Adoption Expert Brings Joy To Local Family
by L.S., Staff Writer
The Montgomery Independent, November 19, 1998
The Lifetime Adoption Center helped bring a Montgomery family the adopted child they sought, in this Christian adoption story. When Les and Susan Seibert of Montgomery heard about Lifetime Adoption, they immediately sought the agency. With their own eight-year-old daughter’s approval, the Seibert’s decided to expand their family through adoption. Once in contact with Lifetime Adoption’s owner and driving force, Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P., the Seibert’s requested an application.
The Seibert’s supplied Lifetime Adoption with a complete dossier on their family and created a marketing packet detailing their daily life and extended family. The marketing packet would be for birth mothers to view. After home studies by a private agency, medical and FBI background checks, the Seibert’s were informed Lifetime Adoption was seeking a child for them. Seven weeks later, the Seibert’s were introduced to their five-day-old son, Sloan. Sloan is now eight months old. Ninety-nine percent of the children that Lifetime Adoption places are newborns.
March 9, 1998 is a day that the Seibert’s will never forget. They spoke to Sloan’s birth mother for the first time that morning and by 4 p.m., Seibert was flying to meet Sloan. Caldwell helped Seibert check into her bed and breakfast and buy essentials for Sloan. Seibert feels that Caldwell went beyond her contractual duties and was instrumental in walking the Seibert’s through the adoption process. The Seibert’s are currently seeking a second child through Lifetime Adoption.
Mardie Caldwell is an Open Adoption Practitioner licensed by the National Federation of Open Adoption. She matches birth mothers and adoptive parents to find a permanent home for children. Lifetime Adoption charges a fee to the adoptive parent or parents once a child has been placed.
For families, choosing Lifetime Adoption creates a feeling of comfort for adoptive families and birth mothers. The distance forms an emotional buffer which lets birth mothers go on with their lives while the adoptive child can assimilate into a new family.
Before creating Lifetime Adoption, Caldwell and her husband had adopted a child. Eight months later the birth mother regretted her decision to choose adoption and a landmark adoption case began. Eighteen months later, the Caldwell’s were granted all parental rights. In 1986, Lifetime Adoption was born from the pain and emotional turmoil that the trial created. Lifetime Adoption may place children quickly, but it enters into the adoption process with birth mothers and adoptive parents in a formal process. Mardie Caldwell, C.O.A.P. has refined and implemented this process to shield all parties from any complications.
When looking at potential adoptive parents, Caldwell is most concerned with a “good, solid marriage” and a “safe and loving home”. While adoptive parents may be in their 30’s, some adoptive parents are much older. Caldwell recently placed a couple in their 50’s with a child. It is not uncommon, and age becomes a secondary concern if a family simply has a safe home and a good marriage.
Birth mothers are an integral part of the process not only in choosing adoption but in choosing adoptive parents. Birth mothers are allowed access to the personal information of potential adoptive parents such as their age, ethnicity, and location within the country. Birth mothers give Lifetime Adoption the final nod to place their child with a particular family. Recently, a birth mother requested that her child only be placed with a family that lived on a farm. The child was subsequently adopted by a family that lives on a farm. This freedom allows the birth mothers to remain confident about their adoption choice.
Lifetime’s efforts have led to a 99 percent retention rate for adopted children. Birth mothers are looked at socially, medically, and psychologically. Stability in these three areas has proven to be a litmus test for birth mothers who are content with their decision after the adoption process has concluded. Caldwell gives all birthmothers her home phone number to lend support. When more is needed, Lifetime Adoption offers free professional counseling to birth mothers.
When birth mothers have completed the adoption process, Lifetime Adoption offers them a permanent gift. For women without a post-secondary education, Lifetime Adoption offers college scholarships.
Once the adoption process has been completed, the birth mother may contact the adoptive family in any way previously determined by all parties. Some adoptive families feel it better that there is complete separation between the birth mother and her child. Other families feel it important that the child know its birth mother. There is a middle ground. The Seibert’s and Sloan’s birth mother agreed that she may contact the Seibert’s through their local attorney.
What is the expense of an adoption through Lifetime? Including travel, dual state lawyer fees, and other expenses, the Seibert’s incurred an expense of $12,000 total.
Lifetime Adoption’s fee and the attorney’s fee will vary as adoptive parents must retain their own lawyers. If a child is adopted from another state, two lawyers must be used.
Lifetime Adoption does not just help healthy children. Specially challenged and chemically dependent infants are also widely placed. Because of the extra financial needs and care requirements of these children, they are adopted by parents who pay a much lower fee to Lifetime Adoption.
Other agencies may charge considerably more for a child, regardless of health or background.
Few agencies boast the quick placement, retention rate, birth mother support, fee and experience of the Lifetime Adoption.
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