Adoption Story: Jen & Shyne 

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Adoption Story: Jen & Shyne Shyne was eight months old when Jen’s parents took her in as a foster baby. Growing up in a large family with parents who had a desire to foster children in need, Jen was accustomed to her heart stretching with love for kids who weren’t her biological siblings. At the time her parents began fostering Shyne, Jen was a college graduate and new wife, a stage perhaps not typical of someone becoming a big sister via adoption. 

During Shyne’s first months of life, she had been left at home to be cared for by her older brothers, ages four and six. Drugs, alcohol and physical abuse were evident in the lives of her biological parents. The goal of Jen’s parents (and their family) was always reconciliation, but after many failed visitation meetings that Shyne’s extended family never showed up for, they began to wonder if adoption was the next best thing for both Shyne and the Johnson family. 

Despite being married and on her own, Jen was able to spend a lot of time with baby Shyne. She was the first to make her laugh as a baby, which Jen remembers to be such a hopeful shift in Shyne’s “tough cookie” personality. Shyne is very intense and free spirited, so very different from the rest of her older siblings. She sees things very clearly which has been such a defining character trait. 

When asked how Shyne’s adoption shaped her as an adult, Jen instantly teared up, “I remember the shift, the shift of the ‘I love you’ being the way I felt about my own siblings and not just the children we fostered over the years. Shyne’s adoption came into my life at the same time as I began walking through my infertility journey and I clearly remember thinking that this may be how I someday have my own family. It was so beautiful and I was so thankful. I love her. She is my sister.” 

Jen is now the mom of two beautiful daughters, Charlotte, curious and creative is nearly five; and Adelyn, feisty and a Honey Nut Cheerio connoisseur, is almost two. She said the time isn’t far off when she will tell Charlotte about Shyne’s adoption. For Jen, it’s one of the greatest honors of her life to tell her daughters about the beauty of adoption. She said she’s ever so grateful that God writes each family story so differently and that He does it perfectly. Adoption made her family larger in size, but her heart larger in ways she’s still learning to this day. 

Jen’s heart is for families to have reconciliation. She truly believes that there is a grace in life for adoption to be a part of everyone’s story. 

When asked to elaborate on that statement, her response was instantaneous, and nearly perfect… 

“There is a grace for adoption. A grace to adopt, a grace to support, a grace to have mercy and compassion. It absolutely looks differently for everyone but that is what gives the space for each of us on earth to be a part of loving and creating a family unit.”

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