Open Adoption Blog


Insights From a Birthmother Who Remains Happy & Confident

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by birthparent, Michelle Thompson, about her decision to find a family early on in her pregnancy and reasons why some expectant mothers considering adoption might choose to do the same.  Please also note that the Independent Adoption Center uses positive adoption language.

Mother & Daughter Shoot

Photo courtesy of Michelle Thompson.

EARLY ADOPTION MATCHES

Sure, many adoptive parents would consider it ideal for themselves to get a surprise phone call saying, “There is a baby waiting for you in the hospital RIGHT NOW! The birth parents have already signed the papers, and they’ve chosen you from your adoption profile. It’s a done deal!” All the waiting, hoping, and worrying about the possibility of having your dream, dangled before you with the promise of a match, only to fall through – all of that suddenly, irrevocably over. But that is not necessarily ideal for the birth parents. The myriad of different possible circumstances that can lead to the choice for adoption mean there will be different needs.

Many people wonder why any birth mother would desire an early match. My situation was thankfully uncomplicated by issues like homelessness or lack of medical insurance, but I did need to match in the first half of my pregnancy. It was non-negotiable. I was told by multiple agencies that I could not match before the 3rd trimester, or the 20th week, or the 30th week, or some such number arbitrarily set “to protect the adoptive parents.” They came off as pushy and manipulative, telling me, “that’s not how things are done,” as if I were being naïve and totally unrealistic asking for such a thing. I immediately rejected all of those agencies, and eventually, through perseverance, found the Independent Adoption Center. They understood my reasons and were willing to work with me.

So, here are 6 good reasons why a birth mother might want an early match. I’m sure they are not the only reasons. They’re just the ones off the top of my head.

  1. Her worry for this child’s uncertain future is stressing the hell out of her, raising her blood pressure, jeopardizing the pregnancy, and making her feel lost and miserable, and she wants to know that she has a plan she can feel confident about, not a vague idea of adoption, but a concrete plan with names and faces. A real plan also helps her to stand up to pushy relatives with their own agendas.
  2. She wants time to get to know the parents she tentatively chooses and make sure they are who they seem before entrusting you with her baby’s life.
  3. She doesn’t want to feel like she’s fighting a battle alone, with everyone around her treating her pregnancy like a tragedy, as though she has failed as a human being because she is in such a situation. Having someone to go with her to doctor’s appointments, or with whom to just share the news and updates, having someone rejoice in the miracle of the baby’s new life is a great source of strength and comfort in the face of all the criticism and negativity coming at her. It helps her to stay positive. It reminds her what is important.
  4. She knows it will take some time to iron out the details of a post-adoption contact agreement and make that sure everyone is on the same page and that expectations are clear. The time to do this is most definitely before the baby has been placed.
  5. She has other children, and she wants this decision to cause them as little heartache as possible. There is a world of difference between, “I’m going to have a baby brother, but my mom is giving him away. I won’t know where he is or what he looks like. I won’t even know his name. I will probably never see him again,” and “I’m going to have a baby brother, but he’s not going to live with us. He’s going to live with Sally and Ted. They have a big yellow dog and a room all decorated in blue for the baby. They are going to name him Sam, and they will send me a card with a picture every Christmas.” Whatever the details are, however little or much information he is given, a child needs something concrete to wrap his head around, to be able to picture the baby somewhere safe and loved. It’s the uncertainty of not knowing that’s most traumatizing.
  6. The possibility that your feelings might be crushed if it doesn’t work out is not her major concern. Her sole focus is providing for the welfare of her child. A heartbroken stranger might be a sad thought, but it is nothing compared to the safety and happiness of her child. She is doing this KNOWING that her own heart will break and believing it is worth the sacrifice, for the sake of her child’s best interest. Why on earth would it affect her choice to know that yours may break, too? If something feels off about the match, if it doesn’t feel like the right thing to do, of course she will back out. Time to be certain about the specific placement, with full knowledge of the details, is a precious commodity. No one should be forced to rush a decision that determines the course of her child’s life.

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Adoption Announcements & Adoption Shower Etiquette

untitled-copyEditor’s Note: The following is a guest post by Katie Scott from Basic Invites.

The journey through adoption is always unique – no two people have the same story, the same process, or have taken the same road leading them to their new family. All stories are equally beautiful and deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated with the perfect adoption announcement and adoption shower invitations.

