An Adoption Story... bringing Gray home.

An Adoption Story || Bringing Gray Home || Video

Here is a glimpse into Joe and Regan’s first moments with Gracyn.

Pray for them as they finalize everything in Delhi this week and then adjust to a new life with Gray! I’m sure the next few weeks will be exciting and trying.

Grab some tissues before hitting play…

An Adoption Story... bringing Gray home.

An Adoption Story || Bringing Gray Home

The first time I spoke to Regan and Joe was less than a month ago. Little did we know then that the money to cover my expenses to travel to India would be raised in just a couple weeks and we would meet each other on the other side of the world! You guys… your support gave this beautiful family a priceless gift. Their first moments with Gracyn were hard and holy. How do you explain to a 2-year-old what is waiting for her when you’re taking her from the only people who have loved her? That girl was so brave and so scared. You can see it in the photos. One day, Regan and Joe will be able to show her these photos and tell her stories of the day they met.

By the second day, Gray was a new girl! Smiles and sass all around! She has her daddy wrapped around her finger already and she and mama are going to be best friends.

Enjoy the photos of their first few days together. And THANK YOU. To those of you who supported me for this trip whether through donations, discounted sessions, or prayer, I am so grateful. Your gifts were God’s message to me that this is his purpose for me. Thank you will never be enough…


Sessions for India // Documenting Gracyn's Adoption

Adoption Documentation in 2020…

Well, 2020 is off to a pretty exciting start! I got a Facebook message about a week ago asking about the process for me to document an adoption overseas. As most of you know,  The Dream Village was born out of a heart for adoption that I’ve had since childhood. With three adopted siblings, an adopted son, an adopted nephew, and adopted cousins, adoption has always been a part of my life.

If you didn’t know, adoption is extremely expensive. My heart has always been to document adoptions for FREE, even on international trips. I don’t want to add any pressure to families at a time when they have invested so much just to bring their child home. But the moments of that first meeting are so precious. Having those moments documented is truly a gift.

Regan and Joseph will be traveling to India at the end of the month to meet their daughter, Gracyn, and bring her home. They’ve been waiting to meet her for TWO YEARS! After chatting with them, it looks like everything is lining up for me to accompany them to capture their first moments as a family. (Coincidentally, it was exactly six years ago that I went to India for the first time to document an adoption.) I spent most of yesterday filling out all the necessary forms to get an Indian Visa. This is really happening!

I usually have more time to raise funds, but I’m confident that this is a calling God placed on my life. When He calls us to do something, He also provides everything needed for the journey.

How can you help?

If you’d like to help with the expenses for this trip, I’m selling discounted sessions to raise money.

The first session option  is 45-60 minutes and includes all the digital images. These sessions can be used any time in 2020.

The second option is a 30-minute session with all the digitals. Again, this can be used any time in 2020!

These sessions also make great gifts! If you don’t need a session, pass it on to someone who could use an updated family portrait.

If you’d just like to donate without purchasing a session, you can do that by clicking here. 

You can also browse our store and purchase a piece of art for your home!

Thank you for supporting adoptive families by helping us share their stories.

Four ways you can help...

Click the photos below to purchase or donate!

Joe and Regan

An Adoption Story... bringing Gray home.
An Adoption Story... bringing Gray home.

An Adoption Story... bringing Gray home.

An Adoption Story || Meet the Beech Family

I was headed to Mississippi a few months ago to document an adoption day for a family. The woman called and asked if there was any way I could meet with a friend of hers to document her family’s adoption story, too. Well, of course I said yes!

Although I wasn’t able to be there for the actual adoption day for the Beech Family, we spent a few hours at the park and they shared their story with me. They were so gracious and sweet. It was a hot (and I mean HOT) day in Southern Mississippi but we found the coolest, shadiest spot we could find and their story spilled out. It was so heart-warming to see them with their two little ones and even sweeter to see their 16-year-old with his siblings.

The thing I love about adoption stories is that every single one is different. Every family has a unique story. Their motivation is different. Their family situation is different. Their children are different. But as different as they are, every story touches my heart in the same way. My hope is that they touch you, too.

