Editor’s Note: The names in this story have been changed to maintain confidentiality.
Adoption and Pregnancy Services at Catholic Charities focuses on the needs of the birth families, adoptive couples, foster families and the babies placed for adoption. Staff members serve all participants with care, love, resources and support. Catholic Charities provides extensive preparation to couples seeking to adopt a child by helping them build on their strengths and utilize new skills.
The Johnsons had been married for 11 years and their goal was to add a baby to their family. They had been trying to conceive for about eight years to no avail.
Gail Johnson said she had been struggling with relinquishing control and was grieving over not being able to have her own child. Letting go was the first step.
“Once I finally surrendered to God's will, everything started to fall into place,” she said.
She and her husband Robert attended a one-on-one orientation to learn about the adoption process at Catholic Charities. They were invited to submit a pre-application regarding their preferences. Subsequently, the Johnsons submitted a formal application to ensure their eligibility for placement.
As with many couples, the Johnsons’ vision of the adoption journey was one filled with all positives and little awareness of the actual experience. After many hours of discussion with Catholic Charities staff members about circumstances that lead birth mothers to place their babies for adoption, the Johnsons began to surrender their preconceived notions about a cut-and-dried process.
The couple came to understand that part of accepting the adoption plan means embracing a level of compassion and grace for the birth parents whose circumstances were difficult. The birth family who selected them chose not choose to be engaged with services or with them. The Johnsons had hoped for a more open adoption with their daughter’s birth family to provide her a birth family connection.
Catholic Charities helped them shape their unique adoption story as one they could share with family, extended relatives and, more importantly, their soon-to-be-placed child.
The process of adoption mimics the phases of pregnancy and laboring that other families experience with biological children. Staff members at Catholic Charities play a critical role in helping couples embrace these “pains” of labor with the understanding that adoption is not simply a legal process, but a sacred preparation in caring for one of God’s children.
From the very beginning, the Johnsons prayed steadfastly for the birth family and for the baby God would send them. Their case manager’s engagement with them was intentionally focused on helping them understand that the “typical” path to parenting was not the way they were destined to expand their family. This new awareness enabled them to fully embrace the reality of today’s adoption processes and relationships.
The Johnsons have decided to remain open to the possibility of connecting with their baby's birth family in the future through Catholic Charities' Post-Adoption Services. In a show of good faith, they plan to write letters for the birth family and collect pictures of their daughter’s childhood, in hopes the letters and pictures will one day reach the birth family.
They said their daughter is truly a gift from God and she has become one of the biggest blessings of their lives.
Adoption and Pregnancy Services
After Hours: (405) 973-7050