Sally Ankerfelt

Adoption Coach
Co-Founder of GIFT Family Services, LLC
Transformational Coach, Founding Coach, Empowering Women Leaders

Sally is an energetic, committed professional coach. She has over 19 years of personal adoption experience including international, transracial, and older child adoptions.

Sally brings with her an open, down-to-earth style that affirms the gifts of each person as well as the unique gifts of each family.


Sally accompanies families who may feel tired, stuck in chaos, and ready to throw in the towel. Adoptive families may face unique challenges that require a supportive professional who has personal and professional knowledge of attachment adaptations, trauma responses, anxiety, grief, and the adoption circle. As an adoptive parent of three, Sally has faced both the joy and struggle of parenting. When working with you, she will bring her personal and professional experience using a sensitive, non-judgmental approach as she helps you find renewed hope and joy for yourself and your family.

During the coaching relationship, she holds you and your family as complete and capable while needing support, understanding, and options. Building on your strengths, she helps you create strategies, develop unique skills, and establish clear goals so you can calm the chaos, reclaim your family...and yourself.

Often, the stress of family life makes it difficult for adoptive families to schedule appointments during typical hours or travel far to an office session. Recognizing this need, she meets with clients at various times and places (homes, coffee shops, or over-the-phone) .

Sally also offers seminars and presentations at various adoption conferences and venues around the country and co-facilitates a Minneapolis area transracial adoption parent support group through NACAC (

She holds a Certificate in Trauma Studies from the University of Minnesota which informs her work as a coach. In addition, Sally has worked with individuals and families for over 26 years as an ordained Lutheran pastor.

Sally's writing on ambiguous loss can be seen in the March/April 2019 Fostering Families Today national magazine. Along with her coaching colleague Gayle, Sally is co-authoring a book that helps Christian families and communities welcome and embrace adoptees and their families which is planned for publication in late 2019.

Professional Development and Education

  • B.A. in Psychology and Business Administration, Concordia College, Moorhead, MN
  • M.Div., Luther Theological Seminary, St. Paul, MN
  • Certificate of Trauma Studies, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN
  • Certified Performance/Transformational Coach, Resource Realizations
  • Certified Prepare/Enrich Marital and Pre-marital Inventory Administrator and Counselor, including use of the Adoption Option

Sally Ankerfelt

Testimonials about Sally

“Mrs. Ankerfelt’s participation in our program was an excellent addition.  Her topics were very poignant to our participants and her ability to immediately bond with them made the workshops so much more personal.  We look forward to a long and wonderful relationship with Mrs. Ankerfelt and GIFT.”  -- Bohdana P., U.N.A. Soyuzivka

“…I found acceptance, openness and trust from Sally. She is truly a skilled, gifted, compassionate and caring [person] to learn from. She understands and encourages me. I got confidence and important and powerful directions that equip me. Sally is truly a safe person [and] because of the wonderful learning time I had with Sally, I left transformed, awakened and confident.”  -- J. Homa

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GIFT, Growing Intentional Families Together, adoption