By Guest Blogger Marie Givner, Adoption Program Manager at Family Services
Kim and Drew will always remember the day they got THE CALL. They were out and about running errands when Kim’s cell phone rang. She nervously answered when she saw it was Family Services calling. The rest is a bit of a blur, but Kim remembers their social worker telling them that a birth mother had chosen them and could they come to the office tomorrow to learn about a 2-week-old baby boy.
After an almost-sleepless night, they met with social workers from the agency in the morning and learned more about the birth parents and details about the baby. Plans were made to return to the office on the next day to meet their son. Holding the infant in their arms for the first time was a dream come true and also felt a bit surreal. Later in the day, they met with the amazing foster parents who had lovingly cared for their son during his first two weeks of life. They even provided notes on his care and Kim and Drew laughed about their baby coming with “written instructions!”
The next day was the day Kim and Drew had anticipated for so long – bringing their baby home! Their joy was compounded by the happiness felt by their family and friends. Only after THE CALL did they fully understand what had been happening behind-the-scenes at Family Services leading up to the arrival of their baby.
An expectant mother had called Family Services when she was seven months pregnant. Like many women experiencing unplanned pregnancies, she was overwhelmed and facing tough decisions. She met regularly with one of the agency’s counseling staff who helped her look at all of her options. Ultimately, she made the difficult decision that adoption was the best choice for her child and for herself. Her social worker guided her through each step of the process and helped her prepare for the complex feelings she would experience. She chose the adoptive parents and now has ongoing contact with them. She knows Family Services is available to her on a long-term basis for support.
When an adoptive family becomes involved with the Infant Adoption Program at Family Services, they are guided through the process by experienced staff. Each family will participate in a Home Study process during which they receive the education and preparation they need to become successful and informed adoptive parents. Once a baby joins a family, services to families continue. Family Services provides ongoing support during the early adjustment phases and on an ongoing basis. Families are guided through the legal aspects of the adoption process.
As part of the agency’s commitment to ongoing support of families formed through adoption, the Adoption Program hosts a monthly Support Group during the school year. The group is open to Family Services’ families as well as adoptive families in the community. The group involves both domestic and international adoptive families. Child care and a light meal are provided; there is no charge. Details here.
Other types of domestic adoption services provided by Family Services are Relative and Stepparent Adoptions. It is not uncommon for birth parents to be unable to raise a child, but a close family member is able to step in and provide the needed care. Or for a stepparent to assume the role of mother or father to a child. Formalizing and legalizing those roles through a Relative or Stepparent adoption is very important in establishing permanency for a child. The Family Services staff is highly experienced in these kinds of adoptions and has established close, collaborative connections with Court staff around the state as well as with the attorneys who are often involved in these processes.
If you are interested in learning more about our Infant Adoption Program, or any of our adoption-related services, please call us at 336.722.8173. We offer individual consultations to families who are beginning to explore adoption. We would love to talk with you!