Feature Family: The Brown Family
Ava and her Birth Mom, Vikki
When faced with the reality of an unplanned pregnancy, it can be a scary time when many question arise like what do I do or who do I turn to? When I found out I was pregnant, my parents and I reached out to Rebecca Vahle because she was the only person in the adoption community we knew. Rebecca had recently met my stepmother while she was doing a promo for Rebecca’s radio show, Adoption Perspectives. The line my stepmother voiced for the promo was “My daughter is pregnant and I don’t know what to do”. Little did we know that while she was making this promo her daughter was pregnant and she didn’t know what to do.
In our family we are firm believers that there are no “accidents” … just God’s plan that doesn’t match up with what we have planned. The first thing we did as a family was pray. We prayed for a healthy Mom, a healthy baby and we prayed for clarity. We made a point to remember that the only way life is truly created is by God. This baby was HIS divine intention. We just needed help in figuring out how this was going to look.
With the help of Rebecca, we got in contact with a local adoption agency that helped us examine what a parenting plan and an adoption plan would look like. It became very apparent that parenting with the father was not going to be a good option because of many reasons. One of the biggest challenge in a situation like ours was that the answer to “could” I have this baby and raise it is usually YES. However, because the answer to “could” is yes, the question “should” I do this is often never even asked.
Through a sequence of events that dealt with the complications with the relationship with the father, I made the difficult, but correct, decision to chose an open adoption plan for my unborn child.
Then came the difficulty of navigating my situation with all of it’s complexities during my time of delivery at the hospital. There were two families involved – ours and the adoptive family. Along with that comes all the mixed emotions of happiness, joy and excitement mixed with sadness, pain and heartbreak. Knowing that at the end of this stay our family was not going to leave the hospital with our first child/grandchild was difficult. However the team of nurses led by Rebecca at the hospital made all the emotions easier to deal with. They knew why there were so many family members and why we would want two sets of all the birth records. They understood that one family was saying goodbye while another was saying hello. The four days in the hospital could have been a nightmare for everyone involved if the nurses trained by Rebecca hadn’t know the intricacies of adoption through their training with the Family to Family Adoption Support Program.
We always say “God has a plan”. In looking back, it was His plan that my stepmother was working at the radio station and had the resource to be introduced to Rebecca. His plan that she pointed us in the direction of adoption resources. His plan that our beautiful little Ava lives! And oh she lives! She is 4 years old now and will tell you with pride who her Birth Mom is! We Facetime and visit and laugh and love.
It’s an amazing story and we are so grateful to Rebecca and Family to Family Support Program for so delicately and precisely handling all of the hospital components that have helped to make this such a wonderful story to tell.
Ava with her Mom and her Birth Mom
Beth and Rick, Ava’s Birth Grandparents
The Whole Family
To support the expansion of the Family to Family Adoption Support Program into hospitals across the nation in honor of the Brown Family, follow this link to donate! familytofamilysupport.org/donate/
Feature Family: The Schmitt Family
Help support the expansion of the Family to Family Adoption Support Program to other hospitals across the nation! To donate, visit familytofamilysupport.org/donate/ or follow the links on this page.
