On May 23, 2024, HFS will celebrate seventy-five years of creating forever families. It’s an amazing accomplishment, and a testament to the agency’s resilience, that HFS has continuously provided high-quality adoption services to birth parents and adoptive parents for almost eight decades.
HFS’s origin story began when Dr. George Piness, then associated with St. Anne’s Maternity Hospital, witnessed a woman and her baby stepping out of the shadows of St. Anne’s as two cars drove by. Placing the baby in one car, the woman got into the other. Both cars drove away in different directions. Dr. Piness walked into St. Anne’s and told administrator Sr. Mary Winifred Falker, “This cannot go on, something must be done!” That simple statement led first to St. Anne’s Adoption Service, incorporated on May 23, 1949, and, in July of 1950, the creation of a new agency, Holy Family Adoption Service, separate from St. Anne’s Maternity Hospital and led by Sr. M. Thomasine, its first Administrative Director.
From the beginning, HFS has emphasized the care of not only the child and the adoptive parents, but the birth parents as well. HFS has placed over 7,000 children into their forever homes, and thousands of additional individuals and families have benefitted from HFS counseling and post-adoption services. While infant adoption has remained the mainstay of HFS’s work, since the 1990s, the adoption of children in the foster care system, and the care of children in foster care, have also become an important part of our call to serve.
Mrs. Bob (Dolores) Hope (pictured with an HFS adoptive child and family) was the co-founder of HFS along with Dr. Piness. She served as the first president of its Board of Directors and was influential in its success for many years. Her example of hands-on, all-in involvement carries on today with HFS’s staff and board of directors.
After many decades associated with the Catholic Church, HFS is now an institution of the Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese, thanks to the leadership of Bishop J. Jon Bruno.
Our mission is clear: HFS strongly embraces the values of diversity and inclusion as we strive to provide caring, non-judgmental support for birth parents considering adoption, to unite children and infants in need of a home with hopeful adoptive parents, and to create strong, loving families of all shapes and sizes.
As we celebrate and look back on the previous seventy-five years, HFS also looks to the future. Featured in this Gratitude Report are articles about one of HFS’s oldest adopted families, and one of the newest. Keep checking the HFS website, HFS.org, for our “75 Stories for 75 Years” series. Join our email newsletter or share your HFS story by contacting email@example.com. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!
And help support HFS with a donation by going to hfs.org/donate.
President, HFS Board of Directors