Ryun Hovind and MéLisa Lomelino are high school sweethearts who share a passion to help children in need. Early in their relationship the couple donated their time at group homes to help foster children and they raised money for foster care awareness. Because of this desire to help, Ryun and MéLisa made a commitment before they married not to have biological children, but instead to help children in need of a family.
When MéLisa turned 21 they started their journey as therapeutic foster parents. The couple was very excited to directly impact the life of a child, but had no idea what to expect. Their first foster placement was a 13 year old girl living in a juvenile detention facility. Sadly, the placement ended with the girl needing to be admitted into psychiatric care. The couple was heartbroken. The job was a million times harder than they had anticipated and they were unsure if they could continue.
Unwilling to give up they agreed to meet with two little boys ages 5 and 3 who were in need of an adoptive home. The couple instantly felt a connection with Zorian and Corbin and within weeks they formed their forever family. Ryun and MéLisa rose to the challenge of becoming instant parents. This included extensive research into topics on adoption parenting and parenting children with special needs.
Two years later Ryun and MéLisa were approached by an acquaintance about a little 18 month old girl in need of an adoptive home. After meeting with the biological mother she relinquished her parental rights and Savannah was adopted shortly thereafter. Ryun and MéLisa had adopted 3 children in 2 years and quickly saw their passion turning into a life mission.
For the next several years the children thrived, but their special needs and issues stemming from adoption, required extra attention. Ryun and MéLisa were determined to meet their children’s needs so they read books, watched videos, and worked with therapists. They searched and searched, but saw that there was very little support available to adoptive parents. During this time they felt isolated and alone concerning the growing needs of their family.
This experience planted a desire in Ryun and MéLisa to help others who were in similar situations. The couple decided to start sharing their story through public speaking. They spoke at foster care classes, churches and other advocacy events, but their audiences consisted mainly of new adoptive parents and not the struggling adoptive families they wished to support. They experienced a setback to their cause when Ryun was transferred to Los Angeles. Little did they know that in LA they would discover how to finally reach the families they so desperately wanted to encourage.
While living in Los Angeles Ryun and MéLisa decided to adopt another child and once again set out to become licensed foster parents. The couple quickly came in contact with many adoptive parents eager for their advice. Ryun and MéLisa began speaking frequently and saw the need to support adoptive families was even more important than they had initially realized. Determined to be a voice for these families Ryun and MéLisa formed Adoptive Legacy. Using videos, articles and other materials, adoptivelegacy.com allows them to share their 15 years of experiences as foster adoptive parents. The positive response has been awe-inspiring from new and growing adoptive families alike. At last Ryun and MéLisa had discovered how to offer adoptive families support and encouragement on a global level.
While Adoptive Legacy was growing so was their family. Ryun and MéLisa adopted three sisters from foster care ages 8, 4 and 3. Overnight Giselle, Mercedes and Evangeline doubled the size of their family and the couple is now parents to 6 children. Becoming a transracial family has opened their eyes even more to the complexities adoptive families face.
Both in person and online Ryun and MéLisa are approached daily by people seeking their advice about adoption. As for the future, the couple plans to create additional teaching materials, to speak more, to continue producing videos, and to even write a book. As their influence grows Ryun and MéLisa resolve to stay committed to their mission and to be the beacon of encouragement for adoptive families on their journey.