The new mom is actor and model Alice Callahan Thompson (currently playing Stephanie on Bravo’s hit scripted series Odd Mom Out). Alice, along with her husband, Kyser Thompson, recently adopted Timothy (brace yourself for the cutest face ever, below). Their decision to adopt has led to indescribable joy, countless blessings and an intense desire to eat him right up.
Here, Alice clues us in on the adoption process, what led her to it and, most importantly, how many children around the world, of all ages, are in dire need of a family. Also significant: you do not have to be part of a traditional, nuclear family to consider adoption. As well, adoption is not just a Plan B for couples trying to conceive biologically; families are raising both adopted and biological children together, as part of a Plan A! Currently, the supply surpasses demand, but it’s a new world, baby, and all the love you’ve got to give is desperately — desperately — needed.
Alice! Congrats on your not-so-new addition to the family. How old is Timothy now and how is he getting along?
Thank you so much! He will be turning one in February and is doing great! Crawling all over the place, getting into everything, and keeping us on our toes. I just wrestled a toilet bowl brush away from him! That’s definitely not sanitary.
How is he changing your life on a daily basis?
I’m definitely more tired at the end of the day! But tired for a good reason—chasing around my creepy crawler! Each day when I wake up to his smiling face, I am grateful he is mine. Sometimes the days get hectic, balancing quality playtime with him and jetting off to work opportunities—but, again, so worth it!
What started you thinking about adoption?
I knew I wanted to adopt when I started visiting orphanages in Mexico back in high school and college. Meeting so many wonderful children in need of families made a profound impact on me. I thought – If I don’t make a difference in the life of a child who needs a home, who will?
My husband, Kyser, and I started visiting an orphanage in Kenya in 2011 and we formed meaningful relationships with so many amazing children. We were both struck by the injustice and hardships that millions of children encounter simply because they are not in families. It’s by no fault of their own that so many children find themselves without the safety and love of a home.
We knew we were ready to start a family, so we prayed and considered the options. Adoption continued to be on our hearts, as we thought, “Why not start a family with a child who actually needs a home? We want kids. Some kids need homes…it just makes sense!”
So we started our journey of adoption, calling it our #PlanA because beginning our family with an adopted little one was our heart’s desire! Now that we have Timothy, we will always be able to tell him how we prayed and waited just for him!
What would you say to others who are thinking about it?
I would say, “Yes! Do it!” There is nothing more valuable than a human’s life. By adopting, you get the privilege of stewarding a child- whether you adopt a baby or a teenager – you will change his or her life because family is everything. There is nothing more rewarding in life than the honor of raising a child who needs you. Your heart will double in size when you hold the hand of the child brought to you by love.
There are over 100,000 in the American foster care system waiting to be adopted and 153 million children across the globe defined as orphans. It’s common sense (and statistically proven!) that children raised in loving homes go on to lead more fulfilling and contributing lives than those raised in institutions or instability. I believe family is the answer to most of our nation’s (and world’s!) problems. If more children were raised in the safety and stability of families, there would be less crime and violence leading to over-crowded prison systems. If more children were raised in good homes, they would be taught basic respect for others and the environment, leading to less bullying and pollution.
Think about any big issue – and trace it back to the lack of family and love in a home. Like I said, #FamilyIsEverything! With more families adopting , more children and teens would have a home and not have to “age out ” and be on their own at 18. The incarceration number would decrease significantly!
I would also say that some people do not pursue adoption because of the cost, but now with fundraising sites and grants, it is possible for any qualified person or family to get the funding they need to adopt! Check out the website www.adopttogether.org to see how you can get the funding you need to grow your family with adoption!
Adoption is no longer only for traditional nuclear families. Now, family types come in varieties. Would it be just as easy for a less conventional family to adopt – or more of a challenge?
Anyone who completes the screening process, background check, and home study administered by a certified adoption agency can adopt! There are so many different agencies out there, it just takes finding the one that works best for you. Yes, unconventional families and single individuals can – and I believe should– adopt! Honestly, I believe anyone who wants kids should consider adoption!
Adoption is no longer only for families who have encountered difficulty conceiving biological children. It is not Plan B, but can be a very intentional first choice. Or, families can be built through both biological and adopted children– Double whammy! I pray that in the coming decade, it becomes more common to see diverse families knit together through adoption than any other time in history. Let’s start a family revolution!
How did you spend World Adoption Day?
I wanted to attend the World Adoption Day Baby Ball in Los Angeles! My friend Hank Fortener [the founder of World Adoption Day and Adopt Together] gave me serious FOMO for missing out on the first big gala! But alas, I was home with my baby (here’s what Tim looks like these days!) who had his first ear infection –I was knocking over the humidifier in the middle of the night and failing at using the “snot sucker” to help him breathe! Almost as glamorous as the W.A.D. Gala in LA! But honestly, in that moment – there was no place I would rather be…even though singing the Barney theme song over and over was making me a little cray.
What resources do you recommend for those considering adoption?
I recommend watching Hank’s TED talk to learn why family is everything and how to get started!
Also the Adopt Together website
Adoption is not just for babies, right?
Absolutely not! In fact, there are millions more toddlers, kids, and teens waiting for adoption! 95% of children classified as orphans worldwide are over the age of five. Of the children waiting in foster care domestically, 30,000 age out every year, without families. As a child gets older, his or her chances of getting adopted decrease significantly. It is so important that we begin to take ownership for the children in our midst who need homes! If we do not step up to the plate, who will? You might say you are not ready to become an adoptive or foster parent, but no child was ready to become an orphan.
Congrats on Odd Mom Out being renewed for season two! How was your experience so far?
Absolutely dreamy! I had a blast acting like a crazy mom (nothing like my real life!) on the Upper East Side. Working with the creator and lead, Jill Kargman, and Abby Elliot (SNL) each day had me ROTFL’ing all day long. Sometimes it was hard to make it through a take because they were cracking me up beyond composure! I’m thrilled to be a part of the second season…stay tuned for round two!
Family photography courtesy of Zach Hilty
Fashion image courtesy of Nick Suarez and Wilhelmina Models
Sources: UNICEF and The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS)
Find out more about Odd Mom Out.