Our staff went to a screening of the movie Unplanned about former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson. It is a compelling story, mostly because it is true and shows very directly what the procedure of abortion is like. Earning an "R" rating solely because of showing the graphic reality of both a surgical abortion & medical abortion (with medication RU-486), the film is difficult to watch and does a good job of showing the humanity on both sides of the abortion debate as the story unfolds. The film is only scheduled to play theaters through this week, so don't miss your chance to see it and support the hard work of getting this controversial true story out in front of audiences.
After watching the film, I couldn't help but think of the work CAS does with abortion-vulnerable people and efforts to provide services to post-abortive women who are struggling. Pat just wrote a story for our spring newsletter about a recent conversation with such a woman, and these important stories are vital to keep abortion from being normalized/rationalized and to identify the pain and regret. We serve a God who forgives - read more about Pat's story...
bWhere are you from originally?
I am originally from Garfield, MN, a small town close to Alexandria, MN.
Where are you going to school and what are you studying?
I am currently attending Minnesota State University Moorhead and enrolled in the social work program. I am excited to graduate in May with my bachelors degree.
What do you love about interning at CAS?
I love interning at CAS because I get to be a part of peoples lives to help them grow their families through adoption. It is amazing to see God’s hand guiding everything we do here at CAS.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
When I am not working I love spending time outside with my family and friends . I enjoy traveling all over the world and seeing this beautiful earth God has created.
Can you share a favorite quote or something that inspires you?
A verse that has guided me through my life is Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and , not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future"
We are thrilled to have Katie this spring, and we are currently accepting applications for the fall.
Expectant women have many choices about their "birth plan" today. In the hospital, at home, with a midwife, water birth, or epidural. There are many blessings to modern medicine, and I would guess a clean place and experienced doctor would have been a welcome sight in Bethlehem for Mary. The fear of the unknown, delivering a child at a young age, knowing that Joseph wasn’t the biological father, not to mention the knowledge that he is the Son of God... seems pretty overwhelming and not part of anyone's "birth plan." But, oh what joy!
Though childbirth is so common since the beginning of time, it is amazing how unique each birth story is. Each of our clients has a story that is different from the other’s...
Read full article in our Christmas Newsletter
God has a weird way of doing things in our lives.
I had for a long time wanted to be a surrogate. I had spend some time looking into it prior to my relationship with Mike*. Once we started a relationship I knew I needed to hold off on that at that time in my life but it was always in my mind. When we were together, and with living in separate homes and towns for that matter, we both had said we were good and we’re not wanting to have anymore children. Who knew I would find out in the same week just a few days apart the I was pregnant and 6 months along and finding out it was a boy all at the same time?! Life got crazy fast!
I was already a single mom of 3 and did not want to start over with that adventure in life with my youngest being 6. I couldn’t put anything together in my mind on how we could possibly make it work with out completely uprooting 5 kids between the two of us to be in once city and under one roof. I started searching online for options for adoption and reading about the different agencies and plans how each place went about it.
I started inquiring late one night via text to this agency as I had liked the things I had read. We then had had a few meetings with the agency making sure this was the direction we were going and started looking online at parents and took home a few books. It didn’t take us long to decide who we wanted. When I called to share who we had picked I was told Jason and Alexa were already being looked at by another mom. My heart sank and I then second guessed our decision, as at that point we were not both on the same page about the other prospective parents we liked, but with Jason and Alexa it was not a question! A few days after I had gotten a call that the mom had changed her mind. I felt a lot of relief when I heard that! Our match meeting was then set. We got to ask questions of them and answer questions they had, as well as got to know some likes and dislikes of each other which we found out we have a lot of similar interests!
We are 2 years out now from our match meeting. I was so nervous going into it but leaving that day I was so sure it was all supposed to be this way! I felt as if this was God's weird way of fulfilling my desire to want to be a surrogate. They were able to come up for an appointment before he was born which I wish I had known sooner as I wanted to give Alexa as much of the other side of the experience as I could since she was not able to carry. The doctor did an ultrasound that day so they could actually see him.
We kept in touch by e-mail and text over the next few short months til he was born. The night he was born we shared pictures with them as soon as we were able and they arrived at the hospital on the 2nd day. We spend quite a bit of time that evening together all in one room and that night they were able to keep him in their room with them.
The hardest part of the journey was leaving the hospital with out him, but I knew he was in good hands and it was the right decision. They sent a few pictures over the next few days and I was able to go meet up with them a few days later! We keep in close contact and I would get updates on appointments and how he was growing and some milestones he was reaching. We get pictures, videos and FaceTime each other which has been nice. We have also gotten together a few times. We continue to build that relationship with each other and couldn’t have asked for it to have turned out any other way! 💕
*Names changed for confidentiality
"Things not helpful to ask an adoptee"
1 Peter 4:10 “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.”
I wanted to start out with this verse as a beautiful reminder to be faithful stewards of God’s grace to everyone in any situation. There have been times in my life that things have been asked or said about adoption to me that have caused some pain or hurt feelings. But I constantly remind myself that almost always, people are not intentionally causing hurt with the questions they ask, but genuinely want to know about the life of an adoptee. This is where grace comes in. I find it beautiful when people ask me about being adopted because it shows that they really truly want to know my story and reminds me of how God handcrafted my unique life.
