Open Adoption Today
When a woman is faced with an unplanned pregnancy, many people
think of adoption as it was twenty years ago, when a woman didn't
have the choices in adoption that she has today. So much has changed
for the better. Now, through open or independent adoption, birth
parents, children, and adoptive families can come to know each
other and make decisions that are best not only for the baby,
but for everyone involved in the decision.
Your child will always know you, the birthmother, wanted the best
for them and loved them very much and selected the best family
to lovingly parent, nurture, and guide them through a happy and
safe life. You have an opportunity to know, meet and develop a
relationship with your child's adoptive parents before the baby
is born. If your child has already been born, you will see how
you and the prospective family respond to one another.
The choices are yours
Did you know that at the hospital you can receive, if you would
like, a copy of your baby's birth certificate that includes footprints,
the baby's wrist band, a lock of hair, and photos of you and your
baby? In addition, you can hold and feed your baby, and some birth
parents even choose to name their baby. Some of our birth parents
decide it would be easier not to see the baby right away, and
others want to. The choice is yours. Please feel free to call
us for more information, or if you would like to speak to a birth
mother who has chosen adoption for her child.
Adoption has changed in the last 20 years
Open adoption is now allowing birth families to make the choice
to have ongoing contact with adoptive families. Not all birth
parents are interested in ongoing contact and should not feel
badly if their choice is to not continue contact. Many birth parents
have told us that they really want the child to know they were
loved enough to want the very best for their child, that's why
they choose the adoptive parents. When birth parents are able
to speak to and meet the adoptive family that will adopt their
child, they are able to determine if the family has the qualities
that are important to them.
We encourage birth parents to look beyond the physical appearance
and read through the profiles for the lifestyle and values that
the child will be raised with. In doing these few things, they
will have a greater peace about their choice, allowing them to
go on with their life and feel they have made the right decision.
Often we receive questions about the screening process of the
families. We are seeking quality families that we feel we can
help adopt, and are ready for the dedication and commitment to
adoption. Families need to be able to pass a home study that consists
of an FBI background check, financial verification, medical exam,
home inspection and a clear child abuse report. This can give
you peace of mind. We are here to help with your decision and
We offer a number of additional services to birth parents. We
can provide a referral to a non-profit foundation that provides
educational scholarships to women that have gone through an adoption
plan in the last 5 years. Call Lifetime
Foundation, a non profit 501(c)(3) charity for more information,
(530) 432-7383. We can help you find out more about housing, counseling,
and free maternity clothing.
One Woman's Choice
"For three years I tried to raise my daughter by myself. The birthfather left two weeks after he found out I was pregnant and my parents
live in another state. My mother is remarried and my stepfather
didn't really like me, so we didn't see each other very much.
It had been Amber (my daughter) and me from the start. Being nineteen years old, I tried to take care
of her the best I could. She had been raised by a
lot of day care people; something I didn't want. But welfare wasn't
enough and I had to go back to work when she was only six weeks old.
I only saw her in the evenings when I picked her up from the sitter
after ten hours of being apart. Sometimes she came to me but sometimes
she'd look up and didn't want to leave. That broke my heart to
see her reject me and hug the sitter. I worked long shifts and came
home smelling like fried chicken and grease. I was dead tired
and all I had at home were bills and more bills. I couldn't seem
to get ahead and made just enough to get by. I was able to buy
her a toy now and then, pay the sitter, and was forever putting
money in the dang thing called a car. I came home one Friday to
an eviction notice. I didn't know where we were going to go since my
credit was shot and I knew we wouldn't be able to get into a decent apartment.
The only apartments were located on a trashy side of town and
Amber's sitter was on the opposite side where my job was. I could
have gotten another job, but then she would be at the sitter over
fourteen hours per day and Saturdays. I looked into her sad eyes
and saw that I wasn't doing parenting very well either. She wasn't
happy and she always knew when I was upset and would act out. I decided
she needed more than I could offer.
