Operation Big Sister: The Start of Our Adoption Journey


Operation Big Sister: The Start of Our Adoption Journey

This is our official announcement! We have been working behind the scenes for a couple months now. PATH classes, home studies and an awful amount of paperwork have gotten us this far and now we are ready to share the news! Our process is not complete and there are inevitably more bumps in the road, but we would love to bring you in and, who knows, maybe you will be moved to open your heart and home too. 

It’s National Adoption Month!

November is National Adoption Month and November 23 is National Adoption Day. This is a chance to bring awareness to the more than 125,000 children in foster care that are waiting to be adopted. There are so many statistics to call attention to, but here are just a few from Tennessee Alliance for Kids:

“On average, 64 youth age out of foster care every day and find themselves with no support at age 18.”

“20% of all youth that age out of foster care become homeless.”

“75% of youth that age out of foster care suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, fewer than 3% will earn a degree in college or vocational school, and 2/3 of young women will be pregnant by their 21st birthday.”

Staggering right? These are the exact reasons we felt compelled to complete our family through the adoption of an older child. These kids have less than a 20% chance of being adopted after the age of eight. Even if they start college, many have no support system, nowhere to return for holidays, and no place to call home. 

Working with abused and neglected children from our own community only strengthened our commitment to add to our family through adoption. Through our volunteer work with the Georgia Polk/Haralson County CASA Program, we witnessed the process that many of these children endure. The removal from their homes and the repeated moves from one foster care home to another are traumatic and often a process that lasts for years. Compounded by the prior abuse many of these children face, they are often ill-equipped to navigate adulthood. 

Coming from a very broken family, I experienced similar feelings of loss and displacement, but was fortunate enough to have people in my life that filled in when I needed it. The guidance I continue to receive from my now family has made me into the person I am today and I have always intended to give back. 

Here we are, right in the middle of  “Operation Big Sister.”

Our two young biological children have always known they would someday have an older sibling and she has been a part of every hand drawn family portrait since the beginning.


So, friends, family and community, we ask for your love and support. To our future “big sister,” we have loved and prepared for you for so long, you already have a family here. It may be rocky at first, but I hope you will one day feel the extent of our love and know that it is here and steadfast. 

My goal isn’t to convince you to open your home tomorrow. Every dynamic is different, but there are a million ways to help and so many are overlooked. Advocate, volunteer, donate your time and attention, foster and if your heart is big enough, adopt. I feel they have enough donated tee shirts and backpacks; they need attention, support, someone to show up, someone to direct them towards their goals, and someone to run to when the world rears its ugly head. 

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Hello! I'm Jessica. I grew up in Northern Indiana where I joined the Navy right out of high school. After 3 deployments and some amazing port calls I married a fellow sailor and began a family. We moved around a few times in search of a forever city. After a few visits to the Chattanooga area we fell in love and set in motion our move to the highly recommended Signal Mountain. I am slowly chipping away at my marketing degree while working part time at a local marketing agency. I am also a huge portrait photography lover and have a small studio up here on Signal Mountain where I shoot luxury portrait for children and women. You can check out my work at www.venyaportrait.com. We have 2 kiddos, Jazzy(6) who's larger than life and Joseph(3) who is taking his sweet time growing up. We have always planned to adopt as well and are currently awaiting a match for a big sister in need of a loving home. I also volunteer as a court advocate for abused and neglected children in the area. It's a great program and you can check out more at https://www.tncasa.org/. You can find me binging true crime podcasts and dark drama shows late at night. I'm a serial hobbyist, I'll never turn down an iced coffee, I actually try hard not to cuss like a sailor and I love meeting different kinds of people.