Adoption Options Alberta Ltd.
Our Story Why We Exist
At 14, Stephanie discovered she was pregnant ...
I was a typical teenager. I was responsible, did excellent in school, had lots of friends and was extremely athletic. But when I stopped dancing, I lost my goals and my friends. My sister’s drug addiction started destroying my family, and my parents put all their energy into helping her. I felt completely lost and all alone.
Then everything changed. I was no longer alone. I was pregnant.
I loved my baby more than words could ever describe. But what was I going to do? Abortion was out of the question, and my parents were clear they definitely would not help raise my child. Sadly, I knew that at 14, I had nothing to give him but love.
I searched the internet and found Adoption Options and got counseling. I read letters and profiles for hours and hours but none of them felt right. None of them. Then I got to the very last letter, and I knew I’d found my adoptive family. Jean and Chris were the ones I wanted to be my baby’s parents.
Jean and Chris struggled for years with infertility. Then they struggled to find a "new-normal" life after their angel Gabriel died in their arms less than two hours after he was born. When they wrote the "Dear Birthmother" letter that Stephanie read, it came from the depths of their hearts, and spoke of love and loss and their longing for a family created through adoption.
Liam was born a few days later, and I placed my precious baby in the arms of someone else. This was the hardest and most painful thing I have ever done. It's because I loved my son so much that I knew this was the right decision.
After the adoption, I finished high school with my friends. It wasn't easy because I had grown up so much with what I went through, and because I missed my baby so much. But I visited him lots, and Jean sent me pictures all the time. My family and his family are really close. I know now that in an open adoption you do not lose a child but you gain a family.
I'm in college and working towards my accounting degree now. I still think about Liam every day, but now that he's older we talk on the phone and text regularly. He's an amazing kid! And I love watching him play hockey - his total passion!
Knowing Liam and being a part of his life is important to me because it validates that I made the right choice. Watching him grow and flourish gives me strength and makes me so proud to be his birthmother.
Adoption Options exists for women like Stephanie, couples like Jean and Chris, and children like Liam.
Our Impact What We Do
Adoption Options has brought together over 1,700 birth and adoptive families to provide forever homes for children since 1985. We've counseled thousands of women and families as they've made difficult choices for their futures. We provide a caring, compassionate and non-judgmental place for people to explore all their options. And we offer hope for the future - hope for anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy, and for those dreaming of a family created through adoption.
OPEN ADOPTION | In open adoption, birth and adoptive families have an open exchange of information. Ongoing contact between families is most often maintained, and can be at varying degrees, from an annual exchange of letters and photos, to regular visits and the development of a close relationship with the extended birth family.
MISSION | Building Families ~ Creating Futures
VISION | All children raised with permanency in safe, loving and stable forever homes
- Openness in Adoption: We believe that children are best served by maintaining a connection to their birth families.
- Positive Choice: We believe that open adoption is a positive option for babies and children, birth parents and adoptive parents.
- Informed Decision-making: We believe anyone struggling with an unplanned pregnancy has the right to quality information about all their choices. Adoption is not right choice for everyone, but everyone should be fully informed of all their choices before making that decision.
- Counseling and Support: We believe birth and adoptive parents are best served with supportive, non-judgmental counseling, as they make important life and family decisions.
- Diversity: We serve all Albertans and welcome a diversity in race, religion, family makeup and lifestyle.
- Dignity: We recognize that every adoption is unique, and no one way is suitable for everyone. All participants are treated with respect and dignity at all times by our professional staff.
- Education and Advocacy: We believe that we can positively impact lives by raising awareness and educating those in the caring professions, and by advocating for changes in open adoption policies.
WE SUPPORT ANYONE FACING AN UNPLANNED PREGNANCY
An unexpected pregnancy can be very scary, and decisions can be extremely difficult. We are here to help anyone who finds themselves in this situation explore their options. Our professional social workers offer counseling and support as clients decide if adoption is the right choice for them. If they choose adoption for their child, we support them through a process of choosing an adoptive family and making an adoption plan. If they decide that adoption is not right for them, we assist in finding appropriate community resources. Support to birthparents is provided free of charge throughout, regardless of their decision, and for as long after the adoption as birthmothers require it.
WE HELP PARENTS REALIZE THEIR DREAM OF CREATING A FAMILY
The decision to adopt takes time and careful consideration. Through our adoption programs, we assist potential adoptive parents learn about domestic open adoption, private direct adoption and international adoption. We provide education and preparation seminars to help couples prepare to be the best adoptive parents they can be. Our professional staff counsel and guide couples throughout the adoption process, and offer post-adoption support services.
WE REACH OUT TO THE COMMUNITY
Through our community outreach program, we connect with professionals in the many, varied caring professions to help increase their understanding of open adoption, and to ensure they are able to provide their clients with quality information about adoption as an option. There is general lack of understanding and many misperceptions about adoption today. We are advancing adoption awareness by connecting with doctors, nurses, government social workers, police services, school counselors, and many others in our community.
