When Monica* first found out she was pregnant in her senior year of high school, she knew immediately that she wished to consider adoption. Her mother, Mrs. J*, identified a private adoption attorney to help them with the adoption process. Monica viewed more than twenty profiles of prospective adoptive families. She selected a family and continued with excellent prenatal care waiting the day of her baby’s birth. Then during a routine ultrasound appointment, the ultrasound technician said there was a concern. Monica found out that the child she was carrying had Hydranencephaly, a central nervous system disorder that involves almost total absence of portions of the brain. After a few months of life, seizures and hydrocephalus (excessive accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain) may develop. Other symptoms may include visual impairment, lack of growth, deafness, blindness, spastic quadriparesis (paralysis), and intellectual deficits. The outlook for children with Hydranencephaly is poor. Death generally occurs before the child’s first birthday.
That day spiraled into an emotional few months as Monica and her family learned that the family she chose to adopt her child would not consider raising a child with disabilities and that no one may ever want to adopt her child. In fact, Mrs. J was even given a toll free number for information on legally abandoning the baby! Mrs. J was tired and emotional. Over the last few weeks she made countless telephone calls asking for help. Finally Mrs. J learned about Adoption STAR.
Without much confidence, Mrs. J telephoned the agency and asked if Adoption STAR could help her daughter. “Yes,” was the automatic response that the agency gave to her. The response surprised her. Actually it shocked her. She was told by every attorney and agency she contacted that they could not find an adoptive home for this baby. Even the hospital involved, who gave her Adoption STAR’s telephone number, doubted anyone would accept this baby for adoption. Why did Adoption STAR say yes? Well, first of all there are several families throughout our country very interested in adopting a child with multiple special needs. Secondly, Adoption STAR was founded to assist in the adoptions of all children. And third, Adoption STAR believes very strongly in the adoption agency regulations underscoring that agencies must work on behalf of all potential clients.
Mrs. J’s phone call came into Adoption STAR the day before her daughter was to be induced. So things had to happen fast. Before we knew it, the baby was born. He had blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes and looked perfect! At first he was tube fed. He received an MRI that identified the same diagnosis of Hydranencephaly as was found prenatally. This baby boy went home to his forever adoptive parents and feeding with a regular bottle and nipple! While we all knew his future was unknown and he was classified as medically fragile, we also know that he had a permanent home without the need for interim foster care or institutionalization. In addition, the child’s birth mother and extended birth family were happy that the child they thought would not have a place to call home, had a family who truly wished to adopt him.
The birth family loved this little boy and were determined to meet his best’s interests. It was a beautiful experience for Adoption STAR to get to know the birth family and to be involved in this little one’s placement. We only wish that the birth family did not have to experience such turmoil before finding Adoption STAR.
This placement occurred in 2001 when Adoption STAR was just a baby ourselves, more than twelve years later, Adoption STAR is still a resource for many when it comes to finding forever families for babies and children others deem hard to place. For us, there is a forever family for every child.
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