Justine + Brian need your help!


Hi and happy 2018! My sister, Jackie, and I are here to share our older sister Justine's story and highlight what HOPE can look like. Our goal with this campaign is to share Justine and Brian’s story of perseverance, dedication, and commitment. With this campaign, we can come together and help her and Brian with one of life's greatest gifts – the adoption of a child. Our sister Justine is the strongest and most inspirational person we know. Justine is just a special person; one who has given most of her adult life to others. She is always the first to volunteer her time for those in need, babysit for you at the last minute when the sitter falls through, be on the line during a crisis, or simply love on your pets when you need her to! The only thing that competes with her desire to help those less fortunate is her mad love of animals! After receiving her masters degree in Social Work, she's helped hundreds of people with their life struggles. She was recognized for her efforts in the community as a part of AIDS Athens and now works as a medical social worker at St. Mary’s Hospital. Justine has committed her life to the mantra that others come before herself. In 2011, just three months before her wedding day, Justine was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer... This was without question the scariest day of our lives. I’ve always looked up to my sisters, and this news just felt like it couldn’t be real. Justine had surgery immediately, but deferred chemotherapy until after the wedding day. Their first years of marriage were not that of most – they were tough – lots of chemo, lots of additional surgeries, lots of stress…but with the help of an amazing support system, Justine and Brian persevered. Justine stayed hopeful, and continued to be a shining inspiration to everyone around her. After treatment, our family was grateful to hear a positive prognosis and that the cancer was in remission. It was time to look ahead, it was a time to put the worst behind, it was a time to look into the future and think about a family. The positivity of what could be a new life chapter came crashing down when Justine found out shortly thereafter that chemotherapy had left her unable to conceive children. Many months were spent looking into options but her Oncologist was adamant that any fertility treatments would increase the likelihood of a cancer reoccurrence. The long-term emotional impact of cancer treatment is in some ways as challenging as the treatment themselves. Justine had persevered through treatment and had beaten the cancer, but the delivery of this news was a crushing emotional blow and we could see she was losing hope in anything going right. I always knew my sister would be a great mom, she has always wanted to be a mother, so this news hit everyone hard. We couldn’t truly understand what that news felt like for her, all we could do was be there to support her as she and her husband wrapped their heads around the enormity of life’s newest challenge. As the emotional healing continued, Justine and Brian decided they were ready to pursue adoption. We were so excited to hear this news and in our minds thought "great, they’ll have a child soon that we’ll be able to welcome into our family”. I wasn't anywhere close to understanding the convoluted and emotionally taxing process that is adoption. Domestic adoption is not cheap, nor is it simple. The home study is exhausting and stressful, and the average cost is between $30-$50k. Justine and Brian signed up with a reputable national agency and spent almost $20,000 in agency fees, adoption classes and home study expenses. They spent months developing their profile as potential parents, and then just played the waiting game. A year later….still nothing. They updated their paperwork again, more interviews, more letters, more references, they were feeling defeated but our family continued to encourage them to stick with it as the agency promised them it would happen "soon". It was two years later… and the day came. I got a text from my Justine "You wont believe this" And I clicked the link to an article showing that The Independent Adoption Center had filed for bankruptcy and had closed its doors immediately. Shut their doors, locked everyone out, shut down all their social media accounts, and just disappeared into nothing. Reports have shown they were invoicing clients up to the week before they announced the bankruptcy. We all thought, “How could a company be so disgusting and leave all these people with nothing?” I was sick to my stomach, and again couldn’t even begin to understand or imagine how Justine and Brian felt. This latest challenge was too much, and Justine and Brian took it as a sign that maybe they just werent meant to be parents. They were now out over two years of time, and close to $20,000 in fees paid to the agency – money they never got back. They chose to not pursue parenthood any further and focused their attention on their friend’s children, niece and nephew. When asked about picking back up the pieces and trying again, they simply said they couldn’t do it– not financially, not emotionally. Many of us pressed them not to give up – I wanted to be an uncle again, my sister Jackie wanted the chance to be an aunt as Justine is to her children…we just knew what great parents they would be. However, It was too soon for them to hear those encouraging words and so we accepted their choice to not move forward with adoption and let them begin to heal again. I started to wonder how anyone maintains hope after so many defeats but I also know my sister is unstoppable and Brian is her biggest supporter!! Another year has passed and Justine and Brian have proved us right – they are now ready to pick back up the process, alongside the help of a private adoption attorney. To do this they need help, so that’s why we’re asking for it today. They are prepared for whatever emotional journey lies ahead, but in order to move forward they need to know they can afford the expenses. If you’ve made it this far into this story, we’re eternally grateful. Anything you can donate, public or anonymous, would be so greatly appreciated. Ive started with $500. We are trying to raise as much as we can prior to Justine's Birthday in March – that seems like the perfect birthday gift of hope! If you can’t donate, we ask you share this story to help inspire others. Through Justine,we have learned of many people facing similar struggles of both cancer and infertility and the feelings of loss and grief that come with it. She understands the importance of letting people be where they are in their struggles, but we believe this story can have a happy ending. Justine is beautiful, strong and inspirational woman…her and Brian truly deserve the blessing of being able to be parents to a lucky child. Thank you! Alan + Jac
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Alan and Jackie

Created May 08, 2018 Georgia

108 days left

$299 of $20,000 goal

1% Raised by 1 Donation Adoption