Adoption And Fostering Part Two: Expanding Your Family Through Adoption 

Before Regina Leonard became a mother, adoption was always an option.”For me, personally, it’s something I’ve wanted to do my whole life. I was a single mother with my oldest and I know what that feels like to have the pressures that you’re being given. Had a few scares with them when I had him. Waited a long time to have another one. Got married, my husband and I finally decided we were going to try to have another child and some issues, had a miscarriage. Had a healthy pregnancy, but had enough scares that I didn’t really want to go that route. And I felt thankful that I have two beautiful healthy boys, but to add to our family, what better way than to adopt and bring a child into our lives. We’re kind of a blended family anyway. It really just makes sense,” said Leonard.The Leonards are currently in the home-study stage. That means a lot of paperwork, which can be overwhelming.”Once the home study is done, then we just have to choose an agency that we want to work with,” said Leonard.There are many options to consider, including international adoption.”We think if its really meant for us, it will be, and, so we’re really open to everything. As of right now, we’re really thinking we want to stay in the United States, but I’m not shutting doors to anything,” said Leonard.”Being a step dad comes with it’s challenges. But it’s a great feeling. If there’s anyone out there who’s a parent, they understand that kids change you and to be able to expand my family, and to bring in another child that, even though is not mine, it’s definitely going to be raised like it is mine. Just like the same love I have for Cooper, is the same love I have for Dylan, is the same love I’ll have for this new child,” said Chad Leonard.”We definitely want to be open with the child from the beginning. I want to celebrate the day that child was born, the day we brought them home, I want them to know that they were adopted and that we were lead to find them an have them be a part of our family,” said Leonard.For the Browns, the decision to continue to keep their son’s birth mother in his life, is something they say will ultimately be her decision.”We’re kind of just leaving it in her court. But, plan on giving her as much information as we can about him, if that’s what she wants,” said Melissa Brown.After the couple experienced four miscarriages, “”We both felt like adoption was the next step. We didn’t want to do in vitro, so we contacted the Maine Children’s Home and they gave us a list of adoption agencies to check out,” said Brown.”They came to us like all couples do, looking for more information, kind of finding out what adoption journey they were looking to take,” said Lindsay Bragdon, a social worker at the Maine Children’s Home.Since 1899, the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers in Waterville has been supporting Mainers, like the Browns, through the adoption process.It took a little over a year before the Browns were going to Virginia to meet their son.They spent three weeks there, waiting for the courts to let them take their son home.Though they had a successful pregnancy with their six month old, Talia, it came with many weeks of bed rest. They say they’ll most likely adopt again.”Just do it. Yeah, the scariness is all in your head the beginning.You can’t really ask for anything better than him, that’s for sure,” said Zach Brown.If you’re considering adopting, the Maine Children’s Home offers information sessions, open to the public, the last Wednesday of each month.You can call them at 873-4253, or visit their website at