Enjoy this little snippet of the Beech Family.

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Meet Dominique: A Birth Mom's Adoption Story

Today on the Dream Village, I’m honored to share an interview with Domonique. Dominique is a birth mom who chose adoption for her son in 2017. So many people share stories from the adoptive family’s perspective, which is beautiful, but I want The Dream Village to be a place where one can see adoption from all angles.


Adoption is beautiful. It’s a miracle. But it also requires a very heavy, difficult decision on the part of birth families. 


Read to get a glimpse of this side of adoption. 

birth mom, adoption, adoption story

DV: How far along were you when you began to consider adoption as an option?


Dominique: Adoption was mentioned to me early on in my first trimester. I considered it as an option for myself in my third trimester.


DV:  What made you consider adoption? Or what was your first experience with adoption? Basically, what was the initial trigger that made you even think about it?


Dominique: A woman I met from church that I did not have a relationship with mentioned it first. I had never heard of adoption. I thought there was only CPS. I processed adoption as an option because I wasn’t financially stable.


DV: Had you had any experience with adoption prior to yours?


Dominique: No


DV: Is your adoption open or closed?


Dominique: Started completely closed and we are best friends now.


DV: How early did you meet your child’s adoptive family? Did you develop a relationship with them prior to the birth?


Dominique: I met them late in my pregnancy.


DV: Do you have contact with your child’s adoptive family now? If so, can you describe the type of relationship you have with them?


Dominique: Yes, we are really good friends. They are a part of my immediate family. Ryan is the male figure I always needed/wanted in my life and Ally is like my older sister. We had to fight a hard, long fight to get there. I used to think I hated her! I viewed them as my enemy right after placing.


DV: Did you ever second guess your decision? Either before or after it was finalized?


Dominique: Yes, I left the hospital because I wanted to take him home. I also went back and forth between abortion and adoption.


DV: What was the hardest part of the process?


Dominque: Putting pen to paper.


DV: What would you want other moms considering adoption to know about the process or the emotions involved?


Dominique: You are in control… you make the decisions. Don’t let others make them for you with their opinions. You know what you need. Trust yourself!  Be empowered to parent or place! Both are awesome! You are a great mom either way. No one can/will ever take that away from you.


DV: What would you want to say to other people considering adoption?


Dominique: To the adoptive parent: Trust the birth mom that she made the decision to place, which means she is smart of enough to ask for help and admit she wants more than what she could provide, which is hard and not even you always admit when you need help. Acknowledge her strength and wisdom in that. Love her through it all, even the hardest of hards and happiest of happy.


You can watch Dominique’s emotional journey by clicking here!

adopting, adoption, adopt, adoptive family,

An Adoption Story--Meet Alonzo

An adoption story submitted by Courtney Barron

I would not specifically say I was inspired to adopt, but I will share a little of my story. When Alonzo was 3 and half years old, he was about to be taken away from my younger sister and placed into the state’s custody due to her many addictions and the lifestyle she was leading. I got the call from another family member on August 8th, 2015 as I was leaving work, asking me to come get Alonzo because in that moment I was the only qualified person in my family. By that I mean I had no criminal history, no drug use, I had a stable job, stable living, etc.

So I then rushed to get Alonzo. He didn’t understand what was going on at that time, and I wasn’t sure of what I was doing myself. For many days and nights, I cried wondering how I would succeed in life, how would I achieve all of the things I wanted to at the age of 21 when I all of a sudden had a child thrown to me. Well, I had high hopes and prayed many, many prayers that my sister would get it together and be reunited with him. However, that’s not how it played out. Her rights were terminated.

She became pregnant with baby number 2 when Alonzo was 5 years old. The social worker then asked if i could take baby number 2 when it was born. I kindly refused. I was only 23. I wasn’t sure if I could handle a new born and a 5 year old while balancing a full time job all by myself with no family or anyone around. To make this story short and sweet, the middle baby was adopted by a wonderful couple and Alonzo was adopted by me on the same day, April 6th, 2018. This was the best day of our lives. Walking on eggshells was finally over!

But to sum this story up, we could not–I COULD NOT–have made it through without God! He made this all possible. He gave me the strength to carry on when I thought there was no hope.

