In this month that honors the gift of adoption, we must pause to also honor, and to thank, the courageous birth parents who make the difficult decision to voluntarily place their children for adoption. Difficult, not only because someone else will be raising the children they love, but also because too many in our society make birth parents out to be victims. When done well, with licensed, ethical professionals, adoption can be an empowering decision, that opens a new life for the birth parents in addition to new possibilities for these cherished children.
Gladney recently had the honor of working with two loving parents who made a decision that changed the trajectory of their lives and the lives of their twin boys. After struggling for 2 ½ years to be the parents these boys needed, the birth parents contacted Gladney for help. Despite several medical professionals having contacted the state authorities over a 2+ year period, reporting that the boys were suffering from neglect and malnutrition, and asking the state to step in and help the couple with services, this family fell through the cracks. The children fell into the chasm of ongoing neglect, not only by their untrained and incapable (although loving) parents, but also by the state.
By the time the parents contacted Gladney, they were out of steam, incapable of doing more. The children were significantly behind, not yet talking, unsteady walking, and suffering other problems that come with malnutrition and neglect. We cannot know whether the parents could have been successful parenting if they had been wrapped in services, including high quality childcare, early in their parenting. We do know the system that is in place to protect the welfare of children failed these parents and children, even after they were referred for services.
Along with offering parenting support and services early on, offering voluntary adoption as an option can be an empowering choice for parents and a loving solution for children. Had this couple been offered a voluntary adoption when the first professional recognized they were in distress, these children could be in a vastly different place today. The boys are now significantly behind most children their age; however, they will have the opportunity for a brighter future, because their parents realized they could not continue down their unsteady path and worked with Gladney to choose the best home for them. While Gladney worked with the birth parents on their options, the boys were placed with a temporary care family. They were wrapped in a healthy, healing environment, began eating nutritious food, learned how to play, received necessary medical care, and started to grow.
Gladney offers all our birth parents the option of utilizing one of our high quality, temporary care families, giving the parents additional time to look at all their options. These unpaid volunteers are fully licensed, experienced, trained parents. While Gladney collaborates with the birth parents, offering access to services, helping to create goals, and giving choices about adoption, the temporary care parents are singularly focused on loving and caring for their children until a decision is made.
The birth parents of the twins decided adoption was the best option for the boys as well as for their own physical and mental health. The children are living with their new, permanent family, and the birth parents are starting their own healing. Both are now employed, and they see bright futures for themselves as well as the boys they placed out of love.
During this month of Thanksgiving, I am thankful for these parents and the loving decision they made for their children.