An adoption agency in the Amarillo area truly has a heart not only for the process of adoption, but also for everyone involved in the process.
Cindy Gilliland, Director and Founder of the Special Delivery Infant Adoption Agency in Amarillo, was the featured speaker for the Borger Rotary Club Tuesday afternoon. She said the agency is the only one of its type in the panhandle and truly has God at the heart of it.
She said adoption truly affects more families that most people realize. She said in the past, adoption was not an option for birthmothers, and they had no say-so in the matter.
âThatâs a nightmare to me, and I have had a lot of women in the process of putting this together that said, âPlease donât let that happen. Please donât ever do that to these women.â I said, âI have no intention of doing that,ââ Gilliland said. âAdoption looks so different today. Itâs a positive thing, and it works. Itâs a win-win-win.â
She said the baby gets a loving home, prospective parents have the chance to have a family, and the birthmother can have the peace of knowing her child has been placed in a stable home.
The agency is located at 1601 South Monroe in Amarillo. Gilliland serves as director of the center, Beth Mowry is office manager, Nina Bohn is the birthmother caseworker, Natasha Butler is the adoptive couple caseworker, Ashley Ingram is the part-time family service coordinator, and the agency also has a part-time caseworker in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for clients there.
The agency has been licensed since 2006 by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. It is a non-profit 501c3 corporation with an active presence in the community.
Special Delivery is a Christian agency that places children only in two-parent Christian homes.
âChrist is the center of our agency and we expect it to be the center of the lives of the families we place babies with,â Gilliland said.
She said foster care is entirely different from the services offered by Special Delivery. She said there are numerous agencies that offer that service that are funded by the State of Texas, and Special Delivery does not receive any state funding.
The agency is seeking ministry partners of all levels, and has churches that help provide services and financial support. There are needs the agency has, and it has to reach out to businesses and the private sector at times to make those needs happen. Budget support comes from fees from adoptive couples, donations, fundraisers, and grants.
Special Delivery does only semi-open and open adoptions for couples. The birthmother may want to meet the adoptive couple prior to making a decision, and if she chooses them, they need to be open to sending pictures and letters to her for the first six months and annually after that. An open adoption means that the adoptive couple has a strong and healthy relationship with the birthmother.
Gilliland did say there are instances where the adoptive couple and birthmother may not have that much in common, and they each get on with their lives in different ways, not seeing each other as much as they did initially. Each adoption takes on its own characteristics, she said.
Adoptive couples must have been married for at least three years, must be Christians, must undergo background checks and FBI checks, must attend adoption orientation and more extensive adoption training, must provide references, and must be financially secure. She said financial security is particularly important to birthmothers when placing their children.
Couples must also pass a home study, but Gilliland said it is more of an interview process. The home is checked out, and the interview process analyzes a couple and their backgrounds from childhood to adulthood, and how that will play into the adoption process.
Special Delivery places around 12 babies each year, and has placed babies in homes throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. Almost 50 babies have been placed through the agency. Gilliland said the out-of-state adoptions are lengthier, but the legal team used by the agency makes the process very smooth.
Birthmothers that have worked with the agency have a wide range in age, from as young as 14 to the age of 42, and the agency does what it can to meet their needs. She said the agency never knows from day-to-day what might transpire.
Gilliland said in the 1970s, adoption records started to be kept. She said infant adoption builds strong families, helps children learn strong Christian values and morals, helps children as well or better academically than students in intact families, can help children stay away from a lifestyle of poverty and having to be supported by government programs, and protects them from abuse and neglect.
She said she would appreciate support in any way that people can provide it, one of those ways being through prayer over all aspects of the agencyâs work. She also said financial support is appreciated, and the agency is looking for monthly donors. A fundraiser is also held each fall with adoption being celebrated as the primary focus, and she said silent auction items are appreciated as well.
Gilliland also said loving and supporting adoptive families is another way people can show their support of the agency. She said the agency wants the best-case scenario for each family that is involved.
âThey may not hear anything until itâs time. Itâs just like having a baby,â she said.
For more information on Special Delivery and the services it offers, call 367-6755.