Global News, Edmonton
Adoption Awareness: advocate says stigma still exists

Thursday, November 17, 2016

 Adoption Options Alberta Erika Moore was interviewed by Laurel Gregory with Global News Edmonton. Her interview is captured in the Q&A editorial of the story.

November is Adoption Awareness month. Global News sat down Erika Moore, a social worker with the Alberta-based agency Adoption Options. Moore says currently 160 adoptive parents are waiting to be matched with babies who need a permanent home. A private licensed agency placement costs approximately $15,000 and the average wait period for a match is three to four years.

Laurel Gregory: November is Adoption Awareness Month. What do you want to raise awareness about?

Erika Moore: I think just the option of openness in adoption. I’m often surprised how few people understand what open adoption is and that it is a viable option for someone looking for a permanent, positive plan for their child. My hope is that Adoption Awareness Month will bring that understanding.

LG: What would the range be, in how open it is and how connected they are?

EM: I think that’s really specific to the individuals and for those people to dictate for themselves what feels right for them… I would say an average open adoption would involve regular contact throughout the year on an ongoing basis. Maybe three to four times or seasonally throughout the year. However, there’s a wide range on either end of that spectrum where there might be much more regular contact or much less and that’s really dictated by the birth family as well as the adoptive family and what everyone is comfortable with.

Read the complete interview here: 

Global News, Calgary
Born from the heart: How open adoptions bring families together

Monday, November 14 through Wednesday, November 16, 2016 @ 6:00pm
Global News, Calgary

Three part "Forever Families" series about open adoption with Adoption Options' families
Global News explored how families are embracing the concept of open adoption: "Historically, adoptions were filled with secrets and sometimes shame. However, a growing number of people are embracing the concept of open adoptions. As Jill Croteau explains, open adoptions are a unique opportunity for birth families to stay an active part of their child’s life, making memories alongside the adoptive parents."

Part 1
3 birth moms and 2 parents: how open adoption worked for an Alberta family
"Erica Brunelle is one young woman who never hesitated when she discovered she was pregnant. At 22 years old she decided her unborn child deserved a kind of life she couldn’t provide."

Part 2
Keeping siblings together: the dynamics of an open adoption
"Not all adoptions are created equally, particularly when multiple children are involved. Calgary resident Jill, who had four children—including a set of twins—is at the heart of an open adoption journey." 

Part 3
Calgary birth mom in open adoption hopes for reunion later in life
"They hadn’t even met her yet and already a mother who had just given birth chose her baby’s new parents. A birth mom went through files of adoptive parents and decided Pamela and John Ramotowski deserved the gift of her newborn son."

A heart-felt thank you to all our families who so graciously and openly shared their stories. 

The Calgary Herald (The Edmonton Journal and The Lethbridge Herald)

Friday, November 20, 2015
Opinion: Time to Throw out Adoption's Old Stigma

Sheryl Proulx

We know it happens. You probably know someone who has has found herself unexpectedly pregnant. It really is incredibly common, as an estimated 40 per cent of all pregnancies in Canada are unplanned. That’s over 27,000 in Alberta alone.

Sandy (not her real name) is 14, living with her parents on a rural acreage. Barbara is 42, married with grown kids. Kaylee is 19 and homeless.  And Astrid is 24, just starting her graduate degree. The list is long and as diverse as our population because unexpected pregnancy crosses all ages, cultures and socio-economic groups.

Some women are joyous with the surprise of this unexpected reality, but most experience a combination of feeling scared, conflicted, lonely, confused and overwhelmed — sometimes downright terrified.

The stress of facing an unplanned pregnancy is exacerbated by a lack of quality information about all options. Most women consider only two choices — become a parent or terminate the pregnancy. But a third choice, to place the child for adoption, rarely enters the decision-making process because there’s so little awareness of the realities of adoption in Alberta.

For most people, views of adoption hearken back to the days of a completely closed system where secrecy and shame ruled, and where all connection between mother and child was severed immediately and forever after birth. And because the thought of never seeing their baby again or watching their child grow into an adult is unimaginable to most, the idea of adoption is dismissed before it’s fully formed.

But adoption in Alberta has changed dramatically and positively since the first open adoption was facilitated in 1985. Open adoption opens the door for lifelong connections and personal relationships between birth parents and their children. It empowers women with choice and involvement in the adoption process, as they can select and meet the adoptive family, and be a part of their child’s life forever. The ultimate beneficiary is the child who grows up connected to his roots, while in a stable, loving family that gives him wings.

