Laura Loffredo is a child of Westport. Her father was the hard-working, generous owner-operator of Belta’s Farm on Bayberry Lane. Her mother helped out there too.
From childhood on Laura wanted to have kids, and be a mom like her own mother.
Laura first babysat at 14. She continued until graduating from Staples in 1995, then earned a BA in psychology at the University of Connecticut and a master’s in community counseling from the University of Bridgeport.
She worked as a mental health counselor and case manager, then went back to school for a 6th-year degree in education. She’s been a teacher for the past 7 years, while also working for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
To this day, Laura remembers crying at TV commercials showing starving children in Africa. At 14, her parents helped her sponsor a little boy overseas. She still recalls his name: Saul Hormiga Donu.
When she got married, Laura and her husband John expected to have children right away. Instead they endured a 6-year struggle that included thousands of dollars spent on 8 failed fertility treatments, and a miscarriage.
“I prayed every night for a baby. The longing inside my heart was unbearable,” Laura says.
“I didn’t understand why God was denying me the one thing I wanted more than anything in the world. I was angry, bitter and heartbroken. I couldn’t breathe.” She calls this “the darkest time of my life.”
When Laura and John finally made the decision to adopt, it was “like a light in the darkness.” For the first time, Laura felt hope.
The first time she held her minutes-old daughter in her arms, Laura was overcome with emotion. All the pain washed away.
“At that moment, I understood the reason for everything,” she says. “This little girl was always meant to be ours. It just took her a while to come to us.”
But she agonized over all the people who did not have $40,000 to adopt a baby. The thought of not being a mother was overwhelmingly painful.
So Laura adopted a new cause: adoption advocate. She began forming ideas for what is now the Adoption Hope Foundation. Its mission is to provide grants to people who hope to build families through adoption.
The Adoption Hope Foundation is seeking non-profit status. It’s inaugurated a GoFundMe campaign, to cover start-up expenses and initial grants. The goal is to award the 1st funds by the end of the year.
“Adoption is a beautiful gift,” Laura says. “It is a life-altering experience that has allowed me to feel the deepest kind of love imaginable.”
That love extends from her daughter, out to the birth parents who selflessly placed her with Laura and John.
Now, Laura is paying it forward. She’s spreading that love — and the funds needed for it — as far as she can.
(For more information, or to support Laura’s work, click on the Adoption Hope Foundation’s GoFundMe site. To contact Laura directly, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 203-354-4971.)