November marks National Adoption Month, which is a special time for families and children to celebrate their adoptions, and a time for agencies and organizations to raise awareness about adoption services and support available within their communities.
Adoption is a life-changing experience for everyone involved, and it always begins with birth parents. There are many forms of adoption. This is Sara’s* story of an open adoption, where the birth parents stay involved in the child’s life. Sara was assisted in the process by Family Hope Connection (FHC), the adoption department of Jewish Family & Children’s Service.
I was only a junior in college when I asked my then-boyfriend to walk me to the local Pregnancy Resource Clinic so that I could take a pregnancy test in private. I already knew what the result would be — it’s incredible how quickly your body changes when you’re pregnant.
I sat there, holding my results and realized I was not ready to have this child.
I knew I couldn’t care for my baby, but knew I needed the baby in my life, so I decided to call a woman I love and respect and who knew about adoption. I told her I was pregnant and was considering adoption and needed to know where to turn. She was very respectful and tried to make sure I knew there was a long process involved. She put me in touch with Family Hope Connection, since this was an agency she knew and trusted.
Each woman will have her own path to deciding how she wants to handle her nine months before placing her child, but I would encourage an open and loving relationship with the adoptive family, if possible. The adoptive family I chose with the help of FHC was able to attend doctor’s appointments and they were present when I found out I was having a boy. I was able to see them cry and hug each other, and was reassured that I chose a loving couple to raise my boy.
As it came closer to the delivery date, which was around a major holiday when many agencies would be closed, FHC was on standby to come to the hospital when I delivered. Those next few days were too quick, and my baby was delivered before I was ready to say goodbye.
FHC really stepped up when they came to the hospital and walked me through the next steps before finalizing the paperwork. They also made sure I had a place to stay, since this was during a holiday and I had traveled to deliver at a hospital near the adoptive parents’ home.
FHC made sure I was involved and respected every step of the way. My birth son is nearly two years old now and I do not regret my decision to see him grow in a loving home, even though that home is not my own.
Every day, the staff at Family Hope Connection work to find permanent, safe and loving homes for children in need of adoption and provide additional services for birth parents who are exploring their options, families considering adoption, children in the foster care system and families who have adopted and need ongoing support with strengthening relationships, facilitating adoption arrangements or adjusting to changes and challenges along the way.
Whether you are a birth parent, a family looking to adopt or are seeking resources to help guide the process, Family Hope Connection can help. Call 412.422.8567 or visit www.fhcadopt.org for more information.
*Names have been changed to protect client privacy.