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By Elizabeth Strauch '04

As we pursue what matters to us, we often encounter false starts, failures, surprising shifts or unexpected obstacles. We may have to change plans, change our definition of success or adjust our expectations. In times of doubt and disappointment, we seek stories of those who have traveled a similar road.

Alumni Jaime (Fangio) Stoess '03 and Brian Stoess '05 met at Whitworth, married in 2005, and planned to have a child by 2010. In 2013, when they realized pregnancy was not likely to happen naturally, they began looking into adoption. Their revised timeline lengthened, and came to include points of heartache, waning patience and moments of hope.

As the late poet Mary Oliver wrote, "Things take the time they take." This is the time – and the trials – it took the Stoesses to become a family of three.

Quotes excerpted from Jaime's blog:

March 2013

"I've never, ever felt called to adoption. It's never appealed to me. One day I realized that God was probably trying to change my heart, so I did the natural thing and got mad. 'Why me?' Adoption takes time to process. Right now I am feeling okay about it – some days I’m even excited by the thought."

November 2014

Adoption agency chosen, paperwork begins.


January 2015

"I don't really do resolutions, but I do try to pick a word or theme with which to frame the year. This year, I decided my theme is 'Expect Miracles.' I need to expect miracles and to ask, unabashedly, for what I want even if the end result isn't how I wanted it. We have found a placement agency to work with and have begun to fill out the application. It's very involved, very intrusive, and it makes me sweat (and whine), but it's exciting to feel like we’re finally taking some tangible steps toward starting our family."

March 2015

Adoption application mailed.

April 2015

Foster parent training (required in Colorado in order to adopt), CPR class and home study.

October 2015

Home study approved. Jaime and Brian await a placement. "It really does try one's faith, hope and patience to feel like you are 'expecting' but not know when. The only analogy I have is that it feels like God is planning a surprise party for us. A party that will completely change the rhythm of our lives (and take away a lot of our sleep). But we only suspect he's up to something and have no idea when, how or even if he's going to do it."

November 2015-November 2016

Still waiting.

December 2016

"As each month of 2016 passed with no progress or news of any kind, I became increasingly not okay with not being in control. I KNOW YOU KNOW MY PLAN, GOD. Why are you messing with me? This adoption process was planted in faith. Each time I felt like quitting, someone would contact me with words and prayers of encouragement. Those moments were everything to me."

January 2017

After receiving no profiles from their adoption agency, Brian and Jaime open their adoption to include foster-to-adopt. They could be called any time to foster a child in need of a permanent home.

"Right now the most challenging part of beginning this journey is that we can always say no. We have to make the hard choice; we have to intentionally choose yes. What if I say no too many times and miss out on the child God has chosen for us?"

June 2017

After making the painful decision to decline several foster placements, Brian and Jaime decide they are not ready to foster-to-adopt, and begin looking for a new adoption agency.

"This journey has made Ephesians 1 so much more powerful. We've all been adopted as God's children, without hesitation, including all of our failures, faults, diseases and sins. Having been asked to do the same for foster children, and failing, makes me realize all the more how incredible God's love is."

September 2017

The Stoesses select an adoption agency that specializes in domestic infant adoption. The application process starts all over again.


January 2018
The new agency approves the Stoesses, and they are placed on the list of waiting families.

August 2018
Brian and Jaime are notified about a baby due soon, and they are selected to be the baby's adoptive parents.

August 31, 2018
Baby Adley is born.

September 1, 2018
The Stoesses bring Adley home.

March 15, 2019
Adley's adoption is finalized.

March 30, 2019
"The person I was in March 2013 was mad about everything. She felt forced into adoption and didn't want anything to do with a birth family. She wanted someone to give her a baby and she wanted to take that baby and pretend like she birthed it.

"I am continuously in awe at the gift Adley's birthmother gave us; the weight of it hits me often and I cannot fathom how we get to be the recipients of that kind of bravery, love and sacrifice. I love Adley's birth family and I want her to love them, too. They are the whole reason she exists, the whole reason I get to be a mom, and they love her so much; how can I not love them?" 

How long did it take you to accomplish a goal? Your story might bring hope to fellow alums. Let us know at for possible inclusion in our online feature.

Jaime and Brian's story appears in the fall 2019 issue of Whitworth Today magazine.

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