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Cover Story: Nebraska Children's Home Society

Celebrating 115 years of Caring

(page 2 of 2)

Nebraska has the highest percentage of women who work outside the home while raising small children.  NCHS has responded to this population’s needs with early childhood programming.  It offers parenting classes and provides day care for low-income families.

Another trend to which NCHS has responded is foster care for medically fragile children.  Its clients come from Nebraska as well as other states.  Often, children are brought to Nebraska to receive treatment at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s transplant unit.  They are wards of the state while they undergo treatment, and NCHS oversees their placement in foster care.

Kim Anderson, NCHS Pregnancy, Parenting, and Adoption Program Director, says there are several misconceptions regarding adoption that NCHS works to clarify.  A predominant mistaken belief is that the mother and father who place a child for adoption are doing so for self-serving reasons.  “This is not the case,” Anderson has witnessed.  “These are parents who are making a thoughtful and purposeful plan for their child.”

Another misconception is that only teenagers make adoption plans.  In actuality, most adoption plans are made by those 19 to 27 years of age.  Men and women from a variety of backgrounds and representing every race make adoption plans.  Anderson also has seen a growing number of parents who are already parenting making adoption plans during unplanned pregnancies.  “They know their limits,” says Anderson. 

A support and education program helps parents and prospective parents.  “Anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy is going through a crisis,” Anderson states.  Caseworkers at NCHS offer guidance, reminding them that they do not have to make up their minds immediately. 

“Some may think they have to make a decision before they come to us.  We’re here to help them through the process, to make sure they make well-informed decisions,” Kathleen Al-Marhoon, Marketing and Public Relations Manager for NCHS adds.  Caseworkers educate mothers and fathers on what it means to be a parent.  They connect them with resources in their community, helping them make ends meet.  If parents do choose to make an adoption plan, caseworkers help them through the grief and inherent sense of loss.  Post-adoption services are also available.  “We tell our clients that we’re here for forever,” affirms Anderson. 

NCHS has handled both open and closed adoptions, though it currently only offers open adoptions.  “Open adoptions give a healthy sense of identity and sense of self,” Anderson explains.  With closed adoptions, “children spent time wondering who they looked like.  There was no mirror in front of them.  Secrecy takes a lot of energy.”

During its 115 years of servicing Nebraska children and families, NCHS has impacted over hundreds of thousands of lives.  The well-being of the child has and will continue to be

its primary focus.  In the case of adoption, Anderson reminds us where NCHS’s priorities lay: “Adoption is no longer about finding children for families.  It’s about finding families for children.”

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