-- Giving back to birth moms was the intention when Mark Livings, the CEO of CAIRS Solutions, created Childconnect, an internet-based software resource that strengthens post adoption relationships. "I wouldn't have a family if it were not for their sacrifice." You can see the sincerity in his face as he talks passionately about this motivation. Post adoption can be beautiful or depressing depending on what side you're on. Why? A birth mom agrees to place her baby with adoptive parents. After the birth and finalization the adoptive parents go home to raise their new baby. Many times the birth mom goes home, post adoption, with empty arms and a heavy heart. Left unresolved this emptiness commonly leads to prolonged grief and loneliness. Years later the grief can resurface limiting her ability to enjoy healthy relationships.
Open or semi-open adoptions were supposed to improve post adoption relationships by allowing adoptive parents and birth moms to share photos and letters of the baby as the child grows. Adoptive parents mail photos and letters of the child to their adoption agency several times a year for up to eighteen years. The agency maintains control to protect both sides. They receive, repackage, and resend the updates to the birth mom. However these post adoption agreements aren't legally binding. In many cases the updates end prematurely.
Childconnect makes it easy for parents to participate post adoption. CAIRS moved the updates from the post office and mail rooms to an online portal that is private and secure. Updates can be uploaded from the family's home. There is no need for the adoptive parents to scurry around dealing with printing and freight. CAIRS prints and mails the photos and photo books called Lifebooks to the birth parent with each update. Birth moms also have 24/7 online access to the photos. Does Childconnect make a difference? The results are dramatic according to Adoptions Together, an adoption agency headquartered in Maryland, who has used Childconnect for two years. Having finalized nearly one-hundred fifty adoptions annually, they have been tracking their post adoption activity for the last twenty years. With families who adopted previous to the agency's use of Childconnect they saw one-hundred seventy-seven post adoption communications in 2013. That same year they recorded one-hundred fifty-five communications with parents using Childconnect, nearly as many as all of their post adoption communications from the previous twenty years. They also found both adoptive parents and birth moms initiated communications equally which is a completely different dynamic than parents from the previous twenty years. So they have increased post adoption communication and healthy dialog. They have seen birth moms who were "off the radar" previous to using Childconnect, become engaged and forthcoming after receiving their first update through this new resource. That's impressive said Beth Stahl, domestic case manager with Adoptions Together. Grief is reduced and the need for counseling has diminished resulting in healthier adoptions.
Results like this have birth mom organizations like Birth Mother Baskets recommending Childconnect to pregnant women who call to educate themselves on adoption options. Agencies across the country like Heart of Adoption in Tampa, Florida, Adoption Choices located in seven states, and law firms like Kirsh & Kirsh in Carmel, Indiana are making Childconnect a mandatory part of their adoption process. "The gift of giving shouldn't come with a price tag of guilt and hopeless feelings," added Livings. "Birth Moms who use Childconnect feel like they matter and that is huge."
For More information on Childconnect or CAIRS Solutions log onto www.cairsolutions.com or contact Greg Phelps at 317.652.7696
For More information on Adoptions Together log on to www.adoptionstogether.org or contact Beth Stahl at 410.869.0620
For More information on Birth Mother Baskets log on to www.birthmotherbaskets.org or contact Gina Crotts at 801.836.1716