Group promotes adoptions
By Corey Davis
Saturday, September 3, 2016
A nonprofit group is urging the community to get more involved in its mission to help give children a chance for better a life than the environment they were born into.
Christian Adoption Services is a private, licensed, child-placing agency specializing in domestic infant and international adoption. It has been in existence since 1979.
The agency has had a Rocky Mount office since 2005. The local adoption service moved last October to a small building on North Winstead Avenue from Sunset Avenue to be more visible and give residents an opportunity to learn more adoption.
Sheryl Naylor, pregnancy counselor supervisor for Christian Adoption Services, said adoption is an option to an unplanned pregnancy. In the Twin Counties, teenage pregnancy continues to be high. Statistics from the state showed in 2014 between ages 15 to 19, Edgecombe County ranked 13th highest for teen pregnancy among the 100 counties, while Nash County ranked 32nd for teen pregnancy.
“From a Christian standpoint, we see it as a good alternative to abortion because there are many teens and many women in this community that are pregnant or have had babies and aren’t prepared to parent,” Naylor said.
Jennifer Faulkner, pregnancy counselor for Christian Adoption Services, said the local agency is on a mission to help provide needy children the opportunity of having a loving, Christ-centered family. But Naylor acknowledged what’s frustrating is the agency feels it’s the lone voice in the community in helping get the right message out about adoption.
The community doing more to support adoption can help a birth mother from being stressed out or worse — harming the child, knowing she can’t take care of the child or feeling like she has no family support, Naylor said.
“We both believe the community does a good job of supplying material needs, but we really plea with our community to think past what a newborn infant needs and think towards what that child needs forever,” Naylor said. “It takes more than material goods to be a good parent. We see adoption as a way for that child to have stability. It also offers them a two-parent home with a father in the home. Fathers are important to children and research shows that. We want to make our services known in the community and we need the community support.”
Both Naylor and Faulkner said there are several misconceptions about adoption. Birth mothers need to know the couples looking to adopt through the agency go through a thorough screening process. The pregancy counselors stressed how the adoption process has evolved, with birth parents having the choice to have an open adoption where they have input on who can become adopted parents and getting to see their child after placement.
Naylor said other misbeliefs from the adopted parents’ perspective is the birth parents having the rights to get the child down the road if they want to.
“The misconception is the birth parents can come and get the baby years later and that’s what you see on Lifetime,” she said. “But people need to stop watching Lifetime because that isn’t reality. Laws in North Carolina protect that from happening. In North Carolina, a birth parent has seven days to change his or her mind. For a birth father who comes back years later and didn’t know about the baby, there is a process that we go through to terminate his rights.”
Christian Adoption Services provides support to the birth mother or parent well after giving up the child for adoption, Faulkner said. The agency is in the process of holding its annual birth mother retreat where almost 40 mothers will take a trip to the beach later this month.
The trip allows the mothers to build camaraderie among each other, see pictures and receive letters about their child and hear from a speaker to encourage them to continue to move forward in life, Faulkner said.
“Probably the biggest misconception is that people believe moms who choose adoption don’t want their child and that simply isn’t true,” she said. “It’s not an easy choice and definitely a process of some grief is involved in choosing adoption. But we emphasize to the mothers they’ve made a selfless sacrifice of choosing adoption and doing what was best for the child.”
For more information about Christian Adoption Services, call 937-6560.