Lindsay and Ryan began their adoption journey as many people do, envisioning an infant who would transform them from a couple into a growing family. But within months of starting the adoption process, they both felt a calling that changed that initial vision.
“I looked in my heart,” said Lindsay. “Knowing how many older kids, especially siblings, were waiting to be adopted, that felt like the best option for us. I felt compelled that was our path.”
In late summer, 2020, while looking through the Children’s Home Society of Minnesota’s website of children waiting for permanent homes, the couple was drawn to a posting for three siblings – two sisters and a brother, ages 7,8 and 9. Coincidentally, their social worker also knew of the children and contacted Lindsay and Ryan about them. “Knowing us, she had a feeling these kids might be a good fit,” said Ryan.
In mid-October, 2020, the couple was introduced to the children in a video meeting. After two in-person meetings and a weekend overnight, the three children moved from Mankato into the family’s Saint Paul home in time for the holiday season.
“One of the kids’ concerns was that Santa might not find them in their new home,” said Ryan, “so we reassured them that wouldn’t be a problem.”
Their first holiday season together was spent building family traditions – making cookies, watching holiday movies, singing Christmas carols, and decorating the artificial tree that Lindsay decorated as a child. “Now they want that every year,” said Lindsay. “They especially like the heritage of our tree. And since their love language is gifts, Christmas is extra special for them.”
The Little Red Stocking campaign has been an essential part of the Children’s Home tradition since 1909. Your generous gift today will help continue a legacy of supporting strong, resilient and loving families. This year, your gift will go even further thanks to two generous donors who have pledged a dollar-for-dollar match for all undesignated gifts, up to $50,000!
While the family’s story is heart-warming, Lindsay and Ryan are both quick to say that adopting older children is complicated. In the space of three weeks, in the midst of a pandemic, the children had moved to a new home, in a new city with new parents.
The transition started off a bit rocky. There was a disconnect between the new parents and the children about how families operate. “There were big feelings all around,” said Ryan. “There were conflicts, and our inexperience as parents only added to the difficulties.”
The couple eagerly accepted their social worker’s suggestion that they enroll in Children’s Home’s Family Support Coach service, which included 12 sessions with a family coach.
The couple says their coach, Kelly Tronstad, provided invaluable insights into what their children were experiencing. “She helped us understand that the kids’ behaviors were simply communicating that they were missing something,” said Lindsay. “They were acting in a way that was to be expected, given their situation.”
When you give to the Little Red Stocking campaign, you support post adoption support services like Children’s Home’s Family Support Coach service. Remember, this year your gifts will be doubled thanks to a dollar-for-dollar match for all undesignated gifts, up to $50,000!
Today, this family is thriving! The oldest child is sensitive and artistic. The middle one is outgoing with the mind of an engineer. The youngest is joyful and adventurous. And Lindsay and Ryan are flourishing as parents. They are deeply grateful for the guidance they received from the Family Support Coach service.
“We learned so much from Kelly about how to be parents,” said Ryan. “She helped us make our family stronger.”
“She did,” Lindsay said. “We would not be the family we are without Children’s Home and Kelly.”
This holiday season, consider giving the families served by Children’s Home the gifts of supportive resources, education, and connection. Your generous support of the Little Red Stocking campaign – which will be doubled thanks to a dollar-for-dollar match – ensures families like this receive all the support they need to thrive.Little Red Stocking