Birth Family Care

If we are to truly get to the root of the orphan crisis, we must address and care for families and their children. To only care for children is putting a bandaid on a much deeper issue, and can even promote unethical adoption practices.

But how do you care for birth families? How do you help adults so that they are able to parent their children in a safe environment?
The Archibald Project is here to give you researched information on ways to ethically get involved in all things orphan care and this page will specifically plug you in to supporting birth families.

Below you will find stories from brave birth families, ethical organizations to get involved with, and videos of birth family care to inspire and educate you on why caring for birth families will make a huge dent in ending the orphan crisis. 

Join this movement with us.


Come along and read these powerful stories from birth families themselves. Open up your mind to their perspective – broaden your view of family!

Come along and read these powerful stories from birth families themselves. Open up your mind to their perspective – broaden your view of family!

Click the link to see organizations around the country and world that are caring for birth families post-adoption. Read about them and get involved!

Click the link to see organizations around the country and world that are caring for birth families post-adoption. Read about them and get involved!

See birth family care in action through these videos and podcasts. The cycle of the orphan crisis can stop by starting to care for birth moms and dads.

See birth family care in action through these videos and podcasts. The cycle of the orphan crisis can stop by starting to care for birth moms and dads.

BIRTH FAMILY sTORIES

Cannille Turner "I want the world to know that as a birth mom, I would never give up on my sweet Beloved. I wanted her more than anything in the world, & because of the amount of love & care I have for her, I wanted the best for her & I am proud to say that I have given that to her. I never gave up; I simply gave her more."

Cannille Turner

"I want the world to know that as a birth mom, I would never give up on my sweet Beloved. I wanted her more than anything in the world, & because of the amount of love & care I have for her, I wanted the best for her & I am proud to say that I have given that to her. I never gave up; I simply gave her more."

Anonymous Birth Mother "I want to encourage adoptive families out there to be open to their children’s birth families. Don’t be afraid to share real and raw emotions together. Let your birth mom know that you care about her and how thankful you are for the opportunity to parent her child." 

Anonymous Birth Mother

"I want to encourage adoptive families out there to be open to their children’s birth families. Don’t be afraid to share real and raw emotions together. Let your birth mom know that you care about her and how thankful you are for the opportunity to parent her child." 

Padre J. "It's an awesome feeling to be accepted by the family chosen to parent your birth child. Because not only does my daughter have her parents, but she also has her birthparents. I want the world to know that Birth families are still family and important in a child's life."

Padre J.

"It's an awesome feeling to be accepted by the family chosen to parent your birth child. Because not only does my daughter have her parents, but she also has her birthparents. I want the world to know that Birth families are still family and important in a child's life."

 
Ashley "You can forgive yourself, you can allow yourself happiness and joy. You don’t have to punish yourself over and over. You can find hope in a life after placement. You were never meant to stay stuck and don’t let this experience keep you from living up to your true potential. YOU ARE WORTH MORE!" 

Ashley

"You can forgive yourself, you can allow yourself happiness and joy. You don’t have to punish yourself over and over. You can find hope in a life after placement. You were never meant to stay stuck and don’t let this experience keep you from living up to your true potential. YOU ARE WORTH MORE!" 

Leanne "If I could give adoptive parents advise for loving their children’s birth parents it would be to keep them in your life, there will come a time when your child may struggle. If you have the Birth parent in your life, on some level, you might have a better insight on personality wise or medically."

Leanne

"If I could give adoptive parents advise for loving their children’s birth parents it would be to keep them in your life, there will come a time when your child may struggle. If you have the Birth parent in your life, on some level, you might have a better insight on personality wise or medically."

Lauren "Just because a birthmother chooses adoption doesn’t mean that child was unwanted. I would have done ANYTHING to change my circumstances so I’d have been able to parent. This was never something we WANTED to do. A birthmother does not settle on adoption lightly."

Lauren

"Just because a birthmother chooses adoption doesn’t mean that child was unwanted. I would have done ANYTHING to change my circumstances so I’d have been able to parent. This was never something we WANTED to do. A birthmother does not settle on adoption lightly."

 
Callie Jett "I would like to see unfair stereotypes disappear. False ideologies, such as “Birth Mothers do not want their child,” or “Birth Mothers gave their child away.” These unfair or false stereotypes are created by our culture and society who are not familiar or knowledgeable with this type of act of love."

Callie Jett

"I would like to see unfair stereotypes disappear. False ideologies, such as “Birth Mothers do not want their child,” or “Birth Mothers gave their child away.” These unfair or false stereotypes are created by our culture and society who are not familiar or knowledgeable with this type of act of love."

Birth Family Organizations Inspired by these stories? Click the photo to read about organizations that are caring for birth families!   

Birth Family Organizations

Inspired by these stories? Click the photo to read about organizations that are caring for birth families! 
 

Birth Family Videos & Podcasts Watch and listen to people that have experienced birth family care first hand. Be open to the idea of broadening your view of family to care for the mothers and fathers that so bravely place their children for adoption! 

Birth Family Videos & Podcasts

Watch and listen to people that have experienced birth family care first hand. Be open to the idea of broadening your view of family to care for the mothers and fathers that so bravely place their children for adoption! 

 

Birth Family Organizations

Here are organizations around the world that we have researched or worked with and trust to present to you. If you would like to get involved in birth family care, these organizations would be a great way!

Embrace Grace – All over the U.S. The purpose of Embrace Grace is providing emotional, practical and spiritual support for single, young women and their families who find themselves in an unintended pregnancy. The primary goal of Embrace Grace is to empower churches across the nation to be a safe and non-judging place for the girls to run to when they find out they are pregnant, instead of the last place they are welcomed because of shame and guilt. They provide curriculum and resources for the church to implement our programs and become a Pro-Love church.

Embrace Grace – All over the U.S.

