Joe and Teri Beattie receive Bright Lights Award

The Board of Directors of Nightlight Christian Adoptions established the “Bright Lights Award” which is given in recognition of a commitment to adoption which inspires others to adopt, advocates for adoption, or makes a great sacrifice in adoption. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

The fifth recipient of the Bright Lights award is Joe and Teri Beattie

In the midst of Nightlight’s most difficult financial year ever, Joe and Teri gave sacrificially to ensure the agency finished 2021 “in the black.”  Their generosity enabled us to continue funding the Renewed Hope program, which helps adoptive families from any agency find assistance in the midst of crisis.

 

 

How to Honor Your Child’s Birth Mother on Mother’s Day

 

Mother’s Day is a very complicated and emotionally loaded time for many women. There are those that long for children but for many different reasons find themselves childless. There are those that mourn the early death of their child whether prenatally or after birth. There are also those who mourn for mothers they have lost, and then there is your child’s birth mother. Mother’s Day is often times a bittersweet reminder for birth mothers of the children they are not parenting. This season reminds them of the grief and loss they have had to endure since placing for adoption and often times birth mothers are overlooked on Mother’s Day.

As an adoptive parent, you have the responsibility to include and/or commemorate your child’s birth mother on or around Mother’s Day. Whether you want to admit it or not, your adopted child has two moms and both are worthy to be celebrated. Your child is also very likely thinking about their birth mother around this time regardless of whether you choose to celebrate her or not. How you handle moments like Mother’s Day will impact your child’s comfort level and felt safety in being able to process their complicated emotions around their adoption story. No matter what your child’s adoption story looked like, a birth mother’s decision to place for adoption is rooted in the most selfless motivation a parent can ever make. She chose life and she chose a life with you all as her child’s parents. That alone is worthy to be celebrated!

Here are some creative ways your family can include your child’s birth mother on Birth Mother’s Day:

  • Celebrate her on Birth Mother’s Day (May 7th)!
  • Ask her! Check with her and see if there are any ways she would enjoy being celebrated.
  • Schedule a visit with her around Mother’s Day.
  • You and your adopted child can go pick out a gift to send to her.
  • Have flowers delivered to her.
  • Have your adopted child write a card/color a photo for her.

If contact with your adopted child’s birth mother is not a reality, there are still so many ways that you can creatively celebrate her. This also allows your child a natural and healthy time to process and talk through their adoption story—an opportunity that is not as often granted to them as naturally as children who have open relationships with their birth parents. Here are a few ways you can do this:

  • If you have created an adoption story Lifebook, pull it out and talk through it with your child.
  • If you received any personal information about your child’s birth mother, go do something on that day that she enjoyed doing!
  • Purchase a plant or flower bush to plant at your home together with your child to honor her.

Regardless of what your relationship with your adopted child’s birth mother looks like, it is important your child knows she is worthy to be celebrated and their adoption story is rooted in love and selflessness. These simple gestures and acts will mean more to your child and their birth mother than you will ever know.

By: Katy Clasquin

2022 National Infertility Awareness Week

 

One out of 8 families are or will face infertility. Infertility is a disease—it does not discriminate between gender, ethnicity, or age. Wherever you are in your journey, navigating through infertility can feel very lonely and isolating. Whether you find yourself wanting to do more research on infertility or wanting a place to connect with others going through similar situations, there are a number of resources available!

  • reproductivefacts.org: This website is run by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. There is a plethora of information including webinars, blogs, news, and research. They also have their own podcast, ASRM Today.
  • RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association runs the RESOLVE website. They have financial resources, educational information, and community support.
  • NIH: The National Institutes of Health has a lot of nitty gritty information on infertility. If you are interested in reading studies and research, this is the website for you!
  • Embryo Adoption Awareness Center: This website has numerous videos, webinars, and blogs on a variety of topics concerning embryo donation or adoption. Check it out!

Receiving a diagnosis of infertility can be really daunting and scary. You don’t have to journey alone. Starting with these resources can give you guidance and is a great place to start!

