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Area couple pens adoption book for kids

Area couple pens adoption book for kids Area couple pens adoption book for kids

In November of 2016, Adam and Jamie Schnabel were struggling to navigate the confusing waters of international adoption. If all had gone according to plan, they should have been adopting two small boys from Poland.

But the U.S. Department of Justice informed the Schnabels that the agency they had been working with overseas had been cited for corruption charges, and they were urged to find a new agency.

What would follow was two more years of waiting before Sofia, a four-year-old girl from Bulgaria, could finally join the Schnabel’s in March of 2018.

During the ordeal, Adam sought comfort and solace in writing, hoping to find a sense of closure. In December of 2017 he wrote his first words and by February of 2018 he began a blog. In April of that same year he was writing weekly entries.

On the suggestion of friends, he started to compile the experiences he and Jamie had lived through into his first book, Losing Hope and Finding Faith.

The book was published on Dec. 13, 2018, and quickly found an audience. Within weeks, Adam and Jamie’s story flew up the charts and soon became an Amazon best-seller.

In the year and a half since the book’s release, the Schnabels have found their lives affected in profound and amazing ways that exceeded their expectations.

“Oh gosh, it’s changed in several ways,” Adam said, talking about he and his family’s new lives via a FaceTime interview. “I’ve met and talked to other people through media, been interviewed by different stations. I’ve had couples reach out asking questions about adoptions through foster and about adoption in general.”

There have been more changes to the family besides their writing. The Schnabels have seen their family grow, with the addition of a young boy named Mark, from Wisconsin. Adam and Jamie first fostered and then adopted Mark in June

of 2019.

On top of taking care of their growing family, the writing and media outreach, they’ve seen their role as adoption advocates expand, as Adam and Jamie have shared their experiences with local and state officials.

“During Gov. Walker’s last part of his last term, we visited Jimmy Edming, the state representative in our district,” Adam said. “We were speaking to him about making some changes in adoption laws and on resources available to adoptive families, that are either A) hard to access B) not well known or C) just not given.”

With their daughter Sofia being special needs, the Schnabels have discovered new programs that families can take part in to help with therapies, as well as ways in which the state can make adoption easier and less stressful for families that are eager to adopt.

“Our goal was to make changes and to make waves within government,” he said. “There’s a real need to make changes and some of these laws that exist, do they need to exist or do they need to be tweaked to be current with the times?”

In response, the state of Wisconsin created a task force with various professionals involved in adoption to hear different experiences and “pain points” that families who have adopted have gone through and to implement changes.

This alone would be enough for one person’s plate, but the Schnabels continue to write — and continue to be amazed the impact their first book is making.

Several weeks ago their first book was voted by Book Authority, a panel of experts within the field, as one of the top books on adoption of all time.

“Most book awards you see you have to submit money and manuscripts, and then they vote on it. Book Authority — I didn’t even get a notification, I came across it on Google,” Adam says incredulously.

“That honestly, very simply, tells me that what we went through, and the story that we told, matters. It doesn’t just matter to us, but essentially the world. It is crazy that over the last couple of years, I got pages read all over the world, from China, Australia, Africa.”

The Schnabels are also in the stages of putting together the final touches for their second book, an illustrated children’s novel titled Chosen that Adam and Jamie worked on together, with water color art provided by Teresa Klopp, a family member studying art at UW - Milwaukee.

“We wrote Chosen basically in one night. We came up with the rough draft manuscript of what we wanted this book to be,” he said. “From there, we knew off the bat we wanted Teresa, who is amazing, to do the artwork.”

Their newest work will detail Sofia’s journey of adoption through her eyes, and the goal is to educate children on the process of adoption.

“Our intent was to bring adoption down to a child’s level and so they could understand it,” he said. “We wanted Sofia’s story out in a child friendly medium that could be read at home.

“It’s all about starting that conversation and bringing adoption to the forefront among families. This type of medium can explain the process you have to go through. It makes it easier for kids to understand adoption.”