Air Date: 7.19.16
You can read the transcript below or listen to the audio file by clicking here.
Jennifer J.: Hi and welcome to Adoption Focus. My name is Jennifer Jaworski and I’m a social worker with Adoption Associates of Michigan. This is Adoption Associates’ premier talk-radio blog show. Adoption Associates and its staff are trusted leaders in adoption and we have placed well over five thousand children into loving homes. Since 1990, we have advocated, supported, and nurtured birth families and adoptive families. And helping families and birth mothers grow through the adoption process is very important to us. Our offices are located in Jenison, Lansing, Farmington Hills, and Saginaw and our pregnancy and adoption services are available throughout all of Michigan.
One of Adoption Associates commitments is to this weekly radio show, so thank you for listening in today. We hope that you find this forum to be inspirational, educational, and thought-provoking. If you’d like to call in to the show with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you and that number is 347-850-1100. Again, we welcome callers at 347-850-1100 and today we are really excited to be talking with Kimberly Allen. Kimberly, are you with us?
Kimberly Allen: Hey you.
Jennifer J.: Good morning!
Kimberly Allen: Good morning.
Jennifer J.: Thanks for being on Adoption Focus and sharing your story. You are a birth mother who formerly made a placement. It’s been a while, I think you said 13 years ago. Is that right?
Kimberly Allen: Yes, that’s correct.
Jennifer J.: So, why don’t you get us started today, if you could please, and tell us about your experience with adoption.
Kimberly Allen: My experience with adoption was [inaudible 00:01:49] satisfactory. I didn’t know what to expect at first, but things turned out to be beyond exceptional and I’ve found a good home for my daughter. I couldn’t ask for a better way to go.
Jennifer J.: So, how old were you at the time that you made this decision?
Kimberly Allen: I was 19.
Jennifer J.: Okay. What were your life circumstances? What was going on with you at that time?
Kimberly Allen: Well, I currently had a job at McDonald’s. I had a car, but it wasn’t functional and it wasn’t reliable, so I didn’t have reliable transportation. I was living at a friend’s and things just got a little out of hand and I didn’t have any other options, so I didn’t know what else to do.
Jennifer J.: Okay, and you made this decision for adoption based on those factors and what else?
Kimberly Allen: I wanted my daughter to a good home. And something I couldn’t provide for her, that someone else could, was the love and care that she deserves.
Jennifer J.: Okay, and when did you first contact Adoption Associates?
Kimberly Allen: I contacted them about three to four months into my pregnancy.
Jennifer J.: And what did it feel like, the first time that you contacted AAI? Was it by phone?
Kimberly Allen: I called them-
Jennifer J.: How did that go?
Kimberly Allen: -and they set me up with a caseworker, Janet, and she was very comforting and reassuring and helped me get through things a lot easier. With just a first phone call, it went very well and made me feel a little more at ease.
Jennifer J.: How were you feeling when you first made that initial phone call before you talked to Janet?
Kimberly Allen: Well, I was confused and nervous and a little stressed. I didn’t really know what to expect at first. So I called, and like I said, it went very well and the confusion and the stress and the anxiety were starting to go away as I was being reassured that this was the right thing to do.
Jennifer J.: Were you getting answers to the questions and maybe alleviating some of that confusion that you first had?
Kimberly Allen: Yes, right away.
Jennifer J.: Okay, and did you choose an adoptive family for your baby?
Kimberly Allen: Yes, I did. I had a couple options they had given me. Based on my preferences, they had given me options. And they gave me probably 8 to 10 files at once to look over and each file contained photographs and information about the families. So, it was pretty difficult at first. I was again confused and didn’t really know how to go about this, but as I worked with my case worker, it was easier to go by and easier to do. She was giving me all the answers to any questions or anything. She was right there to answer them.
Jennifer J.: Okay, and did you meet the family that you chose?
Kimberly Allen: Yes, I did. I met them after the adoption was set in place. I got to meet them, I believe, twice.
Jennifer J.: What was that like?
Kimberly Allen: I was nervous. [inaudible 00:05:22] from the file that I had, they seemed like really nice people and that this would be a suitable home for my daughter. And by everything that they presented themselves to be, they were. They meeted all my expectations and she’s got a great home and I was resolved.
Jennifer J.: Where did the meeting take place?
