Adoption in America is undergoing a huge transformation -- from a world of secrecy to many more open adoptions. A recent report found just 5 percent of adoptions in America are what's called a closed adoption. One family in Branson is praying that they can be part of this major change in our society.
"The diapers are really cute. They're all different designs," said Jodelle Fitzwater.
It's a bag of dreams, the inventory packed with care by this hopeful mom.
"It'll be neat when we get it done," said Ben Fitzwater, Jodelle's husband.
With the bag packed, Ben is building a framework for a new life -- with a child. They're adding on to their home. Jodelle and Ben hope to adopt a baby. They don't have a choice.
"I put my body into a state of where I would no longer be able to carry a child," said Jodelle. "While I thought I was being healthy, what I was doing was hurting my chances of conceiving."
You probably recognize Jodelle from some of our KY3 News Fit Friday segments on "Ozarks Today." She has something called exercise-induced menopause. While exercise is healthy for all of us, you can go too far.
"Too much of a good thing can be too much of a good thing. I felt a lot of guilt for what I had done to my body, but then, the more we talked about adoption, it just felt right and it felt peaceful," she said.
"For us, it's trying to go this route and find a situation that we can not only receive a baby out of it, but also, possibly, help a mother out of a situation," said Ben.
And they could be part of a huge shift in adoption in America -- one moving away from international adoptions.
"It's gone down over the last five years, as I understand it, by about 50 percent, so that's another reason families are looking toward domestic infant adoption or even foster care adoption," said Laura Farmer with Lutheran Family and Children's Services.
Jodelle talks about her prepared bag of supplies.
"For the mom, I have things to take care of her."
The other trend in adoption is toward openness/ As a trained doula, Jodelle is even willing to help the mother give birth.
"I'm most excited about putting it in its little outfit," she said with a laugh.
For now, it's waiting, hoping, praying for the right call.
"Trust in God more than anything else," said Ben.
Resources on this topic
More information on adoptions from Lutheran Family and Children' Services here.
The Evan B. Donaldson Study on Adoption Trends in America here.
Details on Exercise Induced Amenorrhea (Menopause) here.
The latest federal government stats on Adoption in America here.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has an information page here for people exploring adoption.
You can contact the Fitzwaters' attorney here.