A review from a birth mom in her TWENTIES
Let me start off by saying it took me THREE YEARS to write a review without being an absolutely angry as hell adult over the way my daughter's adoption was handled and how I was treated as a human being in order for gladney to get what they wanted. Please keep in mind I am well educated, I went through with the adoption, I love my daughters adoptive parents and believe it was the best decision for her. I also am blessed to have given them this gift so I am NOT ANGRY at my daughter's adoptive parents.
I got pregnant at 23 when engaged to a man who I thought was my forever. Halfway through the pregnancy he bailed after becoming violent and beginning to use drugs... he then found someone else and took everything with him and I lost my job trying to keep everything up. So, I did the responsible thing and looked into adoption because I wanted my child to have the best life possible, which at the time I could not give her due to my circumstances.
I knew this was going to be a very very difficult and trying experience. I knew that going in, I knew it going out. I still know it to this day. But nothing, and I mean nothing warranted the way I was treated. You see, Gladney approaches you (when you are a birth mother) as a very sweet and understanding factor. They make you feel safe, understood, cared for and not judged.... At first. They meet with a potential birth mother at say a coffee shop, to make things less stressful to explain their processes. They lightly push to see if you want adoption and then give you a "silent deadline" to get back to them. In other words they say, "well thank you for considering us, just know we need to know really soon what your decision is so we can find you the right family." It may seem like a kind statement, but to someone like me, who was educated, grown and in a sticky situation it was a statement that came with pressure and stress to make a decision. For before you are able to even think they are setting up their next appointments with you, and if you're feeling pressured and just wanting to get out of a situation without being rude, you just set up the appointments and then leave. Which is what I did because I had chalked up my emotions to being created by the pregnancy. When I look back on it now, I realize I was in fact pressured. All throughout my pregnancy gladney hounded me to make the choice.
I wasn't sure, I wasn't sure, give me some room to breathe. But once I would get a small bit of room, here they would come again "Anon, we need you to make a choice, anon we have some great families, anon, anon, anon."
Let me say that gladney does "take care of birth mothers" before and after the birth. They cover our expenses (just the birth then emergency csection was 30k+, not including obgyn visits, other Medical expenses, etc .). At least that's what I thought. I can tell you right now that it's medicaid for pregnancies that cover our medical expenses. They don't pay the hospitals bills, the government does. I know this, because my parents and I had to deal with this afterwards and before when they forced me to sign up for Medicaid even though I had medical insurance. So if they say they're paying for it and that's why they are charging you as potential parents so much, that's crap! They also say they will help with rent while you are pregnant, etc. yet never ONCE did I receive such assistance beforehand or after despite my two inquiries when I was desperate. Instead it was my parents who helped. I did though get help for 100$ for groceries which i will get to here in a bit...
A few months before my daughter's birth I finally chose adoption. I knew it was the right thing, and so I picked out an amazing family. I can confirm someone's review where they make you meet them at a restaurant and it seems very impersonal. Though my meeting went great, I feel it could have gone better. The case workers put a time limit and cause a lot of pressure and stress for you to "get along" and I feel their ways of trying to do this can make the situation turn negative or make it just simply even more awkward than it needs to be. In other words, the case workers need to sit back and allow us as birth mothers and potential adoptive parents to actually interact rather than being kept from discussing certain things and trying to direct conversations. It really doesn't help us to build any sort of bond. Though thankfully I had the blessing to meet such understanding people.
Because of these two wonderful people being who they were, I chose them despite the awkward interactions caused by delegating caseworkers. And I can't reiterate enough how grateful and how approving I am of and for them. I mean, I did chose them to raise my perfect and beautiful little one.
So let me fast forward to my daughter's birth. I was induced and ended up in an emergency c-section, so I got 3 days in the hospital with my perfect little one. Day one was rough. Because almost as soon as she and I were out of post op/recovery and back into the room my caseworker bustled in and started asking fast paced questions. Are you going to sign? Here's the process, I need you to sign, your daughter is going to stay with a foster family.
Now let me pause here for a moment: for those of you who have heard of this foster family stuff, I too have been through this and I discovered they use many false statements to force it to happen. In my case? They told me they needed* it to be done in order to protect my daughter from her father and having him come in and try to stop the adoption. Looking back on it now, I realize they used my fear of him to convince me it was the right thing to do. Which angers me. Because no matter how you try to justify it, that is manipulation of someone at a very vulnerable point, no matter what age they are. Every day my caseworker came and asked me to sign the papers. I kept saying no. I just wanted my three days with her without the paperwork and worries. Three days I could carry with me until the day I die. On day two in the AM I burst out crying and told my caseworker to leave me Alone and so she did. Then comes 7am on the third day and here she comes. She immei begins taking over the room. Tells the nurse I need to be off all medicines (which yes, is the legal requirement) and then tells me I need to sign papers at 10 and that after, the foster mother would come in and take my daughter and then I would be discharged.