Kimberly Allen: Our meetings were taken place at the adoption agency in Farmington.
Jennifer J.: Okay, and was your caseworker with you?
Kimberly Allen: Yes, she was.
Jennifer J.: Okay, and so you were really nervous at first to meet them. How did you feel afterwards or during it? What was it like for you?
Kimberly Allen: The nervousness didn’t really go away. I pretty much felt nervous the whole time. They were very kind and informative. They had given me all the … if I had any questions for them, they were there to answer them right away. Janet, again, she was there to kind of be there in the middle to see how things worked out. They were just good people and the nervousness then and afterwards was different. After I had met with them I was a little more at ease and I really, truly, felt I had made the right decision.
Jennifer J.: That’s good, that’s good. What about at the hospital? What was that like? Did you ask the adoptive parents to be there? Yeah, I think you said you met them afterwards. Is that right?
Kimberly Allen: Yeah, they were not able to be there. That wasn’t agreed upon. It was only after the adoption actually took place that I was able to meet with them.
Jennifer J.: What about the caseworker? You mentioned Janet was your caseworker. Was she with you at the hospital?
Kimberly Allen: Yes, she was.
Jennifer J.: What was–
Kimberly Allen: She–
Jennifer J.: Go ahead, I’m sorry.
Kimberly Allen: She was there pretty much up until the end. She was there at the end. I couldn’t have felt more comfortable with anyone else being there.
Jennifer J.: So she helped you during your stay there and when it was time to leave, she was a big part of that, too, right?
Kimberly Allen: Definitely. I handed my daughter over to her.
Jennifer J.: You did.
Kimberly Allen: That was very difficult. I was in tears and very stressed and sad. But, it was more or less like … Of course I was sad, but happy too, because I knew that through all that difficult process, things went up and down, this was finally taking place. It put me at ease.
Jennifer J.: So you’d been planning for this and talking about this and putting things into place and then the time had actually come to do it.
Kimberly Allen: Yes, yup.
Jennifer J.: So, were there any problems that came up during your adoption planning?
Kimberly Allen: Yes, everything was going smoothly up until then end when the father had wanted to fight custody-
Jennifer J.: So he didn’t agree with the adoption.
Kimberly Allen: -and fight the adoption. No, he did not.
Jennifer J.: Okay. The other people in your life, were they supportive?
Kimberly Allen: Yes, everybody that I had with me loved me and supported me throughout the entire process. They reassured me that this was the least selfish act that you could do. That you’re giving a life to somebody. So they were generally very supportive.
Jennifer J.: So even though the birth father didn’t agree with this, you still moved forward with this adoption. Why was that?
Kimberly Allen: I had faith that this was going to work out. I know God had plans for me and for my daughter and this was what they were.
Jennifer J.: Did you feel like- [crosstalk 00:09:18] I apologize, go ahead Kimberly.
Kimberly Allen: No, that’s all right. I knew that this was just the right thing to do and I had enough support. I didn’t have that pit in my stomach anymore, thinking that this was going to be going sour.
Jennifer J.: Okay, so even though he didn’t agree with the adoption, you didn’t feel like he was in a position to be a parent at that time in his life either.
Kimberly Allen: Not at all, not at all. Probably worse off than I was.
Jennifer J.: So you decided to more forward with your adoption plan and your caseworker was helping you during that time. It sounds like it was rather stressful for you. Was it?
Kimberly Allen: Very. I often had heartburn, even. I know that comes along with pregnancy, but I never even really had heartburn before and it got to the point I was having trouble eating and even drinking things. Because it was just so uncomfortable, the stress, and my stomach was always in knots. It wasn’t exactly a pleasant time at all.
Jennifer J.: Sure, sure. And so then, on top of that, there was the legal part of the adoption and the court issues that had to be resolved as well. During that timeframe, what was your relationship like with your caseworker?
Kimberly Allen: We had become buddies, friends. I still speak with her to this day. We get together and have lunch and discuss things about our lives. She just a sweet, kind person and she’s meant for a job like this. She has the warm soul that is required to help comforting mothers like myself that was going in this position to do such a thing. She’s the right person for it.
Jennifer J.: That’s nice of you to say, Kimberly. In all of the ins and the outs of the legal part of it, Janet handled all of that for you, I assume.