For those of you who are not adopted—keep asking questions about adoption stories. You will see the power of love, courage, strength, hope, and many other qualities in adoption journeys—you may even shed a few tears. Included below I have a few helpful tips on how to ask questions with adoption friendly language and a few examples of questions that have not been the most helpful.
Have you ever met your “real” mom?
This question is completely valid and one that I get asked quite often. To reword this question, I would say, Have you ever met your birth mom? Both my birth mother and my mother play a role in my life in helping me shape the woman that I am today. Using the word “real” takes away this importance role that my mother plays. Both these women play real roles in my life and both deserve the respect of the part that they have played in my life. I always distinguish the woman that gave birth to me as my birth mom, and the woman who adopted me as mom. One word of encouragement is to always ask the adoptee how they would like you to refer to the individuals in their adoption story—this always means the world to me when people ask this simple question!
Is that your “adoptive” family?
This question once again is a valid but adding the word “adoptive” makes it seem as though my family is different than others. I don’t view my family as my “adoptive” family—they are my family despite that our DNA and genetics are different. Love is what creates our family and I have never felt different or out of place in my family. I have the same relationships with my parents and sisters like any other typical family that had their kids biologically. To distinct the two, I call the family that adopted me simply as my family or the family that adopted me and my biological family as my birth family. The simple switch of words from “adoptive” family to family that adopted me really makes a difference.
Why did your birthparents “give” you up?
I believe that my birthparents didn’t “give” me up. I believe my birthparents instead gave me the gift of love and life. They put my needs above their own wants and desires, which gives me the upmost respect for them. After meeting with my birthfather for the first time, he made certain that I knew how hard of a decision it was for them to place me up for adoption. By saying that they simply “gave” me up, makes it seem as if they didn’t want to keep me as their own—which was one of the hardest choices in their life. They wanted me to have the best future possible; which they knew wouldn’t happen at this time in their life. I have nothing but love and respect for the birth family that loved me. Removing the words that my birthparents “gave” me up, validates the tough choice that they had to make. Instead this question could be asked, Why were you placed for adoption?
I know that every adoptee may feel different emotions when questions are asked about their adoption story. In the moments when questions are asked that may cause pain or hurt; I encourage the adoptee to respond first with grace and help explain to the one asking questions what examples of positive adoption language. By implementing adoption friendly language, all people involved in the adoption journey will feel valued, important, and loved for their role in the journey. The adoptee, birth family, and adoptive family equally play an important part in the adoption story—the story simply wouldn’t exist without each of them.
Your story matters,
1 John 3: 1 “See what kind of love the Father has given to us that we should be called children of God…”
Where are you from originally?
I grew up on a farm in central North Dakota.
Where are you going to school and what are you studying?
I am enrolled in my final semester at MSUM in the social work program.
What do you love about interning at CAS?
I love that as an intern I can be a part of building families at CAS. I am humbled to be a part of the individuals' and families' adoption journeys, and I admire the strength and courage that they have.
What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
When I am not working I love to spend time with my family and friends, travel, read, and crochet.
Can you share a favorite quote or something that inspires you?
"Every moment counts. Every second matters." - Elie Wiesel
We are thrilled to have Makall on board during this busy fall season, assisting Tina in serving adoptive families and with Destrie whenever possible with birth parent services. We hope you get a chance to meet her.
We are currently accepting applications for our spring internship.
I recently listened to this episode from a few months back. I love when I get to hear how the adoption journey has been from those who are many years into it. In this instance, the host April Fallon got to speak with both the birth mom in this first episode and then the daughter as well in the second episode.
As CAS launches the fall Birth Mom small group, the quote above is what really stood out to me in this episode. Even in a healthy, open adoption, it is so important for birth moms to have others to relate to and share with. Facing our feelings, especially grief or sadness, isn't necessarily something many of us are eager to do. However, when we share, it is a blessing to have others help carry the burden and lighten our load.
We recommend the Adoption Now podcast to everyone! These two episodes are a great place to start.
S3E16 "A Birth Mother's Journey Through Open Adoption"
S3E17 "Open Adoption from the Adoptees Perspective"
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, we are sharing a few resources for adoptive families interested in pursuing this. This is not for everyone and definitely a conversation would need to occur with your doctor, but it is amazing what our bodies can do. We have seen birth moms freeze and send milk to the adoptive family, and other nursing mamas donate their breastmilk. There are many resources and avenues to explore when preparing to welcome your child home, and we are happy to connect clients to any information that we know about.
From the CAS archives, this was originally published for Adoption Awareness Month, November 2016.
An open letter to my brother I’ve never met,
Hi, I’m your biological sister. I am 21 years old. We have the same birth father. I have known about you for over half my life. I have often thought about you and how you have grown up. Were you involved in sports? Do you like to travel? What are some of your hobbies? What are your parents like? Do you have other siblings?
