Elaine Tumonis (middle) and her sisters
My connection to adoption is lifelong. My older sister is adopted, and it was such a normal thing in our family’s life that as a child, I remember thinking every family must have an adopted child in it. After our first son was born, my husband and I worked with HFS to adopt our second son, who has grown into a wonderful, mature, kind, intelligent, athletic, empathetic 23-year-old young man.
Our situation was a little unusual. A week before our son’s birth, we were contacted by our HFS social worker on behalf of a birth mother who had seen our profile several months earlier while she was working with HFS. She had subsequently opted to work with a different agency that strongly promoted open adoptions, which is something we were open to considering. As her due date neared, she reached out to HFS and asked to meet with us. A week before she gave birth, we met her and her parents. A week later, we were racing to the hospital in the middle of the night to meet our newborn baby!
Our son’s birth mother is strong, warm, kind, intelligent, and one of the most emotionally grounded people we’ve ever known. She and her family embraced ours as we all embarked on an open adoption journey. This was uncharted territory for all of us, but we all shared the view that if we all focused on what was best for the baby, it would all work out.
And it has! Adopting our son felt like the most meant-to-be experience I’ve ever had, and we are extraordinarily fortunate to have him in our lives. We had frequent visits with his birth mother and her extended family during his infancy and young childhood years, and less frequent visits as he grew, and we all became busier. But we are still in touch, and I hold our son’s birth mother in my heart every day.
HFS provided us with excellent support and counseling as we navigated the adoption process, and in recent years we’d been making annual donations. So, when I was asked, over a year ago, to consider joining the Board, I felt fortunate to have a new way to support the agency.
I’ve been heartened to learn about how the agency has evolved since we adopted our son. HFS is committed to the values of diversity and inclusion and remains steadfast in its mission to provide non-judgmental, compassionate support, information, and guidance for birth parents and adoptive parents alike as they navigate the intricacies of the adoption process. For birth parents considering adoption, HFS meets them where they are and helps guide them toward making whatever decision is right for them. The agency uses some of the best practices in the field.
HFS has always depended on private donations to support its mission to create strong, loving families through adoption and foster parenting. We rely on a small staff, and many of our services are free. Support from those of us who appreciate the power of adoption to create families is crucial to continuing the agency’s mission.
Please join me in supporting this wonderful, essential agency by making as generous a donation as you can.
Elaine Tumonis, Board Member