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What a Difference A Day Makes

Clay and Cheryl Whittaker

What a difference a day makes.

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That was my thought on December 26, 2016, when my wife Cheryl and I met our daughter, Sloane.  I’m sure this is a common thought for most first-time parents.  Before adopting, my wife and I had busy jobs in the legal profession.  After adopting, we still had busy jobs in the legal profession, but now we were learning to balance the many joys – and sleepless nights – of becoming first-time parents.

In the coming weeks, what continued to resonate for us was how honored we felt to become parents through adoption and also a desire to share our blessing with others.

What grew next may be described as our second child – Gulf Coast Adoptions – an adoption law firm that quickly became our passion. Helping grow families through adoption.

The adoption process, while complex legally, is more complex emotionally.

Expectant mothers and fathers are faced with difficult choices.  While potential adoptive parents are focused on creating or expanding their families and navigating the home study and adoption process.  All are thinking about the best interests of the baby that is to be born.  We strive to create an adoption plan that honors the expectant mother and father’s wishes and cultivates good communication so that all parties involved can be confident in their decision not only now, but into the future.

The adoption process for an expectant mother and father typically starts with education.  We explain what the process may look like to them and disclose to them various options to help them determine if adoption is the right choice for them.  If they believe it is, we allow them to hand-select and interview potential adoptive parents to ensure they know that their child will have the life they desire, all before ever making a final commitment to the adoption.

What we feel sets Gulf Coast Adoptions apart from other adoption law firms and agencies is our commitment to communication with expecting mothers and potential adoptive parents.

For expecting mothers, we recognize the selfless decision they are making.  We help them plan not only throughout the pregnancy but also post-placement, to ensure they are prepared as they move forward in life.  We advise them and help them obtain available community resources and educational opportunities that will pave the way for their success in the long term. We communicate with the expecting mothers day and night, during their adoption plan. This communication is often outside of regular business hours as we aid expectant mothers 24/7.

We continue to provide emotional support to them long after the adoption has been finalized. We are still in constant contact with the first birth mother we helped in 2018.

For potential adoptive parents, it’s not only about educating them about the adoption process both pre- and post-birth but sharing the insight we’ve gained as adoptive parents and connecting them with resources to understand the life-long blessings of adoption. We love to share our experience of having an open adoption as we view Sloane’s birth parents as an extension of our family. The more love the better!

We are getting ready to celebrate National Birth Mother’s Day on May 13th.

It is a mindful tribute to recognize birth mothers who chose adoption for their children. We respect and honor their courageous decision. Without birth mothers, many parents may not be able to celebrate Mother’s Day on May 14th.

Questions about adoption?

Reach out at 850-999-7977.  You can also visit gulfcoastadoptions.com for more information.

Clay Whittaker, Attorney

Emmanuel, Sheppard & Condon

*Note from Local Pulse Editor: Clay Whittaker is a part of our Community Voices series. Community Voices is a group of Pensacola dwellers that are making a difference in our city by sharing best practices, experiences, their perspective on impactful subjects, and contributing expertise that leads to movement forward for a stronger community.