When Karielle was a little girl, her mother and grandmother took her to church every time the door opened. People welcomed her every Sunday—hugged her and made her feel safe. She was loved. Church felt like home.
“It was the same feeling I felt when I came to Emmanuel Home,” she insists. “From the first person I met with Christian Adoption Services (CAS), I felt valued.”
Karielle was seven months pregnant when she contacted CAS. She had not planned to be in this situation: “I learned the father was not going to be there for me or the baby.” She knew she
would need help.
CAS offers domestic and international adoption services in North and South Carolina. The agency works with Christian couples who desire to adopt and supports birth mothers by helping them make adoption plans and connecting them with adoptive parents.
Karielle felt she couldn’t do it herself. She was frightened, not for herself—she was afraid for her son. She only wanted what was best for him. Adoption and CAS were her choices.
Karielle chose an open adoption. She was given information on families and looked through photo books they provided. Each photo was scrutinized. She wanted her son to live with a family who could provide not just necessities, but the stability she had craved as a child. She knew what it was like to feel alone, to want and not have. She needed his life to be better. She needed her child to be in a place where he could laugh and be happy.
The day her son went to be with his new family was a more difficult day than Karielle ever imagined. Although she tried, her tears were uncontrollable. She was confident with her decision, and she believed this “was” the family. They would send photos of milestones. She would have updates. But, she thought, what if the father had partnered with her? What if her mother who passed two years ago was still alive to support her and help her care for her son? What if she could parent him and provide for him the way she dreamed? And yet, she knew none of this could be. There was no one who could help her. Karielle was alone, again.
At Emmanuel Home in Thomasville, there was a Welcome Basket awaiting Karielle. There were new colorful towels and wash cloths, personal items and toiletries, a cozy blanket, and a Bible. Care worker Courtney Turner led Karielle to the second floor. “The room choice is yours.” Karielle looked at each room and placed her basket on the bed in the room with the large window overlooking the front yard.
More times than most could imagine, moms who place their children for adoption do not have the support they need post-placement. Emmanuel Home offers support and stability for up to five birth moms, offering a safe place to help them heal physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Most importantly, they are not alone. Caring staff provide resources and help the women set and meet goals that lead to self-sufficiency and future success.
Karielle needed a fresh start. Within days, she set her first goals and secured a job. A needs assessment revealed she needed eye and dental care. She also had never learned to drive. Courtney helped with lessons. Karielle received a learners permit, and the two women celebrated together when Karielle earned her drivers license.
The opportunity to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) through a program offered by a continuing care retirement
community was a dream come true. “I love working with older
people. They have gone through so many things and are understanding, less judgmental. I sit by them to talk and encourage them, but I leave encouraged.”
Karielle completed the program only days ago and is studying for the state exam she will take in a few weeks. She already looks beyond this goal to her next dream of becoming a registered nurse.
According to Courtney, “Karielle has poured herself into every challenge—making the best use of every opportunity—and thrived. She is amazing. I only hope that every birth mom who comes to Emmanuel Home will soar like her.”
Karielle still lives with the scars of past hurts and disappointments. But being at Emmanuel Home helps. You can see the change. You see it in her eyes. They light up when she talks about the future—the life her son now has and the promise the coming days hold for her.
To learn more about Christian Adoption Services, visit online at www.christianadopt.org or call 704-847-0038.
Pregnant & Not Ready? Consider Adoption. Free & Confidential Services.
24/7 helpline: 1-800-453-1011
Text for help: 704-619-3531
Email for help: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children