You did it – you finally meet that special person, and, now, you two are ready to start a family.
However, you run into a problem – you find out you are physically unable to have a child.
When this happened to Brooke and Chad Seabright, they turned to adoption.
Now, they are parents to baby Allyson, who is just older than 6 months old.
The Seabrights found Allyson through the global adoption agency Bethany Christian Services.
“We have met several families who have adopted,” Brooke said.
When people look to adopt, they go through private agencies like Bethany Christian or public agencies like the South Carolina Department of Social Services. It can cost at least $5,000 to use a private agency, while it can be free to use a public one, according to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Those available for adoption can range from infants to adults, according to Dawn Barton, adoption administrator for S.C. DSS Region II. However, most want newborns, she said.
The Seabrights were one of those couples.
“We always wanted a newborn,” Brooke said. “We wanted to start from the beginning.”
For those who want an infant, going through a private adoption agency is usually the best option, Barton said.
Most of the children who are legally available to adopt through a public agency – at least as far as DSS is concerned – are between 9 and 18 years old.
The birth parents usually choose who can adopt their child, when it comes to infant adoption, according to Bethany Christian’s website. Allyson’s birth mother chose Brooke and Chad.
The couple had designed a family profile and left it with the Bethany Christian office. Allyson’s mom saw that profile. She was considering eight families, but, in the end, she chose the Seabrights.
Allyson is the Seabrights’ only child, and they have been with her since the beginning.
Allyson was born prematurely. This meant the doctors had to keep her over in the hospital for 10 days.
This also meant the Seabrights got to bond with her early on.
“It’s been wonderful,” Brooke said. “We waited a long time.”
It took many steps and more than a year to finally meet Allyson.
The Seabrights, by using Bethany Christian, had to go through home studies and background checks. Their medical histories had to be looked over, and they had to get personal reference letters.
The South Carolina Department of Social Services also requires processes like going through preparatory training and turning in documents such as birth and marriage certificates.
Once families received their children, that is not the end. If any questions or problems arise, no matter when, agencies remain available to assist, according to Barton.
“If you need us, call us,” she said.
The Seabrights have a social worker they can rely on, if the need arises.
They also don’t plan on hiding Allyson’s past from her.
“We plan on telling her from the beginning,” Brooke said. “Bethany (Christian) pushes this.”
One way is by reading her stories focused on adoptive families.
Brooke and Chad have been together for 11 years and have lived in Aiken for nine. With Allyson, they like to go on trips, for walks and out to play disc golf.
For more information on the adoption process, visit www.dss.sc.gov or www.bethany.org.
Stephanie Turner has a hand on all areas of production for the Aiken Standard, where she reports, edits and designs pages. She graduated in July 2012 with a journalism degree from Valdosta State University and lives with her family in Evans, Ga.