We are the Spinda family (John, Shanna & Stella Mae) from Murray, KY... on February 1, 2011 at 10:27am our beautiful baby girl, Stella Mae Spinda, was born at 26 weeks gestation. She weighed 12.34 oz and was 9 in long - Stella suffered from Intrauterin Growth Restriction (IUGR) which caused both her extremely small size and her being born premature. Stella spent five days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Norton/Kosair Hospital in Louisville, KY. She passed away late on February 5, 2011 from complications of her extremely small size. This blog was started when she was 23 gestational weeks old and we discovered her condition. It's original purpose was to keep family and friends updated on Stella's journey - we now hope to use this blog as a way to continue Stella's journey by honoring her memory and also as a way to support others who are struggling with infertility or have lost a pregnancy or baby.


Wow do I feel like a slacker! This page was designed specifically to update friends and family of an goings on with our adoption. Well, let's see if we can update this for y'all.

August, 2011 - John and Shanna attended a training in Owensboro, to become certified foster parents through Catholic Charities and to start the adoption process with Catholic Charities.

October, 2011 - John and Shanna had their home visit with the social worker from Catholic Charities.

January, 2012 - After months of gathering documents and creating plans for the future we were finally approved as adoptive parents through Catholic Charities. Our portfolio (which is basically a scrap book I put together) is now being shown to birth parents.

April, 2012 - STILL WAITING......

On May 1, 2012 - We will attend a training to learn how to become foster parents through the state of KY. We are hoping to be able to go to a training in August and be approved shortly after that. Our goal is to adopt an older child (6-10 year old) through the state's Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP). We are still continuing to have our portfolio shown at Catholic Charities as we would love to have a newborn as well.

May 1, 2012 -  John and I attended the foster parent training informational meeting at the state's Division of Protection and Permanency office. There were two other couples and an older lady (who was a little odd). The social worker was young, probably mid to late 20s and very peppy. She passed out some informational papers and got to work explaining foster care, adoption through foster care, and all the requirements that are required of parents who want to foster. After she said that you had to be a fostering home for a year before being eligible to adopt a child I stopped her and asked her about the Special Needs Adoption Program (SNAP). She was surprised that we were interested in the program and said that she has never placed a SNAP child with an adoptive family. She explained that while their profiles online may say that they "like to smile and eat pizza" these children were either very troubled (having multiple placements) who had moderate to severe disabilities. I stopped her right there and explained to her that I am a special education teacher who lives for her students. I explained that John and I have discussed what it would entail to raise a special needs child. I told her that we had the resources and the patience to bring such a special child into our lives. The social worker looked thrilled once we told her this. She continued firing information at us and answering questions from the 7 of us who attended the training. We learned a great deal about the foster system and the fostering program.
  • Our home study and training is free! (We paid $1,000 through Catholic Charities).
    • The home study through the state is not nearly as extensive as the one through Catholic Charities.
    • However, the training is MUCH longer.
  • Training will be every Monday from 5:30-8:30 starting June 18 and ending on Aug 20.
  • As long as we stay on our social worker we could potentially have our home study completed and be an open foster home by the end of our training.
  • Once we are an "open foster home" we can begin our visits with a SNAP child of our choice or we can begin to accept foster children. Our choice is to begin visits with the SNAP child we have chosen. 
  • We will continue visits as long as things work out with us and the child - and the child's social worker believes that we will be a good home for the child. 
  • Eventually we would work up to having over night visits and then hopefully the child would move in with us. 
  • We would not begin adoption precedings until we all (the child, us, and both social workers) are sure that the fit is just perfect.
There are some really awesome benefits to adopting foster children through the state of Kentucky:
  • We will continue to receive the foster parent stipend of $24 a day (including a bonus for the child's birthday and Christmas) until the child is 18 or in the case of a special needs child, 21.
  • The state of Kentucky pays for foster children and all foster children who have been adopted to attend college at any KY state college. 
    • They do not pay for room and board or books.
  • Our social work and the child's social worker will stay in contact with us and will always be there if we need anything. 
  • We can continue to keep our house open and accept up to 4 other foster children at one time (with the option of adopting them if their parental rights are terminated).
John and I are anxious to get started with training! Thank you for reading this update to our adoption journey and we will accept all the prayers we can get!! 

The newest member of the Spinda Family will be adopted through:
  • Catholic Charities USA Adoption (Owensboro, KY)
  • SNAP Kentucky

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