Why is My Background Health History So Important?
Many birth parents see the paperwork that needs to be filled out for adoption and begin to feel very overwhelmed. In Utah, part of the paperwork is a packet called the non-identifying information. In other states, this same information may have a slightly different name.
This packet is many pages long, and asks detailed questions from the eye color of the birth parents, to things such as allergies, need for glasses and heart issues. Birth parents are asked about the health history of their own parents, as well as their siblings and children.
So, why is my background health history so important? I recently went in for a teeth cleaning at a dentist I had never been to before. He looked over my paperwork and was very intrigued to see that I worked for an adoption agency. His first question to me was, “What kind of background information do you give the adoptive families that you place children with?”
Because I specifically work with birth parents, I was able to tell him that our birth parents fill out, in detail, non-identifying information. In other words, this information does not have the birth parent’s last names, address or phone number, but has a very detailed history of their health and the health of all their family members.
My dentist was very surprised and pleased by this response. He explained to me that they had adopted a little girl 15 years prior. They were given no family health history on the birth parents. His daughter was having some significant, but non-life threatening, health issues. Their doctor had finally found the root of the problem. If this family had been given health information that their doctor could have gone to the very first time he saw this 15 year old girl, it would have lead him straight the health issue.
My dentist was impressed that our adoption agency takes the time to get as much background information as possible. I also explained to him that an adoption counselor/social worker also reviews this background information and ads a typed social history to the birth parents information. The adoption counselor/social worker can help walk birth parents through completing the paperwork.
So for adoptive families, one of the most important documents they can receive when adopting a child, is the non-identifying information or background health history to help their children with needs in the future. For birth parents it offers a peace of mind to know that, if their child were to become ill in the future those caring for their child would have good information to begin helping their child. For the child, it helps them with their history and to know about their birth parents and their own genetics. The information is so important to entire adoption triad and should be viewed as helping everyone involved.
Act of Love Can Help at Anytime!
Camille was in the hospital with her 2-day old baby girl when she called Act of Love Adoption Agency in Utah. It was a hard call to make, but Camille and her husband, Steven, knew it was the best decision for their baby. Camille had struggled in the past with drug use, and had been in a methadone treatment program for a year. She was getting to a good place in her life. Steven was supportive of Camille, and they had a 2-year old daughter. Because of the past drug use, the Department of Child and Family Services would check in on Camille and her family.
Camille and Steven were doing all they could to provide for their little family. This pregnancy was unexpected and they weren’t in a stable financial position. Camille and Steven took the whole pregnancy to decide what they should do. Finally in the hospital, they made the difficult, yet a good decision for the baby by placing her for adoption.
Camille and Steven weren’t sure what to expect when calling an adoption agency so late in the process and on a weekend. They were so pleased to find that Act of Love Adoptions could have a wonderful attorney meet with them that evening to look at profiles and sign all the necessary paperwork. The staff all worked diligently on Sunday to make sure that Camille and Steven were taken care of and all of their needs were met.
Camille and Steven felt so good about the adoptive family they selected. The family had 2 adoptions that didn’t work out, and Camille and Steven were so excited to hear that they could hardly wait for a baby to come into their family.
Camille and Steven are like many birth parents that are looking to place their baby for adoption. They are seeking an adoption agency that will be responsive, attentive and caring. Act of Love Adoptions can help birth parents start an adoption plan at any stage in their pregnancy.
Tori and Wish came to visit CEO and Founder, Kathy Kunkel, to give her hugs and kisses. In the most heartfelt manner, Josh and Heather expressed to Kathy how much Act of Love means to their family and how grateful they are to Act of Love for touching so many lives and helping 1000’s of families. They shared special memories and photos of the birth parents they love so dearly and hold close to their hearts. Each story and picture expressed the true gratitude and love this family has for these brave heroes that chose adoption. Tori proudly shared pictures of her birth family with a twinkle in her eye and a skip in her step.
Each year, Act of Love helps many birth parents find the adoptive family for their baby. Act of Love honors our birth parents and adoptive families – it has been a wonderful 20 years of serving children, birth parents and adoptive families!
Brandon & Alicia’s Adoption Experience Part 3
We have learned so much from this experience. The Act of Love staff is amazing! We can’t say that enough. They helped us to put all of our ducks in a row for application approval and navigate the process of showing our profile. The two beautiful caseworkers who accompanied us on our trip of a lifetime to pick up our sweetheart were such a support and blessing to us. We have seen firsthand what it means to sacrifice. Our little boy’s birth mom is gracious, warm, beautiful and selfless. She is a dear part of our family and we love her beyond words. She gave us a most precious gift. Our little boy is the greatest blessing we have ever received! We have learned a lot about ourselves. We have learned that we are stronger than we think we are and to trust in God and his plan for our lives (even when it doesn’t seem to match our plan.) We have learned that adoption is one of the most spiritual experiences (whatever your religion) a person will ever have. We are truly blessed and thankful to everyone who has helped us along the way.
