March 2014


The Benslays

 Garrett and Lisa share about their journey with IPAS.



Why did you choose IPAS?


Our journey to adoption was a long, emotional one. Like many couples, we experienced numerous unsuccessful attempts at conceiving. After being told that we would most likely not be able to conceive even with assisted reproductive techniques, we knew that door was closed. We knew we wanted to be parents so we began doing our research on adoption. We chose IPAS for a couple of reasons. It has a long history in the valley and an esteemed reputation. Also, many moons ago, Karen Spencer's daughter and I went through the teacher credentialing program together at Fresno Pacific and I got to hear even more of the great things that IPAS was

doing for couples wanting to build a family.


What was your wait like?


Every adoptive family's story is different. For us, we finished our adoption classes and all paperwork in the early spring of 2009. By June, we knew we were officially chosen by our birthmother and father and that we were going to have a little girl. A little over two months later, we brought Brielle home. During that time we bought a few things to prepare, just the bare minimum. Not wanting to jinx anything, we held off on any baby showers until after we had our child. Friends of ours, Duncan and Theresa Needham were so generous and gave us many practical things that were outgrown by their youngest daughter Abby Grace.


What was it like to get "the call?" What happened?


We knew the general time frame of when the baby was due. So, we didn't make any plans and stayed close to home. We had made a plan with the birthmom that the birthdad would text us when they were on their way to the hospital. It didn't play out that way though. We got a call from our social worker early in the morning, letting us know that our birthmom had just been admitted to the hospital but that it would be a little while still.   We slowly ate breakfast, got dressed, and headed over to the hospital. We called our parents and let them know that we were going to the hospital and that they should come keep us company while we waited. And there we waited for hours and hours in the main lobby.


How did you feel when you saw your baby for the first time?


Our daughter was so cute! We had to wait a long time at the hospital before we were finally able to see her. We had previously made a plan with the birthmom about how she would hand the baby over to us. It didn't play out that way. We were finally allowed to go up and see the baby while she was still in the room with the birthmom, birthdad, and birthgrandma. Being in the room was very awkward. I didn't want to show too much emotion while they were all watching us. We spent just a few minutes with her and then left again for Brielle to spend some last minutes with her birth family before being transferred to the nursery where we were finally able to spend as much time with her as we wanted.


How was the finalization process?


The finalization process just seemed like we were gathering one form after another while jumping through hoops. IPAS does a good job at letting you know what paperwork you need to get from the courthouse. The final home visit was fun to show our social worker, Lisa, how our daughter was progressing.


Are you enjoying parenthood?


We love parenthood! It is so evident that Brielle was destined by God to be our daughter. We enjoy every minute of every day with her!   While it was not evident to us while we were going through the disappointment of unsuccessful fertility treatments, God's ultimate plan for us was revealed when we were able to bring Brielle home. We enjoy a good relationship with both birthmom and birthdad and their families. We are very thankful that they all want to continue to be a part of Brielle's life. There are so many more people to spoil her!


IPAS encourages waiting families to be open about their adoption journey.  Perhaps someone they share their story with will know of an individual in an unintended pregnancy who might consider open adoption for their child.  One just never knows how their baby will come into their family and lives.  Word of mouth can be a wonderful referral source.        

When God Found Us You

      By: Chastity Burke


I organized the bookcase the other day, and as a result Ella has been finding all kinds of books we haven't read in a while (or "100 years," as she likes to say). Last night, she uncovered and asked me to read, When God Found Us You by Lisa Tawn Bergren.


I bought the book when she was about two, maybe a little younger, when we realized that we really needed to establish that she was adopted and what that meant before it got awkward. So I ordered this book along with Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis, as we had already established a habit of reading together. These books combined with her baby book and the stories therein really provided the foundation for what she has been told. Now at five, she understands that she is adopted, that she grew in someone else's belly, not mine, but that I love her with all my heart.


Like the book, we always say God had a hand at making our family.


She loves the stories about her adoption. We brought her home on my birthday and I tell her she's my best birthday present ever. (More than once, when she was in trouble, she has tried to bring that up. "But Mom, what was your best present ever? Was it me? Was it this little one?") She loves to hear how I called a relative who had just had a baby three weeks prior:


Me:       Hey!

Her:      Hey! Happy Birthday!

Me:       Thanks! Guess what I got?

Her:      What?

Me:       A playmate for Madeline (the three-week-old).


Of course, she and Madeline are now buddies which makes the story that much more sweet. She likes to hear about what her grandmas said when they found out. I know she'll have more questions when she is older, but she is satisfied with what she knows now and is comfortable talking about it and asking questions.


So as I read the book, I remember the first time I opened it and I couldn't get through the first few pages without crying. (Honestly, I don't think any person who's ever had any trouble getting pregnant or carrying a child could read that without tearing up just a bit). Now I read it with ease. Last night when she was cuddled up next to me pretending to be the little fox in the book I just savored it, remembering all of that time I spent longing for those cuddles.


Then we read Angelina Ballerina. Because she's five and she likes to dance, and because every other thing about her life and our family is completely typical, it just started out a little differently.


-Chastity and her husband adopted their daughter through Infant of Prague in 2008.










The annual IPAS Family Picnic will be Saturday, May 10, at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.  You don't want to miss out on this fun day!  Details will be arriving in your mailbox shortly. 
The Adoptive Family network (AFN) will be traveling on the train from Fresno to Hanford on May 17.  The tentative schedule is leaving Fresno between 10-11 and returning between 3-4.  The stops in Hanford will include the carousel and ice cream at Superior Dairy.  Please contact Ruthann for more information!

Our second annual birthmother retreat was a success!  We are so grateful to those of you who volunteered to make this weekend so wonderful whether it be through crafts, snacks, gifts, or encouraging letters.  We appreciate you and your hearts for the brave birth parents we get the honor of serving. 

Mark Your Calendar!
  • March 11 - 6 PM Prospective Adoptive Parents Informational Meeting at the IPAS office.
  • March 11 - 11:30 AM - 1:30 PM Free BRN CEU Adoption Awareness Seminar at the IPAS office.
  • March 27 - 6 PM Board Meeting at the IPAS office.
Please call 447-3333 with any questions.
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