Many families discover embryo adoption as they are researching different methods of family building in the midst of infertility. To learn more, visit our website or call our Colorado office at 970-578-9700.

 

By: Nicole Longinow

Unique Fundraising Ideas for your Adoption

 

Don’t let money be the reason you give up on your adoption dreams! There are endless ways to approach raising the money needed to pursue your adoption of choice. This post contains just a few of the ways you can begin (or continue) your fundraising journey.

 

Adoption T-Shirt Fundraiser

Design a T-Shirt that represents a piece of your adoption journey. If you are pursuing international adoption from Colombia, maybe include a map of Colombia with an arrow pointing to your home state. If you are pursuing a Snowflakes Embryo Adoption, include cute snowflake pictures. The ideas are endless! Sell your T-Shirts to family and friends for $30. All proceeds go towards funding your adoption.

 

GotSneakers?

This is a unique organization that helps families fund their adoptions through sneaker donations. Have friends, family, or even people you don’t know, donate their used sneakers. GotSneakers will buy them from you for $7 dollars a pair! Everyone has old sneakers laying around collecting dust. Collect them, give them a quick clean, and send them in. 150 pairs would raise $1,050!

 

Host a Benefit Concert
American Adoptions says, “Do you have any friends in a local band? Are you in a local band? Could you be in a local band? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you can throw a benefit concert for your adoption. Charge admission, or pass a basket and ask for donations during the show.” This is a great way to connect with people and share your story. You can even share about your journey towards adoption at the beginning, end, or during intermission.

 

The thought of fundraising can be intimidating. You may be tempted to assume that NO ONE will want to help you with your adoption journey; that is certainly NOT true. Your friends and families may not feel called adopt, but you do! Helping you fundraise can be a great way for them to support adoption even though they may not be able to do it themselves. If fundraising still feels overwhelming, Nightlight offers our clients our Family Resource Specialist, Camie Schuiteman, who will counsel each family on fundraising, grants, and other ways to gather the adoption service fees for your adoption. Also check out our Funding Your Adoption page on our website.

How the Beauty of Easter Reflects Adoption

 

During this Spring season, we see flowers blooming and everything that was dead during the winter months sprouting to new life. For Christians, it is also the time of surrender and sacrifice through the reminder of Easter and the weeks and traditions leading up to it, such as Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and Palm Sunday. But what does this time have to do with adoption, and how can we think of adoption in the terms of the cross?

What does scripture say?

In John 3:3, Jesus says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Because of the cross, and Jesus sacrificing His life for our sins, we are able to be born again and are given a new life. In adoption, children are also able to begin a new life as a child in your family. Adoption is a picture of how brokenness on earth, and our humble beginnings, can be made beautiful and used for good.

We are reminded again in Psalm 37:18 of God’s provision and care; “Day by day the Lord takes care of the innocent, and they will receive an inheritance that lasts forever.” Through adoption, children receive an inheritance on earth. Through a relationship with Christ, we have all received an eternal inheritance and life with Jesus.

What does this mean to me?

With this in mind, Easter can be a time of celebration; a celebration of warmer weather, of Christ’s resurrection and of your child becoming a new part of your family, whether their adoption occurred weeks, months, or many years ago. One way to honor your child during this time is through pointing out the consistencies in their own stories with the story God wrote for us as believers in Jesus and his death on the cross.

For those of you who are still waiting for your adopted child, who are currently fostering, or maybe you are just about to begin the process, Easter is a beautiful reminder to all of us of our worth and the freedom we have in Jesus because of his resurrection. Because of Him, we are all accepted into a forever family in heaven. That alone is a reason to celebrate with a heart full of gratitude.

 

I want to end this with a section of a poem by Deborah Ann called Abba – My Father;

Abba my Father,

has adopted me . . .

into His royal family

so I could be . . .

 

An heir to salvation,

a daughter of light

a child that brings

to Him great delight.

 

I’m no longer an orphan,

I’m no longer a stray

I’ve inherited a room

in His mansion I’ll stay.

