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Voyageur's Best Features of 2006

Adoption

The greatest love of all
 
November is National Adoption Month, and the Rural Expansion of Adoptive Communities & Homes (REACH) Project is working to raise awareness of the need for more adoptive families in Minnesota communities.
 
by Mike Heaser  |  November 21, 2006
 

Kim and Phil Randall of Cromwell had always talked about adopting a child if the opportunity came along. “We had our son Tyler after eight years of trying to get pregnant. Ever since I had wanted another child, so I prayed and prayed for another, but it just didn’t happen for us,” Kim explained. Tyler is now nine, and the Randalls have had their prayers for another child answered with an addition to their family named Lexi Jo.

The process started when the Randall’s talked to a  friend that had a friend whose daughter at 17 became pregnant and was thinking about placing her baby for adoption. The birth mother came to Cromwell to meet the Randalls after hearing of their desire to adopt. “The next thing we knew, she decided to place her baby for adoption, and she chose us to be the adoptive parents,” said Kim.

The Randalls corresponded with the birth mother throughout the initial stages of the adoption process via the telephone and a visit to her doctor’s appointment near the end of the pregnancy. During this visit they heard Lexi Jo’s heartbeat for the first time. “We also had the opportunity to meet and spend some time with our birth mother’s parents and many other people in her life,” Kim said. “It was a very special and emotional time.”

Lexi Jo Randall was born at 3:05 a.m., August 17, 2006. The Randalls arrived at the hospital as music played that signified a baby was born. “I cannot express what it was like to hear those words or to see that beautiful face for the first time,” Kim added. “Our son, Tyler, is also excited about this addition to the family and calls her ‘Pumpkin.’”

The adoption is a “designated adoption,” which means the birth mother chose the parents. “Our birth mom was going to the Children’s Home Society and Family Services Agency for pregnancy counseling,” Kim stated. “Thus, they were the agency that helped us through the adoption process.” The process entails filling out an application, attending application orientation, meeting with a social worker, filling out numerous other documents, and doing a home and a self study. “We also had to legalize a contact agreement, which states what the contact between the birth mother and birth father and us will be,” she explained.

This week the Randalls will attend open adoption education classes required for the final adoption paperwork. Open adoption means the Randalls have contact with the birth parents.

“We feel that open adoption is a very positive thing for all that are involved in adoption. Children have the right to know who they are and how they joined their families and to grow up knowing the truth,” Kim expressed. This form of adoption also gives the Randalls an advantage of knowing Lexi Jo’s medical background.

“She will always know that she is so loved by so many people. She is a very lucky girl to have a birth mom who showed the greatest love of all by giving her baby  to a family that prayed for a lifetime to have another child. Adoption is a very beautiful thing. We want to thank the whole community for being so gracious to our family. Thank you for your prayers, gifts, and kind words,” concluded Kim.

Providing Permanency and a Place to Call Home

“The thing these children most want in the world is to be able to stay put.”

– Adoptive and foster mother

 November is National Adoption Month, and it serves as a valuable reminder of how important it is to find permanent homes for children waiting to be adopted.

While most recent national attention has focused on international adoptions, especially those of celebrities, it is important that we don’t lose sight of the children in our own communities waiting for the love and permanency they deserve.

Right here in Minnesota, hundreds of children are waiting in foster care for the right adoptive families. Do you know that more than one-third of Americans have considered adoption, but only two percent have actually gone on to become adoptive parents? Why don’t they take that next step?

Many potential adoptive parents mistakenly believe that in order to adopt they must make a lot of money, own their own home and be young and married. However, these common myths are just that – myths. What’s really required to become an adoptive parent is something quite different.

Adoptive parents need to be able to provide a warm, caring and nurturing home, possess the skills and patience to work with children, have a lifestyle with the flexibility, time and focus to create strong family stability, and embrace adoption as a lifelong commitment

Not only is November National Adoption Month, it is also a time for reflection and thanksgiving. As you think about the things you are most thankful for this holiday season, consider opening your home to a waiting child. Through adoption, you have the ability to provide one of these children the thing they want most – a place to call home.

The Rural Expansion of Adoptive Communities and Homes (REACH) Project can help you as you consider becoming an adoptive parent. REACH is a federally funded project that works to increase the number of adoptions of children waiting in foster care throughout rural Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

For more information about the REACH Project and how you can give a child roots to grow in a forever family, please call 1-866-79-REACH or visit www.adoptinfo.org.

This article first appeared in the November 21, 2006 issue of the Voyageur Press.