The Journey for Journee: Couple adopts daughter from foster care

Andy and Karen Scaife always imagined having a family would be easy and didn’t think about complications. Shortly after trying to start a family, Karen Scaife discovered she had infertility issues and both she and Andy were carriers of the same cystic fibrosis gene. This led them on the journey of private adoption.

They had no idea that journey would bring them to their own Journee, their adopted daughter.

The journey to finding Journee

After years of waiting and wondering, the private adoption agency the couple was working with fell into bankruptcy and they were back to square one. After a few years of processing, they decided to look into an area they investigated many years before, adopting from the foster care system. The first organization they did an information-sharing session with was LSC.

Pre-service training began right before Covid- 19 disrupted everything. The couple loved LSC’s classes and made friends with three families who they are still in contact with today. They said the adoptive home study process was easy and LSC Adoptions Coordinator Jessica Johnson was always there to answer questions. Once they were licensed and in the matching stage of the adoption process, Johnson was committed to find the right fit for the family.

“Andy and I heard so many times throughout this process that we would know immediately which child is meant to be part of your family, and this is precisely what happened,” Karen Scaife said. “I read about Journee and everything changed. Andy and I turned to each other and said, ‘I think she’s the one.’”

Once they decided to move forward, they met 7-year-old Journee a week later. They admitted they were nervous that she wouldn’t like them, but once they started talking it was like they’d known each other forever.

“She felt like part of the family already, and we knew she could accomplish anything she wanted if she was just given the support needed,” Karen Scaife said.

After that first meeting, the family’s story was fast-tracked. They were initially expecting a six-month transition of visits, sleepovers, and getting-to-know each other activities. But before they got home from that first meeting with Journee they heard from Johnson that Journee would need to leave her current foster home as soon as possible.

“It wasn’t the original plan but a weekend of clearing out her bedroom, and Journee was with us! So we are a last-minute placement success story,” Karen Scaife said.

Life as a family

The first time Andy and Karen Scaife met Journee, they printed out some photos with information about them to share with her. They told her to think about becoming a member of their family.

The photos are still a family tradition to this day.

“Every time we do something significant, we print out the pictures and Karen writes on all of them,” Andy Scaife said. “We just got back from Disney, and we are on photobook number nine. Those are the things that mean a lot to Journee and you will sometimes find her just sitting and looking at the albums.”

But it hasn’t been all sunshine and laughter. Journee’s trauma history over the first seven years of her life was significant. She receives intensive in-home therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Other difficulties they have had to overcome include helping Journee adjust to a new school, remote learning, and working diligently to reassure Journee that she was safe, wanted, and loved in their home.

“To be honest, it was very difficult at times. I would be lying if I did not share that we have all cried together wondering if things would get better,” Karen Scaife said. “Things did get better, and we could not imagine our life without Journee. She is the bravest person we’ve ever met. She is so funny, beautiful, and smart.”

Journee officially became part of the family in November 2021. She is now nine and Andy and Karen have no regrets about adopting from foster care.

“We love Journee’s name because it was our journey,” Andy Scaife said. “The whole time we were looking for the right match. When we met her, it just felt right.”

“Andy and I know we would not have our family without the support of Lutheran Services Carolinas. We owe them so much,” Karen Scaife said. “Our advice is to be open and honest with your adoption coordinator and trust the process. It’s not easy to adopt a foster child. They all have trauma, and some have significant needs, but they are worth it. They are our children.”

For more information about LSC’s foster care and adoption programs, visit

The Scaife family received their copy of Voices in the mail right before they took Journee on her first trip to Scotland to meet some family members for the first time. When Journee arrived in Scotland, Karen Scaife said she was very excited to show the family her story in the magazine.