My experience with Bethany as a birthmother has been awful.
I've been dealing with one of their South Carolina offices for the last three months and things have gone excessively downhill. At first I thought it may be that my beliefs don't exactly allign with those of Bethany but after reading other reviews and talking to those whom came to a couple meetings with me what I felt was not me being hypersensitive.
Besides what is highlighted below BCS was very condescending towards me from the beginning when they called me and this baby low risk because I do not have any previous drug or aocohol issues. The ignorance and condescending tone continued and worsened with each visit to Bethany. I eventually decided to parent as I could not let a organization that calls themselves Christian to take my baby and possible place ith with a family that only wants him because of his black father.
1 - Lies/conflicting information: Upon my first encounter with a pregnancy counselor with BCS I was informed that most families are now looking for extremely open adoption relationships and if this is what I wanted(very much so was) that it is possible. When it came to the point of reviewing families that had expressed interest in adopting my baby the “Openness Survey” they adoptive families had completed when they first started working with BCS mostly indicated they were not interested in open adoption, that they weren’t willing to share contact info, have visits in/outside their home and share letters/pictures beyond the 2 years BCS requires.
I was told I could write a letter to prospective families – this sort of made sense to me but also didn’t. I was told over the phone by BCS that I should write a letter telling families about my life and what I see for this baby. I was more or less selling myself. In later meetings when I asked about this letter again I was given weird looks as if I had made it up. Perhaps I was given wrong information as this seems to be what they write up in their recruitment emails to their families when there’s a baby to be placed.
Adoptive families that work with BCS create these glossy picture books via Shutterfly. At my first meeting with BCS I was instructed that I could take some books home with me to review interested families. When it came time to review and select a family I was locked away for hours in a conference room and not allowed ot leave the building with any of these books. I can understand the reasoning that they might have an emergency placement and a birthmother may need to review some however I was looking to just take the 1 or 2 of the families I was highly interested in. I was never given any sort of reason as to why I couldn’t leave with a book. A week later when I returned to BCS they did not have the books I wanted to review – surprisingly because another birthmother had taken them home.
2: Openness Survey: in an effort to understand what adoptive families are willing ot handle and what they are looking for BCS has them complete a survey with an 1-5 disagree/agree scale. I was amazed at the amount of families that were not overly willing to adopt a baby with medical needs and congenital defects. Some families gave higher scores for history of drug and alcohol use by the mother than they did for medical needs. A BCS employee had yelled at me for removing these surveys from a binder I was given, 1 for the act itself and 2 because the families I was given were all willing to take care of my baby – whom might have some medical needs. This I disagree with, because if they originally weren’t wiling but now they somewhat are I would have questions as to why and how they are planning on handling it beyond prayer.
The pregnancy counselor with BCS made many assumptions about my life that weren’t true. After filing out a very invasive form about my social and medical history she had more questions. She twisted facts to make my life sound awful – it’s not. She took a situation from my childhood of someone not wanting to discipline their kid and turned it into a situation of abuse by my parents. She twisted a friendship of someone in my support group that we were in a lesbian relationship together. She was also extremely rude towards another person in my support group when he started asking questions about the adoptive families with BCS and why there are not any gay or non-white couples but single applicants were ok.
When this counselor found out my baby was biracial she offensively made me aware that “colored” babies now get placed faster than their white counterparts. This made it sound as if they were trophy babies.
When I finally told BCS I would no longer need their services they asked i return any books I had - those same books they wouldn't let me leave with. when i advise this then they wanted to call me. i repeatedly advised them that I could take a call after my normal working hours. this didn't seem to be understood. They then asked what i was doing for lunch on weekdays, i assumed htis was so they could have a quick call with me - no, they wanted to make a visit to my job and have lunch so they could talk in person. I work in a secured facility for starters and I have kept this adoption decision to myself. there is no need for BCS to come to my emploer. finally after several question i had agreed ot just go to the BCS office - taking more time away from my job for a organization i thought i was finished with. Upon arrival it was clear that BCS was going to try and convince me to stay wiht them and to still place with the family i had selected. once i explained what my reasons were and that my decisision was more based on the treatment by BCS and not those with the adoptive families the ton of BCS changed. they were now trying ot blame all the issues - and some - that i've highlighted on myself. eventually the BCS employee sort of admitted to her extreme communication issues. i hope htis will help adoptive families and especially birth mothers in the future.