When we moved to Colorado from California just over a year and a half ago, one of the first things we did was get plugged into the local adoption community. I was quickly told by numerous people about an amazing adoption program connected with a local hospital. I was intrigued and wanted to know more. When I read about the Family to Family Adoption Support Program at Parker, I was overjoyed. We were just starting the adoption process for a second time and I began to pray that our next baby would be born at Parker. You see, when we adopted our daughter, we had a great relationship with her birth mom, Natasha, but the hospital experience left a lot to be desired. Every time we went to prenatal appointments or ultrasounds, we received weird looks and people made crazy assumptions, including the thought that Natasha and I were lesbians or that she was our surrogate. When she was admitted to the hospital to deliver Abby, she wanted us there to care for Abby. The hospital, however, wouldn’t give us a room. We ended up all staying in a tiny postpartum room that was about half the size of one of Parker’s rooms. When I found out about Parker’s program, I immediately told Natasha, who had also moved to Colorado. We both agreed that it would have been ideal to go through the adoption experience at a hospital, like Parker, that “got it.” Fast forward a few months and Natasha was tearfully telling me that she was pregnant again and that she thought she was going to place this baby with us, as well. One of the first people we connected with was Rebecca, with the Family to Family program. She immediately connected us to Pinnacle, whose staff treated Natasha like gold and never once made it awkward. A couple months later, when Natasha was 4 months pregnant, Rebecca asked me to share our first adoption story on the Adoption Perspectives Radio Show. I prayed that it would help people. I had no idea that it would actually be used to help our situation. Natasha and her ex-boyfriend had decided to place with us, but his mom was not very supportive. She Facebook stalked me and found a link to the radio show. After listening to the entire show, she fell in love with our family, and became a huge supporter of the adoption plan. On July 31, 2014, we went to Parker for Natasha to be induced. The hospital experience was amazing. We were treated so well by the entire staff and were blessed with special gifts and keepsakes for our little boy and for Natasha to take home. Jonathan and I had our own room and Natasha had her own room. We moved Caleb back and forth from room to room, and no one blinked an eye when he wasn’t in the room they expected. Everyone handled our entire situation with grace and love. The Family to Family program was a true blessing to all of us!
Sherrie Eldridge – Best-selling author Adoption, adoption advocate, and adoptee:
“Rebecca Vahle, Adoption Liaison, for Parker Adventist Hospital is plowing new ground in the world of adoption! As a trained professional in the field of adoption, Vahle instructs hospital staff concerning the sensitive needs of adoptive and birth parents, as well as adopted children. Through creating their unique Family to Family Adoption Support Program, they have found creative ways to restore dignity to the institution of adoption itself. In addition, they offer structure and meaning to what surely can be an extremely painful and uncomfortable process and culminating day for everyone. It is my dream as an adopted person and an adoption expert that the program implemented by Vahle and staff will be multiplied to every state in the US. I believe Parker Adventist is a forerunner in this field and what they offer can serve as a training module for other hospitals.”
Thank you to the staff at Parker Adventist from a Mom and her support system after delivering in the Family to Family Support Program:
“Despite a difficult situation of delivering a beautiful baby boy and yet leaving the hospital without him, you all rose to the occasion and offered the support needed. While it was probably the hardest two days of our lives thus far, we are forever grateful to each and every one of you.”
Mom who delivered in a different hospital, but placed her son with his adoptive family:
“As I learned about the Family to Family Adoption Support Program, I have found such genuine compassion and support through the mission of the program. After experiencing a rather insensitive and, at times, hurtful postpartum hospital stay, I am whole-heartedly passionate about the work done through Family to Family. I know first-hand how fundamentally important it is to have a hospital staff that is trained in this uniquely raw and emotional journey as a new life is born, and that’s exactly what this program offers.”
Mom who delivered at Parker Adventist Hospital and had access to resources to parent her daughter:
” I absolutely would not have my daughter today if I had not been connected to the Family to Family Adoption Support Program. Every day I am thankful for the help they provided so I could bring my girl home.”
Adoption Perspectives Radio Show listener and Adoptive mom of daughter born at Parker: Adoption Perspectives Radio Show has shaped not only how I parent, but who God is creating me to be. I have been exposed to such a variety of resources and perspectives and have found life changing information through this radio show. Thank you.
Adoptive mom of son born at Parker Adventist Hospital:
“Our son was born at Parker Adventist Hospital, it was Rebecca Vahle, the Adoption Liaison, and the trained nurses who were there to introduce us to our son for the very first time. They were present throughout the three days we were at the hospital, helping and guiding us through our first days of being new parents. We are so grateful for the Staff and the Family to Family Adoption Support Program, as we believe their love and support during our stay at Parker Adventist provided an adoption-friendly environment and it helped us to focus on our new roles as parents.”