The purpose of Embrace Grace is providing emotional, practical and spiritual support for single, young women and their families who find themselves in an unintended pregnancy. The primary goal of Embrace Grace is to empower churches across the nation to be a safe and non-judging place for the girls to run to when they find out they are pregnant, instead of the last place they are welcomed because of shame and guilt. They provide curriculum and resources for the church to implement our programs and become a Pro-Love church.

Mommas House – New York Mommas House has a specific vision to care for young mothers aged 18 – 23 who have been abandoned by their families. Teenage pregnancy is high in Long Island and many times these teenagers end up living homeless with their children or in cars. Mommas House address these issues: homelessness, lack of parenting, lack of education/ employment, day care, life skills, mental health issues, early intervention, driving.

Mommas House – New York

Mommas House has a specific vision to care for young mothers aged 18 – 23 who have been abandoned by their families. Teenage pregnancy is high in Long Island and many times these teenagers end up living homeless with their children or in cars. Mommas House address these issues: homelessness, lack of parenting, lack of education/ employment, day care, life skills, mental health issues, early intervention, driving.

Grace Like Rain – Texas Grace Like Rain ministries is committed to extending God’s love to families who have suffered homelessness, parental incarceration, financial devastation, and other times of severe need by providing programming, training, education, resources, housing, and tangible assistance. As the families in need receive the ministry and help of Grace Like Rain finding stability, support, and purpose, it is their vision that those same families will join their team in the mission to rescue and resource others.

Grace Like Rain – Texas

Grace Like Rain ministries is committed to extending God’s love to families who have suffered homelessness, parental incarceration, financial devastation, and other times of severe need by providing programming, training, education, resources, housing, and tangible assistance. As the families in need receive the ministry and help of Grace Like Rain finding stability, support, and purpose, it is their vision that those same families will join their team in the mission to rescue and resource others.

Abide Family Center Abide Family Center empowers vulnerable families to keep their kids at home and out of orphanages. They work to keep children out of orphanages in Uganda by providing other options to at-risk families. Families admitted into their program are then provided holistic, direct services at our center.

Abide Family Center

Abide Family Center empowers vulnerable families to keep their kids at home and out of orphanages. They work to keep children out of orphanages in Uganda by providing other options to at-risk families. Families admitted into their program are then provided holistic, direct services at our center.

Heal Ministries Heal empowers vulnerable, abandoned women and children in Christ-centered programs that teach sustainability and family preservation. They build up relationships and implement programs addressing the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of abandoned women and children. 

Heal Ministries

Heal empowers vulnerable, abandoned women and children in Christ-centered programs that teach sustainability and family preservation. They build up relationships and implement programs addressing the spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being of abandoned women and children. 

Mother's Heart Cambodia Mother's Heart Cambodia was started to respond to the lack of choices women have when they face an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy and because there were no other organizations working in that area. They walk along side women offering non-judgemental support and counseling. Cambodia has no social system to assist these women and their families. 

Mother's Heart Cambodia

Mother's Heart Cambodia was started to respond to the lack of choices women have when they face an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy and because there were no other organizations working in that area. They walk along side women offering non-judgemental support and counseling. Cambodia has no social system to assist these women and their families. 

Mwana Villages Mwana Villages is changing lives in the city of Pointe-Noire in The Republic of the Congo. By approaching orphan care in a holistic way, they are not only seeing children adopted but also seeing families stay together. 

Mwana Villages

Mwana Villages is changing lives in the city of Pointe-Noire in The Republic of the Congo. By approaching orphan care in a holistic way, they are not only seeing children adopted but also seeing families stay together. 

Project Somos Project Somos believes that a child’s best chance for success comes from being raised by their own family in a stable supportive environment. As an orphan prevention program, the Village supports widowed and single mothers who are at-risk of losing their children due to poverty and difficult living situations.

Project Somos

Project Somos believes that a child’s best chance for success comes from being raised by their own family in a stable supportive environment. As an orphan prevention program, the Village supports widowed and single mothers who are at-risk of losing their children due to poverty and difficult living situations.

Selamta Family Project Selamta Family Project develops forever families and bright futures for orphaned children, marginalized women and families at-risk of breaking apart in Ethiopia. Families who are on the verge of being torn apart due to poverty are supplied educational support, health and wellness, psychosocial support and work to stabilize basic needs.

Selamta Family Project

Selamta Family Project develops forever families and bright futures for orphaned children, marginalized women and families at-risk of breaking apart in Ethiopia. Families who are on the verge of being torn apart due to poverty are supplied
educational support, health and wellness, psychosocial support and work to stabilize basic needs.


Adoption Organizations

Wanting to adopt but want to make sure the agency is sound and cares for your birth family? Here are some below that we have found to be trustworthy and have programs that ensure birth families are taken care of. 

Catholic Social Services – Alaska

Pregnancy Support and Adoption Services of Catholic Social Services supports the tradition of family life by focusing its efforts on the vulnerability of children and the promotion of loving, safe, and permanent families through advocacy, education and support services.  Our purpose is to find families for children, NOT children for families! Every child has the right
to be nurtured and loved despite circumstances that are beyond their control! Families are formed because of love, not just blood ties. Children are their own individuals, not just extensions of their birth families. 

Adopt Triad – Colorado

Adopt Triad is here to assist birth parents who need to make adoption plans and find families who are prepared and excited and willing to be an option for them. We also assist families wanting to adopt a child, prepare and to advocate for that family during their adoption journey. Their birth family services include counseling for birth parents who need assistance in making
an adoption plan for their child, financial assistance for our birth parents, and
life coaching.

Heart to Home – Kentucky

Heart to Home hopes to accomplish two things - Place babies in good homes and help the placing parents before, during, and after the adoption. They commit to helping with the decisions that birth parents have to make, offering a variety of services that can give support.
Toll-free birthmother line 24-hours a day 7 days a week, confidentiality, support during birth of the baby, counseling, legal assistance, direct placement to new adoptive parents, and the opportunity to choose a relationship with your baby’s adoptive family.

Compact Family Services – Arkansas

COMPACT is a Christ-centered ministry to redeem the fatherless and family through compassion in action. 