Since adoption cases have many variables there are a few things to keep in mind when creating adoption announcements and adoption shower invitations. Here are some of the main factors to consider and the best way to navigate each with perfect etiquette.

Adoption Announcement Etiquette

How Do Age & Dates Come Into Play
Don’t forget to document all of the important dates that represent your family’s journey through adoption. Keep in mind the birth date, the adoption date, and any other dates that mark something official within the adoption, such as the date your child finally came home with you. There is a lot of flexibility in what you call the adoption date and many parents end up using several dates on their announcements. Common dates are the day you first met your child, the date the adoption was finalized, or any other date that has significance to you. For toddlers, foster children, and teens, omitting birth statistics and indicating just the birth or adoption date, is extremely common and highly acceptable.

When To Send Out Adoption Announcements
This will weigh heavily on when the adoption is finalized. When going through a domestic adoption, parents are advised to wait about 30-60 days before sending out adoption announcements. This is a period of the adoption commonly referred to as the “honeymoon period” where the biological parents are able to rescind their decision to place a child for adoption. Although post-placement revocations are rare and happen only about 1-2% of the time, it is a possibility that should always be taken into consideration.

International adoptions are always finalized before the child can leave their birth country. In these cases, adoptive parents usually send out their announcements as soon as they get home!

Once the legalities are finalized, a good rule of thumb is to send out your announcements within six months of the date you officially bring your child home. This gives leeway to those with an international adoption to get home and get settled, and allows any delay for that post-placement time period to pass before sending anything out prematurely.

Who Should Receive An Adoption Announcement
During an adoption, families tend to interact and build relationships with a large circle of supporters – be sure to thank each and every one of them! Family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers should always be on the mailing list to receive an adoption announcement, but don’t forget those who have helped you with the adoption along the way! Social workers, liaisons, and adoption agencies are common examples of those you’ll want to thank with an announcement.

Keeping your loved ones up to date on the pending adoption through social media outlets or a blog dedicated to the adoption is another great way to keep them informed while you are busy getting your home ready for your child’s arrival.

How To Word Adoption Announcements
There are many different ways to word your adoption announcement. Especially with adoption, family circumstances vary – use your unique family make-up to your advantage and set the tone of your announcement by representing the individuality of your family’s dynamic through your wording.

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Owning Your Story: I Am A Birthmother

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by birthmother, Angela Rushing.

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Angela Rushing and her birth daughter, Holly

I was a young hairdresser from Shreveport, Louisiana, living the dream in Chicago during the mid to late eighties. I was on top of the world, 24 years old and making nice money for the first time in my young life. We were local celebrities, our salon being one of the most well known in the Chicago area. We had VIP access to all the best restaurants and clubs. Life was good and I had arrived.

The new life that I had crafted for myself in Chicago was worlds away from my upbringing in Louisiana. I had an abusive alcoholic father, a workaholic mother, and basically no guidance. The lack of parental attention and proper boundaries had resulted in me becoming an adult early, and with very limited skills.

So when I became pregnant at 24, I was emotionally and financially unprepared for the reality of the situation. I was scared – terrified is more accurate. I had no family support, financially or otherwise. My older half sister was the first to mention open adoption. I had an abortion when I was younger and felt emotionally scarred from that experience, so the idea of adoption appealed to me right away. That, combined with the fact that I had no role models for healthy parenting and was an only child with a very strained relationship with my parents. I didn’t want to repeat the pattern that was set in my family home. To this day I am grateful that at 24 years old, I was wise enough to see that I wouldn’t have been the kind of parent that I wanted for my child.

I was alone and I was scared. I found out I was pregnant about a month before I had planned to move to Los Angeles to pursue my hair career. I had everything lined up and a pregnancy was NOT in my plans. I knew only three people in Los Angeles, none of whom were close friends. I was truly alone and I knew what I needed to do. I boldly went ahead with my plan to move and reinvent myself. Part of this “logic” was that I desperately wanted the pregnancy to disappear. I wanted to deny the inevitable with every fiber of my being. I thought that by going to a place where I knew no one, I could escape from reality; that I could somehow deny what was happening to me.

I found an attorney specializing in private/open adoption and after looking through book after book of photos and bios, I ultimately chose a wonderful family to raise my baby. They were a progressive California couple that in spite of several attempts at in-vitro, were unable to conceive. The husband had three teenagers from his first marriage and they so desperately wanted a child of their own. The adoptive mother’s family had come from the south and she looked very much like my older half sister. I felt in my heart that these were the people who would give my daughter a wonderful life filled with the opportunities, structure, and love that I had not had in my own childhood.

