ADOPTION PLACEMENTS AND TESTIMONIALS FROM ADOPTIVE PARENTS, BIRTH PARENTS AND ADOPTEES
This is the best adoption agency ever. They cry with you, laugh with you, share sorrow with you and they also treat you like family! I give them a ten star.
I just wanted to say thanks for all of your help with everything. This was the hardest decision I have made in my life. Your kindness and understanding made the process much easier for me. I am still healing and mourning and appreciate you giving me the space I needed to do so. I truly appreciate your efforts. I will never forget any of you ladies.
*Birth mother names are pseudonyms
We feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity to adopt our true bundle of joy through ACF. Though we worked with a local referral service, ACF was wonderful from the minute we got the call about our daughter! It was very chaotic and we had to take in a lot of information at once and everyone at ACF was so patient and kind!
With hopeful hearts our family waited for the happy day when we would receive news that a baby was available for us to adopt. In February, 2005 our family’s dream came true. We were blessed with our new baby daughter, Lucy. She is a beautiful, sweet, easy-going child who brings boundless joy to our family. We are very thankful to the staff of Advocates for Children and Families (ACF) for their help during this exciting adoption adventure. They kept in close contact with us from the moment we started planning our trip from Oregon to Florida. They never gave us the impression that our questions should be deferred until office hours. They made sure that we could contact them at any time. They even did some research for us to help us find interesting local sights to see while we were in Florida.
When we arrived at the Advocates for Children and Families (ACF) office we felt like we were in a private home. The staff was warm and welcoming and the office was comfortable. Soft lighting and couches gave a “living room” feel. The special moment when we met our new daughter was celebrated by the entire staff. They recognized that it was a life-changing and sacred event for us. Everyone in the office stopped what they were doing to take time to share in our joy.
The next day, the staff did a beautiful job of introducing us to our baby’s lovely birth mother. They kindly helped the conversation get off to a smooth start and then retreated to give us all privacy.
They were very respectful of the depth of the emotional bonding that was occurring. The time we spent with our daughter’s birth mother will always be a rich and delightful memory for us. We look forward to sharing a sense of lifelong partnership with Lucy’s birth mother as we raise this precious child.
Since returning home we have been corresponding with Advocates for Children and Families (ACF) regarding the legal finalization process of our adoption. Their staff has completed all forms and letters meticulously and promptly which gives us a very secure feeling. All of our email and phone calls are answered quickly. We feel that 10 years from now if we call Advocates for Children and Families we will receive the same gracious attention that we did on the day we first met our daughter.
Each time we see an envelope in the mail with Advocates for Children and Families’ address and logo we get a rush of happiness in our hearts. Our memories of the time we spent in Florida with our beautiful new daughter will always include warm thoughts of the staff at Advocates for Children and Families (ACF).
In November 2003, we visited Advocates for Children and Families (ACF) while attending a wedding in the Miami area. A relative had adopted through ACF ten years earlier and highly recommended them. We had been working with agencies in our residing state for about two years but were not pleased with their assistance and we had no hope of a possible adoption with them. We met with Ginger Allen from ACF and felt very comfortable with her. She listened to our story and was hopeful for us. This was different than the doubts we had experienced from others. She assured us that there were many babies needing good homes. She thought that we should expect to wait about a year. We were skeptical of the one year, but applied because we liked their approach to adoption, their candor and their willingness to work with us.
ACF worked with us back at home to reuse as much of the home study, background checks and references from our other applications with agencies in our residing state. They put our picture and story on their website almost immediately. They responded to our calls and kept us informed of the progress of our application and would even tell us when our dear birthmother letter was being seen by a prospective birthparent.
In July 2004, we received a call from Ginger that there may be a birthmother interested in having us adopt her baby. We almost panicked. Even though this is the call we had always hoped for, we had not expected to hear this news so soon because we had been waiting for over a year with other agencies in our residing state. In the end, this adoption did not proceed. We were disappointed, but not devastated. We felt that we had finally had some hope that an adoption might be in our future. ACF was reassuring too, so we began to wait again.
In the ensuing months we had a wedding and two deaths in our family. Perhaps God was looking out for us by not causing the adoption to proceed.