Brandon & Alicia’s Adoption Experience Part 2
From the moment we reached out to Act of Love in May of 2012, we could feel their warmth and genuine concern for us. We began in their Outreach Program. Our profile was shown almost immediately, once we were approved (in the Outreach Program.) It was a new experience for us and was an emotional roller coaster. By the first part of June, we knew that this was the agency where we would find our son or daughter and so we made the leap to their full program. By the middle of July of 2012 we had been matched with a birth mother who was due with a baby girl in October 2012. At that time, we were so excited to be chosen, but we knew in our hearts that it didn’t feel right. One week later, we were told the birth mother had changed her mind. While we were sad, we then understood the reasons for our feelings prior. It was not the right time. It was not the right baby. We buckled down and began to have our profile shown to potential mothers while trying to stay positive. In the middle of August, we got a text from our caseworker telling us about an urgent situation for a baby boy who was to be born about a week later. The minute we received the text, before we had even been shown, we knew this was our little boy! We have been told that our sweet birth mother also knew immediately when she was shown our profile that we were the parents! We waited for close to two weeks before he was born and we traveled to be with our baby and meet his wonderful family.
Finding the Right Match
The adoption process can be a difficult journey for both birth mothers and adoptive families. When we found out our chances of having a child were very low, we immediately knew we wanted to adopt. It was critical to find an Adoption Agency that had an experienced team that was dependable, empathetic and without judgment. We found that match with Act of Love Adoptions. We have been engaged with Act of Love for over 7 months and the staff has exceeded all expectations. The passion and dedication that each staff member brings to the agency is admirable. Other agencies we pursued took time getting back to us and often referred us to websites and brochures for information. We love the support system they create for the birth mothers who are providing the ultimate selfless gift to a family like ours. Act of Love is available any time/any day to answer questions and offer support during difficult times. Their dedication is simply unmatched.
Jessica & Billy
Brandon & Alicia’s Adoption Experience Part 1
At the time we officially began our adoption journey, we had been married for 15 years. We had talked a lot about adoption over a huge span of time, and knew this would be the way we would have a family. During the first few months of 2011, we both lost our last living grandparents (our grandmothers) within two months of each other. It was at that point, that we really stopped to reflect on our life together and how much we needed and wanted a child in it. Finally, at this time, both of us were on board to precede full force into adoption.
Entering the adoption world was scary. Alicia was very unsure. She found a wonderful adoption advocate who listened, answered questions, and helped us to start the process. It was July 2011 when we signed up with an agency and started working on our home study. By the first part of October, we were ready to be shown. We literally waited for six months with no movement (it was a very small domestic agency.) We knew that we needed to broaden our horizons. We signed up with two more agencies. One of those agencies was A Act of Love Adoption Agency in Utah. We had two individuals both suggest this agency and we knew we needed to investigate to see if it would be the right fit for our family. The crazy part is that we had actually gone into A Act of Love a year or two prior as we were starting our research. At the time, we realized, we just weren’t ready.
Rachel’s story- conclusion
“By 20 weeks, we started doing conference calls and Skype calls every month or so, sometimes every two weeks. I had exactly half of my pregnancy to get to know John and Shauna, and to get an understanding of the adoption process. Every time I talked to John and Shauna, I became more comfortable with them. My doubts disappeared completely, and I truly believed and still believe my son was meant to be theirs.
We decided to keep our adoption semi-open, and for contact to be at a minimum of 6 months, so that we could see the milestones. And if John and Shauna were up to it, they could send us pictures whenever they felt necessary.”
Rachel and Jason are amazing birth parents. They had such a positive adoption experience. If you know anyone who is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, have them call or text 801-671-0401 or 801-450-0094 for help and a listening ear.
Rachel’s story part 2
“When I was 12 weeks pregnant, we made a loose decision to at least go to an adoption agency and see what our options were.
We came the conclusion that we were ready to make it work, but we were not willing to put a child through all of our personal and separate issues that we just haven’t worked out yet.
I went to the agency and was immediately relieved. I don’t know what I thought it would be like, but I was impressed. I could not and still cannot believe the love these women are all capable of. Their genuine willingness to help me was something I will be eternally grateful for.
By 17 weeks, we had worked out a few profiles to choose from. I instantly knew which family I would choose before I even read the profiles. I purposely saved theirs for last, so that I would read all of them and give them all a fair judgment, but my baby already knew who his parents were supposed to be.
John and Shauna were everything we were looking for. We decided we wanted to find a family who could not have children of their own, who were not predominantly and overbearingly religious, and we wanted someone who was out of state. They also happen to have personalities and hobbies that are extremely similar to mine and Jason’s.
I was so overwhelmed when I realized “Right now I am hand picking two people to raise my baby for me. I can’t believe this is really happening right now.” ”
Act of Love Adoption Agency in Utah gets to work with many amazing birth parents. We were so touched by Rachel and Jason’s story that they agreed to let us share it. The following few blog posts will be excerpts from their story.
“When I found out I was pregnant, my boyfriend and I had been together for about 16 months. Most people in that time line and situation, especially in Utah where we are from, would stay together and raise a baby.
This was not our case.
The day I took a pregnancy test and the day I knew I was pregnant were about two weeks apart from each other. That whole two weeks, I did nothing but think out scenarios where I was raising a baby. Not one of them benefited my child enough for me to think, “Hey, I’m ready to be a mom for sure!”
I took a pregnancy test, and I called my boyfriend. He answered the phone and I burst into tears. He knew. We had discussed it as a hypothetical situation a few days earlier, because I had told him I might be pregnant.
We were 19 at the time, and we both wanted to be as mature about this as we could possibly be. For the next 6 weeks, he and I weighed out the pros and cons of keeping our child, versing adoption. Even though there were more cons on the “keep the baby” side, adoption was put on the back burner for a couple more weeks so we could keep trying to figure out our situation.”
Continue to the next post for the next excert of Rachel’s story.