Paige Lavender and Ben HancockFor the Sunday Gazette-Mail
ASHFORD, W.Va. -- According to Tracy Harvey, there's no better place to grow up than Boone County.
The 35-year-old has lived in the place where "everybody knows everybody" all his life. He graduated from Sherman High School, and shortly after, married his longtime girlfriend, Amanda.
They settled into a home in Ashford so Tracy could take over the family trucking business he had helped with as a young man. He was ready to start his own family, but not in the conventional sense -- instead, he and his wife chose to adopt children from Korea.
The humble twosome's decision to adopt from abroad was unconventional for a place like Boone County, where the population is 98 percent Caucasian.
But after putting their newly honed parenting skills to good use for a year with their first adopted child, Connor, the couple decided to adopt a second son, Corey.
Despite being born half a world away, Tracy said his two boys were at home in Boone County.
"The boys fit right in," he said. "Everyone wants to see them, talk to them, play with them. We get more attention with them, but we've never gotten any bad attention."
Corey, 2, and Connor, 4, love riding in their Fisher Price pickup trucks and pushing toy motors around the spacious green lawn behind their home. They spend hours playing in the sandbox with Amanda, who takes every Monday off from her job as a cosmetologist to be with her sons.
"What do we like, Connor?" Tracy will ask.
"Trucks and hot chicks," the 4-year-old will respond, shooting his dad a mischievous grin.
The Harveys always expected a similar family scene to happen in their back yard, but they didn't quite know how it would play out.
The couple was happily married for years before they ever thought of children.
"Me and Amanda, we didn't want for anything," Tracy said. "We thought we had everything."
As they entered their 30s, they still hadn't conceived, so they decided to look into adoption.
"It's something that Tracy has always wanted to do, so when we got closer to the time when we realized we wanted to have kids, we started in on the process," Amanda said.