Written by: Sarah Nolette, CHOICES Coordinator 

As an agency, Carolina Adoption Services has had the opportunity to care for and serve adoptive families for over twenty-five years.  With the addition of our CHOICES domestic adoption program, we now have the great privilege of also serving and caring for expectant/birth families.  Some of the ways we care for our expectant/birth families include: meeting them where they are on their journey, listening to them without judgement, providing them information and resources, and supporting them in the decisions they feel are best for their lives and the lives of their babies.

This past year, we served an expectant mother who was making an adoption plan.  When we met, she had no support system and was homeless.  Her heart’s desire for her baby was for him to have a good, stable, and secure life and to be deeply loved; at the time, she did not see any way she could provide a good, stable, secure life for him.  We walked alongside her on her journey, taking her to her pre-natal appointments, helping her find employment and stable housing, and building a trusting relationship with her.  Towards the end of her pregnancy, and prior to choosing an adoptive family, her life circumstances changed; she had better support, and she had a stable home.  She decided she could provide a stable, secure, loving life for her baby, so she made the decision to parent him.  We celebrated with her.

We also served a couple who made an adoption plan.  They loved their baby deeply and wanted him to have the very best life possible; they felt certain his best life would be with an adoptive family that they selected.  Throughout the pregnancy, they wrestled with the emotional difficulty of not parenting their child.  They had selected their adoptive family and began to get to know them; the bond and trust between the expectant family and the adoptive family created a situation where the birth family could confidently, lovingly, and bravely continue with their adoption plan. 

Our CHOICES program is a program that depends on relationships.  The CHOICES team strives to develop trust and confidence with our expectant and adoptive families.  We also strive to facilitate the level of relationship between the birth family and the adoptive family that both families desire.  In an open adoption, we work to create opportunities for families to meet and get to know each other prior to the birth of the baby.  In a semi-open adoption, we follow the lead of the expectant family as to the level of contact they desire with the adoptive family.  In a closed adoption, we honor the wishes of the birth family and work to earn the trust of the birth family.  Regardless of the level of openness that is chosen, the foundation of trust creates unity between birth families and adoptive families.  Regardless of their contact with one another, there is a unique unity because there is mutual respect of one another, with the goal of a child who is deeply loved (by all of his/her parents), safe, and secure.

In this time of uncertainty in our nation and around the world, the importance of unity and community has become even more central to our lives.  Our CHOICES program is incredibly relationship driven, and our time together is critical to building trust; we are adapting to our “current normal” by using technology to connect with our expectant parents and adoptive parents.  We have just recently had our first match done completely through online meetings.  Carolina Adoption Services is also offering online support to CAS families and our community through our HOME series.  The beauty of adoption is that, even amidst crisis and loss and tragedy, we can continue to find unity around one of life’s most precious gifts: children.