Give Now to Support Children & Families
For 130 years, Children’s Home has been making a difference one child, one family, one generation at a time. The Little Red Stocking was established in 1909 to help community members like you be a part of this work. Through the generosity of our donors, we’ve helped more than 30,000 children join loving, permanent families.
“Third time’s a charm,” said Dennis. “He’s very persistent,” said Karen.
They were an unlikely couple when they fell in love in 1958. Dennis was 15; Karen 13. He was the star high school athlete in a small town in Minnesota, who admittedly lived “a bit on the wild side.” She was the bookish, quiet girl with the sweet smile who aspired to study interior design in college.
The two dated a few years when Karen discovered she was pregnant. That’s the first time Dennis proposed.
Karen’s parents didn’t approve of them getting married and decided she should give birth at a home for unwed mothers–preferably leaving their rural hometown immediately. Karen insisted on finishing the school year even though her pregnancy soon became apparent. Embarrassed, Dennis’s parents moved their family out of town.
Karen gave birth in August and asked Dennis to come sign the birth certificate. They were both able to hold their daughter before placing her for adoption through Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, now partnered with Children’s Home (CH/LSS).
“From that moment on, the pregnancy was swept under the rug,” said Karen. “I thought of her often, but I knew it was for the best.” Dennis and Karen pursued separate paths, but it wasn’t the end of their love for each other or for their child.
Dennis joined the Army and was stationed in Germany for three years. Karen went to college to study art and design. Dennis tried to keep in touch, but Karen’s father intercepted his letters and phone calls.
When Dennis returned to the States, their romance bloomed again. Dennis proposed a second time. An excited Karen accepted, but again her parents objected. If Karen married Dennis, her father wouldn’t pay for her last year in college. She finished college, moved to Washington state and married. Her husband died in 2010.
Dennis also married. Thirty years later and now divorced, a friend introduced Dennis to LinkedIn, and Dennis searched for Karen’s name. “And there she was, third on the list!”
Fifty years after last seeing Karen, Dennis didn’t want to wait a moment longer; he called her the next day after finding her on LinkedIn.
They called, texted, and discussed getting married. “I told Karen this would be the last Christmas we would ever spend apart,” said Dennis. When he arrived in Washington on January 20, 2015, Karen flew into his arms. Dennis proposed the third time. They were married 36 hours later.
Dennis soon broached the subject of finding their daughter. Karen was concerned they might intrude on the privacy of a by-then middle-aged woman and her family. Dennis characteristically persisted. “I said to her, ‘Karen, it took me this long to find you. It would make my life complete if we could find our daughter.’”
“How could I say, ‘No,’?” said Karen.
Dennis and Karen contacted CH/LSS about finding their daughter, Jean. Years earlier Jean had informed our Post Adoption team that she would be open to contact with her biological parents, which expedited the process to connect them.
Sixteen months after marrying and 54 years after the birth of their daughter, Dennis and Karen reunited with Jean at the CH/LSS main office. The moment was overwhelming for everyone in the room.
“We were all crying tears of happiness,” said Karen.
Karen, Dennis, and Jean are now part of an extended family that includes Jean’s husband, her three children, and five grandchildren, as well as Dennis’s three adult children and Karen’s son from their first marriages.
“Our family is like the mythical bird of Phoenix rising from the ashes,” Karen said. “Christmas holidays will never be the same. Spending it together is the best gift ever.”
Your gift today helps unite children with loving, nurturing families through adoption. It ensures that people touched by adoption receive ongoing post adoption support throughout their lives. And, it helps children facing out-of-home placement find safe, caring foster homes during times of uncertainty.
This year, your gift will have twice the impact, thanks to a group of generous donors providing a dollar-for-dollar match for all gifts, up to $91,000!
Here are examples of what your donation to our Little Red Stocking campaign can do:
- $25 helps cover background check fees for foster parents
- $50 helps adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents connect through support groups
- $125 supplies a child experiencing foster care with clothing, shoes & hygiene products
- $250 covers the education fee for an international adoptive parent
- $400 funds an adoptee’s search for medical background information
- $1,000 helps connect a teen with a family that will provide a safe and permanent home before he ages out of foster care
- $2,500 provides an adoption support fund grant to a family internationally adopting their relative child, who incur an average of $25,000-40,000 in total expenses
Thanks to your generosity, the Little Red Stocking Campaign has been helping children and families since 1909. Your gift in any amount makes a difference!