My Story

From Founder and CEO Alisa Matheson

I was a stubborn child, who was never okay with “because I said so.” I wanted to know why. I pushed the boundaries and found creative ways to make myself seen. I knew my path would not be like everyone else’s and it never has been.

As a young person, I had adventures and traveled all around the world. At thirty, I found myself single, full of experience and yet unfulfilled. I wanted to be responsible to someone other than myself and knew I had love to give. I became a foster parent, adopted two year later and then became an adoption professional, teaching other adoptive & foster parents the lessons I’d learned along the way.

Attempting Agape started in 2010 as a blog. A way for me to share my personal foster care journey with family and friends.  Beloved Pieces Photography started at the same time, as a way to support myself as a single parent (view more about my photography).

The name comes from a desire to live and love beyond myself, because I know how incompletely I am able to love.  I am human and loving other humans is really hard.

To attempt something is, “to make an effort to achieve… something, typically a difficult task or action”.  Agape is a word we don’t use often, but it “embraces a universal, unconditional love that… goes beyond just the emotions, to the extent of seeking the best for others.”  

I can’t claim to love unconditionally or perfectly, but I can attempt it. I can aim high.

Most people feel that loving kids through adoption or foster care is joyful, rewarding and an overall positive thing.  As did I before I did it. Ten years later, I now know that, loving kids not born to you is full love, joy, and also is VERY complex.

The reality is, foster care and adoption only exist because families have been separated.  And yet, I know I adore my little family formed by adoption and am amazed that I get to be a mom to this little person.

And I cherish every day that I shared with the 20 foster kids, I shared my home with.

When I look around me, the of story of adoption reads one of two ways. Either loving kids is a joyous love-filled miracle that saves people or adoption rips families apart and should never happen. 

The truth is, adoption is love-filled AND its painful, the truth is in the middle and no matter which narrative we listen to, adoption and foster care are realities we have to wrestle with.

My mission for Attempting Agape is to team with all those impacted by adoption and foster care in order to think creatively on how things can be improved NOW, from the simple to the complex. 

I want to remind people that they can be both joyful and painful. And at every step of the way, I encourage people to honor foster youth and adoptees WHOLE story while supporting those making decisions and policies.

By supporting organizations, counties, foster and adoptive parents, I can shape family systems and the children they raise.

Let’s get comfortable being uncomfortable, push some boundaries, ask hard questions, embrace the complexities and challenge any simple stories told about adoption and foster care.

Together, we will teach and be taught as we walk our own paths, side by side, attempting something that is beyond us, unconditional love, tinged with loss.

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