Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Inc.

Impact Stories: Adoption Services

Meet Olivia, the newest member of the Terselic Family! 


In early 2021, an expectant mother asked Catholic Charities to help her with an adoption plan for her child. She wanted a family who could provide a safe, loving home for her child and would be open to her having contact in the future. With the birth mother’s wishes known, the adoption case manager helped her and the adoptive parents walk through the adoption journey of paperwork and emotional support. 

Laura and Mike Terselic and their adoptive son, Joey, were eager to welcome a new child into their family. Baby Olivia was placed with Laura and Mike from the hospital, and her adoption was finalized just in time to celebrate Christmas as a family of four. The Terselics are forever grateful to Olivia’s birth mother. 


A Forever Family Through Catholic Charities


For three years, Jessica and Matt eagerly awaited to adopt their first child when Austin and Tyler became part of their family. Feeling blessed to be chosen by Austin and Tyler’s birth mom, Jessica and Matt were thrilled to become a family of four. “Adoption has been an emotional journey with many ups and downs, but when we got the call that we were chosen, it was the most beautiful gift.” Austin and Tyler recently became adoptive big brothers to a baby girl, Emily, whose birth mom chose their family for her baby girl. “We still pinch ourselves when we tell people that we have three children,” Matt and Jessica shared, expressing gratitude for their children and those who have helped them on the journey to building their family.

“We will forever be grateful to both birth moms, and we are thankful for the social workers at Catholic Charities who have supported us throughout our journey to becoming a family of five over the past six years.”


Meet Baby Arlo


Travis and Ashlee waited a little over four years for the opportunity to become parents. In 2019, they embraced a proactive outreach and made their family story more public, which ultimately led to their connection to their son’s birth mother. “We began to put her needs first and focus on supporting her,” Travis shared. Throughout the process, a Catholic Charities’ adoption social worker provided education and support. When their son’s birthmother went into labor, our Director of Child Welfare services accompanied them at the hospital.

Our Adoption Social Worker continues to meet with Travis, Ashlee, and baby Arlo for monthly check-ups. When reflecting on their adoption journey with Catholic Charities, Ashlee shared, “Our specific experiences have taught us to look past the struggles of others and just focus on the person; to love them the way the Lord would.”


Meet Matt & Erica 

When Matt and Erica married, they knew they wanted to form their family through adoption.  In 2014, they adopted their first son, John, with the help of Catholic Charities.  Two years later, they were ready to grow their family and came back to Catholic Charities.  Once they were introduced to Jason, who was born with severe Spina Bifida, they opened their hearts and home to this little boy. 

Both big-brother, John, and Jason are thriving in their new family and enjoy a wonderful open relationship with their birth families. Matt and Erica look forward to adopting their third child through Catholic Charities and recently shared, “Our Catholic Charities social workers have been a constant support throughout this process and have helped us to navigate the complex process of adoption.”



Allison, Zach and Elijah. . . a new Forever Family

For Zach and Allison, adoption seemed like a natural decision.  Both Zach’s mom and aunt were adopted, so he knew what a blessing adoption can be for a family and how well it can turn out. Married in October of 2011, Allison and Zach wanted to start a family right away. Adoption was the most viable family planning option for the couple, so they contacted Catholic Charities in May 2012.  They had completed their home study and were approved to proceed in October of 2012.

Allison and Zach completed their family profile and letter to the birthmother, which were posted on the agency’s website.  A few months later, they got a call from Catholic Charities staff saying that one of the birth moms may be interested in placing her child with them.  They met the family, but the birth parents chose another adoptive couple.  “That was emotionally grueling,” said Allison, “because we were so excited about the possible placement.”

“Easter came and went, when we received a call from Kami, our case-worker. There was a woman who had just given birth that Saturday. It was 2 days later, on the following Monday, when we heard we were one of the two couples she was considering for adopting her child.”

Zach and Allison met with the birth mom later that week.  “After that first meeting, we went home and wrote her another, more personal, just for her letter, letting her know how excited we would be to be able to raise her child,” Allison shared. “We had a second meeting with the birth mom a week after that first face-to-face meeting.  That was the longest week of my life… waiting for word back!”

“Immediately after our second meeting with the birth mom, in our follow-up meeting with Kami, we learned we were selected to be Elijah’s new family. We were overwhelmed with emotion,” stated Zach.  “Everything was moving so quickly, and we knew that wasn’t always the case for prospective parents.  We felt truly blessed and went in to see Elijah for the first time the very next morning.” 

Since Elijah was born with drugs in his system, he was in neo-natal care for the first two weeks of his young life. “We knew Elijah may have some residual problems from the early drug exposure, but that didn’t deter us,” said Allison. The couple was able to take him home on Memorial Day, about a month after meeting and caring for him in the NICU. Elijah continued physical therapy sessions at home for six months after that to help loosen up his joints.  Today, he is 20 months old and enjoys all kinds of physical activity including playing ball, running laps around the house, swimming, and walks outside. “Elijah is wonderful! He’s happy, always smiling, energetic, says many words, and is doing great both physically and developmentally,” notes Allison.

“Catholic Charities has been unbelievably supportive doing this whole process,” Allison stated. “They really helped us manage the emotional valleys and peaks along the journey.”

“Adoption is a life changing experience, something you don’t fully understand until you actually do it,” said Zach. “Now that I am a dad, I’m enjoying the simple things… watching Elijah grow, learn new words, and experience all that life has to offer at his age.” 

Catholic Charities

Mailing Address: PO Box 070912
                            Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912

Delivery Address: 3501 S. Lake Drive
                             St. Francis, WI 53235

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Serving our neighbors in need in Dodge, Fond du Lac, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha Counties.


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