About six weeks before I was due to deliver, we discovered that I had a condition called placenta previa. This meant that I was immediately ordered on 24-hour bed rest for the duration of the pregnancy. Since I knew no one in Los Angeles and lived alone, I had no choice but to enter the hospital where I was to stay for five weeks until the birth.

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A Colorful Open Adoption Story

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by the Independent Adoption Center’s waiting adoptive parent, Marianne Puechl.  

Top Left: My Family Coloring Book Cover. Top Right: Image from coloring book. Bottom: The Puechl Sproul Family.

Top Left: My Family Coloring Book Cover. Top Right: Image from coloring book. Bottom: The Puechl Sproul Family. All photos courtesy of adoptive parent, Marianne Puechl and Rainbow Wedding Network.

This month marks our daughter’s tenth birthday. Life with her has been an amazing experience; our journey through open adoption has gifted us in so many ways, and taught us countless things. Like most adoptive parents, we often find ourselves noting our gratitudes for the many ways parenting has enriched our lives.

One of the subtler gifts of parenting have been the opportunities that arise for us to support other parents, and to build relationships with other families that we might not have otherwise gotten the chance to meet. Of course we knew other parents before we had a child of our own, and we sometimes helped out in ways like babysitting friends’ kids, holding doors for people with strollers, entertaining the babies of fellow passengers on airplanes. But the opportunities have multiplied since we have also become parents: helping out with unexpected evening play dates because another parent needs to work late, sewing an extra dance costume so the whole class is outfitted for picture day, or adding a friend’s sibling to the play date because it makes life a little easier for the other family that day. Likewise, other parents have done the same for us throughout the past ten years, time and time again.

We’ve also found ourselves expanding our circle of friends because we’ve gotten to know the families of our daughter’s playmates, or the other parents involved with the basketball league, or because we naturally began networking with other parents because of our common focus on the well-being of the children in our community. These experiences have been more commonplace since our daughter was born, and have become one of those added bonuses of parenting that have certainly enriched our lives and also brought new joys, deep connections, and love to us as well.

Besides being parents, my partner Cindy and I are also the founders of www.RainbowWeddingNetwork.com , a resource that has provided LGBT couples with a bridge to LGBT-friendly wedding services for sixteen years. We have online resources and we also produce an ongoing tour of LGBT Wedding Expos all across the country. It’s been incredible meeting couples and advocates; each one of us envisioning and striving toward greater equality for the community and for our families. Over the years, we’ve had the chance to meet tens of thousands of couples all across America, and it was even obvious sixteen years ago that a very high percentage of LGBT couples (and singles as well!) have yearned for not just the right to marry, but also the right to have children and to raise their families with a higher degree of validation.

Taking all this together has led to a natural progression of sorts. Before long, we began including not just wedding-related vendors as exhibitors at our Expos, but also family-related organizations such as adoption agencies, real estate professionals, lawyers, fertility clinics, dentists, and childcare providers.  All of them are gay-friendly, and eager to support LGBT couples with a foundation of respect as they continue to build their lives together.

When we were in the adoption process before our daughter was born, I began indulging in buying children’s books that reflected many diverse families (including families with two moms or two dads) to fill our baby’s nursery so we’d be able to let her know from a young age that her own experience as a child with two mommies was legitimized by the books she saw. After she was born, we made sure to seek out toys to further represent diversity, and while there were not always ideal choices to represent as much diversity as we’d have hoped, we were able to find quite a few options. But there was one simple thing that seemed to be missing, and that was a coloring book. Nowhere in the world (literally) could we find a coloring book geared toward kids with two moms or dads, or two grandpas or grandmas.  And to me, that seemed ridiculous.

So, I got out a pencil and paper and got started. Setting out a few sample copies of my coloring pages at our Expos, and watching the excitement from both children and their parents, was beautiful. Little four-year-olds beam when they see themselves represented on a coloring page, and can identify at once with the family that’s portrayed. Adults, even those without kids of their own, stop and nod, sometimes grab a page for themselves, obviously touched by the simplicity of it. And heterosexual parents too, wishing to expose their own kids to as much diversity as possible, gladly take the pages as well.

And so, our team at www.RainbowWeddingNetwork.com put together a simple coloring book and began offering it for sale. It’s become just one more little way we can support other parents out there, and their precious children too.

