a Masters of Social Work from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ in 1975. In 1977, I obtained my ACSW (Academy of Certified Social Workers) Certification and later my LMSW (Licensed Master of Social Work) through the State of Texas.
As I started graduate school in Tempe, several co-workers from the treatment center began to dream about starting our own treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. That became a reality in 1971. The company grew from a small 28-bed facility in Tucson to a psychiatric hospital and two residential treatment programs in Tucson, two residential treatment programs in Albuquerque, a day treatment program in Las Vegas, Nevada, and a psychiatric hospital and residential treatment center in College Station, Texas – the last program we opened. Mary and I moved our family to College Station in 1992 to start up the College Station facilities. We were able to help thousands of children and their families over those years and it was very rewarding and remarkable journey. We sold the company in 1995. Five of the six founding families stayed together in this venture for all of those 24 years!
After five years of marriage, Mary and I decided it was time for us to have our own family. We love children and were anxious to raise our own children. Quite to our shock and surprise, we discovered that we could not have children. We did not hesitate to pursue adoption. In 1978, a six week old, beautiful blue-eyed little girl, Emily was placed into our waiting arms through the Arizona Children’s Home. And so the adventure of parenting began for us – and we loved it! So gorgeous little brown-eyed Sarah, all of four days old, joined the family two years later in 1980 from the Children’s Home. We thought that was going to be our family. God had given us the family we had always wanted and it was great! Well, during these years our company had merged with another company that had a foreign adoption agency. In 1985 we decided it would be grand to add a boy to the family, so we applied to adopt a Korean baby boy from Dillon Southwest in Scottsdale, AZ. However, God had a different plan, and beautiful ten month old, Hannah, joined our family in 1986. Going from not being able to have children to now having three incredible girls was amazing, but God was not through yet.
After selling our company in 1995, I began working at Grace Bible Church in College Station as the Administrator and overseer of the Children’s Ministries. Each year we would take about 20 families and a bunch of Aggies from Texas A&M University to Colorado for a week of Family Camp. This is where we met Shawn, an Aggie who came to family camp. Shawn and I spent time together at camp and then he asked me to disciple him when we returned. We spent a couple of wonderful years together meeting each week. He fell madly in love with a beautiful young woman during his senior year and made plans to marry. At one point during their engagement, Shawn and Kelli asked to meet with Mary and me. Shawn said that he never knew his father and because of our relationship, he said he wanted to give Kelli the “Campbell” name. We were very privileged to go to court and have Shawn become Shawn Campbell. I told Mary she looked great for having a 180-pound bouncing boy!
So we are a family with four grown “children.” Three of them are married and have given us 8 grandchildren. Being a grandparent is a real hoot and we love spoiling them and then giving them back!!
Mary and I have had a wonderful life together. We have really grown up together, which has been a great blessing. But, an even greater blessing was coming to know and accept Jesus Christ into our lives in our late twenties. We have grown up in the Lord together. We had been churchgoers for most of our lives, but had no idea we could have a personal intimate relationship with God. We began attending men’s and women’s Bible studies around 1980. Seeing the truth of His Word pierced our hearts and we both invited Jesus into our hearts. He has continued to bless our marriage and our incredible family he has designed. We are members of Grace Bible Church here in College Station and I am a licensed Minister of the Gospel through Grace Bible.
And now the Lord has blessed me with the opportunity to work with children and families at Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach, Inc. It is a privilege and honor to be part of this incredible ministry and I am honored to pass on the Lord’s blessings to His children, His birth parents, and His adoptive families.
You can email Don at: email@example.com.