Compact Family Services' adoptions occur through the Highlands Maternity Home, which supports unwed, teenage mothers.
Highlands Maternity Home is dedicated to bringing hope and healing to young women facing an unplanned pregnancy and who have questions about their future. Highlands has helped more than 3,000 young women across the country by offering hope, healing, peace, joy, and a bright future.

Heart of Adoption – Florida

Heart of Adoptions primary mission is to create families through adoption.
However, they take this one step further
by ensuring that all of their clients: expectant parents, their children, and hopeful adoptive families, are treated
as individuals with unique needs,
situations, and emotions. They
believe in flexibility, respect, and confidentiality.
They make sure we find the perfect family willing to meet your requests.

All the Blessings Intl – Missouri

All Blessings International is a Christian non-profit organization and Hague accredited adoption agency that believes in the innate worth of every individual child and seeks to assist the children of the world by helping build families through adoption and providing humanitarian aide to children in need. It is this organization's firm belief that every child has a right to grow up in a family where he or she is loved, nurtured, protected and appreciated for his or her unique individuality. 

Building Arizona Families – Arizona

Building Arizona Families offers financial, emotional, medical, and housing services to birth mothers in need. They understand what complications come with putting a child up for adoption and strive to be there for support.

I walked into the agency a mess, but know I will leave with confidence and success in bettering my life. Thank you to everyone at Building Arizona Families.  
– Clarivel

Adoptions of Indiana – Indiana

Adoptions of Indiana support birth families before, during, and after the adoption.
Before, they meet one-on-one and drive to wherever the birth families are, they meet with them every other week before the baby is born, and are available for life – meeting every week up to 6 months and offer monthly support groups and a Facebook page to communicate with each other.

 

Beacon House Adoption – Louisiana

Birth mothers have counseling before they decide to move forward with an adoption plan and independent counseling at the end of their pregnancy to help them prepare for placement of their baby.
Each birth mother is assigned a case manager that is available 24/7 to assist them with any of their needs, provide emotional support, make sure they get to the doctor, grocery store, etc. Beacon House provides an allowance that covers
a birth mothers' needs while she is recuperating after delivery.

Adoptions Together – Maryland

Adoptions Together offer in-person counseling, phone counseling, birth parents support groups, etc. Their hope is that a birth parent will stay connected with us throughout their adoption process, and through the length of their open adoption relationship with the adoptive family. It varies how much a birth parent will stay engaged with them.

A Gift of Hope – Missouri

A Gift of Hope provides pre placement and post placement counseling, an online support group membership for a year, which is moderated by other birth parents, so that they can have something outside of them if they want it. They also look up local resources and work with them on goals, i.e. filling out applications for school, finding a job, leaving a violent relationship, or whatever it was that caused them to decide adoption was necessary.
 

Christian Adoption Services
– North Carolina

We offer counseling to birth families before and after the adoption. During the counseling sessions, we can help connect them with resources as well for free ultrasounds and/or additional needs.  We also have a 24-hour text line for birth families to talk with our Birth Parent Case Manager at any time for support, resources, or questions. 

Deaconess Pregnancy Options – Oklahoma

Birth families are able to receive free individual counseling and support as well as participate in a quarterly support group meeting. They are also able to assist birth mothers with living expenses. An Adoption Specialist is also available to be at the hospital with the birth family if they request it. Additionally, ongoing counseling is provided for as long as the client requests it. Women are also eligible to participate in a birth mother retreat that is held annually. They are also available to help mediate the relationship with the adoptive family.

Fostering Hope Austin – Texas The restoration of family is part of the solution for the foster care crisis. The need is people who can show compassion and support to biological parents who want to heal and keep their children. Come alongside biological parents with mentoring, training, and encouragement. The Families Count program is a six-week class offered by local churches that have been specially trained by the professional staff of Lifeline Children’s Services in a workbook-driven curriculum written for at-risk parents and birth parents working to achieve permanency.

Fostering Hope Austin – Texas

The restoration of family is part of the solution for the foster care crisis. The need is people who can show compassion and support to biological parents who want to heal and keep their children. Come alongside biological parents with mentoring, training, and encouragement. The Families Count program is a six-week class offered by local churches that have been specially trained by the professional staff of Lifeline Children’s Services in a workbook-driven curriculum written for at-risk parents and birth parents working to achieve permanency.

Christian Homes & Family
Services
 – Texas

Christian Homes & Family Services' free maternity services include living expenses, medical care, legal services, and counseling to name just a few. Post adoption services include the same for a 6-8 week post-delivery period and then a post adoption counseling and emotional for the rest of her lifetime.
They describe it as having a friend for life. 



 


BIRTH FAMILY VIDEOS

Please watch these inspiring and educational videos about Birth Family Care to learn why caring for vulnerable families is just
as important as caring for children. 

Mwana Villages

Journey into the Republic of the Congo, to an organization that is ethically caring for vulnerable women and then children. Mwana works to empower vulnerable women to parent their children. Only after all avenues are
exhausted to keep children with their families or culture will international adoption be considered. 

 

HEAL Ministries

In impoverished countries it is important for volunteers and aid workers to know how their work is affecting the local people. Uganda has seen an increase of orphanages and adoptions over the last few years which has led to families being ripped apart, child trafficking and the breakdown of the family. HEAL Ministries works to educate and empower abandoned women so they can provide a living for their families and keep their children! 

 

Bridger's Adoption

After a lot of time and effort, Steven and Wellon Bridger had to end their first adoption because of corruption and ethical issues. They then chose to adopt from an organization who only does international adoption as a last resort. Mwana first and foremost cares for birth mothers. 
 


Birth Family Podcasts

Listen to these powerful stories by birth families or about birth family care. Hear the voices of women who have been through the
pain of placing their child up for adoption, listen to experts talk about birth family care. 

Wellon Bridger Podcast

Hear why caring for birth families is a must, how Mwana ensures that they are operating ethically (they turned down an offer from an adoption agency for $10,000 a kid!), and how Mwana is making a lasting difference in the Congo! 

