Every year, we get excited for November because it’s National Adoption Month — a month devoted to advocating for children who are waiting for permanent, loving families, and raising awareness about the continuing need for and issues surrounding adoption!
But it’s not just agencies and organizations that raise awareness during this special time of year. Any person impacted by adoption has a story to share, and, no matter their role, every voice and perspective is valuable.
Adoption Choices of Colorado is here to share their stories! Let us take you on a journey through the complexities and joys of building a family through adoption. This week, we had the joyous opportunity to interview Tony Albrecht. Him and his wife, Shelly, have been married for 10 years and have one adopted child, Madelyn Albrecht. Here’s a deeper look into their adoption story.
PB: How did you decide to adopt?
TA: My wife and I both have a number of family members who were adopted. It stems primarily from that, I think. My wife’s maternal grandmother, my paternal grandfather and my uncle’s youngest daughter were all adopted. These people played a big role in shaping our lives and our decision to adopt. Somebody gave them an opportunity that transformed our family and ultimately impacted our view of adoption.
Shelly and I shared a desire to have lots of kids. We always wanted to adopt! The decision to adopt was about wanting to impact someone else’s life for the better.
PB: How long ago did you adopt?
TA: We adopted almost 7 years ago. In the first year of trying natural conception, we weren’t successful. We went through treatment, and shortly after, we decided to go ahead and start the adoption process. We were pretty anxious to have kids!
I’ll never forget being in my office in the summer of 2012. It was like 90 degrees because the A/C wasn’t on! Shelly and I were working on our adoption book at the time. It’s crazy to think that it only took four months to match successfully and within a few weeks of starting the adoption process we also discovered we were pregnant. So, four and a half months after Madelyn was born, we delivered another girl, Gabriella. Now, we have 3 beautiful girls. Madelyn’s birthday is December 7, 2012. Gabriella’s is April 25, 2013. Henley’s in September 4, 2016.
PB: What type of adoption did you choose?
TA: We have a semi-open adoption.
PB: How has that worked out?
TA: Even though we have a semi-open adoption, Madelyn’s birth mother doesn’t communicate with us. We send our annual updates to the agency but have never gotten a response. She’s such a strong woman, and I imagine it’s difficult for her to stay in contact.
PB: Have you ever wished you’d chosen differently?
TA: No. From an adoptive parent’s standpoint, our adoption has been pretty ideal. Compared to some colleagues at work who have also adopted, Shelly and I don’t have any bad thoughts or experiences. As Madelyn gets older, the challenge we often discuss is how much contact we want her to have with her birth mother.
PB: What was the highlight of your adoption experience?
TA: The ability for Gabriella to have a sister to look up to and who is so close to her in age, has been life-changing. Our three girls get along very well, but Madelyn and Gabriella are attached at the hip. To imagine life without Madelyn is unthinkable.
Beyond that, adoption marked the beginning of parenthood for Shelly and me. We took a massive step in growing up and letting our own selfish desires take a back seat. I can’t speak for Shelly, but Madelyn pushed me into adulthood and helped me discover how to put other people in front of myself. My wife is a saint, but Madelyn pushed that onto me unexpectedly and faster than the first few years of marriage.
PB: What was the biggest challenge?
TA: I think, at the time of the adoption, it was the logistics and financial burden. I remember getting all the final bills and thinking this was more than we expected. Some of the hospital bills weren’t covered by insurance, but looking back now, it seems like nothing. We wouldn’t change it for the world.
As time progresses, the challenge is figuring out how to set Madelyn up for success. We know she may be targeted for the difference in her life – being adopted. A lot of my concern is how we are going to build her up so that she can combat those issues. We want her to appreciate the opportunity in the years to come while giving her the same guidance as our other children, but give her space to grow and find her own unique identity.
PB: Would you adopt again?
TA: If money, if jobs, if the right size of house weren’t an issue, I think we would continue adopting for years to come. Shelly and I love kids so much, and they’ve kept us young at heart. They’ve also kept us busy! There’s no doubt the value children bring to our lives. Yes, they challenge us and push our buttons. But it’s more than worth it.
PB: How has adoption impacted your life?
TA: Madelyn has opened my eyes and perspective on caring for others. She’s been the linchpin for that shift in me.
PB: Do you have any advice for other adoptive parents who are looking to adopt?
TA: For those in the midst of making the decision to adopt: My advice is to go full-bore ahead! It’s the best experience you can possibly imagine and will have a huge impact on your life.
For those in the throes of the adoption process: Make sure to take time to appreciate your spouse, and to step back and realize that you’re probably doing everything in your power to make life the best for everyone. Pat yourself on the back every now and then. You’re doing an amazing job! Remember to keep your head up, and don’t be afraid to ask others for help. I’m sure they’ll want to wrap their arms around you in a show of comfort.
Albrecht Adoption Story
It’s fitting that this year’s National Adoption Month focuses on why family matters. As you can tell, family is the epitome of happiness for Tony and Shelly Albrecht. Without Madelyn, their lives wouldn’t be the same. Without Madelyn, Gabriella and Henley wouldn’t be able to experience the joyousness that is having another sister. Adoption was a gift for the Albrecht family. It allowed them the opportunity to make their family whole.
Adoption Choices of Colorado
For more information on adoption please contact Adoption Choices of Colorado. We can be reached via our website or phone 303-670-4401.
Support Adoption Choices
Adoption Choices, Inc. is partnering with Crowdrise, a fundraising website for nonprofits, to help our adoptive parents and birth parents with much needed financial assistance. We understand that expenses keep clients from fulfilling their dreams. Both with birth parents making a plan for adoption, and with adoptive parents growing their family. It is our mission to provide financial assistance through grants and scholarships, awarded annually in November, in honor of National Adoption Month. Funds assist adoptive parents with matching and placements, adoption finalization and helping birth mothers improve their lives through higher education — and much more.
However, we can’t do it alone. Please read up on our programs and donate money where you are able. Your donation will make a huge impact.
About the Author
Patience Bramlett, a University of Southern Mississippi news editorial graduate, is a seasoned and award-winning freelance writer. She is also a passionate reader, whose only wish is to live life without fear of the unknown. Her motivation and inspiration to live her best life stems from the words of John Lennon:
“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
This year, she’s officially joining Adoption Choices Inc. as a Content Writer. Fueled by her love of family, she hopes to educate those looking to grow their families through adoption.
When Patience is not exploring Colorado with her husband, she’s drinking coffee, forever figuring out how to tame her hair, growing her library, and trying to break into the publishing career.