 

Abba my Father,

has adopted me . . .

into His royal family

so I can be free . . .

 

Free from the guilt,

of my wandering ways

free from the darkness

that once filled my days.

 

The adoption became final,

that day on the Cross

when Jesus died for me

and all those who are lost.

 

Abba my Father,

has adopted me . . .

into His royal family

so I might see . . .

 

See His glory,

in the middle of my pain

see His grace fall

like sweet drops of rain.

 

The inheritance is mine,

I’m claiming my right

and now I have privilege

to His power and might.

 

Abba my Father,

has adopted me . . .

into His royal family,

I willingly flee . . .

 

Reference

Ann, Deborah. “ABBA My Father.” CHRISTian Poetry, 31 May 2013, https://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/abba-my-father/.

 

By: Paige Burch

Your Ukraine Assistance is Making a Difference!

Nightlight has sent $12,500 directly to people we personally know, who are Ukrainian citizens or US workers located in Western Ukraine, helping those affected by war.  Your generous donations are providing food and medicine for children who have fled their war-torn cities.

Two families from Kharkiv than you for your support:

You may make a donation here and select the “Ukraine Refugee Fund” menu choice.  100% of the funds raised for this category will be sent directly to “boots on the ground” in Western Ukraine.    

What if we are Catholic…can we still pursue embryo adoption?

“We are solving a problem that already exists.”

This is the simple answer we give for why embryo adoption is permissible, even if one has reservations about in vitro fertilization.  In fact, since embryos are human beings, then not only is embryo adoption permissible: it is actually obligatory!

The Catholic Church takes a firm stance on in vitro fertilization (IVF): it’s a non-starter for infertile Catholic couples. The church issued a document in 1987 called the Donum Vitae (DV), or “The Gift of Life,” which clearly outlined its stance on alternative family building methods. The document stated that if technology aided a couple in achieving pregnancy, it was okay. If it replaced the marital act that led to pregnancy, though, it wasn’t – so that ruled out IVF as an option for Catholic couples facing an infertility diagnosis.

But where does that leave embryo adoption?

While the reason these embryos exist in the first place has been condemned by the Catholic Church, it also takes the stance that all children are worthy of love and respect no matter how they were conceived. Father Thomas Williams addressed this controversial issue in an interview with Catholic.org. In the interview, he states that the question should not be how these children came into existence, but what we can do now to help them.

“Given the current state of medical science,” Father Williams says, “the only thing that can be done to save the lives of those persons is gestation in a woman’s womb. Most women aren’t called to make this sacrifice, but those who feel called should not be discouraged from doing so.”  You can read the full interview with Father Williams for more information on the moral and theological implications of embryo adoption.

Noted Catholic ethicist, Dr. Elizabeth Rex, has written extensively on the permissibility of Snowflakes®, noting that embryo adoption does not violate the sacred bond of marriage, and fulfills our obligation to save human lives. She says of Donum Vitae, “the human embryo must be treated as a person from the first instant of its conception (DV I.1) and it also declares as ‘licit’ and even ‘desirable’ all therapeutic procedures that ‘are directed toward [the human embryo’s] healing, the improvement of its condition of health, or its individual survival.’ (DV I.3).”  If Donum Vitae sees as desirable all procedures which are directed toward an embryo’s survival, then surely embryo adoption is permissible.

We have recorded a video about the Catholic View of Embryo Adoption presented by two Catholic doctors.

–Daniel Nehrbass, Ph.D.

Beyond Contact in Open Adoption

The word “open adoption” comes with a lot of misconceptions.  When we hear this term, we may imagine an adoptive family and child sending pictures and letters to the child’s birth family, or perhaps we imagine visits between both parties, or phone calls.  Contact between parties is generally one of the most focused and feared aspects of an open adoption, for all parties.  While open adoption does include contact, it is about so much more.