And here we are today, one year after adoption, still feeling a little unreal but amazing!

adopting, adoption, adopt, adoptive family,

adoption, adopt, adoption day

Skylar's Adoption Story // Video

When God connects the dots...

Recently, a friend of mine tagged me in a post on Facebook because her friend was looking for someone to document their adoption day. Ashli and I connected and I knew immediately this was something God wanted me to do.

I drove to Mississippi and spent a few days getting to know the Hernandez Family. Alonso and Ashli made a huge impression on me. Their hearts for foster care and adoption are evident in everything they say and do. And Skylar is the most adorable, sassy, lovable girl you’ll ever meet. She ran in and out of the room as we were filming and every time she climbed in Ashli or Alonso’s lap, I felt the overwhelming reality of God’s grace and love.

Skylar is SO loved. As one of her great grandmothers says in the video, she was created to be in this family. I was so honored to be a part of their adoption day as well as the celebration day! A longer version will be coming soon, but for now, watch the highlights of this special adoption story.

Ashli can be reached for speaking engagements via her Facebook Page.

Original music for this video written by Terrance Quaites. (

An Adoption Story... bringing Gray home.

An Adoption Story - Meet Primrose

Written by Eryn Austin.  <—– Click to follow her on Instagram!

Source: Love What Matters <—– Original story can be found here.

“Sitting here writing this story, a squirmy little hand keeps tapping anxiously at my leg. She doesn’t feel well, some new mystery illness or pain that we can’t quite figure out. So, she sticks close to us, doing everything she can to feel better while we, helpless in so many ways, do everything we can to make her feel better. This has been the cycle of our lives for over 3 years now. Meeting Primrose, and becoming her family, turned our idyllic life on its head and then spun it until we were all dizzy and dazed. And completely, unabashedly – in love.

Courtesy of Eryn Austin

The first time I saw her beautiful face, I was browsing Facebook and came across an adoption advocacy post. My husband, Chris, and I had known since 2011 we were going to pursue adoption from China. We knew it because it had grown in our hearts for so long, it was inevitably part of our story. So, in 2014, when her photo came across my screen, I instantly emailed asking for information.

It was clear from her photo that she was blind, had the most delicious cheeks, and loved a good snuggle. All still true to this day. Her piercing blue eyes were mesmerizing. She was just a bundle of love that we desperately wanted to be ours. So we got her ‘file’ and started to have it reviewed by trusted doctors and specialists. Their initial reaction was heartbreaking – words like ‘this will be too much for your family to handle,’ and ‘I think you are getting in over your head,’ and the worst ‘How do you plan to parent a child who is described as deaf and blind? She will live in total darkness. Total silence.’ We had one agonizing night of fighting these words and trying to decide – are they right? Is this too much? And to my horror, we sent her file back to the agency and begged them to get an updated medical file for her so we could have more information. Chris held me while I cried myself to sleep that night. He told me again and again, ‘If she is ours, she is ours, we can find a way.’

Paige Ewing Photography

A couple weeks later, an email came in that completely wiped all doubt from our minds. We talked to new specialists who agreed with a resounding, ‘YES – go get that sweet girl!!’

We started the process to adopt her in the fall of 2014. Nothing was keeping us from her. Not the cost or the wait or the unknown. Some days felt so despairing. Two different Christmas holidays came and went without her, and it felt like our hearts would break knowing she was alone, but we were so hopeful and knew – come 2016, she would be in our family forever.

Let me be super clear about this as well. No matter how sure we were in those long days of paperwork and fingerprints and money wires, we were also terrified. Determination and fear go together on this journey, which is perfect, because years before, this became the theme of our life: Act – even when we are afraid. We were committed to do the hard things because they matter more than the comfortable things.

In January of 2016, we finally put our hands on Primrose, our beloved daughter. She was so sick, a newly acquired strep infection we found out soon. She was tiny and listless, couldn’t hold her head up, scalding with fever. We instantly went into battle mode the moment our skin touched hers.

Courtesy of Eryn Austin

I want to walk you through those first 3 days so you know how hard and how WORTH IT every single step was.

