Forever Bound Adoption- Utah
Thank you so much for taking out the time to speak with us today about Forever Bound Adoption.
Let’s start by finding out how Forever Bound began. Who are the main creators behind the vision? Steve Sunday started Forever Bound Adoption in 2012. Steve has over 37 years of experience in helping families through adoption, and expectant parents through their pregnancies. He started Forever Bound with the goal of providing ethical adoption services that help children find permanent loving homes. He helps expectant parents as they explore their options and make important decisions for themselves and their children.
What’s unique about your agency’s or firm’s approach and what do you feel are some of the real benefits that an expectant mom might experience if she was to place through your firm/agency? “We provide compassionate, caring services to expectant mothers regardless of whether or not they choose to place their babies for adoption. If an expectant mother chooses to place her baby for adoption, those services are offered during and after adoptive placement. The quality of services provided to expectant parents is influenced most by the strength of personal relationships they develop with agency staff and adoptive couples. We work tirelessly to build the type of relationships with expectant mothers that allow us to ensure their physical and emotional needs and the needs of their babies are met and their expectations for a positive adoptive placement experience are exceeded.”
Does an expectant mom have to be certain that she is choosing adoption to meet with you? “No. We are happy to meet with expectant mothers to help them understand all of the options available to them. We don’t pressure expectant mothers to choose adoption, and do all that we can to help them identify and access the information and resources that will be most beneficial to them in their individual circumstances.”
Do you discuss the other options available to her? “Yes. We always discuss all of her available options including single parenting, marriage, and adoptive placement.”
Do you provide parenting resources for her? “If an expectant mother chooses to parent her baby, our caseworkers can help her prepare by providing parenting education and resources. We can also provide information and referral to outside providers that can provide her with the education and support she needs to parent successfully.”
What are some of the resources that she might be offered? “Counseling services, employment assistance, financial assistance during pregnancy.”
Do you help with her medical needs? “Yes, we can help her pay for medical expenses not covered by an existing insurance policy.”
Housing? “We can provide temporary housing assistance as well as information and referral to organizations that provide long-term housing assistance.”
Legal fees? “Yes”
What if she needs some basics like maternity clothes? “We are happy to help expectant mothers cover the cost of basics like maternity clothing. On an individual basis, we help expectant mothers evaluate their needs and locate resources to make sure those needs are being met. Adoptive couples are involved in paying for the expectant mother’s basic expenses during her pregnancy.”
Can the expectant woman’s boyfriend or spouse and or family be involved in the process too? “Yes. We welcome the involvement of a birthmother’s boyfriend or spouse (whether or not he is the birth father) and other family members. It is important for expectant mothers to have a strong support system as they navigate the process.”
Can she choose a family for her child or do you select for her? “A birth mother is encouraged to choose the family that will adopt her child. Forever Bound Adoption works with adoptive families from a wide variety of backgrounds, and ensures that they are ready emotionally and financially to parent. Additionally, families approved for adoption through Forever Bound Adoption complete adoption training hours on a wide variety of topics. This helps them to understand the unique benefits and challenges of adopting a child.”
Does she have her OWN free legal representation? “In cases where an expectant mother needs her own legal representation, Forever Bound Adoption can help her locate representation and legal services will be paid for by the adoptive couple.”
Can she create her own hospital plan? “Yes. A caseworker will help her complete a Hospital Plan that will make sure he wishes for her hospital experience are clearly outlined. The plan can then be shared with hospital staff to make sure her hospital experience goes as smoothly as possible.”
Walk me through the process. If I was an expectant mom who came into the agency what would it look like for me working with you?
“When an expectant mother contacts us, we set up an appointment for one of our caseworkers to meet with her for an intake appointment. At that time, the caseworker gathers information about her background, the circumstances of her pregnancy, and her current physical, medical, and emotional needs. The caseworker and expectant mother discuss in detail the options that are open to her such as marriage, single parenting, and adoption. At the conclusion of the intake appointment, the caseworker give the expectant mother information and referral to resources appropriate for her needs. If, at that time, the expectant mother has already identified adoption as her plan of action, the caseworker can provide her with adoptive couple profiles for her consideration.
Over the course of her pregnancy, the caseworker will meet regularly with the expectant mother. During those appointments, the caseworker will help her make sure her needs are being met, complete necessary paperwork, and provide support as needed. Meetings may be set for the expectant mother to meet with potential adoptive couples. Once an adoptive couple has been chosen, the caseworker will help the expectant mother set up a meeting with the adoptive couple so that they can being getting to know one another, and developing a plan for future communication and interaction.
As the expectant mother nears her delivery date, the caseworker will help her develop a Hospital Plan, and will coordinate with hospital nursing staff and social workers to ensure her needs and requests are met during her hospital stay.
Once the expectant mother has delivered her baby, her caseworker will coordinate with hospital staff and the adoptive couple to ensure that the process of placing her baby with the adoptive couple and relinquishing her parental rights is as smooth and comfortable for her as possible.
