I have been asked whether I am angry or upset that I was placed for adoption. No, not at all. There is no way of knowing what my life would’ve been like if I had stayed with my birth family. Or been placed with a different family. Or if any number of large or small things had gone differently than they did. Life is an unpredictable series of highs and lows. My life certainly isn’t perfect. There are things I love about my family and things that drive me up the wall. Difficult and stressful circumstances arise. Parents can’t shelter their children from this. What they can do is help provide those children the support and skills they need to face life’s challenges and overcome them. Though they knew they wouldn’t directly be able to do this, my birth parents chose an adoptive family that could. They carefully considered what I would need and picked the family that was to become mine.
Adoption is a difficult and complicated decision, but I’m grateful for the courage and discernment of my birth parents. There isn’t only one way of being a good parent. I am lucky enough to have been loved by two families in different ways.
*Name changed for confidentiality
By Samantha Cosette
(cont from Spring Newsletter)
Hope shared about discovering she was pregnant at 14, her life as a birth mother, and how she navigates her relationship with her daughter. As I watched her tell her story, I could see the significant pain and love in her face. I always imagined adoptions being completely closed, even though I knew that there are open adoptions. Hope shared that she sends care packages, letters, and gifts to her child as much as possible. She visits with her every year while trying to keep up with her exciting changes in life. The best part of hearing Hope’s story was seeing that even though she made the difficult choice to place her baby for adoption, she knows now that she made the right choice. There are still struggles, but she is so proud she chose to give life to her child and bless her adoptive parents with a child they cherish more than anything.
Adoption is a beautiful process and I feel so thankful to learn more about a personal story from a birth mother. Now I believe birth mothers are some of the strongest people in the world. They are undoubtedly selfless in their decision to carry and birth their child, and then make a choice to bless another family with the best gift she could possibly give them. Hope’s story shows the pain of adoption for birth families does not just go away, but birth mothers grow and can have peace knowing they made the right choice for their child.
Women’s health services looked different in the early 80s when we started the adoption agency. Unexpected pregnancies carried more stigma, but when we set up an office out of our home for single women to come get a free pregnancy test and decision-making counseling, my toddler running around had no preconceived idea about these ladies and why they were there.
Our goal has always been to assist women who wanted to make a carefully thought-out decision for their future and the best for their baby. Choosing life is not easy, regardless of what next decisions a mom makes for her health, support system, and baby’s well-being. Community education is a priority for CFLS and we want women to know they have support and a community who understands what the adoption process looks like today, not 30 years ago. Making an adoption plan is not “giving away” a child, and the more we can encourage positive language the more babies we can save. My little toddler impacted many hurting women in our home just by sitting by them and they could see hope and grace through a child’s eyes. Giving Hearts Day is YOUR day to have a bigger impact with your online donation. I challenge YOU to change the life of a child and expectant parents. Will you #GoMatchyMatchy with me?
By Anonymous CFLS Volunteer
I’m your biological sister. I am 21 years old. We have the same birth father. I have known about you for over half my life. I have often thought about you and how you have grown up. Were you involved in sports? Do you like to travel? What are some of your hobbies? What are your parents like? Do you have other siblings?
Over the years, I have tried to understand why our father created an adoption plan for you. I know that he was 15-16 years old when he found out you were on the way. He, along with his girlfriend were very excited to become parents but they were on a tough road. Both your mom and your dad were still in high school. They decided adoption because they wanted to help others who could not have babies on their own. It’s been over 20 years since the adoption and a lot has happened since then. We have a sister. She is 23. She also has been curious about you and what you have been up to. I am currently a senior in college going into the field of social work. I am getting married next summer. Our sister is going to start Grad School next fall in the field of criminal justice. Did you go to college? Are you married? Do you have kids?
We have missed out on so much of each other’s lives and my goal in life is to know who you are. I understand the difficulty in making this step and if you are even interested in meeting your biological family. I understand if you have no interest in knowing where you came from. I am prepared to handle that when and if that time comes. I just want you to know that you are loved!
I have started the outreach process in hopes to someday meet you. I have so many questions and so much to tell you!
-Your biological sister
*CFLS works with clients to conduct a search of biological family when applicable. See our Adoption Search page for more information.
Come find out more about Adoption Awareness Month tonight...
By Destrie Overmoe
There is something about reconnecting two hearts that have been separated for a time – it is a beautiful process.
In today’s world, each adoption can land anywhere on the spectrum of closed and open adoptions. We often use the imagery of a door that can be opened just a crack or wide open. In semi-open adoptions there are visits, pictures, and letters; in really open adoptions identifying information is shared between all parties involved. In some cases, people choose that for the time being, minimal or no contact is best. Keep in mind that no contact right now does not mean no contact forever, and it definitely does not mean that the decision was made without love. So what happens when contact is desired later on in life? Search.
