“We do baby adoptions at Abrazo,” our staff patiently reminds confused callers from all across the state, every week. (Our Google Adwords account is supposed to emphasize adoptions at Abrazo and screen out negative keywords like “pet adoption” or “how to adopt a Chihuahua” or “where to get a hedgehog. Yet we still get those phone calls on a regular basis. From chickens to cats to lizards and dogs, Abrazo is touched to know so many folks are concerned about finding homes for critters in need.)
At Abrazo, though, adoptions at Abrazo only facilitate placements of human babies and children. We’ve been doing it for more than 25 years, so we do know a thing or two about adoptions at Abrazo by now. In a quarter of a century, Abrazo has worked with thousands of babies, toddlers and children in the process of being adopted.
Last week, folks posted “back to school pics” on Abrazo’s Facebook page. It makes us smile to see “our babies” now starting pre-K or kindergarten, or heading back to grade school or starting junior high or high school. We remember their beginnings, of course, and we take great pleasure in knowing how very proud all their parents are of them.
The babies we placed in our earliest years are now social workers, school teachers, bankers, healthcare workers, engineers, business people, techies, artists, grad students, and yes– parents themselves. They’re busy making us all proud, and we look forward to seeing the impact Abrazo’s adoptees will have for years to come.
“Openness” is the key to adoptions at Abrazo
For those who still think open adoption is something new, rest assured: Abrazo has been doing open adoptions here since 1994.
In all that time, the open exchange of last names and addresses between birthparents and adoptive parents has never resulted in either showing up for dinner unannounced.
The children Abrazo has placed since 1994 are not confused by knowing from infancy that they’re adopted and who their birthfamily is. Abrazo’s adoptive parents have enjoyed no less parental authority by virtue of being adoptive parents who chose open adoption. And Abrazo’sw birthparents are not harmed, either, by knowing where their children are and with whom.
Openness in adoption is about honesty. Honesty is an essential component of healthy interpersonal relationships. And any adoption causes the people involved to become relatives… for life.
Adoption is changing. (So must we all.)
Adoption has undergone great changes in the past century. From the days of the foundling homes and the orphan train, to the Baby Scoop Era, to the international adoption rush to now, we know that the perception of adoption has changed dramatically, and we must embrace change, as well, or get left behind for good.
The good news is that those who are adopted are no longer misjudged as social misfits. The “flip the script” movement has given adult adoptees greater voice in American society, which was long overdue. There is now a greater understanding of the civil rights of adoptees to know their origins, and to access their birth records and the people named therein.
The bad news is that less than 1% of parents facing unplanned pregnancies now consider the adoption option in America. This would be good news if it meant fewer kids now need adoption services, but the ever-growing numbers of kids in state foster care and the human toll of parental addiction make it painfully evident that is not the case. This means it’s more important than ever for those who support adoption to spread the word: open adoption works.
The costs of adoption, unfortunately, continue to rise, even as more and more adoption agencies go out of business. Abrazo’s overhead and insurance costs continue to go up, which will necessitate our first fee increase in years, as of 9/1/19. (We promise to continue to keep our adoptions as affordable as possible, however. Even with this modest increase, Abrazo still offers the most reasonable private agency adoption services in San Antonio.)
Adoptions at Abrazo: the next generation
What will adoptions at Abrazo look like in years to come? We don’t yet know, of course. We do expect to stick around as long as the Good Lord continues to bless our mission with purpose and people. A growing segment of the services we offer (like community counseling and post-adoption support) are provided free of charge, and we may need to find alternative funding to support this important work.
We’d like to be able to offer more open adoption services to parents placing toddlers, sibling groups and older children. We know that is where the greatest need is these days, even if the greatest demand from adopting couples is still for healthy newborns, of course. And we keep trying to figure out how we can possibly offer more wraparound services (like job training and parenting classes and rehab referrals and indigent family housing) to birthfamilies in need, because leaving clients in better shape than we found them is important to us.
Finally, we want to provide more post-adoption support to our adoptive families and adoptees. Adoption doesn’t end with placement– that’s only the beginning, of course. The Abrazo community is one of the unsung benefits of adoptions at Abrazo, and God-willing, we hope that Abrazo can continue to grow and build and serve, for many more years to come.