Hi! My name is Melissa and I am the founder of Subsidy Shades {www.subshades.com}, an organization which raises funds for couples in financial need of completing their family through the miracle of adoption. More importantly I am a mom to my sweet daughter and son who was blessed into my family through the power of adoption. Adoption has always been on my heart. Growing up with only one grandparent, I had a very special bond to my grandmother {whom adopted my dad at birth – infant domestic closed adoption in 1959}. She always voiced her love and gratitude to the woman who blessed her with her son, Ric {my father}. I knew early on, when I was ready to form a family that I wanted to adopt. When I met my husband and things started to get serious in our relationship, I told him if he wanted to marry me he would have to be open to adoption. He took me to New York City, proposed to me at the Rockefeller Center two nights before New Year’s Eve and told me he wanted to adopt babies with me. Well, I was sold. LOL Just kidding. That’s when I knew that I should say “yes” to the question, “will you marry me?” We went through the engagement/marriage process and decided to wait a year in our marriage before we started investigating adoption. Once that year passed, I hit the ground running. I called the only person I knew who had adopted her children and she recommended an agency, we went from there. We were presented our first profile – a single mother of four living in Detroit. As I read her paperwork, tears streamed down my face. So many tragedies has occurred in this young 30-something’s life. I felt instantly connected to her. My husband and I gave thoughtful and prayful consideration to it and felt it was the right thing to do to say yes. A few days later, we received the call that she had also said yes. And with that a family was born. Here is a letter I sent to Jo less than 24 hours after we received the call from our agency:

Dear Jacenta, Words cannot describe how grateful, humbled, happy and excited Robert and I are since receiving the call from Act of Love yesterday afternoon. THANK YOU! We have never felt so honored in our lives. Thank you for gifting my husband and I this beautiful miracle. Robert and I have been married for almost two years and so badly want to start a family. My father was adopted. My grandmother just adores my father –even till this day at his age of 52! Her example and love influenced my decisions concerning my dreams of my own family. Last night, I was able to call up my 91 year old grandmother to share this wonderful moment in both of our lives and share tears of joy with one another. My mother a few hours after receiving the news came by my house with a bag full of brand new baby girl clothes that she had just bought. I have had an outpour of love from family and friends in the last 12 hours – so many tears and shared excitement. This child is so loved by so many people. I know that she is especially loved by you. Your profile touched my heart. I felt such a strong connection to your willingness to overcome hardships in your life. What a beautiful woman you have become to put your unborn child before yourself. You have chosen my husband I to give us the greatest gift any human being on earth could ever give us. I am so humbled by your decision and have such a strong love and admiration towards you! Your name will always be a loving word in our house. Our child will always know the love you had for her to go through this very difficult process. Robert and I would love if you could give us anything to share with this baby girl. Pictures- of you, your family, your children, any personal stories? Anything you feel comfortable sharing with us, we would cherish. This life is progress not perfection and I am so grateful that we will always be a part of each other’s lives within our own hearts. You will be blessed for this selfless act; you are such an amazing, beautiful person. I just can’t tell you that enough!! Robert and I love you and thank you!! We hope that you will be comfortable with sharing pictures and/or stories with us. And who knows? Maybe within time we will be able to share emails with one another – regardless, we accept your decisions and your privacy. If this does happen to be the last letter I can give you, I want you to know that we will forever be indebted to you; you are an angel in our lives and an answer to our prayers. God will bless you! We love you!! Robert and Melissa

We spent every waking hour in the hospital together and was able to form a real special bond. Jo’s stance on openness was that she wanted a closed adoption. Robert and I both accepted and respected her wishes. I will never forget the gut wrenching goodbye I said to my Jacenta while she was in the hospital. I walked into her room with my husband Robert, shortly after she had signed the adoption papers with tears flooding down my face. I rushed straight for her and we clung to each other so tightly, nothing could be between us – we were tied at the heart. And then she left. I sat in the hospital room with a 3 day old gift in my arms named Jacqueline, looking out the window to a woman slowly walking to her car, head down in immense grief. I was devastated for her loss. The day that she signed the relinquishment papers she handed me a napkin with all her information written on it. Our open adoption had officially begun.

When Jacquie was three months old, I found out that Jo and family were becoming homeless, I quickly acted. I flew the whole family to come live with my Robert and I in California, as we frantically raised funds to get them a roof over their heads. The outpour of love from our family and friends and many generous strangers was amazing! In the end they were with us for 6 weeks and flew back to a forever home in Detroit, paid in FULL.  Since then our adoption journey has been beautiful. I am in contact with Jo a few times a week, we talk about the kids, work, our personal lives and are just friends. She recently was able to visit with us for a few weeks to spend time with Jacqueline on her second birthday. We are both very secure in our decision and positions as birth mom and adoptive mom. I couldn’t ask for more.