Williamsons reaching out to expand family


Bernie and Shawna William-son are looking to grow their family through adoption and are reaching out to anyone and everyone with connections who may help make that happen.
“We’re trying to get people out there talking to other people about it and, hopefully, that will lead to something good,” Bernie said.
Bernie is a Wright County Sheriff’s deputy and Shawna operates an in-home child care business in their Annandale home. They have three children: Jack, Lily and Emma.
“We are unique because we have kids,” Shawna said. “A lot of adoptive families don’t have kids.”
Bernie and Shawna started the adoption process about two years ago. A year ago, they were added to a profile book of prospective adoptive families, which is available at multiple locations throughout the state.
They are working with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota adoption and pregnancy counselor Dianne Delaney.
She encourages families in the Williamsons’ position to do research and educate themselves about the many kinds of adoption available, as well as looking into different adoption agencies. 
“This will empower them to make well-informed decisions regarding what type of adoption and what agency will be the best fit for their family,” Delaney said.
A big portion of the process has been working through paperwork.
“The most difficult process has been coming up with a profile,” Shawna said. “We have to put our whole lives into words.”
Those words are being shared with prospective birth parents through fliers and social media sites throughout Minnesota and beyond, as the Williamsons have chosen outreach to connect with their future family addition.
“Through adoption outreach, families take a more active role to inform others about their interest in adoption by using their personal networks, social media and other resources,” according to information from Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota.
“More than 50 percent of adoptive parents find families on their own through outreach,” Bernie said.
Early on, the couple received a mixed reaction to the news that they were looking to adopt.
“Family and friends were shocked at first and asked, ‘Aren’t you too old?’” Shawna said.
“They don’t oppose it but don’t understand,” Bernie added. “Their generation had kids young and now they have as much responsibility as they want. It’s a different mindset. Since then, we’ve gotten a lot of support from our friends and from our church, St. Timothy’s.”
More information appears in this week's Messenger.