Open adoption also means loving your child’s birth family, loving your child’s story, and demonstrating that love through words and actions.  As an adoption professional, navigating the needs of the birth family, the child, and the adoptive parents can be quite challenging.  When an expectant parent comes to us, we let her decide her level of openness, but we also spend a lot of time educating her about her child’s future.  We are not just talking about a baby but a whole person who will have wants and desires and needs.  Those needs and desires will change as her child grows.  That means, the openness between she and the adoptive family will also need to be fluid.

Prospective adoptive families often come to us a bit fearful of the term “open adoption”.  They worry that an open adoption will cause confusion for their child or they worry about safety.  We also educate prospective adoptive parents about navigating openness over time.

I am a child of step-parent adoption. (For the sake of clarity in this blog, I will refer to my adoptive father as my dad and my birth father as my birth father.) My desires for openness with my birth father’s family were well navigated by all parties, but there were some missteps along the way.  The biggest reason for success in navigating openness was the love my mother and paternal grandmother had for me, and the great love they had for each other that grew over time.

When embarking on an adoption journey, whether an expectant parent or a prospective adoptive parent, there is a tendency to think only in the present.  In the present, we only imagine openness as it exists today, it is difficult to imagine what it might look like when your child is 5, 10, or 15 years old.

When I was growing up, my paternal birth grandmother wrote me a letter every week.  She and my grandfather would make a trip to visit me at least twice a year.  My mom and dad had 3 children after me, and my paternal grandmother considered them her own grandchildren.   She sent them all birthday cards with cash, the same as she did for me.  She sent Christmas presents for all of us, and when she came to visit, she brought gifts for everyone.  She instinctively knew that though I was her biological grandchild, my siblings were not to be left out.  My siblings always knew my story, and they understood who Grandma and Grandpa D were officially, but they also knew them as their grandparents.  My mother referred to them as Grandma and Grandpa D and so did we all.  My birth father was an alcoholic and struggled with addiction until the day he died.  My relationship with him was nonexistent most of my life because he was in and out of jail and not a great influence.  But, my grandparents were my rock.  When I had questions about my birth father, my grandparents and my mother were there to answer them in love, and they always told the truth, even when the truth wasn’t pretty.  My grandparents never pressured me or my mother to have a certain type of relationship with my birth father.  They were realistic about who he was and never made me feel guilty or uncomfortable about the love I had for my dad.  Once I was a teenager, I began to see my birth father at family events (he would attend the D family Christmas party or reunion).  Though, our relationship was never close, I was able to navigate those awkward encounters because my identity in who I was had been built with a strong foundation thanks to my mother and extended family on both sides.

Often, I hear stories of adoptive parents not following through on their commitment to open relationships with birth parents.  Or, I hear stories of birth parents who feel rejected by the adoptive family, even if they have continued contact as planned.  I know there are birth family situations that are unsafe or unhealthy for children and there are times when adoptive parents have to make hard decisions.  I also know that sometimes adoptive parents make decisions out of fear and not love. The one question I want every adoptive parent to ask themselves when they are faced with such decisions is this, “When your child grows up and sits down with their birth parent(s) to hear their story – when they ask them how they were treated by you, what do hope they will hear?”  Are you doing everything you can to love your child’s birth family?  Are you loving them in the way you speak about them and the way you speak to them?  Are you loving them despite their flaws?  Are you loving them even if they have hurt you or your child?  No matter what, your child will still identify in part with her birth family.  She will notice how you feel about them and she will internalize this to know how you feel about her.  Your child’s identity needs a strong foundation, and that foundation will be built by her whole story and her whole family.

I encourage you to think more about openness beyond contact.  What does it mean to love your child’s birth family, even if you don’t know them?  How can you show love and support for your child’s identity through her birth family?  I highly recommend the book The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption by Lori Holden for some practical ways to navigate this experience.  Every child is different, every adoption is different, and every story is different.  You will need a lot of tools to navigate your child’s specific identity needs.  God calls us to love beyond what we ourselves are capable, but when we lean into Him, He gives us all that we need to love BIG.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

By Lisa Prather, LMSW