Gloriously Ruined


Inspiring True Stories Stories of Adoption

Wynne and Stephen’s lives were changed when they said yes to adoption. A special Fotolanthropy film about a couple that adopts two babies from Ethiopia.

Photography by Fotocrew Chief  Katie Norris and Introducing Film Fotocrew Member Kirk Slawek with Gear Seven Creative

This is the beautifully inspiring and touching adoption story of Wynne and Stephen Elder.  Their story begins in 2010 when Wynne and Stephen had been married a couple of years and began to think about starting their own family.  They began to try for a baby, however month after month for about a year came with no promise of a baby.

In the summer of 2010, Wynne was talking with her friend Katie about trying to begin a family and Katie stopped and asked Wynne, “Have you ever thought about adoption?”  This question stopped Wynne in her tracks as it sank in.  Up to this point in her life she or even Stephen had never considered adoption.  As Wynne puts it, “Adoption was never on my radar.  Adoption & missions were for “those people”.  Radicals.  People who always had a “heart for the nations”.  That wasn’t me.  So adoption wasn’t for me.  Or so I thought.”

What began with this simple question quickly moved into a heartfelt movement and mission on Wynne and Stephen’s hearts.  Instead of focusing their attention on thinking about fertility options, they began to pour into researching adoption, agencies, getting approved, and beginning the paper work!  In 2011, Wynne and Stephen went on their first trip to Africa and they say they were forever “gloriously ruined.”  They committed to adoption from Ethiopia, Africa.

When they were filling out the paper work they put down that they wanted a little boy, however they decided to put down that they would accept two children if that’s what the Lord had in store for them.  Once the paper work was complete and they were approved, all there was to do was wait for that call from the adoption agency.

At the end of January of 2012, Wynne and Stephen got a call to accept a referral of a little boy. With how long they had waited and how they had heard about this little boy through numerous people at their adoption agency, they felt like this was the boy for them to accept!  Ultimately, a little while after accepting his information they got a call from their adoption agency that they would no longer be receiving this little boy as a relative had claimed him.  The heartbreak they felt was devastating.

While the devastation was still sinking in over the news that they had just lost this sweet little boy, just a couple of hours later Wynne and Stephen got the call that changed their lives forever.  Their adoption agency called offering them two referrals of a boy and a girl!  Wynne and Stephen took another step of faith and accepted both referrals.

In October of 2012, Wynne and Stephen flew to Ethiopia to accept and bring 9-month-old Camp and 8-month-old Asher back home to Midland, TX.  Wynne recalls feeling like it’s your wedding day while they were getting ready to meet Camp and Asher for the first time.  The moment the nanny’s brought Asher, and then Camp, into the room for Wynne and Stephen to meet and hold they say was the most surreal moment of their lives.  Wynne writes on her blog, “Our lives look totally different.  We are changed.  And it’s all because we committed to pray about growing our family through adoption.  I can’t imagine where we’d be if God would have said YES to my prayer before I could say YES to His much greater plan.  It’s an adventure.  Will you join us?”

This is an inspiring story of patience and trust.  Wynne and Stephen decided to say YES to the call to adopt.  As a personal friend to Wynne since college, it was truly an emotional journey and celebration to interview her and Stephen and create this Fotolanthropy film on their adoption journey.  It was so inspiring to watch Wynne and Stephen go through this journey and to finally see them come together as a family with these two children that were handpicked for them.  I am thankful to have gotten to work with this family as my eyes have been open to the world of adoption and I have a new respect for those who passionately support and have decided to adopt!

To view the photos when they met Camp and Asher visit:

Learn more about their journey at:


8 Responses

  1. […] name yet!] started that weekend too.  Fast forward 2+ years….and our Fotolanthropy story is HERE!  This is NOTHING that I would have ever dreamed of!  It has been an absolute honor to be a part […]

  2. […] last week, something that brings me great joy and hope!  are you tired of hearing about our Fotolanthropy film […]

  3. […] So there you have it. BOOM! Our adoption story [told so beautifully by Fotolanthropy] released this week. I hope it encourages, challenges + inspires you. […]

  4. […] since our Fotolantrhopy film came out + I’ve been throwing down the challenge to say YES to what God is calling you […]

  5. This is so beautiful! We adopted 3 at one time, although they were not babies. God’s blessings!!!

  6. Shamekia Gipson - says:

    Many blessings to your family!! You all look so happy.

  7. […] and you know the ending to that beautiful part of our story.  a happy mama + daddy with our arms full.  our ethiopian beauties.  a fulfillment of Gods promise to us for our double portion [Isaiah 61] thank you Jesus.  see short film by fotolanthropy here. […]

  8. […] we were SO HONORED to have “the Camp” and “the Asher” story straps as a part of the Fotostrap collection!  These are limited edition straps, so once they are gone that’s all.  The proceeds of the Camp or Asher strap, go towards our Fotolanthropy film! […]

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How to Help:

I am so glad this story has inspired you and God has put something in your heart for the orphan + for adoption! Adoption is a beautiful thing, and a beautiful community! There are many resources to help you on your journey, or help you support someone you love that is on this journey. There are quite a few ways to be engaged in the adoption community and I hope to share some of them with you. There is an amazing organization that puts on a conference each year, called “Together for Adoption” that we have found very helpful over the years. This conference is the one that God used to really speak to Stephen’s heart and encourage him to say YES! The conference is each fall in a different city, and also their website also has great resources and information. Their is an amazing group of adoptive (and future adoptive) mamas that meets twice a year in the spring for a retreat called Created for Care. That has been one of the biggest blessings to me, building a strong community of adoptive mamas to walk this out with. If you are praying about the adoption process, and don’t know exactly where to start there are a few sites that give great general information on the various international adoption programs. If the finances are what intimidate you about starting the adoption process, there are some great resources for you. We actually have started a legacy fund with Abba Fund, to help other adoptive families have the resources they need. The Abba Fund website also has some great information about the finances of adoption. Show Hope is another great organization that assists families with the finances of adoption (and orphan care in general). If you are interested in adopting a child with special needs, you need to visit the Reece’s Rainbow website. To learn more about adopting a child that is HIV+, visit Project Hopeful: Another group I’ve had the chance to be a part of is Give1Save1, helping 1 family each week raise awareness and financial support through our giving based blog. I am also an ambassador for Noonday Collection and proud to say through being an ambassador for these beautiful artisans all over the world who make our jewelry + accessories, we were able to raise awareness + money to bring Camp and Asher home! – Words from Wynne Elder

Fotostrap has partnered with Fotolanthropy and designed two limited edition story staps called Camp and Asher that are available to purchase on 10% of all Fotostrap sales are donated back to Fotolanthropy and by purchasing one of these story straps, you will be directly donating to Fotolanthropy’s fund for “Gloriously Ruined”. Check them out at