This week I will have the privilege to once again visit the Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach (APO) center in College Station, Texas. The Executive Director, Kim Schams, is an individual whom I admire deeply for her daily, life-affirming work.
Kim and her team strive to see that children born from unplanned pregnancies, all across Texas are raised in nurturing families who are ready and prepared for them. In addition to full adoption services, the APO team comes alongside teen moms who choose to parent, to help prepare them to be the best moms they can be.
APO is an open adoption center. An open adoption is about inclusive relationships; a commitment that the birth family and adoptive family make to each other and to the child. It is about creating a lasting, extended family relationship. Practically speaking, it is about staying connected through letters, photos, phone calls, and visits, just as one would do with other extended family members. A child in an open adoption grows up knowing all the pieces of the puzzle –their birth mom’s story, their genetic and family history. The child grows up feeling whole and loved by both their birth and adoptive families.
While having a relationship with the adopted child can be initially painful for the birth mom, and the feeling of loss will always exist, an open adoption gives birth moms the opportunity to have an active, loving role in their child’s life that helps resolve their own grief.
The parents of the child in an open adoption have no fear of “the unknown”. They know the birth mom and she knows them. They share a love for the child that brings them together, rather than pulling them apart. There is no fear of their child one day “finding out” or searching for truth as it relates to the child’s birth. The truth is always open for discussion.
Hear the heart of these birth moms, as shared by APO:
“I cannot tell you the joy and peace of mind I get from seeing that my little one is loved, cared for and even spoiled!” – Kellie
“I found the family that was right for my child…we shared a lot of the same beliefs and interests and they reminded me of my own family. I know without a doubt that I did what is best for my child.” - Kristin
Though an open adoption may not be the best choice for every unplanned pregnancy, it is certainly an option worth prayerful consideration. Learn more about the work of the Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach by visiting their website at www.pregnancyoutreach.org