The Meaning of Care Magazine
Choosing Adoption: ‘Building One Big Family’ With a Firm Methodist FoundationPublished: Dec. 6, 2021
“A roller coaster of emotions.”
That’s how 20-year-old Lynn* described a positive pregnancy test in November 2020 that launched her journey toward adoption.
“Other than my family, I didn’t have any help,” she said. “I knew I needed to find someone who was ready for that responsibility – someone who wanted a baby.”
An adoption agency helped her find that someone in a neighboring state.
Julie* – a young wife and mother – was already familiar with the adoption process thanks to a baby girl that she and her husband were matched with almost four years ago.
“My husband and I had always wanted kids, but we struggled to conceive,” Julie said. “Our daughter is such a blessing. We wanted to give her a sibling.”
Lynn and Julie agreed on an open adoption. But the two moms didn’t realize how close their relationship would become.
“It’s like we’re building one big family together,” Lynn said. “And it all kind of started at Methodist.”
A Strategic Approach
“Adoption isn’t something I typically bring up with patients,” Dr. Karre said. “But as soon as I’m aware they’re considering it – which, in Lynn’s case, was at about 20 weeks gestation – I take on a bit of a different role.”
Knowing that biological mothers who relinquish their babies for adoption are at greater risk for postpartum depression and other mental health concerns, Dr. Karre began implementing a strategic approach. He asked specific questions to determine how much support Lynn might need after delivery. He provided resources and laid out all of her options moving forward.
“Just being acutely aware of that postpartum state,” Dr. Karre said. “And doing whatever I could to eliminate some of that stress and anxiety before it all had a chance to settle in.”
“He just made me feel so comfortable about everything,” Lynn said.
On July 21, Dr. Karre delivered a healthy baby boy who was given a name that both moms agreed on.
Both moms also agreed on staying in adjoining hospital rooms for the duration of Lynn’s stay – an option Methodist typically offers in adoption cases if space allows.
The proximity allowed Julie and her husband ample time to bond with Baby and share lots of newborn firsts with Lynn. Being in that space “felt good,” Julie said, thanks largely to nurse Jen Farrell, BSN, RN, and the rest of the hospital’s mother-baby staff.
“They were extremely warm and welcoming,” Julie said. “Every interaction came with so much respect – never any judgement. Just really top-notch care – like we were patients, too.”
“Patients, for sure,” Farrell said. “They were going to be taking this baby home. They needed to know how to care for him, too. Whether it’s giving a bottle or changing a diaper, it’s important that we give birth moms and adoptive moms all the skills and opportunities they want and need while here.”
Food for the Soul
Just as memorable as the care they received was “the salmon!” Julie exclaimed.
“I think my husband probably remembers all his meals, too,” she said with a laugh. “He preferred to eat at the hospital. And that’s significant because he loves trying new restaurants – especially in new cities.”
The quality cuisine allowed the couple to spend more time at the hospital with Lynn and Baby and less time driving around in search of their next meal. It also led to quite the connection between Julie’s “ultimate foodie” husband and the woman who took his final breakfast order – Debbie Finazzo, a Methodist room service representative who’s adopted all five of her children.
“She told him how special it was that we were adopting this child and what a blessing it’s been for them,” Julie said. “It was nice to hear. Someone who probably doesn’t have much patient interaction still played a role in us feeling really blessed and welcomed.”
“That’s what it’s all about,” Finazzo said, adding that her department plays a crucial role in the overall patient experience: “Methodist doesn’t hire cooks, we hire chefs – who use love as their main ingredient. Our patients don’t just remember the excellent care they received, they remember the little things, too – like our salmon. It’s all about making this place feel like their home away from home.”
‘This Wasn’t Goodbye’
“Here’s this little patient he’d probably never see again, but he still seemed so invested in the care he was providing,” Julie said.
“I love watching my patients grow and seeing who they become,” Dr. Gibson said. “But even if I don’t get to experience that, every baby deserves a pediatrician who’s on their side. That’s my job. Every time.”
Thanks to Dr. Gibson and countless others who helped create a most memorable adoption experience, Julie said their Methodist departure was “bittersweet.”
“Happy for us – we were leaving with our baby,” she added. “But just imagining Lynn’s anguish – that was hard. We wanted her to know this wasn’t goodbye. And I think she realized that. I think Methodist’s positive environment only helped. It helped us start off on the right foot and plant a firm foundation moving forward.”
“Going through Methodist was the best thing I could have done,” Lynn said, becoming emotional. “They say it’s The Meaning of Care, and it is. It’s having someone – or a group of people – really look after you, be there for you and support you.”
“It’s realizing that people come from all walks of life,” Dr. Karre said. “And no matter what their goals or plans are, it’s doing whatever it takes to help them get there safely and comfortably.”