by Lauren Koch, Director of Development and Communications
At NCFA, we’ve been anticipating this for months, and now we can officially say that production of the iChooseAdoption public service announcement has begun! We’re utilizing real people (not actors) for this PSA, and decided to start in Tupelo, MS, where a fantastic adoption agency, New Beginnings International Adoption & Family Services, is headquartered. Tom and Debbie Velie, a husband and wife who both work for the agency, arranged for us to visit with several birthmothers and adoptive families during our two-day visit. I have to say, Tom and Debbie, the staff at New Beginnings, Cristen and Elvin, Miranda, Kelly and Steve, and Chanda and Bryan made this trip very memorable for me. As someone who was adopted as a baby, I love meeting and spending time with the people we serve every day. It’s not often we get out of DC, and rare to meet folks this special.
The day started early – at sunrise – so that we could get footage of “B-roll,” the stuff production people use to tell a great story. Speaking of whom, we’re working with some really great folks on this project. Our good friend Steve Wunderli (Operation Kids Foundation) has put together a ridiculously amazing creative team, including Ron Hill and Justin Hill (Ron Hill Imagery), Michael Waterman (Waterdog Media), and Jim Davis (Davis & Partners). We’re grateful to everyone for their dedication to this project!
|Ron and Justin shooting early morning b-roll |
|Steve Wunderli |
|Ron Hill |
|Justin Hill |
We then met Cristen and her husband, Elvin, in a beautiful neighborhood in Tupelo. Cristen is a lovely young woman who made an adoption plan for her son about 5 years ago. She is now married to Elvin and they are pregnant with their first child together. Cristen eloquently talked about how she knew deep down that choosing adoption for her son meant a better life for him, one that she couldn’t give him at that point in her life. Cristen is wise beyond her years, and her story is remarkable.
|Getting Cristen ready for her interview |
|Cristen and her husband, Elvin |
From there, we went to Miranda’s college campus. Miranda placed her son for adoption just over a year ago, and has an open adoption with her son’s adoptive family.
|Filming Miranda on campus |
After filming Miranda at school, she led us to her house, where she lives with the couple who adopted her son. It might be hard to understand at first, but once we met Kelly and Stan, we knew how they made it all work: they love their family and Miranda is just like family to them. Kelly and Stan also adopted twin girls, who are amazing big sisters to their baby brother. Here are a few photos of their family:
|Kelly and Stan |
|Kelly and Stan's children |
The sun is extra hot in the South, so we were all happy to have a little reprieve from the heat (and the chiggers!) when we went to visit with Chanda and Bryan after dark. Chanda and Bryan have two biological daughters, and recently adopted their son at birth. Chanda and Bryan live on a big piece of land, where horses roam and kids run free. And that’s just what they were doing when we arrived. Chanda and Bryan talked about how their love for their adopted son is absolutely no different from the love they have for their biological daughters. They instantly fell in love with him just as if he were born of their flesh. I love that.
|Chanda and Bryan |
This was the first of 2-3 trips we will make to film the entire iChooseAdoption PSA. Tom and Debbie were the warmest of hosts, and even introduced us to Tupelo’s best barbeque – Romie’s! Fried pickles, anyone? Yes, please!
Next up, Salt Lake City, Utah!
Category Personal Stories