Grace Like Rain Podcast

in our podcast interview with Michelle Conner, we highlight the importance of caring for birth families! Conner founded her organization, Grace Like Rain this past spring with the mission to: Listen, invite, equip, support without judgement and encourage struggling families. 

Callie Jett Podcast

Birth mother, Callie Jett, talks to us about her desire to love expectant mothers and teach all birth mothers about adoption and parenting. She also tells us about her organization, Talk About Adoption! Listen and be inspired!

Kendell and Patrick Borkowski Podcast

Often times we hear the term 'foster to adopt', but the organization the Borkowskis have chosen to work with promotes reunification. Click to learn about reunification and hear a little bit of their passion filled story!  

Cannille Turner

tap-1-2.jpg

Hi, my name is Cannille Turner and I grew up in inner city Memphis, TN, and I'm a birth mother.

I was raised by my grandmother, because my mom wasn't in a stable place to raise my two older brothers and myself. I have 6 siblings total, which I didn't grow up with, aside from my two older brothers, because we were split between my aunt, grandmother and mom. Honestly, I didn't have good relationships with my siblings because we were scattered around Memphis. As I got older we started form relationships, but never close enough to talk about the hard stuff in our life.

Because I was raised by my grandmother and wasn't close with my siblings, I grew up feeling like something missing in my life. And in the back of my mind was the thought that my mother was that missing piece and everything would be better if she could fill that hole in my heart. 

Around 15 years old I made some new friends and they shared God with me, and I it was then that I realized: He was the missing piece in my life. For the first time I stopped placing the weight on my mom to fill my emptiness, and it was freeing.

I decided to follow Jesus and face the hard things in my life… I just had to. 

However, after graduating high school, I went on to trade school, and there I believed I had met the man of my dreams, my Asian persuasion…and we were infatuated with one another. 

Yet, he left. He left Memphis altogether, and on the exact day he left, I was assaulted by a friend of the family.

Because of how much older my assailant was, and being naive and afraid, I refused to believe that I could become pregnant.

A few weeks later, my mind rambled with what was happening with my hormones and I decided to get a check-up… right then, at the doctor’s office, in that moment, I found out I was pregnant. 

A lot jogged my mind, how the heck could this be true? I was so afraid. I was not in a stable place, I was not prepared.

Because I knew I wasn't in a healthy place to parent a child, I googled "pregnant, now what”… A ton of hopeful parent profiles popped up onto my computer screen along with different adoption agencies. I noticed the adoption agency a couple from my church used for an international adoption and I immediately clicked on their website. 

Soon after reviewing their information I went ahead and sent a private message to someone and moved forward with meeting a pregnancy counselor. I felt an overwhelming peace meeting with them and discussing my options. 

And after meeting with the counselor a few times…I made my decision… I was sure my baby would be adopted by someone who would love her as much as I did.

I felt kind of overwhelmed and uncomfortable when it was time to look at profiles of hopeful parents, so I decided to take a step back. I didn't even know what kind of adoption I wanted to place my baby in and I needed to think. The bad thoughts in the back of my mind forced me to believe that if I were choosing adoption for my baby, then why did I need to be a part of her life?

Because of those thoughts, I almost made a decision out of fear…But then I actually thought about the pain and regrets I'd have if I

wasn't a part of this sweet child's life. After really thinking about how I'd live without knowing this baby, this part of me, I knew I had to find the perfect family for her, and it had to be an open adoption. I had to be there to fill in the gaps for her, to give her all of the answers she would be searching for and to be there to explain my decision, which I know with all of my heart, was truly selfless. It was super important for me to get to know the couple and to build a relationship of trust with them.

The feeling of going into labor, however long it would be be, and placing my baby with the amazing couple who'd become her parents scared the life out of me. 

I had many reasons for being scared to place my child because of the stories I had heard of open adoptions being closed. I was afraid that after the first year or two the couple would move away and I would never see my Beloved anymore, I feared them being uncomfortable with me and thinking that openness isn't for them and I feared that I had to be this perfect birth mom or else I'd lose a relationship with my birth daughter and her parents…

Being in labor, and soon giving birth to my baby, who would become theirs and not mine, scared me. I wasn't ready to leave the hospital, not without the most beautiful baby girl I'd ever seen and most of all, given birth to. When it was time to leave and part I felt a flood of emotions come over me, it felt like my heart was literally breaking into pieces and being scattered everywhere. I had literally never felt so much pain in my entire life. My heart was broken and my arms were empty, it seemed like I went in with everything and left with nothing. But as heartbroken as I was, suffering the loss of motherhood and leaving with empty arms, I still felt at peace in placing her for adoption…Because I knew I did the right thing for my baby.

I want everyone to know that birth mothers and families who place their children for adoption are so brave and show selfless love

Birth parents aren't any less of parents than those who adopt, because at the end of the day, we are ALL parents, we make up an amazing family. The world who doesn't love would only say that birth mothers don't care for or want their babies and they would say that we have given up on them. I want the world to know that as a birth mom, I would never give up on my sweet Beloved. I wanted her more than anything in the world, and because of the amount of love and care I have for her, I wanted the best for her and I am proud to say that I have given that to her. I never gave up; I simply gave her more.

Not everyone knows that considering adoption for your child can really take a toll on you. The world needs to know that placing my baby for adoption was solely my decision but most importantly what was best for my daughter. I want the world to know placing a baby for adoption can be mentally and physically draining. It's forever apart of who you are once you become a birth parent, and it's what sets you apart from those who say, "I could never do that". Placing my baby for adoption has been the most heart wrenching and beautiful thing I have ever done.

The only advice I'd give to an adoptive family is to tell them to LOVE. Love your children's birth parents and birth family. Show them that you are keeping your promise to love, care and nurture your children, show them that you are all family and even say it verbally. Beloved's parents are my family and I am forever grateful.
 

