October 10, 2014

UCA funds helped ‘connect us with our son’ through adoption service

Ed and Jane Seib, members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianapolis, pose with their children, 2-year-old Eddie and 8-month-old Daisy, in this Oct. 4 photo. The Seibs adopted Eddie through St. Elizabeth/Coleman Adoption and Pregnancy Services in Indianapolis. The organization is associated with Catholic Charities and benefits from the annual United Catholic Appeal: Christ Our Hope funds. (Submitted photo by Susie Blackmore Photography)

Ed and Jane Seib, members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianapolis, pose with their children, 2-year-old Eddie and 8-month-old Daisy, in this Oct. 4 photo. The Seibs adopted Eddie through St. Elizabeth/Coleman Adoption and Pregnancy Services in Indianapolis. The organization is associated with Catholic Charities and benefits from the annual United Catholic Appeal: Christ Our Hope funds. (Submitted photo by Susie Blackmore Photography)

By Natalie Hoefer

Two years ago, Jane and Edmund Seib IV left the hospital with their newborn son, Eddie V.

All were doing well—baby, parents … and birth mother.

“When we married, we didn’t get pregnant right away,” Jane recalled. “After a few years, we started talking about adoption.

“Once you start talking, there’s no going back. You fall in love with the idea and do whatever it takes to adopt.”

With the help of United Catholic Appeal: Christ Our Hope (UCA) funds, the Seibs—and other adoptive parents in the archdiocese—were able to fulfill their dream of becoming parents through adoption services associated with Catholic Charities in central and southern Indiana.

The Seibs, members of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianapolis who now also have Daisy, an 8-month-old daughter, adopted Eddie through St. Elizabeth/Coleman Pregnancy and Adoption Services in Indianapolis.

“The more we listened, the more we realized that St. Elizabeth’s supports birth mothers who choose an adoption plan and who choose to parent,” Jane said. “We thought that was really important.”

Appeal funds help offset the many expenses of operating St. Elizabeth/Coleman Pregnancy and Adoption Services, said Renee Hummel, director of the agency’s adoption services.

“Our birth mothers don’t pay a fee. We serve them for life with counseling for free, and we do that for adoptive families as well—as the child gets older, we help through those questions a child has about their birth parents.”

UCA funds help the Indianapolis agency counsel approximately 140 pregnant women each year, roughly 25 of whom will choose to have their child adopted versus choosing to parent. For those who do choose to parent, St. Elizabeth/Coleman offers a free support group for single mothers as well.

The agency also offers baby items such as clothing, diapers, bibs, blankets and more. Through their addition to the group of 211 assistance call referral agencies, the service saw a marked increase last year in the number of mothers in need of material help.

“We served 727 mothers and 1,220 children,” said Hummel of those who sought diapers, blankets, clothing, bibs and other baby necessities last year. “During the previous year, we served 62 mothers with 79 children. More and more community human service organizations are contacting us to help their clients, like the Marion County Health Department, Healthy Families, hospital clinics, mental health organizations.”

Had they lived in the southern portion of the archdiocese, the Seibs might have turned to the adoption services at St. Elizabeth Catholic Charities in New Albany.

The agency offers services similar to the organization in Indianapolis, according to adoption director Emily Baumann.

“We offer the birth parent counseling throughout her pregnancy, and free counseling for the birth mom and the child that is placed, and for the adoptive family,” Baumann said.

“We’ll help with rent, and if the birth mom doesn’t have a place to live, we have a residential program for them while they’re pregnant.”

Baumann called annual appeal funds “the backbone of what is needed to run our program, by allowing us to have the residential home available for birth moms that may need a place to be, or need some extra support in their lives.”

Some mothers need material support, whether choosing to place their child or not. For those women in the Tell City area, Catholic Charities Tell City offers a program called Lifeline for Families.

Formerly called Matrix Lifeline, the program provides diapers and formula for low-income families with young children.

Joan Hess, director of Catholic Charities Tell City, said annual appeal funds “are used for buying formula and diapers. We do diaper drives to get some donated, but there’s never enough, and never in the size you need! We’re always having to go out and purchase diapers.”

The organization also uses UCA funds to further regional education on the option of adoption.

“In our area, [adoption] really is not talked about because there’s no adoption agency or maternity home,” said Hess. “People who are pregnant think they only have two options—give birth or abort.

“We put up billboards, did a gathering of area deanery high school youths, and this year we will also hold a luncheon inviting local health care workers, counselors, people who might have contact with people who have an unplanned pregnancy, to plant the seed that when someone comes to them, there’s something else out there they can also do.”

By contributing to the annual United Catholic Appeal, donors are helping bring assistance and joy to others through archdiocesan Catholic Charities pregnancy and adoption services.

Just ask the Seibs.

“[St. Elizabeth/Coleman] allowed us to be parents,” said Jane. “We love our son more than anything in the world, and they were able to connect us with him. I feel like it was God’s plan from beginning to end. It all worked out so perfectly.

“I can’t imagine doing it any other way.”
 

(For more information on the United Catholic Appeal, log on to www.archindy.org/uca or call the Office of Stewardship and Development at 317-236-1415 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1415.)

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