JFS Strengthens Adoption Services in Delaware
By Meredith Stuart, Marketing & Development Specialist
Steadfast in our commitment to bringing families together, Jewish Family Services of Delaware has strengthened our partnership with the Open Arms Adoption Network, a program of JFCS of Greater Philadelphia, to counsel and support women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and those hoping to build their families through adoption.
JFS is thrilled to welcome Kate Brown as Delaware’s new Open Arms Adoption Coordinator. Kate first joined JFS as an intern while she was pursuing her Masters of Social Work. An experienced doula and certified breastfeeding specialist, she brings a unique set of skills and an unwavering compassion to her work with expectant parents, birthmoms, and adoptive families.
For the birthmoms, Kate offers support and counseling throughout their pregnancy, during labor, and after delivery for months and years to come. For the adoptive families, she guides them through the adoption process and is often there when they meet their child for the first time.
“It’s an amazing experience when the adoptive parents meet their baby for the first time,” says Kate. Describing one such meeting between an adoptive mom and her baby, she recalled, “the moment she saw the baby, she just melted. She knew she was her daughter.”
In America, about 15,000 children are adopted domestically each year. And while JFS honors the need for some birthparents to keep their identities confidential, open adoptions that allow a degree of contact between birth and adoptive families are becoming more and more common.
“I fully understand that when someone is moving towards adoption to grow their family, they may have concerns about the role of the biological parent,” says Meredith Rose, Director of Open Arms Adoption Network.
“But in my experience, the women who are able to push through the pain and to stay connected to the child they love are the people you want in your life. They are the people who are of such great value to your child. They are the people who will validate your child’s position in your home with you as the parent.”
“The interests of birth parents and adoptive parents are not mutually exclusive,” says Kate. “When a birthmom feels supported, it helps her maintain her comfort and satisfaction with her decision. She’s more likely to want to meet the adoptive parents, and be more likely to want to be in the child’s life.”
“For a woman who is unexpectedly pregnant and is not ready to parent, making an adoption plan is brave and incredibly maternal, and if there is a partner involved, it’s incredibly paternal,” Kate explains. “It is saying that even though I want you to be with me, I’m going to do what’s best for you.”
At its core, adoption counseling is about building and strengthening families. Kate offers options counseling for women who are unsure of what to do. She refers out to parenting classes, if a client ultimately decides to raise their child. The goal, she says is for anyone who is considering an adoption plan to be able to make the decision that is right for them and their family.
The Open Arms Adoption Network is a program of Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia and is licensed in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, and New Jersey. In partnership with Jewish Family Services of Delaware, it offers options counseling to women facing an unplanned pregnancy and services for those seeking to build their family through adoption.