Anonymous Birth Mother

tap-1-2.jpg

Out of respect for the birth mother and her family, we are beginning her story as she found the adoptive parents for her child. 

***

I grew up outside of Houston, and I’m a birth mom.

When I told my parents I was pregnant they were immediately unsupportive.  After their reaction, being 19 years old, I knew this was not the healthiest, most prosperous life I could give my baby. 

So I knew adoption was the best option. 

It was a strange process with the couples I met with before finding the ones I chose to adopt my baby. But when I met C and S everything became clear and started making sense. 

They were mutual friends of my cousins, and the timing of meeting them was unbelievable. They welcomed me into their lives and into a relationship like I had never experienced. They brought me into their circles of friends and introduced me to their families, they asked about me and heard my heart’s cry and nurtured it in the ways that I needed it most. They showed me what a relationship rooted in Christ looked like. They empathized with me and cried with me, confessing to me that their hearts hurt knowing that their most joyful day would be my most painful day.  They cared for me by researching, finding, and paying for me to get counseling through the process. They found a counselor who was a birthmother herself. She prepared them that she would be seeking the best for me and not convincing me into adoption. They opened their home to me, and wanted me to see where my baby would be living and growing and experiencing life. They revealed so much of Jesus’ character that had always been so foreign to me. 

I wanted more of Jesus because of them.  

Their love changed my life, and I couldn’t be more grateful for that.

Even though I had so much peace about placing my baby girl, when I left the hospital alone, I was brokenhearted…Incomplete.  

It felt like I had lost a piece of myself. Even with all the comfort and love her new parents extended to me, I was in a pain that is unlike anything else.

I had my sister, my Young Life leader from high school, and my cousin with me for support during the two days awaiting our Entrustment Ceremony. Without them, I would have been a complete mess.

I would love for the stigma of fear in adoption to go away. Adoption is generally seen as a beautiful situation for the child and the adoptive parents, but so often the birth families are a forgotten piece of the story, but man… my family’s story has added a whole new level of beauty to this adoption. My parents went from being angry with me, to tearfully asking me for forgiveness, commending me for my decision, and having framed pictures of my baby girl by their bedside tables. Their connection with her and love for her is such a testament to the redemptive power of Christ that I would have never been able to witness in such a way had I not gone through everything I did.  

Placing your child for adoption is not easy, but it was my best for my girl. 

I want to encourage adoptive families out there to be open to their children’s birth families. Don’t be afraid to share real and raw emotions together. Let your birth mom know that you care about her and how thankful you are for the opportunity to parent her child.  

Being a birth parent is such a gift. My baby girl will be four years old come next March and I have been able to see her at least 3-4 times a year. The Lord went through leaps and bounds to make sure my girl was born and that she was put in the hands of who He intended her to be placed. It thrills me that I get the opportunity to witness his plans unfold for her life. 

She is chosen. She is loved. She is fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

 

Padre J

tap-1-2.jpg

I go by Padre J, and I’m a birth father. 

I had a really positive relationship with my family growing up. They supported me and were always there to cheer me on. My family always gets together and likes to bbq. We all love to exchange presents for Christmas and play Volleyball together in the summer.  We are a family of traditions-- we love to fish, hunt and enjoy cooking Mexican food together.  

During my high school days, I dated a girl for 3 years. We unexpectedly found out she was pregnant and that she was actually in her third trimester. 

My girlfriend and I wanted the best option for our child. We knew that we wanted to finish high school and that were were too young to parent. We could not have provided for our daughter financially or relationally at that point in our lives, so we decided that adoption would be the best life we could give our little girl.

I wasn't really allowed to be apart of the process to find a family for my daughter. My daughter’s birthmother and her mother, received two profile books which they told me about. I gave my preference for the couple that was open to having a relationship with us, and ultimately they were the family chosen. 

I wasn't able to be at the hospital or birth and actually found out from another source that my daughter was born.

I wasn't afraid to place my girl for adoption. I knew that the couple chosen had a strong relationship with God, and that made me more comfortable because I trusted God to take care of my daughter.

I often hear that birth fathers, or fathers don’t want to be around or be there for their kids, but we do. I do. I want to be there for everything. 

The first time I got to meet my girl, I faced my biggest fear and boarded an airplane. Flying scares me, but not knowing my birth daughter scares me more. I was able to meet her on Valentine’s Day and be her very first Valentine. 

I want the world to know it's really hard, not getting to be with my daughter all the time. That I really only get to watch her through pictures, videos and visits. It's hard having to re-meet her every visit and it's even harder having to say goodbye.

I wish people would stop thinking birth fathers don't want their kids, we want them more than ourselves, we want what's best for them and sometimes we can't provide that at that moment. We need support not shame.

I want the world to know choosing adoption for your child is not a bad decision. If the family is open to including you, you can be apart of a really cool story and a part of another family. My daughter’s family doesn’t have to host me, and their friends don’t have to accept me, but they do! And I’m so glad they do. 

It's an awesome feeling to be accepted by the family chosen to parent your birth child. Because not only does my daughter have her parents, but she also has her birthparents. I want the world to know that Birth families are still family and important in a child's life.

I think it's important for adoptive families to give their children a chance to meet the birth parent's extended family and to know the culture of their biological family.

 

Beautiful photos above by adoptive parents: Ebersole Photography 

 

Ashley

My name is Ashley, I grew up in Utah and I’m a birth mom.

I am 10.5 years post placement and I am terrified every day of my life. I made a choice, and I live with the consequences of that decision every. Single. day….for the rest of my life…

My journey to adoption started in the abortion clinic. I was off-again in my “on-again, off-again” relationship when I found myself pregnant. We were living in different states and I was terrified. Even as a believer, even though I didn’t believe morally in abortion I knew that I could NOT BE PREGNANT. It was a fate worse than death. I have been quoted that “I would rather face God at judgment for an abortion than my community in an unplanned pregnancy.”

