LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) -

November is national adoption month.

It's a chance to highlight both domestic and international adoptions happening all across the country.

One local family is sharing their own adoption story, hoping to encourage others to do the same.

Angie Schlesner and her family from Cashton have always wanted to expand their family through adoption.


Instead of turning to adoption here in the U.S. the family looked to Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia.

And what they found is one special girl.

Angie Schlesner and her family are an open book.

"We stay pretty busy with the kids,” she said.

But when their family story turned another chapter, that chapter had a different name.

"In addition, we talked about how we were going to do that; adoption was a word in our vocabulary for a few years,” she said.

Angie and her husband contacted Lutheran Social Services about looking to adopt outside the U.S.

"In international adoption, the time frame can look very different. (That’s) anywhere from 18 months to three years,” said Lutheran Social Services adoption supervisor Val Zegers.

That's when they found Sofia in Krygyzstan.

"We just feel like the Lord brought her to us,” Schlesner said.

Sofia has Down syndrome, but that has made their love for her even stronger.

"She may not be one of these kids that ends up leaving the home and goes out on their own, and once we came to be at peace with that thought was when we decided there must be a reason that we're OK with this,” Schlesner said.

And Sofia's presence, now being here since August, has been a welcome new chapter.

"Sofia is a sweetheart. She's a good baby,” said Schlesner. "She isn't generally fussy, but she's kind of high maintenance. She has a lot of needs, which we want to meet."

Schlesner hopes her story can help others make the same decision and allow others to write their own stories.

"When you decide to love and care for even just one child that needs a home, that's one less child that is subject to grow up without a family at all,” Schlesner said.

Lutheran Social Services helps with domestic and international adoptions for families in Wisconsin, as well as upper Michigan.

They also have three agency programs located in the Philippines, Bulgaria, and Kyrgyzstan for families looking to adopt.

If interested in learning more, head to the website, lssadopt.org for more information.