A local adoption agency, AdoptionLife.org, hosted a grand reopening on May 11.
Melissa Williams, the executive director of AdoptionLife.org said the agency two years ago was Adoption.org.
“There was a need in Idaho and especially in southeast Idaho,” Williams said. “There’s only a couple adoption agencies in Idaho, and they’re all located up north.”
Idaho currently has 1,818 children in foster care and 373 children waiting for adoptive families, according to adoptuskids.org.
The grand reopening was held at AdoptionLife.org’s Rexburg location on Fourth North.
Courtney Excell, a resident of Rigby, was one of the adoptive parents who attended the event.
Excell recently received a newborn baby through AdoptionLife.org. Excell said she and her husband, Zack, started putting in their paperwork in August 2016, and were contacted by a birth mother in January.
“From what we’ve been told, she saw our profile and said, ‘I need to talk to them,’” Excell said.
Excell said their son, Easton, was born three weeks later. His middle name, Maddox, comes from the restaurant they met the birth mother at in Brigham City, Utah.
“AdoptionLife was good at walking us through the adoption steps,” Excell said.
She has been handing out AdoptionLife.org’s number to friends who are interested.
Excell said there was tons of paperwork to do when she and her husband started working with AdoptionLife.org. One of the things they had to do was a homestudy.
Williams said they needed to participate in a home study. This is where a licensed professional goes into a hopeful family’s home and makes sure it is suitable for an adopted child to live in.
AdoptionLife.org raffled off a free homestudy at the reopening. According to their Facebook page, it was a $1,200 value.
There were 428,000 children in foster care in 2015, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“The number of adoptions finalized each year has remained relatively flat (between 50,000 to 53,500) over the last decade,” according to AdoptionLife.org. “There were 53,500 adoptions in 2015.”
Williams said AdoptionLife.org provides services throughout Idaho and Utah. They can also do out-of-state adoptions as long as they work through a licensed adoption professional in that state.
“Our philosophy is really, about life,” Williams said, in an interview with BYU-Idaho Radio. “The birth mother chooses life for her child by choosing an adoptive family.”
She said adoption changes the lives of the adoptive family.
“[Rexburg] is a family community, and we’re about families,” Williams said. “That’s why we opened up an adoption agency in this area.”
Eric Cheney and Amy Koplin also recently adopted a child through AdoptionLife.org.
They flew to New Jersey after being selected by a birth mother there. She had picked them out of 10 families.
Koplin said it took them about six months from the time they applied to the time they were selected. They hope the adoption will be final in June or July.
“AdoptionLife was great throughout the process,” Cheney said.
AdoptionLife.org has seven core principles, according to their website: social contribution, client first, value driven, ethical, global, technology, A+ personnel and storytelling.
“I take really great pride in our staff, who are very caring and very involved and very supportive of our families and of our expectant parents,” Williams said.
Cheney said they had a hard time getting their son back to Idaho. Newborn babies are required to have a letter from a pediatrician.
“It’s to make sure they’re safe to travel,” Cheney said.
Cheney said they found out about this requirement the night before their flight was due to leave and had to scramble to find a pediatrician in New Jersey who would look at the newborn.
Fortunately, they were able to get the letter and return home to Idaho.
AdoptionLife.org operates an office in Rexburg and another in West Jordan, Utah, according to their website.
Their website is https://adoptionlife.org/.