How A Diagnosis Changed Everything – A Private, Infant Adoption Story by Lisa #UNITE Link Party

road signs

She was my daughter’s teacher. I didn’t know much about her, except when songs were suggested, she let my Preschooler lead the public school class in a chorus of, “Jesus Loves Me”.

She is a teacher from the word, “go”, and a gifted writer. But most of all, she is a kind and compassionate friend.

I knew Lisa was special, before we were friends. I kept running into her at swimming lessons, at soccer, and over and over again. It seemed like everywhere I went, there was Lisa and her kids.

And then, I discover Lisa started homeschooling the same year we did. We joined a local field trip group and I not only love her, but have a huge amount of respect for her.

When we had a houseful of kids, three fostered, Lisa quietly, in the background, began a dinner train, rallying my friends and her family. Meals were showing up at our door for weeks.

I learned during that season that practical love is often more than words, but can come best through hot and home-made meals.


When Lisa started blogging, I was thrilled. Her words always carry deep truth, wisdom, and insight, those of a woman whose been through some stuff, and yet, keeps rising.

She is a woman who teaches us all, by her quietness and grace, her humble ways and heart to learning, but most of all by her sincere love for Jesus.

Let’s jump into Lisa’s story….

Adoption Story by Lisa Ostreim

Oh, I was certain I was ready to be a parent. I began babysitting as soon as the neighbors
allowed me to watch their children. I had worked at daycares and preschools. I had my own
classroom in a public school for 6 years at that point. I was ready!

Oh, the naivety. Oh, the denial. Oh, the trust from the Father!

Shortly after getting married, my husband and I learned that it would be incredibly risky for me to
get pregnant due to an ultra-rare blood disease I have called, aHUS (atypical Hemolytic Uremic

I wasn’t very surprised that the doctor strongly suggested considering other methods to become
parents, but it still felt very final and heartbreaking all at the same time.

I wasn’t raised to give up, so I immediately began considering different possibilities. Surrogacy,
adoption, fostering? My husband wasn’t ready yet. He needed time to process that our story
was not going to be the typical story of getting married, soon after getting pregnant, and then
having babies.

It didn’t take long though and after about a month he was ready to talk about it again.

I can remember we were driving home from our one year wedding anniversary vacation, a road trip to Glacier National Park in Montana. We were almost home and I said, “Just think a birth mom could be pregnant right now with our baby!”

Little did we know, she was!

Through divine intervention we learned that a good friend of ours had an uncle that was a wellknown adoption attorney in Seattle. We were told we could have a free consultation
appointment with him. We wrote down all of our questions and went to meet him.

He explained the differences between independent adoption and adopting through an agency.

My husband would say I have always had too much energy and focus so the independent route
sounded perfect for us because it would keep me busy! We would create our own website,
business cards, posters, and profile with a photo IMG_8929album to get the word out to birth moms that
we were ready to adopt.

We completed our home study with a social worker and on December 23rd 2004, we were all
signed off and ready to fully commence our search. Everyday I tried to leave a business card
someplace with our contact information.

We received several calls from birth moms considering placing their unborn babies for adoption. Each time my hopes soared! One birth mom even told us we were the ones she had chosen, only to never hear from her again.

I am not going to lie, this was devastating. And not proudly, I instantly began to doubt God’s plans for us.

After that fail, it was literally 2 weeks later we learned about a lovely birth mom that wanted to
meet us that coming weekend. We learned that their had been drug use during the pregnancy.
We also learned that the birth mom had a previous child two years prior that had many
problems at birth as well as a definite birth mark.

We had said to ourselves that due to my health condition, we would not be adopting a special needs child and this included any babies who were impacted by drugs and alcohol.

So why were we both drawn to this unborn baby immediately? Because she was to be ours!

We went to meet the birth mom and one week later, less than 5 months after completing our home study, our baby was born!

She was perfect. The nurses gave her a 10 on the Apgar test and claimed they never do that!
But this one was perfect. My husband and I could not take our eyes off her.

We stared at her in the hospital. We took turns staring at her on the drive home. And, then we stared at her once we got her home.

Photo Credit: Lisa Ostreim
Photo Credit: Lisa Ostreim

This perfect baby of ours cried a lot. There was little that consoled her except getting out of the
house and moving around. She loved being in the front pack and being on the move. She
absolutely would not sleep without cuddling, swaddling, and rocking for hours.

She was so unlike my friend’s baby whom I had taken care of for months. My friend’s baby would sleep any where. The car, the couch, the stroller, the floor! Literally anywhere. My baby would not sleep. She could not shut out the world.

Looking back, I was in denial. She was very healthy. She was born full-term. All of her fingers,
toes, and organs were fully developed. But, this inability to self-soothe and prolonged crying
was not normal.

Looking back, I wish we had sought help from a doctor who specialized in
adoption. I wish I had been able to look at her and trust that God would help her and us and not
just deny the problems.

But, God is so very faithful.

Little by little, as we’ve grown in our walk with the Lord, we’ve been
able to look more humbly at our need for help. We’ve been able to accept our daughter’s
imperfections as well as our own.

The Lord continually shows us that we are the perfect parents for our daughter and she is the perfect child for us.

Nothing has grown my faith and trust in the Father and nothing has yielded fruit as much as
parenting my children has.

So appreciate you sharing, my friend!

Please make sure to stop by Lisa’s blog and read more of her beautiful heart for Jesus! You can find her blog here, Lisa Ostreim. She’s also on Twitter, here, and Pinterest, here

In response to National Adoption Month, this post is part of a month-long series of adoption stories, from dad’s to private, foster, and international adoptions. If you missed the previous stories, you can find a list of them here, “Personal Adoption Stories“.


Also, every Tuesday, a group of us from around the bloggersphere come here to UNITE. We link our blogs, then jump around and read some other posts from around the web. Thanks to those linking back.

UNITE is an all-inclusive, no-rules blog hop. You are welcome to join us!

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Jen Avellaneda

Jen is an adoptive, foster, & bio mom to trans-racial family. She speaks, writes, & passionately advocates for the orphan domestically & internationally with her husband of twenty-five years.
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  1. Thank you Jen for telling your story about adoption and Lisa and Jeff’s story about adoption. Lisa and Jeff happen to be our kids. Your stories are going to make a huge impact on prospective adoptive parents. They need to hear your stories. Thank you for all you do in passing the word.

    1. Marcia – I sure hope so! No child deserves to live without a family. That’s my heart anyway, that more and more people would take brave leap into the sometimes daunting and scaring world of adoption. Oh, and so humbled by your bringing us dinner that time we needed it most! Love your family so much!
      Jen Avellaneda recently posted…When Fall Brings Loss and The CrossMy Profile

  2. Absolutely beautiful story! Thank you for your willingness to share with us, Lisa. The world needs to hear more inspirational stories like this one.

    Blessings to you and your family!

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