The History of ASC
Supporting birth & adoptive families for over three decades
Lauren. The Adoption Support Center was born with Lauren who entered Julie’s family through a private adoption in 1984. At the time, Julie had a high-level corporate position. She chose to follow her heart and left the corporate world co-found the Adoption Support Center, Inc. in 1986. Her first office was in her living room.
Julie says that sometimes she feels as if she’s trained her entire life to be a part of the adoption world. She had suffered multiple losses trying to give birth, followed by many complications with her only successful birth, and then she experienced secondary infertility when trying to have another child. And that’s where Lauren came in. Lauren was born and adopted in 1984.
In the 1980’s, private adoption was brand new. There were few attorneys who were experienced in adoption law – just several 100-year-old agencies to choose from. Julie signed on with one of them, and then promptly fell into a lead with a small-town neighbor. DCS did a quick home study and she was done. Julie received no adoption education or advice. She recalls she didn’t feel very ready to be an adoptive parent and had no idea what to expect.
Julie’s attorney “recommended” she not meet, communicate with or be involved with Lauren’s birth mom in the hospital. Julie has memories of feeling so disappointed! She remembers wanting to comfort this brave woman, advocate for her, and thank her for the privilege of raising her daughter. Julie was ahead of her time. She wanted this to be personal, not just legal. Instead, she received a call from the attorney after Lauren was released from the hospital. The attorney asked her to come to his office to pick the baby up. Julie was given nothing as she took Lauren home. Even though Julie was the parent of a 6-year old daughter, she admits she was lost. She knew nothing about Lauren’s birth parents, of her potential gifts or of possible medical issues. Nothing. There was such a void.
Lauren had a lovely childhood but when she turned 15, she began to struggle with issues about her identity. She asked that Julie search for her birth mom. It only took a phone call to the neighbor who had connected them. Phyllis, Lauren’s birth mother, still worked for that neighbor and had for 29 years! Julie had him ask Phyllis if she could reach out to her. Then, one day, Phyllis called Julie at work. Even though Julie did this every day, she was shaking. Both Julie and Phyllis were both SO nervous. That phone call lead to more phone calls, shared letters, several visits, and then a relationship. Phyllis had married Lauren’s birth father so Lauren was able to reconnect with her entire birth family, including siblings!
Had Julie waited until Lauren was 21, she would have never met Phyllis. Five years after the reunion, when Lauren was 20, Phyllis passed away. Lauren died the next year in a tragic auto accident leaving a fifteen-month-old son. Now Julie is raising him and telling him stories about her daughter, the birth mom he will never know. She talks with love, respect and admiration about her, just as Julie did about Phyllis to Lauren.
It is for Julie and Lauren’s story, as well as thousands like theirs, that the Adoption Support Center has been and will continue to be a place where we advocate, support and guide adoptive parents, birth families, and adoptees through the adoption journey. No one should be alone like Julie and her husband were, or like Lauren’s birth mother was. We are here for the hard parts, the sad parts, the joyful parts and all the in-between parts.
The Center is based on all things Julie wished she had in her adoption experience. Things like: having adoption education, a home study that prepared her for the process of the adoption, support through the process of paperwork and meeting Lauren’s birth family, being in the hospital when she was born, sharing pictures, updates over the years, visiting with the birth family, and giving Lauren all of her answers. Julie was ahead of her time. No one was really doing any of this in 1988.
We truly believe every adoptive family will be placed with the child they were meant to raise. We also believe that it’s not just our job to make sure that adoptive families will be good parents. It’s our job at ASC to make sure they will be great adoptive parents… which means honoring, respecting, and caring for their adoptee’s birth family.