Thank you for taking a look at the coloring book, through this link. By purchasing a My Family Coloring Book, you’ll help us continue to reach out, build bridges and support other LGBT families and hopeful parents-to-be as they strive to make their own dreams come true.

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Our First Father’s Day Knowing You

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by adoptive father, Will Collyer. In this post he writes to his daughter, he expresses the moments leading up to being connected with her and the joy of celebrating his first Father’s Day.

Will, Colin & Campbell (one month old), photo by Madeleine Rose Photography

Will, Colin & Campbell (one month old), photo by Madeleine Rose Photography

Last Father’s Day we didn’t know you existed, but you did. Your birthmom didn’t know we were out here waiting, but we were.

Last year at this time our profile had been live for roughly six weeks. Friends and family would excitedly check in with us, almost daily: “Have you heard anything? How’s the adoption going?” Acquaintances we had maybe met once at a party and then friended on Facebook would comment on our pictures and “Adoption Letter”, sharing their excitement and congrats. But we still didn’t know you existed.

We were confident we had done everything to share as much as we could of ourselves in those four carefully, painstakingly crafted pages. We had faith that we had “opened the door,” and the universe, angels, and IAC, would connect the dots which were beyond our control. So in the meantime, we were resolved to keep living life as we knew it. Keep planning travel. Keep filling our days, weeks, and future calendars with commitments, activities, and work. But what if we got a call and had to fly across the country? Well, then we’d change our plans and do what we needed to do. But it was better for us, emotionally and spiritually, to double down on what filled our lives already and let go of the “what-ifs” until they happened.

We had a stock answer for all those friends and family who wanted to know what was going on with our adoption. One that had quickly become scripted through repetition: “Well, we’ve opened the door, and we may hear from a birthmom three years from now… or it could be three months… or it could be tomorrow.”

Towards the middle of last July, maybe a month after that non-eventful Father’s Day of 2015, an old high school friend of Colin’s was in town for business. He was at our house for dinner, and of course he was interested in hearing our adoption story. After explaining how IAC and open adoption work, we ended with the same scripted conclusion: “So, we’ve opened the door, and we may hear from a birthmom three years from now… or it could be three months… or it could be tomorrow.”

The next day we were up early to head to the airport for a flight to Chicago, where we were going to spend a few days with Colin’s family. We’d fed the dogs, showered, and dressed. I picked up my phone to call an Uber, and there in my email was a message with the subject “Adoption.”  I dropped my bags, shaking, went to the living room where Colin was ready to go, and said, “Hon, we’ve got a contact.”

Unbelievably, the last line of our stock explanation – “could be tomorrow” – had come true!

So much has happened since then. We’ve become so close with your wonderful birthmother. We were with her at the first ultrasound when we found out together that you are a girl. And we met you the very second you took your first breath of air and let out your first beautiful scream.

Less than a year after that first contact, here you are, the most beautiful angel in the world. And we’re your Daddy and Papa, and you’re our baby girl. And yesterday, our first Father’s Day, and your 5-month birthday, we got to cuddle you and watch you roll gleefully from your back to your stomach (and then not-so-gleefully try to push yourself back onto your back, which we helped you with after several unsuccessful tries), and then we got to take you swimming at our friend Jim and Kimi’s house, because oh-my-gosh what a heat wave we’re having right now! And at the end of the day, we soothed you when you woke up at midnight with your gums aching from teething.

We’re so grateful to your incredible birthmother, and to all the angels (both here on earth and up in the sky) that connected us to her and to you.

Last Father’s Day we could never have imagined having this much love in our lives. And it’s honestly still hard to fully believe.  But we do.

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Passing On A Mother’s Love

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post by waiting adoptive parent, Krista McIlmoil, about what she’s learned from her own mother and what she hopes to pass on to her future child.

KristaMcilmoilSometimes I call our own toll free number just to make sure it’s working, even though our online call log says that no calls have come through. I try to think of fun and creative ways to get page views, because I figure those page views will result in a phone call and then of course, a baby. I sat down to write about my mother and what she means to me, since it was Mother’s day, but my mind keeps circling back to wondering when it’ll be my turn. I know that’s selfish, but there are so many aspects of motherhood I’m looking forward to, like celebrating that special day once a year when it’s all about moms. When moms all over hope for a quiet day and reflection.

