It was 2009 when Laura Sykora first realized she was missing something in her life. Her mother-in-law was in the midst of completing her second year of chemotherapy for lymphoma and her father-in-law had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. “My personal life was filled with many moving parts that were both life-changing and stressful,” Laura elaborates. “Although I had a wonderful job, I was still unfortunately left at the end of each day feeling unfulfilled and questioning my life’s purpose.” To top it off, Laura had just undergone a long year of unsuccessful attempts at becoming pregnant. This chain of events led to a wake-up call that changed Laura’s life forever.
Shortly after her father-in-law passed away, Laura and her husband, Ed, had several in-depth conversations about adoption as a means to grow their family. As she simultaneously realized that her passion in life was to serve others for a greater good, Laura became drawn to the process of international adoption. “After talking with friends who had adopted, visiting an adoption agency, and meeting with other adoptive families, Laura says that she and Ed quickly realized that their hearts were being led in a new and exciting direction.
After completing the long process that accompanies international adoption, Laura and Ed brought their son home from Ethiopia in August 2010. After resigning from her job of nearly ten years to stay home with her son, Laura had no idea that the next chapter of her life was waiting in the wings. A few months after the adoption was finalized, Laura walked through an open door to accept a job at the very agency that handled their adoption: Holt International. While her title and duties have changed over the past six years, Laura continues to embrace every day with gratitude for the opportunity to witness so many families joined through the joy of adoption. In 2013, Laura and Ed were blessed through adoption once again when they brought home a daughter from Ethiopia.
Laura considers herself fortunate to have a wonderful support system filled with friends who listen and loyally walk beside her through life, celebrating the joys and supporting her through the sorrows. Last year, her mother-in-law passed away. “During the last month of her life, we had many meaningful conversations,” Laura adds. “Her advice to me was simple and wise. She told me that I would never reach the end of my days and wish they had been filled with more time at work. Her best advice was for me to stay focused on me and the needs of my family.”
Today, Laura loves the life she has created for herself and her family. She works on occasion, counseling families interested in international adoption, and volunteers at her children’s school. Laura says that by pursuing her passion, she has gained a daily sense of freedom and gratefulness. In carrying on the tradition in memory of her mother-in-law, Laura offers one piece of great advice for anyone wishing to pursue their own passion in life. “Don’t make excuses. Life is filled with new chapters and change can be both healthy and exciting. Enjoy the journey!”
To learn more about international adoption, visit https://www.holtinternational.org/.
Vicky DeCoster is a Certified Life Coach who specializes in helping her clients move past obstacles, create a plan for happiness, and cross the bridge of transition to find a new and fulfilling direction in life. To read more about her and her practice, visit her at crossthebridgecoaching.com.