With you by our side, birth parents and adoptive parents can receive the support they need to make the best choices for the children they all love.
LCFS wants to give recognition to a piece of the adoption story that’s often lost – the courageous and complicated parenting decision made by birth parents.
LCFS’ Director of Adoption Services Laurie Lawton shares that “people praise adoptive parents as saints, but the parents themselves will say that they are the lucky ones, who go home with a precious child. With birth moms, society tends to say, ‘I don’t know how she could do that.’ Making an adoption plan is a very selfless act. With all the women I’ve worked with, no mother has ever said to me, ‘I don’t want this child.’ Rather, it’s, ‘I can’t be a good mom to this child.’ That’s a big difference, and a decision they will have to grieve.
LCFS’ Birth Parent Services program is a free resource for expectant parents considering adoption. An adoption caseworker serves as an expectant mother’s support person and advocate, helping her to sort out feelings, examine options and reach an informed, positive decision concerning her baby’s future.
Monica was 22 and the mom of a 2-year-old when she found herself pregnant again. Monica says placing her baby for adoption was not what she wanted, but decisions she had made in her life left her in a difficult situation. So she made the hard and loving decision to do what she felt was best for her unborn child and created an adoption plan with the assistance of LCFS.
Monica is thankful that LCFS was there for her during that challenging time and continues to be. Leni Howard, an adoption manager for LCFS, was a part of Monica’s adoption journey starting from about a month before Eddie was born. “I knew nothing about adoption and the laws and how it worked so I was really freaking out. Leni was a calming force. She explained everything to me and there was never any pressure to make my decision.”
At 38 weeks, Monica had an emergency C-section. “I still really wanted to take Eddie home. It wasn’t until the nurse asked who was bringing the car seat that it hit me that he wouldn’t be coming home with me. I didn’t have a car seat.” She says the difference between that and her first child’s birth made her feel sad and lonely, but cemented her decision that Eddie should go home with the couple she’d chosen. “Watching them hold him made me feel better. The three of them were perfect together.”
After Monica and the birth father signed the adoption papers, LCFS continued to support and encourage Monica as she got back on her feet and back in school to finish her bachelor’s degree. And Monica says her ongoing work with LCFS to share her story at adoption training events has been cathartic because she can positively influence the relationship between adoptive and birth parents, which is critical to the child.
Monica is grateful that she chose, with encouragement from Leni, to continue to have a role in Eddie’s life through an open adoption. The majority of domestic adoptions today are open, and adoption professionals agree it’s usually best for all parties because it creates healthy relationships and a stronger sense of self for children.
Eddie is 10 now and Monica says she has a special relationship with his adoptive parents and sees Eddie around the holidays and on his birthday. “He never has to question how much he is loved by all of us.”
While Monica didn’t think 10 years ago she’d ever be in a position to take care of a child again, today, she’s married, working in accounting, getting her Master’s degree, has two kids at home, and is pregnant again. “My decision allowed me to work through my challenges so I could have the life I have today. I couldn’t have given him the best life I wanted for him back then. He loves his parents so much. My decision was absolutely the best thing for Eddie and me.”