looking in, carol jean felth seems to be the quintessential minnesota mom. Decked out in her U of M hoodie and Woodbury Royals beanie, she happily spends her nights and weekends cheering at soccer games and helping with math homework. It's evident that her three kids, 19-year-old Brady, 14-year-old Dylan and 9-year-old Grace, bring her so much joy. But there's more to this story than what meets the eye.
Carol Jean and her husband, Stuart, welcomed Brady, Dylan and Grace in three different ways, what they affectionately call the parenting triple play: a natural pregnancy, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and adoption.
After giving birth to their first son, doctors told Carol Jean she wouldn't be able to give birth to any more children. That's when the couple hit their knees, trusting that God had a bigger plan. Having that view allowed them to be open to IVF, which is how they welcomed their second son.
The Felths continued to choose to have faith when they were going through a stressful adoption process for their third child. "I felt all the same emotions I did when I was pregnant," Carol Jean says. "Just instead of growing inside of me, my child was growing in my heart."
And then the couple learned of a huge setback. Because of legislation and reform, international adoptions from Guatemala would end before the Felths could even meet their precious daughter. "All I could do was pray," Carol Jean says. "That morning, I heard the song Amazing Grace on the radio. A month later, we got the news that our own amazing Grace would be joining our family."
Brady, Dylan and Grace each have their own passions, from figure skating to soccer to hockey. Most nights, Carol Jean and Stuart get home from work (they both work at U.S. Bank) and after a few minutes to unwind, are off to cheer on, watch or shuttle kids. "Seeing our kids enjoy their passions is so energizing to me," Carol Jean, who has even coached her kids' teams, says. "I love that they're pursuing their passions."
Even though she's fully immersed into her kids' lives, Carol Jean has had a plan from the beginning to safeguard her own identify. "I remember the child birth educator asked us what our objectives were for becoming a parent," she says. "I was so excited to be a mom and wife, but I said I always want to be Carol Jean."
She admits that despite her best intentions, sometimes along the way, she's lost sight of herself. So we reached out to Brady, Dylan and Grace to give Carol Jean the best Mother's Day present of all: their love and admiration.
Brady says, "My mom helps me come up with new ideas for school projects and is very helpful with other homework." According to Dylan, "My mom means so much to me because she puts her family's needs in front of her own." Grace says it all. "She always makes me feel special. She means everything to me."
And this is more than just a triple play. It's a grand slam.