Couple Whose Love Story Started With A Shoebox Welcome First Child

Joana first knew Tyrel when they were seven years old, but they only met each other 13 years later.
by F. Valencia
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The love story of American Tyrel "Ty" Wolfe and Filipina Joana Marchan has been well-documented. The two first knew each other when they were both seven years old—although they wouldn't meet face to face for 13 years.

Christmas box

People magazine related: "It all started in 2000, when Ty, a then-7-year-old in Midvale, Idaho, helped his parents pack Christmas shoebox gifts for children in the Philippines. The project, run by Operation Christmas Child through Samaritan's Purse, involved filling the shoeboxes with school supplies, toiletries, and small toys."

People further explained that "as part of the project, each shoebox-packer had to include a photo with their gift." Thus, little Ty inserted a picture of himself wearing a cowboy outfit while posing outdoors.

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Friend request

In 2009, Ty, then in his teens, received a Facebook friend request from a Filipina named Joana Marchan. He didn't know who she was, so he didn't approve her friend request. In 2011, she sent her FB friend request again. Ty then messaged Joana and asked her how they knew each other. Naturally, he was stunned when she told him that she knew about him through his shoebox gift. She also revealed that she had sent him a thank you letter several years back. Apparently, her letter didn't make it to him.

The couple started communicating over Facebook where they found out they had a lot of things in common. In 2013, Ty decided to fly to the Philippines for a 10-day vacation. Ty would later tell People magazine, "When I finally got there and saw her, I had to [pinch] myself a couple times because I thought it was a dream. I was immediately attracted to her."

Long distance romance

Ty went back to Idaho. He and Joana maintained a long distance relationship, mostly via Skype. In November 2013, Ty came back to the Philippines and asked Joana's father Jun for her hand in marriage. Jun gave them his blessing but her mom, Rocel, feared that they were too young.

But Ty was persistent. He went back to Idaho and came back in May 2014 with his own dad Ivan with him. Finally, Joana's mother gave her blessing.

By September 2014, Ty and Joana went off to the US. They were married in October that same year at Ty's parents' ranch. Ty wore a barong on his wedding day.

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First baby

Now, the couple is celebrating another milestone. They welcomed their first baby, a boy, in May. Ty posted the these sweet pictures on his Facebook page. 

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Congratulations! 

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