After placement, the birth mother’s caseworker will continue to meet with her to ensure that she has positive contact with the adoptive family, she is emotionally adjusting to life after placement, and that she is moving forward with the goals and plans she identified for herself. If additional resources are needed by the birth mother (i.e. educational assistance, etc.) as she moves forward, the caseworker can help her find them. We have access to a foundation that provides grants and scholarships for birth parents seeking long term counseling and educational assistance. The caseworker will encourage the birth mother to seek out support groups and counseling services as needed. The birth mother will generally continue meeting with her caseworker for several months after she has placed her baby for adoption.”
I see that you have an amazing team of caring workers all invested in helping those on the adoption journey. Others can read about them and their specific roles here:
Let’s talk next about the type of education that you provide the adopting couple with. “Adoptive couples complete 10 hours of pre-approval adoption training through Adoption Learning Partners. This education provides them with information and insights about the adoption process and the unique challenges and opportunities they will encounter. Additionally, once a couple has been selected by a birth mother for adoptive placement, they are required to complete an additional eight hours of training. This training focuses specifically on information they will need to successfully parent their adopted child. It includes information that will be helpful to them as they assist their child in navigating issues related to their adoption and in understanding and building their relationship with their child’s birth parents.”
Do you provide training and education for the families to learn about issues that might arise if they choose to adopt a child of a different ethnicity than them? “Yes. Adoption Learning Partners offers a course entitled “Conspicuous Families” that specifically addresses the issues inherent in adopting a child of another ethnic background. All adoptive couples are required to complete this course before they are approved for adoptive placement. Additionally, couple can become involved in organizations such as United for Adoption that offer training and support for families who adopt a child of another ethnicity.”
Training on problems that can arise over the years for an adoptee? “Both our pre-approval training and post-placement training offer courses (offered through Adoption Learning Partners) on potential difficulties that adoptive couples and children may experience.”
How about the different types of adoptions and why knowing the childs natural family would be more beneficial for the child? “Yes. Again, these educational resources are made available through Adoption Learning Partners and through Adoption Advocacy Groups such as United for Adoption.“
Do you do any closed adoptions? “If a birth mother requests a closed adoption, we will do a closed adoption. Closed adoptions are a very small percentage of the adoptions at Forever Bound.”
What does your agency consider to be a semi-open adoption? “A lesser degree of openness determined and agreed upon by the adoptive couple and the birth parents.”
Do you encourage open adoptions and if so what does that look like for an expectant mom over time? “We do encourage open adoptions. A birth mother who places her baby through an open adoption will have ongoing contact with her child and the adoptive family. The level of communication and involvement between the adoptive family and the birth family will be determined by everyone involved. Forever Bound Adoption caseworkers can be used as a resource by families as they navigate the process of determining what level of contact they are comfortable with. Generally, birth mothers have contact with their child and the adoptive family through pictures, letters, blogs, texts, and phone calls. Many birth mothers and adoptive couples also agree to have periodic visits, and to have visits and contact on special occasions such as birthdays, holidays, and other significant life events.”
Does the care stop once the expectant mom places her baby with the adopting couple? “No. Forever Bound Adoption caseworkers generally meet with the birth mother for several months after she has placed her baby with the adoptive couple. Forever Bound Adoption is available to all birth parents as a long-term resource if needed.”
If not what kind of POST adoption care can she expect to receive working with your agency? “After placement, the birth mother’s caseworker will continue to meet with her to ensure that she has positive contact with the adoptive family, she is emotionally adjusting to life after placement, and that she is moving forward with the goals and plans she identified for herself. If additional resources are needed by the birth mother (i.e. educational assistance, long-term counseling, etc.) as she moves forward, the caseworker can help her find them. The caseworker will encourage her to seek out support groups and counseling services as needed. The expectant mother will generally continue meeting with her caseworker for several months after she has placed her baby for adoption.”
I think it’s crucial that when a woman gets help around her adoption experience that the help be adoption related. Do you have adoption specific counselors and specialist for her to work with? “Yes. We have adoption specific counselors with years of experience assisting birth parents and adoptive couples.”
I have found many times women have other challenges to work through in addition to the adoption experience. Do you find this to be true with the women you serve? “Can your services help them overall with all the areas they might be struggling with? Yes. We find that most of the birth mothers we work with have multiple challenges and issues that need to be addressed. We are always available to assist them as they make goals and commitments to improve their lives.”
Is there anything else that you think would be helpful for a woman to know who might be considering working with your agency? “We are committed to providing high quality birth parent services – now and post-placement. We work hard to serve birth parents to the best of our abilities and are continually striving to improve the quality of services we provide.”
Where are you located and how might someone looking for help in your area be able to connect with you? “Our offices are located in Morgan, Utah. However, we have caseworkers located throughout Utah and Idaho who are available to travel to birth mothers, making it convenient for them to meet throughout the adoption process.”
How can we get in touch with you? “Individuals looking for help can access our website at www.foreverboundadoption.org, where they will find information about our agency, our staff, and the services we provide to expectant mothers and adoptive couples. Our website includes all of our contact information, as well as a chat option they can use to chat with our staff online at any time. We can be reached by phone at (801) 821-1354 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”