adoption

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

adoption journey Archives - The Dream Village
adoption journey Archives - The Dream Village

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. (www.therealtq.com)


adoption journey Archives - The Dream Village

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!

adopt, adoption, orphans, foster care, family

Adoption Story - Meet the Millers

An Adoption Story… Submitted to The Dream Village by Kortni Miller

“I’ve never won the lottery, but I imagine it kind of feels like being handed your three-day-old baby boy for the first time and hearing the words “Congratulations, you are a mother.” Especially after the long and lonely road it took to get to him.

Our adoption story really began as a sophomore in high school in the backseat of a car with all my girlfriends, driving to the hospital to offer our young teenage support to one of our best friends, who was about to place her baby boy into the arms of a woman she didn’t know and say goodbye to him forever.  I don’t think even then that I realized the magnitude of her choice. By the time we got to the hospital she had already delivered him and to this day I still remember my friend laying there, a sheen of sweat still visible on her forehead, tired, solemn and more quiet than usual. And in that moment I realized that she was the bravest person I’d ever known. I wouldn’t know this until years later, but that strong and selfless friend of mine prepared a hidden chamber of my heart for the beauty of adoption.

I remember vividly the night it all came full circle. Ten years later I was snuggled up on the couch with my husband, both of us completely speechless after watching the movie Martian Child. The story hit us like ice cold water to the face. We both knew we wanted to adopt at some point in life, but we hadn’t tried anything exceptional to have kids yet so it wasn’t exactly the first thing on our minds…Until we saw that movie and heard the line “how do you argue against loving one who’s already here?” From that moment on, adoption was all we could think about.

The next day my husband called me from work and said “I don’t know how, but we need to start the adoption process today.” We met with an agency that night and handed them a check with all the money in our account to cover the intake fee and not a clue how we would pay the rest. Our profile was shown to an expectant mom a week later and Eli was in our arms exactly one month after the night we watched that movie. It was nothing short of a miracle.

It is hard for me to find words for the beauty of the moment my boys were placed in my arms. The only one that comes close is AWE. I felt quiet and small. Standing there, I felt like my heart had taken up residence in my throat and it would come crawling out if I tried to speak. The awe of everything that had just taken place made me wonder if I should slip my shoes off because I felt as if I was suddenly standing on the most holy ground. That is what the adoption journey is. Holy ground. Every step of the way.

If I could travel through time and talk to my 24 year-old self, the girl who was staring at her twentieth negative pregnancy test, I might tell her something like this: One day she is going to be alarmed when all of her friends start having one, and then two kids and she doesn’t have any yet. She is going to pray for a baby for so long until the day she can’t see the point in asking anymore. She is going to know what it feels like to be angry with God, and sad. Really, truly, deeply sad when she realizes the babies are not coming. But then I would gently grab her shoulders and look her in her now worried eyes and I would say to her; ‘Listen. God has every intention of completely wrecking your soul more than once in your life so you will know what it means to let Him put it back together again. And one day that will happen when you find yourself holding your husband’s hand in a small office at an adoption agency and the case worker will get off the phone and tell you that you are now the mother of a three day old baby boy. That is when you will close your eyes and thank God for all of those unanswered prayers. But just you wait, it will happen again. Just when you think your heart can’t hold any more love, a beautiful girl will lay her baby in your arms and make you a mother of two.’ And then I would hug her tight and tell her sorry for spoiling the ending, but everything is going to be okay, because her heart knows no happiness like mine does right now.

Even though infertility wasn’t the deciding factor for us in choosing to adopt, it was the push we needed to do something we had always planned on whether we got pregnant or not. I know that’s not everyone’s story though, and none of that discredits the very real truth that infertility still hurts something fierce.

When you are being held in God’s hands like that, it is hard to understand what He is making out of you. You ask why, why would He keep you from having the one thing you always wanted…that He wanted for me? You don’t feel the space being created in your heart or the soul stretching that is taking place. And you can’t hear Him through all the frustration and tears telling you to please hold on, ‘I am working on your prayers and what I have for you is better than you ever imagined.’

I didn’t hear or feel any of that until I saw that little face that looked nothing like my own for the first time–staring up at me, begging me to love him.  And that’s when I knew. That’s when it dawned on me exactly the kind of heart all of the days and months and years of waiting shaped inside me. I began to realize that if God wouldn’t have spent that extra time on me, I wouldn’t be here holding this baby and being asked to love him. I wouldn’t have known that I could. I wouldn’t have known that the disappointment of seeing one line on that pregnancy test month after endless month could become the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen while I was holding my baby; who would’ve never been in my arms had the stick read positive.”

We’re so grateful that Kortni was willing to share her adoption story with us. Please check out Kortni’s Instagram and read more! She’s a fantastic writer! instagram.com/born.from.my.heart