We are a fun, adventurous family with a crazy amount of love to give! We have always felt the beauty of adoption in our hearts. We believe that adoption enriches all of our lives; not only our lives and the birth family’s lives, but also the lives of those who will come into contact with our adopted child. For us, adoption means an incredible love.
Neither of us specifically recall our first encounter with adoption. We both had friends growing up who were adopted and really it just seemed like a very natural thing – perhaps that’s why our first encounter doesn’t really stand out. Stephanie has a cousin who was adopted through marriage and we just recently found out Wes’ late uncle was also adopted. We have friends who were adopted as well as friends who have adopted children both domestically and internationally.
Our daughter was born still in 2006, and our family has always felt a bit incomplete. 10 years later, we just feel the time is right to adopt. When we presented the idea of adoption to our boys and their responses were so warm and excited, we knew it was right for our family. They know about their sister, Ava, (she was our first born) and they love her and celebrate her and talk about her, but they long to have a sister here, to love on and protect. We believe there is a daughter and sister out there and even a birth family, and they are the missing links for our family.
We believe that adoption is God sharing His love for the birth parents, their child and for us. Adoption is a way for God to weave our families together, and for us to grow our family; it is a means of bringing home a daughter whom we have dreamt about for the past 10 years.
We have talked about adoption for years and initially gathered information about 3 years ago, but the time just didn’t seem quite right. Then, this past fall, Steph spoke about her feeling that the time was right to explore adoption. Wes said he had been feeling the same way, but just wanted to revisit the topic in a couple of months. Wes just wanted to make it through the holiday season at work (he works retail) so that he could give the start of our adoption journey 100% of his attention. Meanwhile, so as not to waste a single day, Stephanie started contacting friends who had adopted, as well as making connections with social workers in the field of adoption. The need to simply select a path to adoption seemed overwhelming in itself. Steph tried to soak up as much information as she could so that when Wes was ready to start the journey, she would already have a stack of information to delve into. During this time, everyone Steph spoke to gave her the same advice – follow your heart and let God guide you.
Fast forward to January 2016 when the crazy busy holiday season was over and Wes was on board with the research. When we started our journey we knew we wanted a daughter and we were open to most other things. Because we were already a family with three sons, we learned our wait could be longer than most, which was discouraging, but since we had already waited 10 years for a daughter, we were willing to wait as long as it took. We looked into an couple adoption agencies and when those doors closed (they weren’t accepting families who were gender specific or families with more than two children in the home) the most beautiful door opened. Christian Adoption Consultants happened to be mentioned in an adoption Facebook group and a consultant contacted Steph out of the blue that day. On the 10-year anniversary of our daughter’s passing, we made the decision to work with Christian Adoption Consultants and the next day signed with them. We feel that everything has unfolded as it should; we could have used a local consulting group, which we had looked into and which is just 5 minutes from our house, but instead we felt led to work with this faith-based group. Since then, we have started our home study and hope to be done with that in the next couple of weeks.
Our announcement of our plans to adopt has been met with an overwhelming support. We can’t believe how happy our community has been for us and the number of people who asked if they could help! Thank you for your love and support as we launch into the next step in the adoption journey!
Steph is the youngest of 5 children and has one brother and 3 sisters. She was born in Brussels, Belgium and lived the first 12 years of her life overseas – 5yrs in Belgium and 7 in Holland. Moved to the US at the age of 12 and lived in IL through high school. Attended Indiana University and earned her Bachelors degree in Art Education. She moved back to IL and began teaching middle school art right out of college and taught for 10 yrs. After Owen (second son) was born, she rekindled her love of photography and in August of 2009, started her own business: Stephanie Kelley Photography, which she worked along side teaching full-time. Once her 3rd son was born, she took a 2 yr leave of absence from teaching only to then resign her position to stay home with her children and focus more on her business. Stephanie’s interests include photography, gardening, sewing and just being with her family.
Wes is one of 4 children. He has two older sisters and a twin brother. He was born in Indianapolis, IN and lived there his whole life until he met Stephanie and followed her to IL in 2002. Wes earned his bachelors degree from Indiana University in Small Business Management. He has worked for several different big box retailers and is now a store manager for Toys R Us. Wes’ interests include cycling, cooking and wood working and playing with his kids. He also loves music and plays guitar.
Carter is 9 yrs old and is our oldest son. He was born exactly 10 months after his sister Ava, was born still. He has an “old soul” and is much wiser than his years. He has such a tender heart and especially loves babies and little kids. He is the ultimate big brother and loves to help whenever he can. Carter loves all sports and is quite the athlete. He is on a tournament baseball team, basketball team and soccer team. He loves listening to music, being outside and has a strong love of learning– especially math. Carter’s peers, teachers and coaches all love him and he has been called a “model student and athlete.”
Owen is 7 yrs old and is our middle son. He is an incredible boy with so much zest for life. In Owen’s world, every day is”The BEST day ever!”. He has a sunny disposition and never wants anyone unhappy with him. Owen gets along with everyone and is so welcoming and sweet to new friends at school and in the neighborhood. Everyone is Owen’s friend. While Owen does enjoy sports, he is much more of a creative child. He adores art and considers himself an artist, like his mama. He also loves learning TaeKwondo and is working towards earning his blackbelt. Owen loves school too, and reading, drawing, listening to music and playing video games on his iPad are some of his favorite things to do.
Emmett is 3.5 years old and is, well, awesome! He has had some developmental delays, but with the help of all the available therapies, Emmett is catching up quickly. He is a silly little guy who just loves to go, go, go! He loves to climb and jump and slide and swim and basically do everything which involves movement. His favorite things are his blanket, super heroes, Micky Mouse, matchbox cars, playing outside, jumping on the neighbor’s trampoline and just being wherever his big brothers are.
We’re Matched, and the Best Scavenger Hunt Ever
We are matched! We shared the news of the new match with the boys last week via a scavenger hunt and they were THRILLED with the news. We leave for Florida in June to meet the expectant mama we are matched with at an Adoption BBQ. We have been texting daily and have built a beautiful relationship already. We can’t wait to meet face-to-face!