Seecaas shoe line supports adoption grant fund
A Virginia family blessed by adoption is passing that blessing on through its own line of shoes benefitting scholarships to assist families with adoption.
The parents of three, two by adoption, Adam and Ashley Hensley of the Richmond area wanted to help other potential adoptive parents.
They founded their Seecaas shoe company in 2018, also creating the Hope for Adoption Foundation, with a portion of their shoe sales funding the foundation.
“Many people steer away from adoption because they hear how expensive it is,” Ashley Hensley said. “In reality, there are so many grants and loans that you can apply to the help alleviate those costs and help you continue to grow your family.”
“This is one of reasons that Adam and I founded the Seecaas Hope for Adoption Foundation,” she said. “Every child deserves a loving home and a loving family so if we can help with a small piece of that through the foundation — our hearts are full!”
Seecaas incorporates a symbol of adoption throughout its design scheme - triangles, the corners representing the adoption triad: birth parents, adoptive parents and the child.
“Immediately when I had the idea to design a shoe, I knew that I wanted it to somehow be connected to adoption,” Hensley said.
She also keeps the life of a busy mom in mind when considering designs, including the company’s latest shoe, the Ella Flat.
“The removable insole is woven with cascading gold triangles while the bottom of the shoe also features a glittery gold detail,” said Hensley. “The cap toe of the shoe comes to a triangle-like point as does the silhouette on the top of the foot.”
“As a mom of three and being on the go so often, I knew I wanted to design a shoe that could be worn to work and be worn out to help keep the guessing out of my days,” she said. “That’s when I started dreaming up what the Ella Flat could be.”
The Ella Flat took about a year to perfect. Hensley’s production team went through five different sizing molds, three insole options and three soles before landing on the final product.
“It really was a labor of love — and worth every second!” Hensley reflected.
The shoe is versatile, with removable ankle straps allowing for two shoe styles in one. Additionally, the insoles come from recycled plastic and can be removed for washing. But aside from the style and repurposing of materials, wearing the Ella Flats helps families who are seeking to love a child through adoption.
Hensley’s heart for adoption developed as she and her husband Adam pursued adding to their family through adoption.
“When I had my first son, Caden, I found out shortly after he was born that I’d never be able to carry another child due to medical reasons,” Hensley said.
Four years after Caden’s birth, the Hensleys started their adoption journey.
“We knew our family was not done growing and after thinking through the best way for us to bring another child into our home, we realized adoption was our answer,” she recalled.
Throughout the process of adopting their son Eli in 2014, they kept in close contact with his birth mom Cassie. Hensley joined her in the delivery room and cut the umbilical cord.
“It was one of the most amazing moments of my life,” she said. “Our adoption could not have gone smoother. And we stayed with Cassie while she was in the hospital, shared meals with her, met her loved ones and stayed in touch.”
After adopting Eli, both Adam and Ashley knew they wanted to adopt again, but during their next attempt in 2016 they experienced heartbreak due to an adoption scam.
“This was the lowest part of our journey,” said Hensley, “and we didn’t know if we could emotionally move forward to try again.”
“However, we pushed through, and three weeks later, we received a phone call from an adoption agency,” she continued. “They told us a birth mom had chosen us and asked if we could be at the hospital to meet our baby girl.”
A few hours later they were holding their new daughter — Ella.
“It was so fast and an amazing three days,” Hensley said. “This adoption was a closed adoption, much different from our first adoption, but also perfect in every way. The feelings you have when you hold your baby for the first time outweigh all the bad feelings you could ever have.”
“We have been truly blessed by the gift of adoption and love to share our story to the world!” she added.
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Part of their story is conveyed in their company name. The first five letters in Seecas stand for the first name of every family member:
• S — Sophie (their beloved black Pomeranian)
• E — Ella
• E — Eli
• C — Caden
• A — Adam
• A — Ashley
The Hensleys awarded their first adoption grant in November 2019 and will give their second one in May 2020. Going forward they plan to give out two grants each year — one in May and one in November.
In addition to their foundation, the Hensleys give back to their community through partnerships with local businesses. They’ve partnered with the YMCA to donate food to families affected by the coronavirus, and they are partnering with Feed the Children through May to provide food and hygiene items to families in need.
Looking ahead, Hensley hopes to see the Seecas brand expand to retail stores for wider access. Currently the company’s products are available online at: www.seecaas.com.
More information about the Seecaas Hope for Adoption Foundation is available at: www.seecaas.com/pages/seecaas-hope-for-adoption.