605-348-6086 | 529 Kansas City St. Suite 100, Rapid City, SD 57701 css@cssrapidcity.com

1. What led you to adoption?
After several years of waiting to get pregnant — and then finding out
through our doctors our fertility issues — the choice was in-vitro fertilization
or adoption. Since I am adopted, and had such amazing parents and a
positive experience, adoption was our immediate choice. No question. We
both knew this was what we were meant to do to become a family.
We were open to a multi-race child, open adoption, or becoming
certified foster parents so the child could go home from the hospital with us.

Being open to any child or situation created the most incredible experience.  All of us want to belong to a happy, loving family. Some are born such a family and some of us are chosen to be part of one. I am so fortunate.  I was chosen to be part of one and then got to pay it forward and chose to create a new family through adoption.

2. What do you remember most about your first meeting with your child (children)?  After our birth mother met with us and chose us, on the day she delivered she called us to the hospital. She wanted us to witness the birth of our child. We didn’t know if it was a boy or girl. We watched our beautiful daughter come into the world, my husband got to cut the umbilical cord and we were the first to hold her. Words cannot describe how precious that unbelievable, unselfish gift was from our birth mother.

Our friends who had given birth had always talked about how you immediately fall in love with your child — and we felt that same incredible love at first sight! We were able to take our new daughter home from the hospital as foster parents and bond with her during the waiting period for final adoption.

Our next adventure in adoption took us to Korea. We applied as soon as we could after our daughter’s adoption was finalized. With CCS, we went through Holt International, which has a tremendous reputation in Korea. The children are placed in individual foster care waiting their placement instead of an orphanage setting. Our son was matched with us in January and pictures were sent. That was one of the most exciting days ever, to get that packet and picture of our new son!

On a Thursday in mid-June we got the call we had been waiting for. Our son would arrive in Denver on Father’s Day — only three days away. Our daughter, now 3, was so excited for the arrival of “her” baby. She made a huge sign: “Welcome Home to America Nolan!”

It was so hard waiting at the top of the escalators at the Denver airport. We scanned every surge of people getting off planes for our Korean escort holding a baby. When, finally, she walked through the crowd with this tiny sleeping bundle our CSS partner waiting at the airport with us matched paperwork and through all of our tears and joy and clapping we were handed this beautiful little 6-month- old boy. As he snuggled into us, we fell in love once again.

3. What has been the biggest surprise for your family?

Due to the fact that we have a multi- race family — our daughter is Native American and our son Korean — we were prepared for the possibility of facing racism but have experienced very little. Families are becoming more diverse than ever. Our family and our church were incredibly open and welcoming and we do not give any power or attention to anyone that is not accepting of our family. Often the questions of curious, well-meaning people can cause us to giggle more than be upset. “Are these your “real” children?” is one question we hear most often. I am sure there will be more challenges and we take on each one as it comes — with the power of faith and family behind us.

4. What’s your advice for prospective adoptive parents?

Patience is key. The process takes time and preparing your family, your marriage, your friends and church so that they can support you during the entire process is so important.  Be open and share as you much as you can. Keep no secrets as I have seen others that thought this would protect them and their family and it only creates a barrier and a burden that can cause more hurt and make the process go from happy and loving to fear- filled and painful.

We were so well prepared by CSS and, since I was adopted, I knew the questions and the curiosity that adopted children have to live through.  Just as I had been told from Day One that I was adopted, we told our children in vivid detail about their adoptions. They love to hear their “story” and see the pictures and videos from that time. So we get to relive it with them and assure them how completely wanted and desired they were. Also what heroes their birth mothers were to know they wanted the best for this child and were brave enough to make that tough decision to give their child an opportunity for the best possible life and two people the opportunity to be parents.

Know that there will be joy- filled moments and stressful times, too.  Just as in conceiving and carrying a child, there are no certainties or guarantees that everything will go perfectly or smoothly. But the gift of sharing your life with a child at the end is worth the effort!

5. How did Catholic Social Services help you on this journey?

The knowledge and experience of the Catholic Social Services adoption staff prepared us so well. They were there every step of the way — in both the happy and tear-filled moments. We are so grateful to our counselors and social workers that worked so tirelessly to help us make this dream of family a reality. And also for their support of Lauren’s birth mother and her family so they could know how well loved this child would be in our family!  With Nolan’s international adoption, since CSS and Holt had taken such good care with our paperwork, everything moved quickly.