I have enough days of silence and reflection. I long for the days of noise and chaos when I’m running around putting lunches together, helping with homework, and driving the kids around to dance, soccer practice, or Jiu Jitsu. That might sound crazy to some people, and I’m sure that others will tell me that I think that now, but “just wait.” Well, I am. Anxiously. Not as patiently as I could, or should. I think back to my childhood and all the incredible memories my parents helped me create and I can’t wait to pass those traditions down to my children.

My family wasn’t religious, so we didn’t celebrate the same as other families. We didn’t go to church on Christmas Eve, but we would pile into the car and drive around in our pajamas and look at the Christmas lights people put up around their homes. We knew of all the best neighborhoods and we would “oooh” and “ahhh” as we gazed at the lights with child-like wonder on our faces. My brother and I would get up early the next morning and wait patiently for our parents to get up so we could open presents as a family. As we got older and the mystery of Santa Claus was revealed, my brother and I would save some of our allowances to put together presents for our parents, so they could unwrap gifts too.

My mom would always think of fun and creative ways to express her love for all of us kids. We would get special little cards and place-mats for Valentine’s day, well hidden baskets of our favorite goodies on Easter and my personal everyday favorite, a note in our lunches. I used to look forward to lunchtime at school when I could open my paper bag and see what my mom had written on that day’s note. Usually it was a little note saying that she loved me, or to have a fun day, but no matter how little words she used, they always meant so much. Sometimes our note would even be paired with a heart pressed into the bread of our sandwiches.

Little things like that are what I’m most looking forward to passing on; the sweet ways my mom would show us she cared. I know that showing love is more than little gifts and that it can be shown by being supportive, like going to all my soccer games and school functions. My mom was there every time I needed her – even now that I am an adult. I have always known I can count on my parents, and I hope that someday my children will know that they can always count on me.

To learn more about Krista and her husband, Rahsaan, visit their profile at: http://www.iheartadoption.org/users/rahsaanandkristaadopt

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Home Study Options in New York

In New York State, you have the option to have a home study completed by a licensed child-placing agency or by a licensed social worker or someone designated by the court.

Sketch of New York City skyline

What’s the difference?

  1. Flexibility – Many states will not accept a home study unless it has been completed by a licensed, child-placing agency. If you are interested in adopting outside of NY, if you are considering working with an agency/attorney with national reach, or even if you just want to keep that option open, the agency home study is your best bet. If you complete a home study with a social worker (non-agency) and then decide to adopt nationally, you may need to complete a brand new home study with a licensed, child-placing agency. This means you would be spend additional time and money completing a second home study.
  2. Experience – Social workers contracted through an agency will have been carefully screened. Choosing to have a home study completed by an agency will ensure that the social worker you meet with will be knowledgeable, experienced, and up to date on any recent changes in home study requirements. Should you choose to have your home study completed by an individual social worker, make sure you ask how often s/he completes home studies, and when their most recent home study was completed!
  3. Collaboration – If you choose to have your home study completed by an independent social worker, you should ask how frequently they work with your identified agency or attorney. Agencies and attorneys may have specific requests for the home study. It would be helpful if your worker knows what specifics are important to include. Home study social workers contracted through a licensed, child-placing agency will know what is expected of the agency already, eliminating that concern.
  4. Cost – Fees may be lower if you work with an independent social worker. This option may be beneficial if you have already identified a birthparent or a child to adopt in NY, and you simply need a home study to move forward with your adoption attorney. *If you are unsure how you plan to adopt, working with an independent social worker may end up costing you more: if you ultimately decide to join an agency, many agencies may want addendums or updates added to a home study, or they may require you to have a brand new home study completed through them. This means you would be spending money (and time!) on a second home study.

Independent Adoption Center is a full service adoption agency licensed in New York and seven other states. Please contact us at 1 (800) 877-OPEN to learn more about our New York homestudy services.

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The State of Adoption in the U.S.

vApCNtB7_400x400Cyma Shapiro, creator of “For Women Over 40,” interviewed the President and Founder of the National Center on Adoption and Permanency (NCAP), Adam Pertman. As one of the leading voices in the field, Adam discusses the trends of open adoption in domestic adoptions, foster adoptions, and international adoptions. As stated by Pertman, “adoptions have been turned inside out..now 90% plus of adoptions are open and considered best practice.”