Our Programs How We Do It
Facing an unplanned pregnancy can be very frightening. The birthmother may be too young to raise a child. She may be afraid to tell her family and friends about her pregnancy. She may already have children and feel she just isn't able to raise another child. She may have an alcohol or drug addiction, or have older children in foster care. She may even be homeless.
Our programs offer support. Our programs offer options...
Our professional social workers have worked with every one of these women and many others, offering caring and non-judgmental counseling to those facing an unexpected pregnancy. Birthmothers, their partners and families are supported through a process where they can explore all of their options to find the one that is best for themselves and their child. Our counselors provide quality information and choice counseling, while helping them examine their hopes and dreams for the future.
If birthparents decide that adoption is the right choice for them, we support them through the process of selecting an adoptive family and making an adoption plan that includes some form of ongoing contact. Counseling and support is available throughout their pregnancy and for as long after the adoption as they require it. If adoption is not their choice, we assist them in connecting with community resources that can provide the best support. We counsel and support all birthparents free of charge, regardless of their decision.
We offer ongoing support...
- Pregnancy Support and Birthparent TEXT lines
- 24-hour Weekend and Holiday Emergency Support
- One on One Counseling
- Birthparent Support Groups
- Peer and Professional Connections
- Birthmothers' Day Ceremonies
- Annual Family Picnics
Choosing to create a family through adoption often begins with loss and grief. Many couples face years struggling with infertility. Years of treatments and disappointments. Many others have had series of pregnancies resulting in painful losses. They grieve their unborn and stillborn children. Some families long to be reunited with relatives who live far away in different countries.
Our programs offer support. Our programs offer guidance...
We guide and support prospective adoptive parents who are residents of Alberta through their journey, to help them realize their dream of starting a family through adoption. We provide education about our Domestic Open Adoption Program, our International Adoption Program and our Private Direct Adoption Program to ensure that adoption is the right choice for them. We work through all the steps - seminars, paperwork and homestudies - to becoming an "approved" family who we can present to birthfamilies wishing to place a child for adoption. We offer education and support to help these parents become the best adoptive parents they possibly can. After placement, support continues with available counseling and adoptive parent support groups.
We believe in giving back to the community through advocacy and education.
Our programs offer a voice for change ...
We provide ongoing education about adoption to our adoptive families and the broader community. Our professional staff give presentations and facilitate awareness sessions with professionals and in group settings such as high school and university classes, churches, pregnancy care centres, medical clinics, homeless shelters, and with many others in the caring professions. We proactively advocate for openness in adoption, and for positive changes in adoption legislation.
Our Requests What You Can Do
There are many ways to support the work of Adoption Options. You can make a difference in the lives of women struggling with unplanned pregnancies, couples wishing to realize their dream of creating a family, and children touched by adoption. When we work together, we can accomplish great things!
Volunteering with Adoption Options provides wonderful opport
unities to make a difference in someone's life. Some of our volunteer opportunities include:
- Event Volunteers: We can always use an extra helping hand to put on our special events (family picnics, fundraising). These events are successful because of the time and effort contributed by so many volunteers through planning, organizing, getting sponsors and donations, setting up, selling raffle tickets, greeting guests as they arrive, etc. We can match your interests to our opportunities.
- Spread the Word: Our community outreach volunteers help educate and inform professionals and the public about adoption. Our volunteers partner with Adoption Options staff at high school classroom discussions, display booths and other community outreach events, and give a voice to birthparents, adoptive parents and adoptees. They offer connections in their own communities, distributing pamphlets and agency materials to local coffee shops, libraries, schools and other public posting venues. Volunteers may also assist with newsletters, social media, and blog posts.
- Services: We are in particular need of in-kind services to ensure our outreach and education initiatives can successfully reach the the public and professionals working with those struggling with an unplanned pregnancy. This essential outreach work is in need of funding. Currently we are looking for in-kind assistance to offset the costs of printed materials, such as brochures, business cards, posters, displays and banners.
- Professional Expertise of many kinds are needed from time to time: from computer/technical specialists and communications experts, to strategic planners, graphic designers and facilitators.
- Cash Donations: Financial donations help Adoption Options continue to serve our community: Building Families and Creating Futures. To make a donation please call Darlene at 1-800-770-3023. Or send us a cheque made payable to: Adoption Options 304, 10109 106 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 3L7. A charitable donation receipt will be issued to you.
- Donate your Car: You can turn your vehicle into generous dollars to support Adoption Options. Donate a Car Canada will accept your vehicle for donation -old or new - running or not! Click here to donate your car.
Adoption Options hosts three main events each year in Calgary and Edmonton: Birthmothers Day Ceremony, Family Picnics, and our Spread the Love fundraiser at Theatre Calgary. These events rely on donated prizes and auction item as well as sponsorships. Consider asking your company to support us with a donation of items, or through a corporate sponsorship.
We strive to keep our fees to adoptive families as low as possible to ensure adoption remains reasonably affordable. We do not charge fees to birthparents at any time. And we receive absolutely no government funding. The many services we offer in our community we do for free because we believe in the value of advocacy and education. We continue to do what we can do with the staff we have, always stretching ourselves to do more and dreaming of the day we can do it all.
We are grateful to you in whatever way you choose to make a difference.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!