After meeting her and being so confused as to why she seemed so sick, but no one knew what was going on, we walked and walked around an unfamiliar city to try to find formula (she came with none) and meds for her fever. I remember thinking we would walk for miles and never find what we needed. I’ve never been so afraid. Our baby was screaming and so very sick and. We were helpless.

I remember getting back to the hotel, feeding her, getting her fever down and messaging with our agency. Sobbing. Wanting to comfort her. Putting on a brave face for our big kids as we introduced them to Prim over FaceTime and explained what was happening. Watching her breathe while she slept for 16 hours – sickness and grief mingle together – and her body just shut down.

Courtesy of Eryn Austin

We woke up the next day and the screaming began. So we set off for two different Chinese hospitals, experienced the most incredible miracles, communicated with an American doctor from Prim’s hometown who called all of the shots through the people assisting us. We finally had the meds we needed. The whole time I was saying ‘strep – she has horrible strep!!!’ and the final diagnosis was systemic strep with blood work that would have had her in ICU in the states.

Courtesy of Eryn Austin

Getting back to the hotel after 9 hours in hospitals, we administered medications and within hours, we start to see face change. She started to giggle and smile. We got a few actual snuggles. We all slept soundly. Finally.

We woke the next morning to a text from our guide, because they wanted us to wait to adopt her. It wasn’t malice, please know. But to see a couple come for a complicated and disabled daughter, just to find her critically ill, as well, these people helping us couldn’t understand how we could move forward with the adoption until we were certain SHE WOULD LIVE. I responded verbatim, ‘WE WANT THIS GIRL NO MATTER WHAT.’

Adoption day came. Chris and I clung to one another.

I cried the whole day, smiled and wept over the fingerprints we both smudged onto her official papers. She was finally ours. She was ours all along.

Courtesy of Eryn Austin
Courtesy of Eryn Austin

We taught her to drink without aspirating, we taught her to eat from a spoon and started to help her learn to sit with support from pillows or our legs. We spoke in our broken newly acquired Mandarin,  ‘Primrose, we love you. Mama and Daddy love you.’ We told her about her home, her brother and sister and animals waiting for her. We sang songs to her and gave her endless tickles. She slowly began to accept our comforting, and she started to very slowly accept us. And as we lifted into the sky to head back across the ocean, I whispered to her anxious little heart, ‘You will never be alone again, Primrose.’

Courtesy of Eryn Austin

From those early days to this exact day right now, we have been in the fight of our lives for her health, her trust, and her heart. Grief and loss come hand in hand with adoption. It simply doesn’t matter the circumstances, the age at adoption, the country of origin. Adoption = trauma. We were prepared. We knew she was more than worth every ounce of ourselves, of our two older kids and of the community she would become a part of. But the ways it has changed us… we didn’t expect that.

Courtesy of Eryn Austin

Primrose is a light. Her joy is all encompassing. Her laughter is infectious and her brilliant mind ever a mystery. Her spirit is wild and ferocious. Her face is pure magic. Our life is complete with her here. Truly. And I say that never meaning that life is perfect. You cannot walk through life without HARDSHIP, right? None of us is immune to struggle. We did choose her. We chose this life. We chose this hard. But, man. It is absolutely an honor to be her parents, her family.

Primrose has a rare genetic syndrome – 6p25 – and honestly, we are still figuring it all out. It is FACT, however, that this rare condition caused her blindness, her unique brain structure, her lack of muscle tone, and some other fascinating challenges she faces. This makes the day to day living so complicated. So different. Not less beautiful, but somehow, actually, RICHER.

Courtesy of Eryn Austin

Our family went from comfortably living life, vacationing at Disney, going and doing as we please, to being advocates, researchers, amateur physicians and therapists. Her body has endured countless surgeries and procedures, medical trauma, crashing in an ER, a life flight in the middle of the night, anguish and pain I cannot comprehend. We don’t get much sleep, we have to perfectly plan every outing. Some days she cannot leave the house and everything has to stop in its tracks to help her. So yeah… Our lives have been totally upended. Nothing is the same. It is NOT easy. And I hear this all the time: ‘I don’t know how you do it!’