Although adoption has changed drastically since 1985, awareness of the new reality lags far behind. Misperceptions about adoption are still accepted by the general public, evidenced in everyday language and in the media.

We commonly hear or read, “She gave her baby up for adoption.” In reality, what a birth mother does is the farthest thing from giving up. She gives life, and makes a courageous decision born out of intense love. She does not give up; she makes an adoption plan that puts the needs of her child above the desires of her heart. She wants to give her child a better life than she is able to give at the time.

There is power in positive adoption language and in correcting myths and misperceptions. It lifts the veil of shame and gives voice, respect and dignity to birth parents. Take away the shame and stigma by replacing “giving up” with “placing her child for adoption” or “making an adoption plan” and we pave the way toward acceptance and understanding that adoption is a positive and loving choice. 

Open adoption is not the right choice for everyone. It is built on love and lifelong connections, but loss and grief are inherent for birth families, adoptive families and children. It is not easy or pain-free.

Everyone facing an unexpected pregnancy has the right to quality information about all options available, so they can make an informed decision that is right for themselves and their children. We can support women during this difficult decision-making process by helping them access accurate information and non-judgmental support. We can support them by using positive adoption language.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Become aware. Use positive adoption language. If you know of someone struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, let her know she has options. Let her know information and support are available as she decides what is right for her and her child. Empower with positive language, accurate information and choice.

Sheryl Proulx is the executive director of Adoption Options, a non-profit licensed adoption agency
offering support, information and choices to women facing unplanned pregnancy.

Read the online articles here...
Published in the Calgary Herald, Nov 20, 2015
Published in the Edmonton Journal, Nov 23, 2015
Published in the Lethbridge Herald, Nov 25, 2015

The Calgary Herald

Tuesday, June 10, 2015
Letter to the Editor

Good Riddance to Adoption Secrecy
Re: "Mom finds son through Facebook after 18 years apart," June 6.

Michelle and Austin Hood's reunion story is a powerful reminder of how our old, closed and secretive adoption system has positively changed over the years. In 2004, the Alberta government opened access to identifying information in their adoption records, allowing birth parents and adult adoptees the possibility of obtaining information about one another, and the possibility of reunion. Contrary to society's old belief system, birth parents never forget their children placed for adoption! 

Almost 20 years before records were opened, a historic change took place when Alberta's first open adoption was granted. Open adoption means there are no sealed records, and begins with an exchange of information and meaningful connection from Day 1. Built on openness, honesty and mutual respect, it is a positive option for all members of the adoption circle, but most importantly, the child who maintains the key to his biological past.

Sheryl Proulx,
Executive Director of Adoption Options

click here for online article

The Calgary Herald

Saturday, May 9, 2015
Letter to The Editor

The day before Mother’s Day, I will celebrate two beautiful loving women. These women carried their babies and gave them life. They then made the most painful and most loving plan for their children: an open adoption plan.

They are my sons’ birthmothers and I’m grateful for their sacrifice and gifts of life. We are blessed to know them and to have loving relationships with many extended birth family members. My boys are growing up surrounded by love and a connection to their past.

Saturday is Birthmother’s Day, honouring women who placed their children for adoption. On the eve of Mother's Day, we acknowledge birthmothers everywhere. Without them many women would not celebrate Mother's Day.

Jean Lucas, Calgary
Jean is Director of Outreach, Adoption Options

Click here for online edition

The Globe and Mail

Couple spread the love for open adoptions
Published Friday, Dec. 19 2014, 5:00 PM EST

When Bruce Sellery and his husband, Dennis Garnhum, decided to adopt a child a few years ago, they didn’t know where to start. Eventually they found out about Adoptions Options, a Calgary-based agency that works with expectant parents and prospective adoptive parents, including same-sex couples, through an open process that keeps all sides fully informed.

The couple adopted Abby, who is now five years old and has a close relationship with her mother, Katie, whom she sees every three months. “Katie is part of our family,” said Mr. Sellery, a business journalist who divides his time between Calgary and Toronto, and runs a personal finance training business called Moolala.

Mr. Sellery and Mr. Garnhum, artistic director of Theatre Calgary, were so impressed with the agency, they launched an annual fundraising event at the theatre called “Spread the Love.” So far, they have raised about $120,000, and the upcoming production, on Jan. 25, 2015, will be their sixth event.

Along with raising money for Adoption Options, Mr. Sellery said the objective is to increase awareness about the open adoption. “It is so profoundly moving to see what it takes for a birth parent to make a choice to have their child raised by someone else,” he said. The event “is a real celebration of family in all of its forms.”

Click here to read the article