… I really hope we all take a second and think about what that statement is really saying…  

Abortion is a fear based decision. And there is a lot that plays into that… I needed to not be pregnant and the only solution for that was abortion. 

I know this is hard to talk about but this is reality…abortion was an option on the table…if only for a moment that needs to be looked at. As I prepared for my ultra sound the nurse shared a statement with me that changed my life forever… “I am sorry but you are too far along for us to perform this procedure. We can’t help you.”  

At that moment I got dressed, received a cash refund and walked out knowing that adoption had become my only option.

I think picking a family to raise your child is the most ridiculous process on the planet. I never wanted that kind of power. Who was I to deem one family worthy of a child and not another. How, from a brief blog or scrapbook page was I supposed to pick someone, a stranger in all aspects to raise my child, to take my child as their own and have the kind of faith and strength needed to hope that it would all work out and be everything that it seems to be? I see it is an impossible burden and don’t believe it can ever be done with a complete peace of heart.  

There are few words that truly describe the way I felt leaving the hospital without my son. I had a powerful event take place that I think really describes both ends so vividly. When I walked out of my room with my dad and headed down the hallway I saw them…the family who would claim my baby boy as their own. I was leaving broken, grieving and lost (my dad would later claim that he felt like he was leaving his grandson’s funeral). And down at the end of the hall was an expectant family celebrating. They had balloons and gifts for the baby, and they were smiling, they were complete and happy. I made eye contact with the adoptive mother and in that moment I hated her. My father knew that I needed to get out fast…He found an exit and literally had to carry me at that moment out of the hospital. 

Adoption is born of tragedy, in grief and heartbreak. But at the end of the hallway is celebration. There is great beauty in the broken and celebration after the fog lifts. 

Adoption is the most complex and beautiful thing that I have ever had the privilege of being associated with. It wrecked me in the most beautiful and complicated ways.

 

I think that the greatest miracle of adoption is that we do survive. That there is life after placement. 

My son is a part of me forever. I am his mother forever.  That does not take away from the love and work and sacrifices and pain and joy that his mother has lived through. She is in the trenches daily with him. I gave him life and she is helping him live it. If I honor him then I honor her. It is a package deal. 

To adoptive families out there I leave you with this: You don’t owe your birth mother anything. You are not obligated to them because they “gave you a child.” You are never going to be able to feel like you can “re-pay” that debt. But be a person of integrity.  IF you promise something, keep it. It truly could be a matter of life or death for the birth mother. 
We are not a threat. We are mothers, without children.  We PICKED YOU! We needed you to step up and do all that we felt we couldn’t. At the end of the day if you are loving that child as your own, if you are honoring our story and if you are doing the very best you can to parent that innocent child then you are doing exactly what was asked of you. The rest is gravy. But please don’t ever let fear dictate your relationships. Be open, communicate with us, be willing to recognize that like ANY other relationship in your life this will take some work, compromise and forgiveness…and flexibility. You can’t save me…I have to do that on my own! But please stay open to me.  

To my son that I placed for adoption: I love you. You are with me always. I made a decision that I believed to be the very best for both of us. I don’t regret that decision.  You are old enough to have an opinion about that, I am prepared for opposition. It was never about not wanting or loving you. I know that doesn’t ever seem like enough…I know you need more to understand, that you want more to understand and I pray that in time we will be able to sit knee to knee and have that conversation.  We are connected and that string always pulls so strong. 

To society:  It is not a glamorous thing to find yourself in an unplanned pregnancy. It is terrifying and embarrassing and life changing. It tests every moral fiber, every piece of your identity and your character. It changes you. I am a Birth Mother forever, it is a part of me forever. I am not proud to be a birth mother, I know what choices I made that brought me to this decision, which gave me this title. But I did the best I could.  Educate yourself on the facts, be open to discussion and always show love and compassion.

To any Birth Mother: You have been the angriest at yourself. That you even found yourself in this position, that you put yourself in a place where you even had to make this choice. You feel you should have known better, that you should have cared more, that you should have had more respect for who you are. But you are human and you will disappoint. Your child is beautiful, you are beautiful. You can forgive yourself, you can allow yourself happiness and joy. You don’t have to punish yourself over and over. You can find hope in a life after placement. You were never meant to stay stuck and don’t let this experience, this life changing experience keep you from living up to your true potential. YOU ARE WORTH MORE! 

Ashley is the founder of Big Tough Girl, a source for empowering and building up women! Head over to her site to find her podcasts, blog posts and workshops! 

 

Leanne

tap-1-2.jpg

My name is Leanne, I’m from Saskatchewan, Canada and in 1988 I became a birth mom. 

Growing up, my relationship with my family was strained. I had a mind of my own and did not like to live by the rules. I had older parents and was born much later than my siblings.

Leading up to discovering that I was pregnant, I was in a rebellious stage of life.

I was smoking pot and drinking. I was living with friends and not working…and I was dating a man with whom I believed we had a good relationship. When I told him I was pregnant he drove me to his house, parked outside and told me that inside the house were his wife and daughter...and then told me to have an abortion.

I wasn’t in a good place at the time mentally.

At first I was going to raise my baby. I waited past the 3 months to tell my parents. When I told them the first thing they said was that I needed to have an abortion…which growing up Catholic was surprising to hear. 

After a few weeks of considering single parenting, I wrote my sister a letter and asked to and live with her, I wanted to clean up my life and start over. 

My sister lived in Vancouver. She was in agreement and I picked up my welfare cheque and hopped a train headed west. 

That is when the whole adoption process started, I was 6 months pregnant.

Finding a family for my baby was a cold process…I ended up with a private adoption. In 1988 open adoption was not talked about as much, I actually never heard about it. Then, one day, I was meeting with a financial assistance officer and she asked my what my plan was, I told her adoption. She told me she had a friend that worked for social services that wanted a baby and that they were having trouble adopting. She told her friend and the friend and her husband wrote me a letter. 

They felt perfect so I chose them. 

We never met. 

I wrote my birth daughter a long letter explaining where I was at during that time in my life and told her about me.

