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A Grandfather Remembers: An Open Adoption Story


[Names have been changed for reasons of privacy]

Dr. Kurt Senske, CEO of Lutheran Social Services, recently received a letter from the Pastor Emeritus of a Lutheran Church in North Texas. Pastor Bill wrote to Dr. Senske about the personal reasons he and his wife enthusiastically support Upbring Adoption services.

Their daughter and son-in-law, Bill and Carol, had been married 13 years when they began their adoption journey with Lutheran Social Services in 1993. The couple was notified of an adoption opportunity in a distant city, and they flew there to meet the potential birth mother of their son. They were overjoyed when, after several days of waiting, they learned she had selected them to be the parents of her baby. She chose open adoption so that she would not lose contact with him and his new family.

When the little boy was born, both sets of grandparents-to-be rented a van and drove to the city where the birth mother lived in order to “bring him home.” The next day, they all gathered at the home of the birth mom’s family who were faithful and active members of a local Lutheran church. “It was as if we discovered a branch of our families that we never knew about,” Pastor Bill said. “They had prepared a lunch for us, and we enjoyed getting acquainted with the family. Each of us was allowed to hold the baby.

“That evening, all of us gathered together at the Lutheran church. The church pastor led a special service while each family stood facing each other before the altar. The birth mother was holding the baby. After prayers and Scripture readings, she came over to us and placed the infant into his adoptive mother’s arms. This was one of the most emotional moments of my life. We were overjoyed at receiving a son and grandson, while the birth mother and her family were torn with feelings of sadness. She could have aborted this child legally. But her Christian faith would not allow her to do that. Instead, she chose to place him into a family where she knew he would be loved and brought up in the Christian faith.”

The new adoptive family returned to their home, and on December 19, 1993, Pastor Bill had the privilege of baptizing Will, his new grandson. The birth mother and her family all came to the baptism and the reception afterward, where the baptism and adoption were celebrated by the congregation who had “waited with the adoptive parents” for this happy event.

Flash forward 20 years, and Will, the adopted “baby,” is now a 6’5” sophomore in college. His granddad calls him “a fine young man of whom we are very proud.” Over the years, the birth mother stayed in touch with Will and his parents, and attended his high school graduation.

Prior to Will’s adoption, Pastor Bill admits that he and his wife were skeptical of open adoption. He is now an advocate. He said, “I think open adoption is one of the most important advances ever made in the adoption process. Not only does it allow the birth mother to know what happens to the baby she bore; it also eliminates the search for the medical history of the birth family. This can be very important to the adopted person throughout his life. Thank you for all you do to provide good homes for infants born of unmarried mothers, happiness for childless couples, and also support for the birth mothers and their families.”

Learn more about Upbring Adoption and Upbring International Adoption at

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