Looking back to March, when news of a pandemic shutdown was sudden and jolting, I remember our conversation about the plans here at Lifetime Adoption. It was relatively easy because our company culture has always prioritized being available for clients night and day. The transition to remote working was smooth and quick, completed in less than 24 hours – something other adoption organizations were envious of!
2020 taught us all lessons, and the lessons relative to adoption were powerful ones that any family in the adoption process can learn from. Looking back, these are some of the most important lessons to know and understand from this year:
Adoptions Are Always Happening
While we had it pretty smooth, we saw other areas of adoption, such as home studies and courts, more affected by the pandemic restrictions. Suddenly, we were hearing of shutdowns that would last for a few weeks with those organizations. Most were able to adapt in the first six weeks or so to keep things moving forward. And now, there is no significant delay either in completing a home study or finalizing an adoption.
Because many courts finalize via phone or video conferencing, the initial delay was short-lived. Many states finally issued guidelines for home study providers to use video conferencing tools for home visits, ensuring that families could still prepare for adoption and be home with their babies. The need for adoptions is always present, and the providers are considered an essential service. So while the methods may be modified, adoption help will always be available.
Women Are Always Considering Adoption
At Lifetime, we would get many calls asking, “Are you still getting calls from expectant mothers?” The answer is always the same, a resounding, “Yes!” In fact, in troubled times, women tend to explore their options more because, well, they are in troubled times. And with our 24-hour talk and text availability for them, they can explore options day or night.
As various states went through different levels of restrictions, the calls continued from women, also concerned about the future and their unborn baby or young child. We heard many stories from couples who had lost jobs, single mothers who were struggling more, and women who had been abused. We are here for all of them, to meet them where they are and give them the facts about modern, open adoption so they can decide if it is right for them.
In Adoption, Flexibility is Always Key
Travel was probably one of the most challenging items in adoption through the spring and summer of 2020. Many families drove cross-country for their adoption match! As we close the year, plane travel is easier, although additional layers of health-related security and protection are vital. Understanding that being flexible in your travel plans is always a good thing.
Hospital visits for adopting families was a challenge as well and remains so in many parts of the country. Some adoptive parents had to release the expectation of being in the nursery with their baby or getting to be present at the delivery due to new safety guidelines in hospitals. As we close 2020, some hospitals remain fairly restricted, others are open as before. Yet again, flexibility with expectations is always so important when moving through an adoption journey.
Whether your adoption story is complete or the ending is yet to be written, we at Lifetime will look back on our work in 2020 as a continuation of the work we do every day. Serving women who want to explore adoption and the hopeful adoptive parents to the best of our ability, day or night, in every way we are able.
As Vice President of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.