In July 2012, Brian and Kristin were married. They were excited to start their life together and planned to have children as soon as possible. When they didn’t get pregnant right away, Kristin decided to see a doctor. She learned it was unlikely she would be able to get pregnant.
Though they were devastated with the news, they still had hope. The plan for their family had always included adoption, but they thought it was further down the road. “After we got engaged, we talked about having biological children, then adopting,” said Brian.
“God rerouted our dream,” added Kristin, and brought them to the Catholic Charities adoption program.
Adopting a Baby through Catholic Charities
Brian and Kristin signed up for classes with Catholic Charities adoption program. Part of the paperwork included a form that all prospective adoptive parents fill out. On the form, parents list what characteristics they are open to with an adoption. Some of these include if they would be willing to adopt a baby who was exposed to drugs in utero, or that may have disabilities.
“At first we were concerned about adopting a baby exposed to drug use or medical conditions like HIV, and then we prayed about it,” said Brian. “After prayer, we opened up to all the possibilities.”
Safe Haven Baby
Another option parents have to decide is if they are willing to take a Safe Haven Baby.
Arizona’s Safe Baby Haven law was passed in 2001. It allows a person to physically hand over an unharmed newborn baby within the first 72 hours after birth with a Safe Haven provider and not face criminal charges.
Safe Haven providers include hospitals, churches, adoption agencies, fire stations or EMTs who are on duty and have someone present to receive the baby. The Safe Haven law protects babies and mothers, providing a future for both.
Waiting for a Baby
After completing classes, Brian and Kristin were certified to adopt in the state of Arizona. They knew it could be months to years before a baby would come along for them.
Something happened that no one could have predicted. A baby was born and left at a hospital just weeks after they were certified to adopt. The Department of Child Safety notified Catholic Charities there was a Safe Haven baby that would need to be placed with a family.
Kristin remembers getting the call, “It was like time stopped.”
Jennifer Harris, lead adoption specialist at Catholic Charities, explained there was a baby boy, but they didn’t know much about him. “They said 'yes' right away,” said Harris. She insisted Kristin and Brian needed to think about it for a little longer.
The couple prayed about this baby and knew he was meant for their family. They got to meet him at the hospital later that day, but the baby stayed at the hospital for three days in accordance with the Safe Baby Haven law.
“Meeting our baby was an incredible moment. We got to hold him, feed him and change him,” said Kristin. “I had never changed a diaper before.” But, they quickly learned how to change him from watching the hospital staff as well as from their supportive family.
They named their son Michael. He was healthy and strong as a newborn. Now, 13 months later, he continues to be a healthy baby boy.
Kristin was able to quit her job to be a stay at home mom, and Brian’s employer provided a generous paternity leave package for him.
“Years ago, my office in California closed, and we moved away from all of our family to come to Arizona,” said Brian. "Now we realize God brought us here to meet Jennifer and Catholic Charities.”
Women experiencing an unexpected pregnancy can contact Catholic Charities for free, confidential pregnancy counseling either while pregnant or after giving birth. Our compassionate pregnancy counselors can be reached by calling or texting 1-888-818-4445.