However, in September 2004, during this turmoil in our lives, we received another call from ACF indicating a possible birthmother that would like us to adopt her baby. We tried not to get too excited as we dealt with our lives at the time. Over time, we learned that the birthmother was having a girl and that she would be born by cesarean section on November 9, 2004. We still did not get our hopes up too high, but as November 9 approached, we began to get ready for the baby. We bought some clothes, a pack and play crib and some bottles. We were not going to paint the baby’s room until the following spring in case the adoption fell through; however, the weekend before she was born, we broke down and painted it anyway.
As the ninth approached, we packed our car for the 24 hour drive to South Florida. The morning of the ninth, we went to work with our car packed planning to leave that evening for our drive to Florida. We received a call at around 9 am that the baby was born and not to hurry because the birthmother wanted to spend some time with her. We decided not to leave for Florida until the following morning.
At about 10 AM, we received another call from ACF that there were complications with the birth, that the baby was transferred to the neo-natal intensive care at another hospital, and that the birth mother wanted someone to be with the baby as soon as possible. Our hearts sank. We scrambled into high gear and arranged for an early morning flight to Florida not knowing what we were getting into.
We learned that the baby was born not breathing; she had a heart murmur and had swallowed meconium. We had a short, nervous sleep and no longer drove to Florida but awoke at 4 am to drive to the airport.
We arrived at the ACF office at about 1 pm on November 10th. Ginger was awaiting our arrival and promptly met us and updated us on the baby’s condition. Not a lot more was known about her condition because of patient confidentiality issues. Ginger was already working on getting releases on the patient confidentiality from the birthmother and made arrangements for us to see the baby at the hospital, but she advised us to be careful how involved we let ourselves get. We acknowledged her advice and drove the hour to the hospital. At the hospital, we were met by the social worker, instructed to scrub up and went in to see the baby in the Neonatal Intensive Care unit.
She was in a basinet wrapped in a striped blanket; her eyes were wide open as if to say “who is here to visit me.” We were immediately smitten. She was beautiful, alert, and had a full head of dark hair. We spent several hours with her that afternoon feeding her and holding her. We began to ask the medical staff more about her condition and learned that although she was born not breathing; she was resuscitated within 15 seconds. We learned that her white blood cell count was high from the meconium, and that the doctors had ordered a 10-day course of antibiotics as a pre-caution. We also discovered that a heart murmur is common in newborns and often clears up in the first several days.
Over the next several days, our concerns about Arianna’s health evaporated. The antibiotics cleared up her infection. The heart murmur closed up on its own. And the doctors assured us that she was neurologically sound, a trait that she has continued to demonstrate to us in many ways since her birth. ACF had always been available for us when we contacted them. However, once Arianna was born, Ginger was always available for us. We had her cell phone number and she was available day or night. During Arianna’s 10 day stay in the hospital, when Ginger didn’t hear from us, she would call to check and see how everything was.
Getting permission to leave Florida with Arianna proved to be a challenge as well. She was discharged from the hospital late in the afternoon on the Friday prior to Thanksgiving. We had to have her discharge papers before we could apply for permission to leave Florida with her. Again, Ginger met us at the hospital with all the paperwork we needed and sent it overnight to Tallahassee. Tallahassee processed the paperwork on Monday and sent it to our home state where it sat for the rest of the week. It seems that the only person who processes inter-state compact applications from our residing state had taken Thanksgiving week off. So we had to extend our stay in Florida and were able to depart 4 days after Thanksgiving. Ginger and the staff at ACF had worked so hard and diligently to get us approval to leave Florida and be home for Thanksgiving with our family. Only to learn that the “key” person in our residing state was on vacation and no one else could process the paperwork.
We feel that ACF is a very diligent and conscientious agency with very, very hardworking staff. We were always welcomed by them and they were always very eager to assist us in any way possible. We wish we had known about ACF many years ago when we began seeking adoption and embarking on the process. Starting with ACF from the beginning may have removed some of the trials and tribulations we went through with trying to navigate through the process of adopting a child.
There are no words to thank the staff at ACF for their hard work and assisting us with adopting our beautiful little girl.
ACF is a very experienced adoption agency and they were very sensitive to interstate compact laws and making sure that all the appropriate paperwork was properly processed and filed.
We have much to be thankful for with Arianna. She has been a fantastic addition to our family. Her story so far has been exciting and there is no reason to believe that the excitement is over. We would go through the trails and tribulations again in a heart beat to have her as our daughter, and we appreciate the support and encouragement we received from ACF as we brought Arianna into our family.
Mike & Rina