Institutions are now more vocal about adoption and there is more access to agencies, attorneys, and facilitators. Due to the prevalence of media, there is more of a dialogue occurring about adoptions. Adam mentions how the industry is realizing this change, and the growing need for more mental health professionals to address adoption related issues to help families – especially in regards to foster care adoptions.

Visit http://www.forwomenoverforty.com/ to hear the rest of the interview.

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A Valentine’s Love Note

Editor’s Note: The following post is a part of our love note series for Valentine’s day. This post is a letter by an adoptive mother, Rachna, to her adopted daughter, Maya.

Love letter emblem as a red envelope with heart inside isolated on white

To the love of my life,

I never believed in love at first sight until I saw you for the first time. It was a crisp February morning – a Sunday. I remember it so vividly. I remember your sweet smell. I remember our eyes locking on each other and feeling a familiarity with you. We had met before, probably in a past life. I loved you deeply in that life, too. In that moment, I knew that we were meant to be together. I could tell in your eyes that you felt something for me too, but you just couldn’t verbalize it at the time. When I saw you for the first time I wanted to run up to you, hug you, and plant kisses all over you. It just wasn’t the appropriate time and place to do so on that crisp February morning. You were in the arms of another woman the first time I met you. This is a woman whom I love so much because she made the ultimate sacrifice for our happiness. I know that she continues to love you from afar.

After that, whenever we would see each other it was in secret. Even though I wanted to tell everyone about you – the love of my life – I couldn’t. I kept it very hush hush for as long as I could because I knew that everyone would be dying to meet you. Although you are the love of my life and we have been together in other lifetimes, I just didn’t know if circumstances would allow it to work out between us. So – I kept it a secret. It was one of the hardest things that I had to do.

Then the day came that I was ready to shout from the rooftops about us. It was Valentine’s Day. It had been less than a week since I met you, but I was sure that this was it. This marked the day that we would be together for the rest of our lives.

Your Daddy and I walked in the door with you on Valentine’s Day at midnight three years ago. A day which we used to formerly mock as a false holiday is now the most important holiday of the year for us. It is the day that we became a family.

Happy Valentine’s Day to our little Maya, and your little brother, Neal.

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Announcing Leadership Transitions

The Independent Adoption Center (www.adoptionhelp.org), acclaimed as the industry leader in the field of open adoptions, is announcing some long-planned transitions within its leadership team.

“The ten years I have spent working to build families through open adoption have been the most gratifying experience of my life,” said Ann Wrixon, herself an adoptive parent. “I always planned to transition when it was appropriate for me to spend more time with my family, and I’m looking forward to doing just that. ”

“I’ve been planning my retirement for some time,” said Kathleen Silber, longtime Associate Executive Director with IAC and recognized nationally for her compassionate expertise in the field of open adoption. “As one of the pioneers of open adoption, I am gratified that all of the research, and our experience at the IAC, has shown that everyone fares better with open adoption, especially the children. I strongly believed that from the beginning, and now the rest of the world knows it’s true!”

While there is no definite timing set for the transition, Marcia Hodges will be providing leadership as Interim Executive Director. Silber and Wrixon will continue as senior advisors to the esteemed nonprofit organization. During the tenures of Silber and Wrixon, the Independent Adoption Center has expanded licensed operations from one state — California — to eight states and the organization has been praised for its proactive efforts to broaden the diversity of both birth mothers and adoptive parents including opportunities for LGBT parenting.

“Kathleen and Ann are the unsung heroines of open adoption in general, and the IAC in particular,” said Greg Kuhl, chairman of the IAC Board of Directors, and likewise, an adoptive parent. “I am very grateful to Ann and Kathleen for their combined decades of service to this organization. While I am saddened to see them go, I know that IAC will continue to thrive with the new leadership team headed by Marcia Hodges.”

Hodges will lead Independent Adoption Center and assist the board with locating a new permanent leadership team. She wrote, “I’m excited by the opportunity to work with Independent Adoption Center during this transitional period. I want to thank Ann Wrixon, Kathleen Silber and the board of directors for both this opportunity and for their assistance in its completion.”

Founded in 1982, IAC is a counseling-based, licensed, nonprofit agency that has facilitated over 4,000 adoptions. IAC is also the largest and one of the oldest fully open adoption agencies in the country and it has been instrumental in pioneering open adoption. IAC informs, supports, and guides birth and adoptive parents through the process of creating healthy new families through open adoption. IAC is focused on transforming lives through open adoption by serving the best interests of birthmothers, children, and adoptive families.

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