Adopted Colombian girl spends first Christmas with new family, thanks to Fallon community
The newest addition to the Allen family, Sara, 6, is experiencing her first Christmas.
Although she was adopted in August, Sara’s presence is a Christmas miracle.
“She’s smart and hard-headed,” said Brook Allen. “Many say she’s a lucky kid and we are lucky, too.”
Brook and her husband, Andy, went above and beyond to make Sara’s adoption possible for a year and a half, and they couldn’t have done without help from the local community.
The couple launched a fundraiser, “From Orphan to Heir – The Allen Family Adoption” to open up donations to raise $50,000 to travel to Pasto, Colombia and take Sara home.
Aside from social media fundraisers, Fallon’s CrossFit Powerstroke hosted a workout in October to benefit the family with adoption costs and raised a total of $14,264.
Together, Andy and Brook also are representatives for Fallon’s marketing and consulting firm, Lumegent. The company provided the couple paid maternity leave and even a baby shower.
“Fallon made our dream come true,” Andy said. “The volume in Reno for charitable event is larger but if we were there, I don’t think we would’ve had that turnout.”
Although they are advocates for all types of adoption, the couple decided to pursue international agencies. International adoptions range from infants to teenagers, depending on the country.
But research by the National Council for Adoption shows domestic agency adoptions have been on a steady increase since 2007, while international adoptions have shown a decline of 3,000 adoptions within the last four years. But in the U.S. overall, adoptions of all types have declined as well.
According to American Adoptions, domestic adoptions usually result in the adoption of an infant and negotiations with the mother, while foster care is temporary, paid, and the child is placed through a government or social agency.
However, both domestic and international adoptions range from $25,000 to $50,000.
Andy and Brook were given options on whom they wanted to adopt but they believe every child without a family deserves a home.
With Sara offered as their first option, the Allen’s said yes in a heartbeat.
“We wanted a kid that could be ours permanently and not taken away,” Brook said. “We wanted to give them a home.”
Born in Ipiales, Colombia, Sara was neglected by her birth mother and was raised by a caring foster mother for four years until the Allen’s adopted her.
The first person she met in the Allen family was her new little brother, Lincoln, 3.
“She approached him with a plastic tray of cookies,” Brook said. “She was happy. Lincoln is learning he has to share his parents but also has a sister forever.”
Now that she’s settled in Fallon, Sara is learning English and attending Lahontan Elementary School. Aside from her family, her peers also describe her as outgoing and comfortable around new people, on top of her love for dancing, singing, and riding her bike.
With 2018 around the corner, the Allen family plans to show Sara around the Nevada outdoors with summer activities such as camping and fishing, and other travels throughout the country.
But one goal the Allen’s hope to achieve in the future with Sara is give her the opportunity to reconnect with her foster mother someday, as they were reportedly close.
“During her adoption, we received a photo album of pictures of Sara, but the agency removed all of the photos with her foster mother in them,” Brook said. “We want to try to connect with her although it’s a difficult process.”
“There will be a point of disconnect someday,” Andy said. “But it’s not there now. We’re fortunate for this experience.”
The Allen’s experience with Sara has them already considering another adoption in the future as well.
Brook hopes her story will encourage considering parents to follow up on the next step.
“With the price of a new car, you could save a child,” Brook said. “There’s a big adoptive population in Fallon and a huge support for it. If anybody is thinking about it, they need to know they have support. There’s no such thing as an easy adoption but it’s not impossible to do.”