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Adoption Awareness: Their Stories

Profiles of local adoptive families and agencies

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metro MAGAZINE, Spirit of Omaha.com, buyOmahaNOW!, Omaha's Best Event Resource, Lisa and Alan Schries

When Alan and Lisa Schrier got married, they talked about adoption as a possible means to creating a family together. 

“The plan was to have at least one biological children then adopt another,” says Lisa Schrier.  After viewing a program on adoption of toddlers and older children, talk transformed into action. 
They had their first child, Alexander, in October 2001.  When Alex was two, they thought it the perfect time to look into adoption.  For almost two years, the Schriers explored various adoption opportunities in Nebraska.  Originally, they wanted to adopt a toddler, around their son’s age.  But this proved more difficult than they thought.  Through Lutheran Family Services, they adopted a newborn.  The birth mother and the Schriers chose the name of their child together: Gabrielle Kathryn.  Little Gabby joined the Schrier family just seven days after her birth. 

The Schriers did not actively pursue a second adoption, thinking their family was complete.  But when they met a young woman who was thinking of placing her child for adoption, they welcomed the opportunity to add another member to their fold.   They referred the birth mother to Lutheran Family Services.  Says Schrier: “We felt it was important that she talk to someone about her decision to make an adoption plan for her baby, to ensure that she was comfortable in making that decision.”

The birth mother did make a plan, was induced the next day, and Samuel Dean joined the Schrier family.  The whirlwind left the Schriers dizzy with joy. “Not only were we new parents again, but Sam was born on our 16th wedding anniversary.  What a gift,” exclaims Schrier.

“Although the stories of how Gabby and Sam came to be part of our family are different, the underlying thread is that two very special women chose us to become the parents of their babies,” acknowledges Schrier.  In addition to being blessed with a new child, the Schriers feel that open adoption afforded them an “amazing opportunity to build relationships with extended family members as well.” 

How their children came to join their family is immaterial to the Schriers.  As Lisa says, “There is no separation in our minds or hearts between our children; biological or adopted, they’re just ours!”

metro MAGAZINE, Spirit of Omaha.com, buyOmahaNOW!, Omaha's Best Event Resource, Tracey Lorenson

When Tracy Lorensen found out she was pregnant  at the tender age of 15, she initially intended to raise her child herself with the help of her parents. 
She approached Lutheran Family Services in Grand Island for counseling.

 “I thought, ‘If I am going to be a mom, I want to be a good mom,’” Lorensen recalls.  She learned about budgeting for a child and all their inherent expenses like diapers, food and clothing.  She carried the “Baby Think About It” doll, meant to give potential young mothers an accurate glimpse of parenthood’s full-time responsibilities. 

Around her seventh month of pregnancy, Lorensen began reconsidering her decision to be a single parent.  Physically, she looked pregnant, and her ever-growing belly became a very concrete reminder that she was about to become a mother.  Her parents had supported her all through her pregnancy, but they insisted she stay in school after giving birth.  School, coupled with her after school job, meant most of her day would be spent away from her child.  She wondered, “Where was time for her child?”  Having been raised in a two parent home, Lorensen wanted the same stability for her child.  So she decided that placing her child for adoption was what she wanted to do.

Lorensen considers adoption “an amazing gift” for both the birth parents and the adoptive parents.  Lorensen was able to give a couple unable to have biological children another chance to parent, and they in turn gave Lorensen her youth back. “I did feel a loss.  I grieved,” she admits, but “they gave me my teenage years back.  I could be a normal teenager again.” 

That was over 10 years ago.  Today, Lorensen is married, and she and her husband have a toddler.  She keeps in touch with the family who adopted her daughter, Katie, and is happy she was able to share the gift of life with another family.  In doing so, she maintains that she did not loose a part of herself but broadened her own family circle.

metro MAGAZINE, Spirit of Omaha.com, buyOmahaNOW!, Omaha's Best Event Resource, Brooke Eggert

To be a mother is not simply a matter of being able to create another life.  To be a mother means setting aside your needs for those of your children.  It means bring more concerned for your child’s well-being than for your own.  Brooke Eggert knew this.  At 17, a time in one’s life most often associated with self-absorption, Eggert decided to place her son, Michael, for adoption.

She had Michael when she was still in high school and living with her grandparents. Her grandmother babysat while she was in school, though she would come home during lunch period to breast feed her son.  “I loved being a mom.  The tremendous feelings of pride and love I felt for Michael was beautiful.  One night as he and I lay on my bed, I looked into his sweet little face and began to sob.  Right then I realized Michael was not just a baby, not just an adorable little doll to feed and dress and show off to my friends.  He was a person, with a future, and deserved to have a better life than what I was able to provide… I knew I needed to let go of my selfish desire to be his mother. 

From that moment on I understood it wasn’t my job to raise him.  It was my job to find the perfect family for him, a family that could give him all the love, stability and opportunities I couldn’t,” Eggert explains. 

She found a family for her son through Child Saving Institute.  She liked that Don and Christy had children in the Catholic school system who were involved with sports and were encouraged to attend college.  The couple wanted an open adoption, alleviating her concern of not knowing if Michael was healthy, happy and loved.

Now, eleven years later, Michael and Eggert continue to share holidays and milestones in each other’s lives.  She is married with children.  Michael and his brother even spend the night with each other. 

“Placing Michael for adoption was the most difficult thing I have ever done,” admits Eggert, and initially, feelings of guilt accompanied her decision.  But time and experience have altered those feelings.  As Eggert asserts, “I know now that I didn’t give Michael up…

I gave Michael better.”
 

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