Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: The Miracle of Adoption

noem press header kristi noem headshot May 21 2014The Miracle of Adoption
By Rep. Kristi Noem

Not every family’s path to parenthood is easy.  Many people struggle in ways that can be devastating for a family to endure.  Pat and Julie Schneider of Turton are one of those couples.  They struggled with infertility for nearly a decade before looking into adoption as an option for their family.  Because November is National Adoption Month, I wanted to share a piece of their journey through adoption, hoping it can serve as encouragement and inspiration to others.

For Pat and Julie, it took mountains of paperwork and numerous in-home visits, heartbreaks and setbacks, until finally a birth mother chose them and the couple became parents to a baby girl, Caycee.  A few years later, the family expanded once again with the adoption of their second daughter, Jadyn, and four years after that, their son Gavin was welcomed into the family through adoption.

Each of the Schneider family’s three adoptions has been open.  Pat and Julie have even collaborated with the respective birth mothers to help select names for their children.  The arrangement has also enabled both them and their children to build relationships with the birth mothers, all of whom are from South Dakota. 

Today, the Schneider family serves as tremendous advocates for adoption, often acting as mentors to those going through the emotional ups and downs of the adoption process.  Because of the inspirational example this family sets, I was honored to nominate Pat and Julie as this year’s “Angels in Adoption,” a national recognition offered to those who have made a lasting impact on the lives of children through adoption. 

About one in 10 couples struggle with infertility like Pat and Julie did.  While some are eventually able to build their families with the help of medical innovations, many take the Schneider family’s path and turn to adoption. 

For these families, the emotional trials of the adoption process are often times only part of the challenge.  The financial strains can be significant as well.  Since 1997, the federal government has offered some degree of tax relief to these families in order to help offset adoption and attorney fees, court costs, travel expenses, and re-adoption expenses for intercountry adoptions.  We’ve helped many families through this credit, but I believe improvements can still be made.  One of the reforms I’ve been supportive of would make the tax credit fully refundable, meaning families who may have limited tax liabilities would be able to receive a greater benefit.

Outside of working toward policy reform, my congressional office serves as a resource for families – especially those looking to adopt internationally – when they run into trouble navigating the various federal bureaucracies that are involved in the adoption process.  If you or your family is having issues with an adoption, I encourage you to reach out to our nearest office location. For more information, please visit noem.house.gov.

My husband and I have always tried to teach our children that family is more about what is in your heart than in your bloodstream.  Today, I have two spunky, kind, and beautiful nieces who were brought into our family through adoption.  Our world wouldn’t be the same without them.

I encourage you to take time in the coming weeks to consider how adoption has changed your life or the life of a family around you.  Understanding more about the process, struggles and joys these families face often times shows just how much of a miracle adoption can be.

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One thought on “Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: The Miracle of Adoption

  1. Lana Greenfield

    Pat and Julie are great spokespeople for adoption. They have a wonderful family and have provided a warm, well-nurtured home for the children. They participate in a wide range of family activities, and all are blessed to have each other. If anyone is thinking about adoption but has reservations, Pat and Julie would be great people to contact. My husband and I are especially happy for their receiving this honor as they are our former students, graduates of Doland High School.