Search allows for birth parents or adoptees to seek each other out usually with the assistance of the placing agency. As Case Manager at Christian Family Life Services, I get the honor of conducting Searches on behalf of adoptees or birth parents.
In North Dakota, adoptees can begin searching for their birth family once they are 18, but adoptees cannot be searched for until they are 21. A recent case started when *David decided that it was the right time to look for *Melanie, his birth mother. Most often it is the adoptee who is wondering “Where did I come from?” and wants to search for his/her birth parents. Sometimes families start with ongoing contact, but it decreases or ends as families get busy with raising children or birth parents forget to give address updates to the agency...
Read the rest of the article (A Time to Search) in our Thanksgiving Newsletter!
by Tina Bloch, LSW
What do you think of when you hear the word “Adoption?” Where do we get our information about adoption from? Some people hear about adoption from the media & movies. However, you must ask yourself if that is a true and accurate representation of what adoption is like today.
Adoption has been around for a very long time dating all the way back to the days of the Bible. The first story in the Bible about adoption was with Moses. If you need a refresher about his life, check out the story in Exodus 2.
In adoption, unfortunately the history includes shame and secrecy. Openness can be an “antidote to shame.” Moving along the time periods, closed adoptions stayed the norm for many years. In the early 1930s, it was believed that adoption should be a “discreet process and that secrecy should be maintained to protect not just the adoptive family, but also the birth parents.” However, in the 1980s, people realized that this secrecy, guilt and shame lead to resentment and depression. In closed adoptions, the adoptive families were unable to even access their adoption records or resources to help them. The child had no sense of where they came from and the women who made an adoption plan lived hiding their adoption story. As a result, adoption is very different today.
Today, most agencies conduct open to semi-open adoptions, with closed adoptions still being an option for birthparent(s) if they so choose. First off, openness in adoption means maintaining some degree of contact between the adopted child, their birth families, and the adoptive family. There are different forms that openness can take in regard to the type of contact, frequency, intensity/emotional impact, time and location. The openness continuum can range between the exchanging of non-identifying information through a third party, to arrangements for face-to-face contact and many types of openness in between. For more information about open, semi-open and closed adoptions please visit our Types of Adoption Openness page. At Christian Family Life Services, most of our families choose a semi-open adoption plan where non-identifying information is shared through letters and pictures. In addition, occasional face-to-face visits take place at a neutral location.
*We encourage families who are considering adoption to take time to research stories of openness and talk together with your spouse about your personal comfort level regarding your relationship with birth parents. Transparency is important in this process, and the CFLS case work will provide more education and tools as couples walk through the home study process.
If you have more questions, please contact CFLS or come by for our open house next Thursday!
by Destrie Overmoe
Mother’s Day is coming soon! This is a day to celebrate mothers and all they do. Maybe their kids will draw them a picture and their spouses will dote on them for the day. But what about the women who have unseen children? Maybe they lost a child to miscarriage, death after birth, or perhaps they put their child’s needs before their wants and chose adoption. Should these women be celebrated on Mother’s Day? Of course!
The loss of a child does not take away a mother’s love nor does it take away the motherly heart that God placed in her. Mothers are unique, powerful, and sacrifice so much in the name of children – and this should be praised and celebrated. These women who have lost children are still mothers and deserve to be honored. Acknowledging them as mothers means you acknowledge their children as well.
I encourage you to celebrate the mommas in your life. Whether they carried a child for nine months or carry the memories of a child in their heart – let’s rejoice in mothers everywhere!
And mothers, the love you have in your heart for your children is admirable and beautiful. You are truly precious.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 – “Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous; is not proud; is not conceited; does not act foolishly; is not selfish; is not easily provoked to anger; keeps no record of wrongs; takes no pleasure in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.”
“Hey, Beth, what size does Lucy wear? I’m getting her a birthday present,”
Trevor said when he called CFLS about his daughter’s first birthday. This proud father has only met her once. He does not live close to her, nor does he have the means to provide a home for her, but he loves her dearly, talks about her frequently, and was willing to work
with our birth parent caseworker, Beth, as an adoption plan was made for Lucy in 2015. Trevor and the mother are no longer together, and he did not consider adoption when hearing the pregnancy test results from his girlfriend....
Click here to continue reading the feature article
and see the full Spring Newsletter!
In this week's news, CFLS has expanded our services to both birth mothers and prospective adoptive families by publishing a portion of the waiting families profiles to our website. Many agencies across the nation have employed this web service as a means to present adoptive families to women who are researching their options and looking at adoption online, and we are happy to utilize this technology. As you'll see on our "Waiting Families" page under the Birth Parents tab, our clients who have completed a home study and are waiting to be matched can include a photo as well as a brief profile and birth parent letter that have previously not been seen by birthparents until they come in to meet with our birth parent counselor. We hope this assists in connecting forever families! Please join us in prayer that birth parents will chose life and consider all their options. We trust the Lord will bring women to the agency and guide their decisions.
The latest News and updates from the CFLS offices and the adoption ministry.