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Meet the Carlson Family: An Adoptive Family from Colorado

Over a period of 23 years, Ronda and Joe Carlson have adopted 5 foster children, blending them in with their 3 birth children to create a diverse, fun-loving family. Influenced by Ronda’s parents who provided foster care while she was growing up, Ronda and Joe decided early in their marriage that they wanted to foster and adopt.

“We rely strongly on our faith as we raise adopted teens.”

Two of the Carlson children are now young adults, busy establishing careers and families. Twenty-five-year-old son Caleb, adopted at age 6 months, now has a baby girl of his own. Daughter Hannah, age 23, recently started her career as a Pediatric Nurse. Daughter Savannah is a quiet, friendly 20-year-old whom the family adopted at age 2. A former high school gymnastics star, athletic Savannah participates in many sports. Savannah treasures her time with her siblings. Outgoing Rebeccah, age 17, plays tennis on her school’s team and whips up culinary delights in the family kitchen. Rebeccah looks forward to a career as a chef. Landon, age 14, keeps busy with a variety of sports and church activities. This young man especially enjoys exploring the great outdoors with his parents and siblings. Eli, age 13, is a sociable boy who joined the Carlson family as a toddler. Eli enjoys physical activities such as swimming, playing basketball, and dancing, as well as the dramatic arts. He regularly appears in school plays. Eleven-year-old Mya is also interested in sports and drama. Mya plays basketball, volleyball, softball, and soccer. This outgoing girl also likes to act. Mya was 2 years old at the time of her adoption. The youngest Carlson is 4-year-old Ava, whom the family adopted 2 years ago. Ava loves “anything to do with art, music, or dancing.” She likes outdoor play as well.

Several of the Carlson youngsters have physical disabilities, chronic medical conditions, or on-going mental health needs. The family says that having Medicaid as a secondary insurance has helped them “tremendously!” Asked about obstacles they have faced, the Carlsons report, “The adoptions were long processes even when they didn’t need to be. Our youngest daughter was abandoned at age 2 weeks, but it still took 2.5 years to adopt her.” Ronda and Joe implore members of Congress to address these kinds of delays. “Children are kept in limbo far too long while waiting for birth parents to complete their treatment plans. Even newborns placed immediately into foster care aren’t able to be adopted for at least 1.5 years. These children deserve better from our society.”

The Carlsons credit their faith with guiding them in adopting and in parenting. “We wanted to give children in need a forever home regardless of their physical or mental challenges. We believed God would give us the strength we needed to handle difficulties as they arose. We continue to rely strongly on our faith as we raise adopted teens and address the struggles that they face.” To others who may be pondering the adoption of foster children, Ronda advises, “Take a risk. There are so many unknowns and it is scary, but what an adventure it is! You won’t be sorry.”