Open Doors

Jennifer clock

Let me introduce you to my friend, Jennifer. She is going to share her thoughts and experiences here at One Thankful Mom from time to time. You will be so blessed to know her! If only we could all have coffee together in my kitchen, or maybe go snowshoeing in her Rocky Mountains.

What an honor to be invited to contribute here at One Thankful Mom!  I have known Lisa for about eight years now, having adopted our son from AHOPE just a few months after Kalkidan came home.  Not long after that, I had the honor of serving alongside her in a small non-profit, resourcing and educating families for medical needs adoptions. And over the years, I’ve been grateful for each bit of time I’ve been able to spend with her.

Those of you who know Lisa in real life and here through her blog know that she exudes welcome, warmth, and real.  I have met very few people who are able to share so deeply and honestly about the hard things and yet still carry in their words and their actions true hope and gratitude. Lisa does this.

I have told my husband many, many times that I would move to Idaho just to be able to learn more from her.  Because this is what I want too. I want to learn to live out the hard things with hope and gratitude.

Now I should probably tell you a little bit about myself.  My husband, Greg, and I just celebrated our 20 year anniversary.  We live in Colorado where I am a virtual assistant (meaning I work at home on my computer – very often in my pajamas), and he is a public school educator. We are mom and dad to four kids born in four countries (United States, England, Liberia, and Ethiopia) and occasionally to one or two more through foster care.


Our kids are 17, 15, 13, and 12 and eat more food than can possibly be imagined. To take my mind off of the grocery budget, I try to sneak in a hike or a snowshoe trip as often as possible. This is a new development, as I spent the better part of 18 years wondering why there wasn’t a beach nearby and trying to figure out how to get to one.

In spite of the fact that I have now been mom to 7 children whom I didn’t give birth to, I never would have imagined the road of adoption or foster care for myself.  Therapeutic parenting does not come naturally or easily to me, I have many buttons that are all too easily pressed, and I end many days feeling like I have failed miserably at the path God has called me to.

To be honest, the nearly ten years since we began our adoptions and the five years since we became foster parents have felt full of hard things. Hospital stays, surgeries, attachment difficulties, surprise diagnoses, struggling siblings, little ones adapting to our home and family, little ones leaving our home and family – most of our hard things seem to have come through the open door of adoption and foster care.

Yet, I have seen some of the most beautiful things come through as well.  Through that door, I have met amazing people, some of my favorite people, the kind of people who are opening their doors to hard things.  As heavy as some days feel, I could never even begin to wrap my arms around the gifts that have come my way through this door.

So I am excited to be here with Lisa and with you!  I hope that my small contribution here serves to open a door – as we all learn from each other how to live out the hard things with hope and gratitude.

Thank you, Jennifer, for being with us today; come back soon!

Have a wonderful Wednesday, friends.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. sara
    February 3, 2016

    Jen, I just love that you keep pressing though when things get hard. Quit is not an option for you and I'm sure your family appreciates that. You really inspire me. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jennifer Shapiro Isaac
      February 3, 2016

      Thank you, Sara! There are definitely days where I would quit if I knew where the quitting line was. ; ) Trying to remember that even when we are faithless, God remains faithful.

  2. Luann Yarrow Doman
    February 4, 2016

    Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to hearing more from you in the future!

  3. Jennifer Shapiro Isaac
    February 4, 2016

    Thank you for the welcome, Luann!

  4. Gena Hopkins
    October 10, 2016

    Jennifer is one of the best foster mom’s I know. She had my little preemie from 35 weeks gestation tell see was over one. I could not be more blessed to her for taking on my 28 weeker. No matter the stress of a preemie she always did what was best for my lil miracle baby.


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