We don’t either. But let’s look at the other side of this coin for a second.

What if we had NOT done it? What if we had been too afraid? What if I had never seen her face? What if we had not said yes?

Where would she be in a few years? Would anyone else have seen her face and fallen in love like we did? What if they didn’t?

Our oldest kiddos could have missed out on the joy of their younger sister. Our family would be incomplete. Our hearts lacking some magic piece. Our lives a bit simpler, yes. Maybe less stares. Definitely less medical bills and appointments. Certainly less therapies, and most definitely less continuing education in all things sensory.

But also, less joy. Less hope. Less laughter. Less wonder. Less.

Courtesy of Eryn Austin
Courtesy of Eryn Austin

Loving a child from a hard place is very dirty work. It’s impossible to play any part in foster care or adoption and not see and know it and be totally overwhelmed by it. Your hands and heart dig into dirt that seems unworkable, but you dig in again and again. And there are seldom all the answers, and mostly just blind faith, as you dig and work and try. And day after day the hard work comes with the joy – and sometimes the hard is all there is – but the worth is the precious child. And love doesn’t cure everything, but it is always a start.

Even now, 3 years later, we don’t always see the hard coming. It shows up just BAM. And we go into ‘how do we manage this, how do we help?’ mode like a crisis intervention plan at home. For Prim, hard has been her norm for a while. Horrific pain and unforeseen complications from her complex eye pathology caused her to have a double eye enucleation/removal this past fall. I would never have guessed we would walk that road. Traumatic ER visits, PICU stays, multiple surgeries, rehabilitation, PTSD. We have lost a lot of ground since August 2018, but we are here, rebuilding trust and communication and lost confidence.

Courtesy of Eryn Austin

Patience and persistence. That hard dirt work with the hands and heart, knowing that time cannot heal everything but it does bring a new season, a fresh sunrise, a beautiful new tide.

I sit here today telling Prim she is safe, that Mama and Daddy are here, that we will hold her every second if that is what she needs to feel better. We will always chase her heart. And more than anything, we would always go for her, even knowing the great cost to our comfort. We would go again in a second.

Because in gaining a family, Primrose gave us a miracle. Herself. Her precious life. Her worthy and beautiful heart. She has given that to us and it is so much more than we bring to the table. Every second with her is surrounded by magic. An air of anticipation. Even the hard is beautiful because she belongs. Here with us. With her brother and sister. Forever.

And here we cling to one another, all of our messes merging into one big mess, as it is with family. As it should be unconditionally.”

Courtesy of Eryn Austin

An Adoption Story... bringing Gray home.

An Adoption Story - When God Calls You to Adopt, Answer!

When God Calls...

Watch this story about the Herring Family! If God has called you to adopt, please answer. All it takes is one step at a time…

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An Adoption Story - An Unlikely Coincidence

Adoption Details...

Today, I’m sharing a story I stumbled on and had to read a couple times because it’s so crazy! When God calls you to adopt, He’s ALWAYS in the details. Always.

I don’t know Susan but her story touched me. If you have ever thought about adoption, there are tons of resources and people willing to share about their experiences. Adoption isn’t easy, but it’s not as difficult as you’d think!

An Adoption Seed

I feel like God plants an “adoption seed” in some of us at a very young age. For me, it was at 14 years old when we brought my adopted brother home from the hospital. I instantly knew I would adopt one day.

If that seed has been planted in you, reach out to someone who has adopted. Shoot me an email. I’m not an expert but I’m happy to tell you what I know.

Somewhere your child could be sitting in an orphanage waiting for you to come get him or her. Don’t wait any longer… children don’t need perfect parents, a huge house, and tons of material things. All they need is love. If you’ve got love to give, then you’re ready.

Read about Susan’s adoption story here:





An Adoption Story... bringing Gray home.

My Son's Meeting with His Birth Mom -- An Adoption Story

An Adoption Story submitted by Founder, Trisha LaCoste

“When can I meet my birth mom?”

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this over the last several years. Jayden has always known he’s adopted. We’ve always talked openly about his birth mom. I even have a photo on my dresser of her holding Jayden as a baby. I always tell him how lucky he is to have three moms who love him… a birth mom, an adoptive mom, and a step mom. 

