Navigating the maze of Adoption

Idaho Youth Ranch counselors serve as bridge between birth parents, adoptive parents

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Chase Tripp, 2, smiles after his mom Brionn Tripp puts Play-Doh on his nose during Wednesday evening at their house in Post Falls. Chase and his twin brother Shea were adopted through the Idaho Youth Ranch Adoption Program.

COEUR d’ALENE — Brionn and Chad Tripp of Post Falls always wanted to be parents. But after years of trying, they realized they were unable to have kids.

Brionn has cousins that are adopted and said that throughout their attempts to have a child she had adoption in the back of her mind.

It was around her 30th birthday when she and Chad decided to visit an adoption agency, one Brionn knew of because the agency had a billboard she saw on the road every day during her commute to Spokane for work.

“We left that day, went to the bank to see if we could get financing for the whole process, and we walked out of there with a loan for more than the amount we needed,” Brionn said. “We knew right then that it was a done deal. We knew 100 percent that this was a sign that it was meant to be.”

Their first son Evan, who is now 5 years old, was adopted less than a year later through Spokane Consultants and Family Living. When Evan grew older, the couple began discussing the possibility of adopting another child. Initially they approached the same Spokane agency that facilitated Evan’s adoption, but the agency suggested they try Idaho Youth Ranch.

“When we couldn’t have kids, we just wanted to be parents and the number didn’t matter,” Chad said. “But we started talking about having another one. Lo and behold, we got two more.”

Since 1986, Idaho Youth Ranch has offered adoption services free of charge. Donna Euler, the program supervisor, told The Press that the free service was created to address a lack of counseling available in the community for women who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies.

“The decision of either being a parent or giving a child up for adoption is a life-changing one,” Euler said. “We counsel them and let them know what that decision looks like through the years so they can make a decision that’s in the best interest of the child. ”

Euler added the counselors at Idaho Youth Ranch have a “have briefcase, will travel” mentality when it comes to these women and their families. They will meet them wherever they feel most comfortable, she said, and finances are never a barrier to receive the services.

If a woman does choose to seek out adoption, a counselor will work with the birth mom on what their ideal family looks like. Once that criteria is established, Euler sifts through portfolios prepared by couples looking to adopt in order to find a potential match. The program gives priority to prospective adoptive parents from Idaho, but if the criteria can’t be met by a local couple, Euler said they can expand the search.

“It’s a wonderful way for us to serve these birth families who are having a crisis,” Euler said. “One person’s crisis is another family’s blessing.”

When the Tripps approached Idaho Youth Ranch, their portfolio was sent along with six others to a pregnant teenager in search of adoptive parents for her soon-to-be-born twins. The Tripps were unaware the teen was pregnant with twins, but when they were quickly selected by the girl, they jumped at the opportunity.

“When they were talking about twins I instantly felt that we were going to get the twins,” Chad said. “It didn’t really matter that there was one more kid. It’s not like we were going to just try to take one and separate them. It seemed natural.”

The program is unique for several reasons, Euler said, and one of those reasons is that there is a counselor that works with couples looking to adopt as well. When a match is made between a birth family and a couple willing to adopt, the counselors walk both parties through the process.

“What to do and where to go can be very challenging,” Euler said. “We are very good at navigating the maze of adoption.”

Chad and Brionn said that because they went through the adoption process with Evan they understood a lot about it. But they said the opportunity to have Idaho Youth Ranch counselors serve as a bridge between them and the birth mother of their twins, Shea and Chase, was invaluable.

“If we didn’t have them to counsel the birth moms, I think it would be a rougher transition for everybody,” Brionn said. “They’re the oil that keeps the engine running. They’re the ones that keep everything flowing.”

Chad added that having a counselor was important to him during the period between the birth of their kids and the adoptions being finalized in court.

“You don’t know quite how this is all going to shake out,” Chad said. “But the counseling that the girls get to get them over that bell curve after the birth just helps you trust everybody involved.”

Every year, the program facilitates adoptions for about 10 newborns and the available services don’t end after the child is born. Counselors work with both parties throughout the legal component of adoption and beyond.

“We’re in it for the long haul for both the birth parents and adoptive parents,” Euler said. “Regardless of the issues that occur afterward, we’re there in terms of support and counseling.”

Shea and Chase are now 2 years old and Brionn said she sends their birth mom updates and photos regularly. Both of the birth moms have become like aunts to the kids, she said, and the Tripps’ home is open to them whenever they would like to visit.

“They picked us. They knew as much as we knew that it was the right process,” Brionn said. “We let them lead the way because we want to make their life as easy as possible. Their choice is so courageous and strong and to be a birth mom and have that kind of strength is amazing.”

They added the choice to adopt their kids is one they will never regret.

“We have three beautiful, amazing children because of this, that we can hopefully raise to be productive members of society,” Brionn said. “We have great kids, only ours are not biologically ours.”

Euler encouraged people interested in the program to contact her at (208) 667-1898 or by email at deuler@youthranch.org.

Chad Tripp secures a vampire mask to his oldest son Evan Tripp, 4, during an evening playing with Play-Doh at their home in Post Falls on Wednesday evening. Chad and Brionn Tripp decided to adopt once they learned they couldn’t have children. Evan was adopted through Spokane Consultants in Family Living.

 

Brionn Tripp plays with Play-Doh with her two two-year-old twins Shane, left, and Chase Tripp at their home in Post Falls on Wednesday evening. Brionn and her husband Chad Tripp adopted Shea and Chase from the Idaho Youth Ranch Adoption Program.

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