The Minor family poses for a photograph in their Americus home Aug. 20 after attending Sunday Mass at Saint Mary Church. Left to Right: Peggy; Peter, 7; McGraw, 10; Analhi, 21; and Dick.  Photographs by Jessica L. Marsala.

Americus couple credits 'butterfly effect' with helping them to start a family

Originally Appeared in : 9718-8/31/17

Americus--Ten years ago, Dick and Peggy Minor, now parents of three, realized that the secret to having a perfect family is to remember that families are completed not by man on his time or terms but rather with the help of the Holy Spirit.


After trying to conceive for eight years, Peggy miscarried twin boys approximately three months before her due date. When told that another pregnancy was out of the question, the Minors were understandably upset.


“It was heart-wrenching,” Peggy Minor said. 


If it were not for Peggy’s chance Christmastime encounter with Patrick Calcutt, a fellow member of Saint Mary Church, the Minor family narrative might have ended. 


However, while shopping in downtown Americus, Peggy learned that Patrick and his wife Kathleen practiced law—mainly civil and criminal litigation for Patrick, adoption for Kathleen—and the Minor family narrative was reborn.


Together the Calcutts became the “smallest brushes,” with which, as Saint Andre Bessette said, “the Artist paints the best paintings”—which in the case of the Minors, was a family portrait. 


“It’s the butterfly effect,” Kathleen Calcutt said, referencing the title of a book that she says was given to high school seniors enrolled at Sumter County High School South in Americus this year. 


In the book, author Andy Andrews recounts a historical application of meteorologist Edward Lorenz’s 1963 theorem that the minute flap of a butterfly’s wings could “set molecules of air in motion…eventually capable of starting a hurricane on the other side of the planet.” 


“When we’re part of God’s body, and especially in the Catholic Church, we’re just one little, teeny, tiny piece,” Calcutt continued. “We’ve got to have faith that God is sending a lot of other people to help and that our prayers are so important because we’re strengthening everybody else that God has got on this same mission.” 


Drawing on her own Catholic faith as well as her personal experiences as a mother of six—three of whom were adopted—Kathleen encouraged Peggy to surrender her will and expectations to God and pray for a “perfect match.” 


Not long afterward, the Minors adopted their newborn daughter McGraw, who is now ten years old. Three years later, their adopted son Peter, seven, was born. 


“I guess that’s the lesson: God will provide, not only financially for these children, but God provided us with children through the miracle of them coming here…” Dick Minor said of the Calcutts, who had originally lived in Florida.


A year or two after the birth of Peter, Kathleen reached out to Peggy and Dick Minor again and asked them to consider adopting a 15-year-old girl named Analhi [Ann-nuh-lee].


Earlier that day, Peggy in her daily prayers had thanked God for everything that he had ever done for their family and asked him how they could repay his generosity. 


“This is not for her salvation; this is for your salvation. You’re not saving a kid: You’re saving yourself and to get out of being so self-absorbed,” Peggy said paraphrasing her brother’s response to their adoption of Analhi, now 21.


Of Analhi, Peggy said, “She was the best yes and the best thing we’ve ever done in our marriage and for our family and gave Peter and McGraw a great role model.” Analhi, who was born in Mexico, is bi-lingual in Spanish and English. She is currently studying Latin American/Latino studies and anthropology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. Following graduation, she plans to attend law school to help people as so many others have helped her. 


This past summer, Analhi completed an internship in Washington D.C. with Georgia Congressman Austin Scott and also has been assisting the Calcutts who she says inspire her.


“I don’t know if I want to be an immigration attorney or adoption attorney,” Analhi said, but “I see myself, at some point in my life, going to Latin America and living there, helping. I studied abroad in Peru this past fall and just seeing people in need—that really inspires me and I get really emotional when I just see little kids suffering. I want to do something helpful.” 


Peggy and Dick have raised all three of their children in the Catholic faith—Analhi has sung in the choir at Mass, McGraw is an altar server and Peter will soon be receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion for the first time. 


The proud parents say that Analhi is the true “hero of this story” for the way she “beautifully” embraced her new family, culture and school. They hope to instill in all three of their children an openness to helping children in need, so that adoption will be a “multigenerational gift” that will refine them and make them better people, as they themselves did for their own parents.


 “You have to choose to love. Love can be an emotion, but true love is actually making the choice: I’m going to love this person,” Dick said. Referencing the homily they heard when they were married in Atlanta, his wife added, love “is not something you donk on your head with a little magic wand.” 


In the meantime, the Minors are waiting for God to tell them when their family portrait will finally be complete and are praying that by sharing their story they might inspire others to act.


“If God presents something to us, we’re still open to whatever God has for our life,” Dick said. “It may not have anything to do with adoption—you just have to be open to God’s asking you to do something.” 


Jessica L. Marsala is assistant to the editor of the Southern Cross.

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