Joel & Annie's Story

Early on in our relationship, Joel said he wanted to adopt someday. We didn’t realize then how prevalent this option for starting a family would be in our relationship. After two and a half years of trying to have a child and going through several other options adoption came back into our lives as a real option to expand our family. We were ready for this next exciting step.

Initially we started with a different agency. We had reservations about signing their contract, feeling like we might be just another name on a waiting list of prospective adoptive parents. Annie started searching online for other agencies and found Graceful Adoptions. The positive reviews left by both birth-moms and adoptive parents was encouraging. Karen was easy to talk to, upfront about the sometimes-challenging process, and clearly advocates for the moms she works with. With an outcome that mattered so much to us, it was reassuring to feel heard by the people that would help us become parents.

Meeting Kristen for the first time we were nervous. Once we sat down with her, we felt at ease.

We were amazed by the strong, funny, kind, and resilient woman before us. We left our time with Kristen feeling lighter and full of anticipation for the birth.

I (Annie) was able to be present for Iris’ birth, and it was a gift I’ll never forget. I held Kristen’s hand as the doctor delivered this perfect baby girl, and we cried together as our daughter wailed her way into the world. The birth, the adoption, was the most humbling experience of my life. I pray Iris always knows how much her mom loved her in making this decision. We are so incredibly blessed to be her parents, and love her more than words could ever begin to convey.

We experienced some highs and lows in our adoption journey with two failed matches. Graceful Adoptions remained steadfast in their belief that we would be parents, and strongly and lovingly encouraged us to stay the course.  Our advice to adoptive parents is to be open to situations that present themselves. Trust that in the end, your child is worth whatever wait and struggle you experience.

Annie and Joel Barbour
Ames, IA