Making a difference – a small group of women helping other women in need
Needed: Hospital Totes For Expectant Birthmothers
Among the tall old oaks in quiet little community of Penn Valley there is a very busy office of women and volunteers, working to help expectant women considering adoption with needed items and services. Helping women that are in real need, have little of their own, but are giving a lot for their children’s future is important to me and the work I do, my job is very satisfying states Diane Shafter working at her desk surrounded by over a hundred little photos of babies she has helped find adoptive homes for. In the last 10 years. Adoption services have more than tripling since our economy has become tighter with adoptions increasing each month. these requests for help from women the local adoption center, Lifetime Adoption is seeing more women with older children, toddlers as well as an increase in sibling groups seeking help in finding permanent adoptive parents and a secure future for their children “it takes time and patience to help women determine on their own what they want and need for not only their children but their lives” states Caldwell, the founder of Lifetime Adoption, and an adoptive parent herself.
The kindness comes from the heart of the people at the center and volunteers that contribute toiletries and basic need items to women, many that have nothing some have only a paper bag in place of suitcase or purse to take with them to the hospital when they give birth. These special hospital totes were first created by the women that work at the center, and so become popular and appreciated by the women receiving them that others make them and send them in to us. They are sent out to local women and as far away as the east coast to pregnant women calling for assistant as they face a tough economy and an unplanned pregnancy. The demand is greater than want we can make up.
Michelle is a 20 year old with one child already and lost her job after Christmas, only a week after she found out she was pregnant. “I feel bad about my situation, my son needs more and so does this baby. I’ve always worked, but with being pregnant everything goes to just us surviving, I appreciate everything lifetime has done to help me and the nice tote and the things for my son, it made me cry”
It is sad to see so many people facing the need to place a child in another home, after 23 years of adoption work, stated Mardie Caldwell, Founder of the adoption center located in the Penn Valley. This increase in adoptions is was very common; history has shown that when the economy is tough adoptions go up. It has been that way forever. It is so much better than 50 years ago when children were abandoned out of lack of services and women had little choices, now with open adoption, women can also chose the adoptive parents and stay in touch with them after the adoption. Not all the women are going to chose adoption but we want to help as many as we can to help them stabilize them and to allow them to make the right decision about their lives and their child.
The women that are coming to us about adoption are doing it because they do love their children. It is not selfishness; it is out of wanting their children to have a stable family and home life, when they are not able to provide one at this time or in the near future.
Teen volunteers and staff generously filled up over 75 of these special hospital totes, as well as adding needed maternity clothes, kids’ toys and other items to help add some cheer, when kindness and thoughtfulness is much needed. Some of these girls don’t have maternity clothes that fit even to leave their home if they have a home; all donations are turned around quickly and sent out.
“It is not uncommon to send out 8 to 10 of these packages some days” states Caldwell. “The need is increasing, not decreasing, we are finding more calls are coming in day and night, and we are now opening our center on Saturday’s to keep up with the requests, paperwork and incoming phone calls to the adoption answer line. “We have also just added 25 additional incoming phone lines. The adoption center is different that other adoption organizations, as it doesn’t receive any state of federal grants, or subsidies, The 501 ( c ) 3 foundation depends on donations from others, but is self supporting, and depends on fund raisers and adoptive parents and their families to help out. This makes it easier to get things done but keeps us very busy, we have to depend on good planning, donations, and volunteers and not the government to help us. This is a good thing. We have always been self supporting and this has benefited us when other organizations have only depended on the government, we are hard working with fund raisers.
Lifetime Adoption also has a small food closet that is filled by donations as well from generous donors. All of these items are part of the birth mother blessing that allows others to reach out and touch women and children that they will never meet in person but knowing that 100% of their donations is going to the recipient, is key to most donors when looking for a charity.
Many of the hospital totes are sewn and assembled at the center and clothing are distributed throughout the year. If you would like to contribute to sewing totes from your home or contributing toiletries, maternity clothes please visit:
Or mail your items to:
Birth Mother Blessings
C/O Lifetime Adoption Center
17860 Cattle Drive, Penn Valley California 95975
To reach Lifetime by phone call 530 432-7373
Or women considering adoption may call the toll free adoption answer line 1 800 923-6784 24 hrs/7 days a week. Or 530 271-1740