I again thought about the choice I had considered when I was pregnant with
her. That was adoption. It was the hardest thing that I've ever
done, but I loved her enough to follow through with my decision.
I chose an adoptive family that had one child who was seven years old so
she would have a big sister to play with, something I couldn't
give her. She would also have a mom that was at home and a dad... another thing I couldn't give her. It is still hard, but I couldn't
have kept on living the life we were. Moving and dragging her
at all hours of the day in her pj's to babysitters, so I could
come home dog tired and just sleep while she waited for me to
wake up to play with her. Sometimes I was so tired that all I
wanted to do was push her away. She couldn't understand why
I was rejecting her. I felt like we would both have a better chance
at a new start. Some of the people at work thought I was being
selfish. I think I had been selfish for keeping her in this lifestyle
for so long. I thought of adoption when her dad left. My family
pressured me to parent, saying that they would help. Yeah, for
a whole three weeks and then they were gone and I was alone again.
Amber has been with her new family for six weeks. It was hard
for me the first few weeks and I went to see a counselor who helped me.
In my mail that day I got more bills, but there was also a card from the
adoptive family. I could tell by the way the envelope felt that
there were photos inside and my heart started pounding. When I
got into my apartment I just placed the envelope up against the
lamp on the kitchen table. I looked at it awhile going through
the other mail and bills. I couldn't open it. It took me until
the middle of the night when I woke and went to the kitchen; there
it was still sitting waiting for me to open it. How would I feel
when I saw the photos? What if I cried? What if she looked sad? Finally,
I carefully opened the envelope. On the back there was a pretty
pink heart sticker that was over the flap. When I looked inside
I found a card with a teddy bear on the front and a verse that said
"To a Special Person." I guess that's me. Inside the
card were four photos. The first one was Amber sitting on the
lap of her new sister. Their arms were wrapped around each other;
big smiles covered both their faces. I couldn't remember Amber
ever having a smile like that before. The second one was a photo
of Amber with Becky, her adoptive mom. They were outside at a
park. Becky looked so relaxed, so natural. Amber had her arms
wrapped around Becky's neck; squeezing it so tight it distorted
Becky's neck. The third one was just of Amber alone. Olin Mills
Studio was stamped on the lower left side of the photo. Her hair
was up in a little pony on the side of her head. I never thought
of putting her hair up that way, but it was really cute on her.
She had on an old fashioned ivory dress with little buttons on
it. It looked real expensive. Her eyes were shining. I realized
she looked like me when I was her age. She looked so happy it
made me cry. The last photo was a special one. It was one of the
four them. She was being held by her new dad, Doug, a dad she
never had before. He held her with such love and confidence. I
could tell Amber was happy.
Seeing her with them as a family made me realize I had done what
was right for her, very right. I cried, but my tears were from
knowing she was safe, happy, and relieved that I had made the choice
that was right, even when others said it wasn't. Other people
weren't there. They couldn't see what I could see or feel what
I could feel or know what Amber really needed. She needed this
family and this family needed Amber. I finally just went back
to bed. Sleep came easier. When I woke up the next morning I felt
a weight had been lifted. The final act of a play had been played
out and now it was my turn to start over.
One thing I will always remember is I made the choice from Amber's
standpoint. Through her eyes, she told me what she needed and
I'm glad I looked into her eyes and realized it before it was
too late and I would no longer be able to tell. Her eyes spoke
to me again when I saw the photos of her with her new family.
They were saying thank you for giving me a chance. I know she
loves me and she will always know I loved her enough to want the
best for her life. I wrote her a long letter and put together a
small photo album of her life with me and sent it with her the
day she went to be with Becky and Doug.
Amber is always in my prayers and will always be in my heart. It
is hard sometimes, but these days are becoming fewer. What keeps
me going is knowing that she is living a wonderful life with everything
I ever wanted for her. A second chance for both of us.
I love you Amber,