Searching for family: Portland couple banks on social media to help with adoption

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Posted: Friday, March 1, 2019 6:00 am

PORTLAND, N.D. – After years of trying to become parents, Dustin and Sarah Olson seem at peace with their ongoing search to adopt a baby.

The Portland couple doesn’t have a preference for a boy or girl – and if their search produces a set of twins, they’re more than willing to double the size of their family.

“Whatever the Lord blesses us with, and is supposed to happen, will happen,” says Dustin, an accountant and business professor at Mayville State University.

“That’s how we find peace in a time like says,” chimes in Sarah, a paraprofessional who works with pre-K special needs kids. “Just knowing that there is a plan is comforting.”

Despite their belief that a higher power has a plan, the Olsons haven’t been standing idly by waiting for fate to intervene.

Even God needs a hand from time to time.

Dustin and Sarah kicked off a social media campaign in January, creating a Facebook page centered on finding an infant to expand their family.

The Olsons followed up Tuesday by unveiling a website (dustinandsarahadopt.com) to draw attention to their quest to become parents.

They even put their photo on business cards asking to be contacted if recipients know any birth parents considering an adoption plan for their child.

“Our whole mindset is to be proactive,” says Dustin, who operates Olson Tax Service in Hillsboro and Mayville. “We’re doing whatever we have to do to be successful.”

Perfect match

Both 35 years old, Dustin and Sarah met online in March 2010 through Match.com.

The pair traded emails for four weeks before going out on their first date in Fargo.

Sarah, a native of Glyndon, Minn., was drawn to Dustin’s honesty and openness.

“I felt like I knew the type of person he was before I even met him,” she says. “He’s the type who would do anything to make my life better.”

Dustin, who grew up in Harvey, N.D., was struck by Sarah’s kindness to others.

“She has a real caringness toward everybody, whether that be to people at church, with me or with kids,” he says.

The importance of children in their future didn’t take long to pop up in conversation.

“We talked about it on our second date,” says Dustin, laughing. “Having a family was in both of our plans.”

The couple dated for nearly a year and a half before getting married Aug. 6, 2011.

The duo tried to have kids for years before switching gears to pursue adoption.

They had their first consultation with The Village Family Service Center in Fargo in fall 2017, kicking off a yearlong stretch of background checks and trainings.

Dustin and Sarah have been told they’re currently one of 10 to 12 prospective couples who have active profiles on the family service center’s adoption list.

Average wait times can vary, although most couples are successful in adopting a child within 18 months, Sarah says.

“Some couples might find a child right away, so that means there are couples that have to wait a lot longer,” she says.

“We were told (The Village) had (fewer than 10) adoptions in 2018, so that put things in perspective for us,” Sarah says. “That’s also why we chose to put ourselves out there.”

Busting out a baby

The Olsons compiled a family scrapbook, which can be accessed on their Facebook page, as part of the adoption process.

The couple’s Facebook photo features the Olsons in matching “Ghostbusters” T-shirts while holding a toddler-size version of the shirt.

“We’ve been planning that for a while,” Dustin, a die-hard fan of the ghost-busting series, says with a grin. “It’s been tucked in a drawer for a couple of years now.”

Dustin has a trove of “Ghostbusters” memorabilia, from collectible toys to official-looking “ECTO-1” license plates to framed posters of the original 1984 movie.

He even bought a 1964 Cadillac hearse that he plans on converting into a replica of the “Ghostbusters” vehicle.

Despite his love of the movies, Dustin vows he won’t name the couple’s children Peter Venkman or Egon Spengler – or Gozer the Gozerian.

“I’m not going that far. I don’t want to strap a poor kid with that,” he says. “We’ve had discussions on a name but we haven’t narrowed it down.”

Unconditional love

Sarah agreed their search for a baby using social media has tested the couple’s courage.

Announcing to the world the couple’s quest to become parents wasn’t easy.

“It’s been a little nerve-wracking. You hear horror stories here or there of people who get taken advantage of,” she says.

“But you never know when you will make that connection or when it will happen. And we’re not the type of people who are very good idlers.”

The couple has been preparing their home in case a call comes, equipping one of their spare bedrooms with a crib and dresser.

“For everything else, we can make a trip to Walmart or Target when it happens,” Dustin says.

They’re trying to temper their enthusiasm for the time being, but they know their lives could change in a matter of hours if they’re picked as adoptive parents.

Why should a parent choose the Olsons over other couples to provide a home for a child?

Dustin pauses before answering.

“I think we can give a kid a good home and we will love them to no end,” he says.

“We want to dedicate our lives to that child and their well-being and happiness,” Sarah says. “We can offer unconditional love.” 

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