Six years ago, Jonathan Brannan and his wife Alyssa had their first child, a daughter named Eden. Though the couple wanted to expand their family, Eden’s challenging birth almost took Alyssa’s life – as a result, their best option was adoption.
“One thing I think people may not realize about adoption is that it’s not for families who are in a hurry to have a kid. It takes a long time and a lot of resources. You have to be extremely patient throughout the process,” Brannan told The Dad. “You also have to be able to handle rejection. You may end up writing letters to many prospective moms, and while they won’t reject you, they may just pick someone else.”
Jonathan and Alyssa began the adoption process about two years ago when Eden was four years old. Fortunately, the couple was chosen by an expectant mom, and their son is due in April. The couple was thrilled to learn that they had finally been chosen as an adoptive family, but the cost of adoption was enormous. The family started a fundraising page to cover some of the cost, but in October, Jonathan stumbled upon an incredible opportunity.
“I was scrolling through my newsfeed just like I do every day,” Jonathan explained, “but this was in the middle of my family trying to figure out how we were going to pay for the rest of our adoption expenses. We had options available, but many of those options would have left us in debt.”
An ad for a contest held by Wahl Grooming caught Jonathan’s eye – the contest, oddly enough, was for the “Most Talented Beard in America.” Jonathan stroked his full, well-groomed beard and was hit with an incredible realization.
“Seeing the amount of the prize money from Wahl Grooming blew my mind. It was almost exactly what we needed to finish our fundraising,” Jonathan recalled. “It was asking for bearded contestants to submit a video of themselves performing whatever talents they had. I’ve always been a dramatic, fun-loving dude, I’ve performed all of my life on stage and screen. So, this contest seemed like the perfect fit for me. It was almost too good to be true. I figured I might as well give it a shot. I don’t mind making a fool of myself on the internet… especially if it means we could cover our adoption expenses!”
With the contest’s deadline inching closer, Jonathan and Alyssa threw together a video of the multi-talented dad (and his beard) showcasing everything from his singing skills to his incredible ability to solve a Rubik’s cube. Heck, he even balanced a ladder on his hand while delivering the perfect dad joke to get the judge’s attention.
“Being a modern father and husband requires a delicate…balance,” Jonathan explains in his submission video.
Clearly, the Brannans did something right – Jonathan won the contest and the $20,000 prize, which covered the last of the family’s adoption costs. Though the couple no longer needed their fundraising page, they decided to use all remaining contributions to help other families through the adoption process.
“We’ve turned our original fundraiser on AdoptTogether into a donation site for other families. We will donate the proceeds to a nonprofit called the Seventeen Twenty Foundation, which awards grants to families looking to adopt. We’re hoping our blessing can turn into a blessing for others!”
To Jonathan, family is everything. After becoming a father and embracing all of the joy that comes with it, he and Alyssa chose to help other families experience the life-changing nature of parenting as well.
“My family is my world! My wife, Alyssa, is brilliant and beautiful, and fortunately our 6yo offspring, Eden, takes after her! Eden and Alyssa both give me a hard time constantly, so I feel like I’m doing something right as a dad and husband,” Jonathan joked. “I’m looking forward to getting another dude in the house! Although, he’ll probably end up on their side anyway.”