It was a humiliating experience.
I can in no way possibly express to adoptive parents how humiliating this process is, no matter what age we are. I can't begin to imagine the pain as a birth mother how painful it can be for an adoptive couple being told no, but I can say when we as birth parents begin to be pressured the more the will to say no builds within us because we are hurting. This process is excruciating and humiliating. Please try to understand we don't want to hurt you, we are simply struggling internally so deeply that we can't put it into words.
So I said no. I needed time and I had time, because she had to be with the foster family for 30 days. But still, they dressed my daughter, gave her to the foster parent and off they went and I was wheeled out of the hospital a sobbing, humiliated mess.
Fast forward to 2 weeks later. I am allowed 3 visits a week and I am taking advantage of that. I love seeing her. But here comes the pressure to sign. I know I need to, I know I do. But I need just a little more time. I ask for a few days. They allow it. The day before my signing, my daughter's father shows up. I call gladney thinking "hey, i need to inform them, let me be responsible and do so and see if he can visit her." Because unbeknownst to them, he had agreed to sign the papers as long as he could just meet and hold her atleast once and he wanted to say sorry to her for being a screw up. I asked them if a visit would be okay... but suddenly my caseworker begins to panic and she says "you stay right where you are, I will be there soon, we need him to sign the papers" and hangs up. Within 15 minutes the caseworker and her assistant(?) are at my front door and when I open the door I ask them kindly if they could leave and that I didn't approve their coming directly to my home. That my ex and I would respectfully meet with them at the Fort Worth location to sign papers. Though my caseworker wasn't having it and pushed her way inside and immediately approached my ex who was freshly dealing with the news and crying. She began to belittle him and tell him the law required him to sign now that I have made the choice to do this which I firmly reminded her that wasn't the case, then I firmly asked her to leave, which she did not do. She continued to push my ex to sign papers until he calmly stood up and walked out of the house after saying "I was going to, but you can't push someone like this. This isn't how it should be done."
She then looks at me and tells me I have made a "big mistake bringing him here" and that "this decision I have made was going to deeply effect my relationship with the adoptive parents" then "I don't think you can be trusted, so we are going to cease your visitations and decide what we need to do."
I was absolutely BLOWN away, because everything I had done was correct. There wasn't any other way to do it. The next day I went into the agency with my parents to sign the papers, my ex refused to go. He didn't want a part of it after how he had been treated, which even as shitty as he was, was understandable. Nobody would is want to deal with that in that sort of situation. I sign the papers. I sign them for a visit every six months until she is five. I have copies of this*** THIS IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER.
I then am "granted" a 30 minute visit for signing the paperwork. Then taken home. I ask my caseworker when the adoption ceremony will be because I want to be there. She says "we aren't sure yet, I will let you know when th adoptive parents are able". Later that morning, gladney did the adoption ceremony with my parents and the adoptive parents while I sat at home unknowing. I did not find this out until my mom told me almost a year later because she had been told I was "not wanting to do it, because I couldn't face the pain."
A month after the official adoption ceremony I needed help with groceries. My caseworker said I needed proof I needed the help and she could give me a card and then take me herself. I said that was fine. We go, and while we are going I am keeping things civil and polite. But I gain the courage to ask her why the adoption ceremony happened the way it did... her response? "With all the issues you caused, you were a threat to the adoption because of your ex.. you are sick 'anon', you need professional help. So if you want your visits, we are going to need you to go to a therapist and have records of those events"
AGAIN... I was ABSOLUTELY blown away. But because I was desperate for the visits, I went. The first visit comes around and man, was it hard. I was very emotional afterwards. I said "I don't know if I can do this again."
Well let me tell you something, just incase you as a birth parent or even adoptive parents are feeling emotional, don't say ANYTHING that could condemn you. Because apparently a statement made from emotion is LAW and can end your contracts even without your signing anything!
Thank god I got my adoptive mothers email, because when the next six months came along and I asked for my visit gladney told me that my saying that meant they went in and canceled the visitations and no longer had to abide by the contract. I mean they went so far as to change the paperwork to 1 visitation after birth. Which contradicts the exact paperwork copies I have from my lawyer.
After that I was done with gladney. I just couldn't do it anymore.
Just whatever you do, do not even consider giving this place your money. It toon almost 3 years to rebuild a relationship with my daughter's adoptive parents due to the lies and slander gladney had served them on a silver platter about me. It took the same amount of time for my parents to rebuild a relationship with them as well.
I was a good person just wanting to do the right thing and they made me into a horrible troubled young woman. What could have been a truly beautiful though pained experience was a complete an utter nightmare and this is only the "bigger" issues I went through as a birth parent.
Just stay away. You and your child's birth or adoptive parents will do so much better somewhere else than here.