Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

It's a Living: Executive Director with Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services in OKC

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

It's a Living: Executive Director with Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services in OKC

Article excerpt

"If you could create a perfect family, what would it look like?"

Deirdre McCool poses the question to dozens of expectant mothers each year as she tries to help them find the best homes possible for their infants. It helps shift the decision to put a child up for adoption to an act of creation - creating a new family, a new life.

"I can't even describe the amazing feeling that you get when you see people, who are unrelated at the beginning of this experience, come together through adoption," said McCool, the executive director of Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services. "It changes you."

The service McCool heads describes itself as a nonprofit ministry dedicated to providing compassionate, professional services to women experiencing unplanned pregnancies and to couples wishing to build families through the gift of adoption.

Services for pregnant women are free of charge and include counseling, adoption planning, life gatherings and other support. Adoptive families also receive counseling, as well as affordable education and coordination services, and domestic and international home study certification, post-adoptive support and guidance.

Since McCool started working with Deaconess about 15 years ago, she's seen a shift in the adoption environment overall as less ethical agencies turn to profit.

"There's a lot of potential for children to be bought and sold, changing the adoption process to child trafficking," she said. "It's why I'm happy to serve on the state Adoption Review Task Force. We're trying to make some changes in the laws to strengthen the process and protect the children. Most of the laws haven't been reviewed since 1997."

The other big change has been one of openness. Adoption organizers once thought that moving a child from one family to another was best served by privacy or secrecy. Once a mother gave up her infant, the records were closed. …

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