FRANK FAM

Shared by Jason (43) and Elana Frank (37) – Biological Children: Levi 5; Avidan 3

Most people use traditional methods to grow their family. It doesn’t work that way for our family. We could tell you A LOT about the struggles that surround infertility and our road to parenthood through the blessings of medicine, doctors, and faith but this time we give you a glimpse into our adoption journey.

If we had to qualify our desire in words about why we are passionate about adopting, as inferior as they would be, here’s what we’d say:

It breaks our hearts a million times over that there are children in the world who don’t have the love and support of their parents. If we had the means, we’d dedicate our lives and our fortune to ensuring no child falls into this category. But the best we can do for now is adopt one or more of these children and give them the unconditional love, attention, care, support and family they may not otherwise have. To make them as much a part of our family as if we created them ourselves.

Our Adoption Journey Has Started

For the past year and a half we’ve been taking the steps necessary to get certified with the Georgia Foster Care and Adoption System and building a community of friends by being part of a new Jewish adoption Fellowship program called YATOM.

We hope to adopt through the foster care system because, frankly, we can’t afford another way and how can we turn our backs on children who need us most locally. It seems to be going so slowly and for those of you who know us, you know that Elana is NOT a patient person. It took us almost a year to get our first packet of information submitted to the agency that is helping us. So far, it’s a lot more paperwork and training courses than we could have imagined, but we’re trying our best to just let go (also hard for Elana :) ). There have been a lot of questions from our curious extended family members. Some more interesting then others (and by interesting yes, I do mean opinionated). And our little boys are keeping us busy — not to mention they are excited to meet their new sister or brother. Sidebar-Last week our 3 year old’s teacher asked me if she could say congratulations to us because Avidan told her that he was going to be getting a brother or sister. No, we are not pregnant but our family is clearly getting prepared.

Now that you know why and how important it is to us, let us tell you a bit about our family.

About Us: The Frank Fam

We are a happy foursome. You’ll be happy to hear that we are healthy, have no red flags in our medical history and no criminal past. Before we got married, Elana and I discussed children, and thankfully, we both wanted a somewhat large family. Unfortunately, 6 years ago we found out Elana wasn’t able to get pregnant naturally. After almost two years of medical tests and procedures, we did eventually end up with two amazing boys through IVF. It wasn’t easy but there are no words to describe how worthwhile it was. We tried twice more but neither worked out. We also decided before getting married that adopting was very important to us. But not because we couldn’t have more children, but because we want to give a loving home to a child or children that may not otherwise receive it.

Race, religion, sex and any other segmentation you can invent have no meaning to us. A child is to love regardless of anything else.

Anyway, enough of that. Let me tell you who we really are – Jason’s perspective :) :

Elana – The most honest, caring, loving and motherly woman I’ve ever known. There isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for our children. She doesn’t particularly like her naturally curly hair and thus spends several hours a week blowing it out so no one ever finds out, but girls will be girls I guess. She doesn’t like to share her food, but then again neither do our kids, so no harm there. She’s also very healthy, fit and energetic, and that trickles down to our children as well. Most important though, Levi and Avidan love her and adore her more than anything in the world.

Jason – Well, it’s hard to talk about myself, but I’ll give it a shot. I love my family more than anything in the world. I would kill anyone that lays a finger on them and I would give my life in a heartbeat if it meant saving theirs. My kids would probably say I’m the ‘fun’ one. But that’s really because I’m a softy. They of course have boundaries with me, but I’m known to be a bit lax when it comes to giving them chocolate at strange times. I also have a tendency to speak with them as I would an adult and that means we joke around alot and they may get introduced to some worldly topics not normally presented to young children, but they understand that and they know that everything we say outloud should be done so with respect and caring. Sometimes being loose with them causes problems, duh… but that’s when Elana comes to save the day and the kids actually respect her for that.

Levi – He was our first miracle. I don’t say that because we’re religious or to be dramatic. I say it because it’s difficult enough to create a child naturally. The fact he was born after being manipulated by doctors in a room on a table is truly incredible. Levi was born knowing exactly who he was going to be. He never wanted to sleep and when he did sleep he refused to sleep alone, was a picky eater, stubborn and quick to try anything even if he shouldn’t. If we used these words to describe how he would develop over the past 5 years, it couldn’t have been more accurate. And though he’s a very bright and tough kid, he treats people well, is very helpful with others and especially loves his brother more than anything. He calls Avidan his best friend. We couldn’t ask for anything more.

Avidan – The miracle part applies to him as well. Maybe even more so because he was frozen for over a year in a dark freezer. Avidan however wasn’t as easy to peg from the start as Levi. He was quiet, not so picky, and spend a lot of time working things out in his head. But he certainly has developed one of the most unbelievable personalities I’ve ever seen in a 3-year-old. He’s funny, witty, eats with little interference, actually shares nicely, and though he’s more quiet and reserved than Levi, when he’s with his brother he’s the happiest kid on earth. He idolizes his brother.

Our hobbies, so you know, are laughing, large family gatherings, traveling, gymnastics, swimming, transformers, tickling, playing outside, superhero dress up, kisses, and movie night.

So, are we a perfect family? Of course not. We have our problems like anyone else. Elana and I have our fights and disagreements, (I like cash…she likes credit cards… for example :)), our kids cause trouble and don’t always listen to us, etc. etc. etc. But we couldn’t be a happier family. The kids also have a support system unlike most other children. Their grandparents (and great grandmother…Nana), uncles, aunts, cousins are within a few miles at all times. They’re well-traveled, well-educated, and well-behaved (at least we’re working on it :) ). They are loved, we are loved, we all love one another, and can’t wait to see who will be joining The Frank Fam soon.

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If you’d like more information about YATOM, feel free to contact Elana Frank at elana@jewishfertilityfoundation.org

The process to adopt and/or foster a vulnerable child can be arduous and frustrating. Tightening state budgets and a deliberately slow bureaucracy has put many families in a devastating bind; many give up before they are allowed to foster or adopt children into their home. YATOM knows and understands these frustrations.

That is why we created the YATOM Family Fellowship, a program which is meant to inspire hope for families striving to foster/adopt. Five (5) families will be given a $1,000 stipend, which in turn enables those families to have a community to talk about the adoption/fostering process together. www.yatom.org