When it came time to place my birth daughter, it was gut wrenching. I dissociated and from then on forced myself to believe that I sent her to a magical place and that she had the best upbringing ever. I just wanted to forget what was happening.

I thought I chose the "perfect" family only to find out years later that my decision was far from perfect. I don't resent her A parents for this, they did the best they could.... my daughter has my personality times 1000 so she wasn’t exactly an angel.

I’m sharing my story because I want the world to know we are not bad people, birth moms. We are caring and selfless by choosing adoption. I personally chose to not have more children as the guilt I carried was horrible. Placing my daughter was the hardest decision of my life. I still have gut wrenching pain today even though my birth daughter is in my life and is so beautiful inside and out.

If I could give adoptive parents advise for loving their children’s birth parents it would be to keep them in your life, there will come a time when your child may struggle in school or have personality issues you don't understand. If you have the Birth parent in your life, on some level, you might have a better insight on personality wise or medically.

 

 

A special thanks to Talk About Adoption, a nonprofit organization loving on empowering women facing unexpected pregnancies, for connecting us with Leeanne! 

 

Lauren

tap-1-2.jpg

My name is Lauren, I grew up in Ohio and I’m a birth mother.

On top of being a birthmother, I am also an adoptee. I was adopted at 6 days old. It was a closed adoption. I grew up knowing I was adopted and always had a longing to meet my biological family. My adoptive family are my rocks. They have encouraged me in every step I have taken. They have been there to pick up the pieces when my decisions fell apart, and have helped me soar and succeed when my decisions were beneficial. They encouraged me to find my biological family. I have since found them and am in reunion with them. 

I grew up having a great appreciation for my birthmother. That she chose something so difficult at her young age of 20. That she loved me so much she chose to give me a life she couldn’t provide. 

I came to a point in my life where I was rebelling. While I had always been a rebel, I was getting the last of that “I’ll show you” ‘teenage’ behavior out of my system. I was in a relationship with someone who encouraged dishonest behavior and who was emotionally and manipulatively abusive. And honestly, I was too blinded by the idea of things to see what was happening. 

I was also chronically depressed. I had been diagnosed bipolar somewhere between the age of 13-16 (not sure on the exact age)- a diagnosis that was later, during my pregnancy, thrown out. I was taking medication that I didn’t need to be on, I was having mood swings and experimenting with risk taking behaviors. Even though our relationship wasn’t healthy we were committed to one another and however, not having protected sex. I had just healed from a broken leg (the result of a fall) and had not been taking my birth control regularly. He also later told me he had altered my birth control so that I would have gotten pregnant regardless. The day I learned I was pregnant, I was actually planning on breaking up with him. However, the discovery scared me out of doing so. I did not want to be pregnant and alone.

About a month after I discovered I was pregnant, I had a miscarriage. I hadn’t been into the doctor yet. I had an appointment scheduled for roughly a week later. I woke up in the middle of the night with intense cramps and massive amounts of bleeding. I called my mom and dad and my mom came upstairs. She is a nurse, and told me it appeared to be a miscarriage. She comforted me and helped me get cleaned up. The entire night I tried getting in contact with my boyfriend (the father) but he never picked up his phone. 

In the morning when I told him what had happened, after he finally answered, he accused me of killing HIS child. I told him I wanted him out of my life at that very moment. I had been mourning the loss of our child the entire night, and I was not going to deal with his abuse or hurtful behavior any longer. 

2 weeks later I went in for a check up to see if everything was ok with me physically, and for a DNC procedure. However, I mentioned I was still experiencing morning sickness. The doctor said it could just be the hormones leveling out but wanted to test just in case. I learned on February 20th, 2013 I was still pregnantan absolute miracle

The doctor informed me it had been twins and one had not attached. 

I was now single, and so much happier. I called to inform him I was still pregnant and pursuing all of my options. I met with some friends who had been single parents and listened as they retold their struggles. 

I weighed out all of my options. I knew I did not want to become another statistic dependent on the state, I know many people have done so and gone off to make successful lives for themselves, but that life was not what I wanted for myself or my unborn baby.I knew how awesome adoption could be, witnessing it in my own life, as well as my sisters. I started to do research on adoption agencies. I realized the only way I could guarantee my son a mother and a father from birth was adoption. 

I knew it was the right thing to do and I had to choose it for my son.

Leaving the hospital was hard. There is no easy way to say it. It was especially hard because I had spent so much time with him during my stay. I was discharged an hour after signing my papers. I felt rushed. I felt like I was getting kicked out because the deed was done and the baby belonged to someone else now. 

As I was being wheeled through the hospital towards the exit I saw his parents (whom I deeply love!) and my social worker signing their papers… and the tears just started to flow. I held tightly to the bouquet of flowers they had given me the night before. I wanted to turn around multiple times and rip up my papers. I wanted to change time and refuse to sign them. I was a mess. But through the mess and sadness I knew what I had done was the best. I knew it was what he deserved. I cried for quite some time when I got home.

I really wish people would erase any and all stereotypes they have picked up watching lifetime movies or any show with an adoption plot line. Every birth mother does not want to come steal her baby back from you. Every birth mother is not going to stalk you, or try to kidnap their child. We are not 16 year old girls who can’t keep our legs closed. We are not all drug addicts. We are business professionals, we are college students, we are parents, we are fully capable of living normal lives.

Just because a birthmother chooses adoption doesn’t mean that child was unwanted. I would have done ANYTHING to change my circumstances so I’d have been able to parent. This is something we’ve talked about at the retreats I lead,  a woman does not dream about being a birthmother at a young age. None of us got pregnant just to place the child for adoption, this was never something we WANTED to do. A birthmother does not settle on adoption lightly. The amount of critical thinking and problem solving that occurs in a birthmothers brain is astronomical. We have MONTHS to think and process what would be best for our child’s 18 years of dependent life. That takes a massive amount of maturity and love. These children are loved from day one.