So after talking to Jayden’s dad and step mom, we decided a meeting was long overdue.

Jayden was very quiet when we got to the meeting spot and I could see his wheels spinning. He anxiously watched the door waiting for her to walk in. He leaned over to get a better angle of the door every time it opened.

And then she was there!

The question of the last decade was answered: When can I meet my birth mom? Today, baby. Today is the day. This is Alicia. 

I made the introductions and we chatted for 2 hours. Alicia’s step mom (who was an integral part of Jayden’s adoption) was there, too. I was grateful for her because she carried the conversation when I got lost in my own thoughts. Jayden answered any questions that were asked of him with a soft, “Yes, ma’am.” He was very reserved compared to his normal rambunctious, 12-year-old self. But every once in a while his typical grin would erupt from the recesses of his over-processed thoughts. 

I saw the joy in Alicia’s face just being in his presence. She watched his every move without making it obvious. She was just a child when she had Jayden… but seeing the adult version of her made my heart soar. She’s a mom. She’s a hard worker. She’s learning all the things life teaches us as we age. And it made me so proud to be in her presence. 

What do you say to the woman who gave her child to you?

A woman who made the hardest decision of her life to make sure her son had the best one possible? How do you convey the gratitude in your heart for one of the greatest blessings of your life? A blessing that was only made possible through her painful sacrifice? 

There’s no way to thank her for my son. There’s no way to express the magnitude of the gratitude in my heart. But I know the LEAST I can do is let her know him, too. Allowing her into Jayden’s life isn’t a threat to me. She will never replace me and I will never replace her. We each have a place in his life… and there’s enough love to go around! 

I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that Jayden no longer has to wonder what Alicia looks like or what her voice sounds like. He can now say that he has his birth mom’s smile. He knows. He’s seen it! The unknown is now known and I’m certain Jayden has a peace that I could never give him. And for me, that is PRICELESS.

An Adoption Story... bringing Gray home.

An Adoption Story -- Meet the Nolens

An Adoption Story submitted by Cheryl Nolen

Our daughter, Whitney, is adopted. We brought her home from the hospital when she was 3 days old.

We were infertility patients and had tried every procedure available to help us conceive. After 8 years of medical intervention to help us, my doctor had a very honest discussion about our specific issues. He encouraged us to adopt because he firmly believed we would never have success in having a biological child. After all we’d been through I finally felt resolved about being a mother to a child born by someone else.

We used Adoption Advisory whose offices were in Dallas. From start to finish our process took approximately 2 years. We actually tried many other agencies for over a year before that.

When we went to the hospital to get Whitney, we were over the moon with excitement and anticipation. When they brought her through the door of the waiting room, we thought she had to be the most perfect, beautiful baby ever born.

Whitney was a challenge early on. Her strong will constantly forced us to draw on reserves of patience that we never knew existed. She struggled with rejection from birth parents during her teen years, wondering why she was “given away.” We told her that God chose to make her ours so that she’d have a good life.

I haven’t met or spoken to her, but Whitney has met her birth mother, as well as her parents. It was mostly a positive experience. She feels strongly that she and her boys need to enjoy a strong relationship with us in spite of knowing her birth family.

Before we adopted Whitney, we were actually matched with a different birth mother but it all fell apart when the child was born. The birth mother pulled out of her agreement with the agency and chose to pursue a private adoption. We never knew why, except our trust was in God that He had a different plan for a different child for us.

There were times during the difficult teen years that I wondered if God had chosen the wrong parents for Whitney. As an adult with children of her own, Whitney and I see that God does all things well. We can see that so clearly as we look back.

After Whitney was almost 4, we had a very big surprise- I had a baby boy, Spencer! I can say sincerely that I love them both the same, no matter how they came to us. We never dwelled on Whitney being adopted and people were always surprised to learn that. God chose to build our family differently, so we accepted His will. We feel so blessed to have had the children He gave us.


Do you have an adoption story you want to share? Whether you are an adoptee or an adoptive parent, we want to hear about your journey. Submit your story here!