From Dreamers to Parents: How the Fetzer Institute Made A Couple’s Dream of Adoption Come True

Posted on September 22, 2023

When Rob and Kirstin began dating as teenagers, they often dreamed about their future family. Growing up, the couple was surrounded by loving family members who were not biologically related to each other. Seeing the love and support of those around them, they had one clear vision for their future: adoption.  

Kirstin, Rob and their son

In their 20s, Rob and Kirstin started nonprofit organizations and community development work. As they entered their 30s, they felt it was time to start a family and their adoption journey. 

As they began their research, the couple found the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and shared our Adoption-Friendly Workplace toolkit with Kirstin’s employer, the Fetzer Institute. Kirstin knew her employer offered gender-inclusive paid leave for adoption. And after referring to the Foundation’s toolkit, the Fetzer Institute expanded benefits to include up to $15,000 reimbursement for costs of adoption.  

“At the Fetzer Institute, we strive to offer benefits that support our staff’s many expressions of family, and this includes our adoption policy, which came to us as a suggestion from a staff member,” said Jonathan Lever, Chief Operating Officer/Executive Vice President.  

After waiting more than three years, which felt like an eternity, Rob and Kristin received the call they were waiting for – they were going to be parents. Within 24 hours, the couple were at the hospital ready to meet their son.  

“Having space to focus 100% on getting to know each other, beginning to work out our rhythms and delights together as a family, and then transitioning slowly back to work was a priceless gift to us all,” explained Kirstin.   

The support of her employer inspired Kirstin, and she credits their commitment to their employees for her growth in the ability to be a mom.

Thank you to organizations, like the Fetzer Institute, who make adoption a supported option for their employees. Visit to learn more and access resources to become an adoption-friendly workplace.

Posted in


Leave a Reply