Over the years, I have tried to understand why our father created an adoption plan for you. I know that he was 15-16 years old when he found out you were on the way. He, along with his girlfriend were very excited to become parents but they were on a tough road. Both your mom and your dad were still in high school. They decided adoption because they wanted to help others who could not have babies on their own. It’s been over 20 years since the adoption and a lot has happened since then. We have a sister. She is 23. She also has been curious about you and what you have been up to. I am currently a senior in college going into the field of social work. I am getting married next summer. Our sister is going to start Grad School next fall in the field of criminal justice. Did you go to college? Are you married? Do you have kids?
We have missed out on so much of each other’s lives and my goal in life is to know who you are. I understand the difficulty in making this step and if you are even interested in meeting your biological family. I understand if you have no interest in knowing where you came from. I am prepared to handle that when and if that time comes. I just want you to know that you are loved!
I have started the outreach process in hopes to someday meet you. I have so many questions and so much to tell you!
-Your biological sister
Our agency has facilitated searches for birth parents, children, and siblings. For more information about re-connecting, visit the Adoption Search page.
When Ryan and I first started in the adoption process, we heard it could be a difficult journey. I thought, "What could be so hard? I know there's a lot of paperwork, but adoption ends in a baby! What better motivation is there to keep going?" It was only after we had begun receiving "Not yet" responses again and again that I wondered, "What if we never end up with a baby after all?" I even started asking God, "I know you called us to this, but why aren't you using us? Is this still your call for us?"
Just when I wasn’t sure if I could continue to say yes and receive a no, we got a call from Susan. We had matched! We were ecstatic! Over the next two months, we announced, we prepared, we traveled. We wanted to be at the hospital when baby was born even if we never got to meet baby’s birth mother since it was a closed adoption, so we went to Arizona and we waited. Several days went by, and on baby’s due date, we got a devastating call. Baby had been born, and his mother decided to parent. We were in shock. We cried, we packed, and we traveled home with an empty car seat. The day after we got home, I prayed. I asked God, “What do we do now?” I wrote down two things I felt God telling me: 1) Don’t get rid of those clothes, and 2) Don’t worry so much about the money.
Throughout the week following our disruption, Ryan and I prayed about how to move forward. We considered accepting another match opportunity with the same agency, but after visiting with Susan, I simply told them the same words that Susan emailed to us: "What we are really praying for is a really quick match or a stork drop.” After such a recent disruption, we were still grieving, and we honestly did not have high hopes. Unbeknownst to us, at the same time I was sending that email, an expectant mother came for an intake at the same agency. Because she was at the very end of her pregnancy, she asked to see family profile books right away which was different than the agency's usual protocol. I will never forget the call I got that same morning. “Kacie, there is a situation I want to tell you about. I don’t have a lot of information, but we still have one of your profile books, and I need to know within the hour if you want it shown.” We said yes. So did she. We got the call we had matched again. We were hopeful, but so nervous because of having our recent heartache.
This time, the adoption was to be open. We were fortunate enough to FaceTime the expectant mother shortly after matching, and 12 days from when we got the call, we were on a flight to meet her prior to her induction. When we met her, one of the things she said was, “I asked my mom to research adoption agencies my whole pregnancy. She never did until two weeks ago. I am so glad she waited, or I might never have gotten to choose you.” The match with this amazing woman led us to our son, and we are fortunate enough to now be parents to a beautiful baby boy! We praise God for giving her the strength to grow our family with part of hers, and for letting us be there when he took his first breath. God truly writes THE BEST AND MOST AMAZING of stories.
As I reflect on our adoption journey, I know that God gave us the pain of a disrupted adoption to build our faith in Him. That shock and heartache reminded us to better cherish the blessings we already had, and most of all, to remind us how it feels to TRULY let go of our plan and submit to His. My hopes for a baby had turned in to expectations, and my expectations needed to be shattered to see His perfect plan.
The practical advice I have for anyone struggling with the matching process or with a failed match are these:
1. Take special care to nourish and enjoy relationships with your current family members, whether it is your spouse, child, or pet. When God does give you your baby, you'll be grateful for the memories you made during the wait.
2. Try not to worry so much about the money. I know it's hard, because adoption is expensive, but if you are $800 more in debt, for example, when your adoption is done because you had weekly date nights, went to that concert together, or took a weekend getaway during the most difficult part of the journey, wasn't it a good investment?
3. Continue to make commitments unrelated to adoption. During part of our wait, I mistakenly said to myself, "I can't commit to that. We might have a baby." It is hard not to get depressed if you clear your calendar and have nothing else to do than think about adoption 24/7. This goes back to giving it up to God. God doesn't make mistakes. Sometimes His plan takes longer than we want or looks different than we thought it would, but in the end we understand why.
Previously published on Christian Adoption Consultants. Used with family's permission.
Some couples are working with not just a local agency for their home assessment, but a national adoption consultant. We see pros and cons to this option, and this article shares some of the things we see in those cases. Each couple's journey is different, but if you are considering adopting out of state, you will still need a local agency to conduct the home study and post-placement services for you.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.