Kimberly Allen: Yes, she did. She arranged everything. When the time came to go to court, she had arranged everything with the attorney, arranged the rides, everything. Just everything. Again, and I can’t stress enough, if I had any questions, she would answer them and resolve them right away.
Jennifer J.: Okay. What was your contact like with the adoptive parents and your baby after the adoption was completed?
Kimberly Allen: The first two years of my daughter’s birth year, I was able to see her at the adoption agency, again with Janet there present. The parents were both present. So I got to see her on her first and second birthday and then after that I received letters once a year. That’s just the highlight of my year, when I receive those letters-
Jennifer J.: Is it …
Kimberly Allen: -and pictures.
Jennifer J.: What does that mean to you?
Kimberly Allen: It means that I’ve just done the right thing. That she’s got the life that she more than deserves, that I couldn’t provide for her, but because I had the love for her, I’m able to still give that to her through the adoption.
Jennifer J.: Sure. That’s wonderful. So, now, you said it’s been … did you say it’s been 13 years?
Kimberly Allen: Yes.
Jennifer J.: How do you feel about this adoption now and about the choice that you made in retrospect, now that a lot of years have gone by.
Kimberly Allen: If I had to do it all again, I would go the same route. I feel satisfied and comforted that my daughter has a great home. She’s got a future, a wonderful future, wonderful parents, a brother – who is also adopted. And they have a happy life. Like I said, if I had to do it all again, I would do the exact same thing and I would so request Janet, too.
Jennifer J.: (laughs) And so you’re still getting the pictures and the letters and that’s still going really well for you?
Kimberly Allen: Yes, it is. Yup, very well.
Jennifer J.: What do you think is the single most important thing that your caseworker did during the adoption for you?
Kimberly Allen: Put me at ease and when the legal things came about, she explained to me the laws and [inaudible 00:13:52] adoption. So once I learned about that and spoke to the attorney, she was able to keep everything at ease and keep me relaxed and make sure my health and the baby’s health was top priority.
Jennifer J.: That’s really great to hear. That’s nice. I’m sure that was helpful, extremely helpful to you at that time, to have somebody you thought was on your side and was going to help you maneuver through all the ins and outs of adoption. Thanks for sharing that. I’m interested, if you don’t mind, in wondering if you have words of wisdom for others or a message of sorts, if you will, to other women who might be listening and maybe they’re considering adoption as well. What would you say to them?
Kimberly Allen: Don’t be afraid. If you are confused, stressed, and worried about what could happen, think of your child. This child is definitely blessed to be on this earth, blessed to be your child. Give them the life that you could only dream to give them, but don’t be afraid. There’s no worries with adoption. You have your choices of everything. I would go for it. This is something that is a selfless act.
Jennifer J.: Sure.
Kimberly Allen: It’s made of 100% love.
Jennifer J.: Yes, absolutely. Fear sounds like it was a big part of it for you at the beginning. Is that right, Kimberly? Just kind of not-
Kimberly Allen: Yes, definitely.
Jennifer J.: -not knowing information and not knowing how this was going to go. Just the not knowing was scary, right?
Kimberly Allen: Definitely, yes. Very much.
Jennifer J.: So, I really appreciate your candidness and the information you’ve given. We’ve talked about a lot. I wonder if there’s any other tidbits you feel are important for others to know or understand about planning adoption?
Kimberly Allen: Honestly, just again, don’t be afraid. Stick with your heart, you know what’s best for your kid. Do it and it’s out of love.
Jennifer J.: Absolutely, and it’s obvious, Kimberly, that your choice for your child was made out love. And your willingness to share that with us today on Adoption Focus is much appreciated.
For anyone listening in that would like more information or is interested in connecting with Adoption Associates, we would love to talk with you and get you the information that you need and we can be reached at 800-677-2367. We are at the end of our show today. Again, a big thank you to Kimberly for being with us. Adoption Associates also can … you can reach us on the web at adoptionassociates.net. For our listeners, thank you so much for listening in today to Adoption Focus. And remember that we’re live every Tuesday at 11:00. We’re looking forward to next week when we speak to our legal coordinator who will share with us all things legal in domestic adoption. So we hope that you will connect with us next week. For now, this is Jennifer on Adoption Focus. Have a great day everyone! Bye-bye!