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Love multiplied


As he had done many times in the past, Denton Gruzensky wiped the tears from his wife Denise’s face. It was their fourth round of unsuccessful attempts to conceive children through invitro fertilization (IVF), a process by which an egg is combined with sperm outside the body.

The Gruzenskys, who work for Adventist Health in the Central Valley, had dreamed of having a family of their own. They met in their mid-30s, while both were working at Adventist Health Feather River in Paradise, Calif. Denton was a director and Denise a nurse practitioner. They had attended the same college, Pacific Union in Napa Valley, but had never really crossed paths, until a work benefit dinner in 2009.

“She was wearing a red dress and looked gorgeous,” says Denton.

The two were introduced, shared a brief hello, and went their separate ways that night.

“I later found out that Denton went to the CEO of the hospital to make sure it was OK to date me because

he wanted to ensure it wasn’t an issue, since we worked together,” says Denise.

Denton received the go ahead, and on one of their first dates, he organized a scavenger hunt at Denise’s

apartment complex. He left clues, which would eventually lead to him sitting on a picnic bench with dinner and

flowers. After just a short five months of dating, the two were married.

They tried for a year to conceive children naturally, with no luck.

“When we were dating, I made sure to ask Denton if he’d be open to adopting, if we couldn’t have children

naturally,” says Denise. “I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall in love with the man of my dreams, if adopting was

out of the question.”

Fortunately, Denton was familiar with adoption. His father and all his father’s siblings were adopted.

After a long, emotional journey with IVF and many prayers, the Gruzenskys, who are Seventh-day

Adventists, decided to research adoption.

“We just kept praying for the family God intended for us,” they said.

The couple found Family Connections Christian Adoptions. They told the agency they wanted to keep

siblings together, preferably a boy and a girl. Eighteen months into the process, they were matched with

siblings, but not just two, rather four, three boys and one girl ranging in ages 1 to 4.

“I thought, ‘oh my word, four?’ gulped Denton.

“We went back home, discussed it overnight and called our social worker the next morning to let her know

we wanted to move forward,” says Denise.

They recall the first meeting with the children as being a little chaotic.

“We took toys, not knowing there were already toys in the visitation area. It ended up being too much

stimulation, so the children began fighting over the toys, kicking and screaming,” says Denton.

“It took one adult per child just to calm them down,” says Denise.

The Gruzenskys feared the social workers wouldn’t let them move forward because it took all the adults in

the room to control the children, but they were cleared to take them for a visitation. On their first outing, they

went to a park.

“I told Denton, ‘OK. You take two and I’ll take two,’ says Denise.

At one point, Denton says he turned his back for a few seconds and when he turned back around, the

youngest of the boys had climbed to the very top of the jungle gym and was staring down a huge slide.

“I thought, ‘oh, no!’ It was definitely a panic moment,” says Denton.

On their third visit, the Gruzensksy were allowed to take the children home overnight.

“We showed them where their bedrooms were and gave them little picture books of our home and our first

visit together,” says Denton. “The children were so thrilled, and Denise and I couldn’t believe this was really

happening and that this was our forever family.”

The adoption was made final on May 24, 2019.

Shortly after, the Gruzenskys took family photos and created a large canvas print to hang above the

fireplace, right next to their wedding picture.

Denise says when family and friends come to visit, the children are eager to lead them to see the photo of

them next to mommy and daddy. At times, she even catches them just standing and staring at it.

“I think by seeing the family photo positioned right next to our wedding photo, the children understand the

significance of what that really means,” says Denise.

She also wears a locket around her neck with the children’s photos inside and they ask to see it daily. “I

would move heaven and earth for them,” she says.

The Gruzenskys celebrated their very first Mother’s and Father’s Day with their children this year. Their

nanny, who’s a former kindergartner teacher, had the children make crafts, which the Gruzenskys cherish.

Although their journey was a long and emotional one, they say prayer and faith helped them through it all.

“Part of healing from infertility is coming to terms with the fact that life may not turn out as you planned,

but trust me, it just might turn out so much better,” says Denise.

Denise is a family nurse practitioner at Adventist Health Physicians Network in Hanford. Her office is located

inside the Lacey Medical Plaza, 1524 W. Lacey Blvd., Ste. 103. To learn more about her infertility story, you can

visit her blog at