Domestic open adoption brings birth parents, adoptive parents and their children together as a unique and beautiful family. This photo shows the significant moment of Killian’s birth mother and adoptive parents meeting for the first time — the beginning of a lifelong relationship centered around the love they all have for their son.
For 20 years, the Stark family has served faithfully as Holt-Sunny Ridge foster parents — caring for children as they wait to be united with their adoptive families. Nancy Crouch, Holt-Sunny Ridge’s director of domestic adoption and birth parent services, shares about the amazing, meaningful impact the Stark have made over the years.
I never really knew the true meaning of guardian angels until I met Paul and Cindy Stark, licensed temporary foster parents for Holt-Sunny Ridge. For over 20 years, the Stark family has been providing a loving and caring home to children in need. The dream of being foster and adoptive parents all started when Cindy was a student at the University of Notre Dame and working part-time for the assistant dean of marketing, Joanne, who would often talk to Cindy about her passion for adoption. Joanne adopted two young boys of a different race who were in need of a family, which really touched Cindy’s heart. The love that she observed in Joanne’s family was truly amazing and life-changing for Cindy. It did not matter what differences the family had with race, education or need. They were family.
The Stark family with one of their foster babies.
In a post originally on the Holt International blog, one adult adoptee writes about finding a new identity through the birth of his daughter.
Dana DeStefano, a Holt-Sunny Ridge adoptee, shares about her adoption experience and the fulfilling relationship she has with her birth mom, Andrea.
My relationship with my birth mom is unique — I suppose it’s sort of unique to have a relationship with my birth mom at all. I hear many stories about adopted kids meeting their birth families and having disappointing experiences. I also hear stories of adopted kids who don’t have the opportunity to meet their birth parents at all. The relationship between my birth mom, Andrea, and me is such a special part of my life and I feel so blessed. She is my friend. She’s supportive and loving and a great role model. I can talk to her about anything and she will never judge me. She’s fun and cool and I love hanging out with her.
Lately, on our blog and social media, we’ve focused on someone whose voice is often unheard in the adoption story: the birth father. While the birth father is in many cases out of the picture, we recognize that if he is involved, he has a very important role to fill in his child’s life. Because of this, we want to educate our community about the role of birth fathers, and give them a chance to tell their stories. So last week, we shared video interviews with Tim, a birth father who placed his child through Holt-Sunny Ridge. He shared honestly from his own personal experience about finding out about the pregnancy, making the decision with the birth mom to place their child and choosing an adoptive family.
Tim isn’t the only birth father who is speaking out about his experience. Turns out, birth fathers are speaking up! We just need to listen a little more closely.
From the perspective of a birth dad, Tim shares his story about making an adoption plan, getting to know his son’s adoptive family and the importance of remaining in his son’s life.
It’s been a little over four years now. My son’s birth mother and I were not in a serious relationship. In fact, I didn’t even know that I was going to be a father until she was about seven months into her pregnancy — I hadn’t heard from her since we had broken up. I was shocked and scared and didn’t quite believe the news when I first heard it. But then I knew I needed to do the right thing and we needed to figure out what to do, either together or separately.