Faces in the Crowd: The O’Connors
This year’s Angels in Adoption award, from U.S. Senator Mike Rounds, is the O’Connor family in Rapid City. After having 3 biological children of their own, the family decided to add more love to their family.
RAPID CITY, S.D. — When Caresa and Sean’s oldest daughter Libby told them she was having dreams about adding a baby to their family, her parents took her notion to heart.
Caresa O’Connor says, “She (Libby) is a very serious person — she’s very stoic and she sobbed as she told me that it was too heavy for her to carry and so I called Sean after she went to school that day and he said, well if we are honest with ourselves, we always did want another baby and so we started looking into adoption agencies.”
They sprang into action. And a process that typically takes 1-3 years to complete took only 3 ½ weeks. They adopted Winnie from Wichita, who is now 4 years old.
Sean O’Connor, says, “We were fortunate enough to spend the entire day with Winnie’s birth mother. So we got to know her and her family history and had just kind of a very amazing experience.”
About a year down the road, they decided that Winnie needed a sibling closer in age to grow up with and went through the adoption process again. They went to St. Louis to adopt R.J, who is now two. They formed a close relationship with R.J.’s birth family, as they saw the importance of connection with both children’s biological parents.
“And she (R.J.’s birth mother) walked up in the middle of us — holding both of our hands and we held her hands through the c-section. We both fell in love with her so much that if she would’ve changed her mind, I really think we’ve said it would’ve said okay, what can we do, you know, what can we do to help because you’re family now,” says Caresa.
“They (Winnie & R.J.) are going to have another family that is out there. So we felt it was important to let the birth mothers know — this needs to be a very positive thing, because someday they’re going to come knocking, ” says Sean.
And now, they are living a fulfilled and busy life and wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sean says, “They are our adopted kids, but they are our kids, right, and I don’t look at them any differently as how I look at our other three children. They are just as important in my life and our life together.”
Caresa says, “It’s chaos and we love it.”
The O’Connor’s are quick to help anyone with the adoption process and have assisted numerous friends with the process.
The Angels in Adoption award is dedicated to raising awareness about the tens of thousands of orphans and foster children in the United States and the millions of orphans around the world in need of permanent, safe and loving homes through adoption.
For more information, visit CCAI’s website.