I’ve lost 80lbs, am about to receive my Associates degree, and then pursue a bachelor’s in social work so I can become a Birth Mother counselor and spread awareness on how truly important post placement care is for birth mothers.

 For adoptive parents out there with an open adoption, or considering an open adoption: encourage your child’s birth mother to join a support group, or a attend retreat, or at least see a therapist to help them deal with the grief. Nothing is too little, if you are in an open adoption share as much as you can. She will love to witness the child saying their first words, taking their first steps, art projects, first day of school. She doesn’t need to be present and there for it, but share a video or picture with her :) When you take that macaroni picture off the fridge, send it to her to appreciate! Be open, every relationship needs open and honest communication. Be honest and open with her. If you feel like you could handle doing more visits mention it! If she asks you a question about maybe decreasing visits or cutting them out all together – talk it out! Share your emotions and feelings with each other. Find something that will work for all of you. Be flexible. Sometimes a birth mom just can’t handle seeing the pictures and won’t want a visit. It could just be too hard for her, let her know that’s fine.

It’s also ok to say no. If you’re not comfortable with something, you have every right to say no! Boundaries and communication are seriously so important in this dynamic/relationship. Establish a baseline and go from there, map out what you’re comfortable with as far as visits, contact and updates and then discuss it between you and her. Make It work. 

Not every open adoption is going to be the same. Where some go on vacation together, or have the birthmother babysit the child. Others keep it to a certain number of visits a year and letters with pictures. Find what works for you. If you end up having an awesome bond with your birthmother and you see yourself going and doing weekends together, AWESOME. If not, that’s cool too! As the child ages, let them decide how much contact they want to have. If they don’t want to have a visit don’t force it. You don’t want that child to grow up resenting you for forcing them to see their birth mother.

In a nut shell, be open about your feelings and communicate them clearly. Communicate constructively.

Encourage her and don’t be scared to thank her, your happiest day, is her hardest day.

Lauren leads retreats for Birth Mothers through Caring For Birth Mothers. To find out more information about how to get connected or plugged into this important organization please click here!
You can also find a Facebook page for Birth Moms here and and Instagram page here! 

 

CALLIE JETT

IMG_6245.JPG

My name is Callie Jett. I’m from Virginia and I’m a birth mother.

Growing up, my relationship with my family was not as stable and healthy as it could have been. My parents divorced when I was a baby, and my father remarried. I lived with my mother, twin sister, and my older sister for the first eight years of my life. Our mother was not home very much, so my older sister pretty much raised and cared for me and my twin sister. At eight years old, my twin sister and I moved in with our father and his new wife. Our father began to travel often, so our step mother attempted at raising us until my sister and I moved out at the age of sixteen. My sister rented an apartment while finishing high school, and I ended up moving into a maternity home. I had been hanging out with the wrong crowd, made poor decisions, and became pregnant ... The rest is history.

Before the maternity home, I was walking into a center for an abortion when I first heard about open adoption as an option for my unplanned pregnancy. There were people outside of the center (Sidewalk Advocates) who handed me resources to a maternity home for single, pregnant mothers.

My father and I visited this maternity home, together for the first time, where I met a birth mother who shared her story of placing her child for adoption. I ended up moving into this maternity home, The Liberty Godparent Home, to stay for the rest of the eight months of my pregnancy. The staff at Liberty were amazing. They taught me life skills, and even held adoption and parenting classes for me and the other mothers living there. My stay there helped confirm my decision of open adoption for my birth son.

When the time came to find a family for my birth son, I felt very determined and anxious. After searching through countless prospective Adoptive Parent Profiles, I narrowed down my decision between two families. After meeting with and interviewing these two families in person, I chose one. Throughout my search of a forever mother and father for my birth son, I also felt supported and not judged by the adoption agency staff. The staff encouraged me to take my time when looking through the profiles of prospective adoptive couples. By the time I was searching for parents for my birth son, I was very much confident in my decision of open adoption because I knew that I could not parent my birth son and provide for him at that time in my life.

After my son was born, reality set in, and it was hard leaving the hospital without him. It’s not a natural situation - To leave a child you just gave birth to. So, that day was confusing, frustrating, and full of a range of complicated feelings. However, the nurses at the hospital were compassionate, trained and understood my situation, as well as respected my decision of adoption. I knew my

birth sonwas in good hands. I also prepared myself, before my son was born, for that moment in the hospital where I would have to leave without him. So I wasn’t as scared as I thought I would be and honestly, that day was not as hard for me as it could have been.

I want the world to understand that birth mother's really love their birth child. We place our child's needs above our own wants and desires. It's not that we do not want our child, it's that we are not in a position to parent at that moment in our lives. Open adoption is a wonderful option for women who have exhausted all possibilities to parent their child. We want what's best for our child. We choose life for our child, and courageously place our child with a family who is in a stable position to parent children. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that our baby is in a safe and stable environment.

I would like to see unfair stereotypes disappear. False ideologies, such as “Birth Mothers do not want their child,” or “Birth Mothers gave their child away.” These unfair or false stereotypes are created by our culture and society who are not familiar or knowledgeable with this type of act of love.

It can be a very complicated thing for a person to understand or comprehend. One, because open adoption is not talked about in the mainstream media. Two, it seems that people are not as interested in educating themselves on open adoption today. Adoption has evolved drastically within the past ten years, and our society needs to embrace the adoption that is today, versus sticking with how adoption was before the 1960's, when children really were, involuntarily and unfortunately, taken by their mother's by Social Workers and placed with another family.

***

Last Spring we were fortunate enough to interview Callie for our Podcast, to listen to her story and wisdom, please visit here : Callie's Podcast Interview

***

Callie is the founder of Talk About Adoption, a nonprofit organization that promotes talking about adoption "so that people will know that parenting and adoption are the only rewarding option for an unplanned pregnancy."
She and her team Sidewalk Advocate, where they gently educate women facing unplanned pregnancies about the realities of adoption. To learn more, visit: www.talkaboutadoption.org