Lifetime's Founder Shares Her Vision
Lifetime's Founder Mardie Caldwell knows the deep-seated need that motivates couples to seek adoption, having endured seven miscarriages before turning to adoption. Mardie's experience drove her desire to help others realize the joy of parenthood through adoption, and she opened Lifetime Adoption in 1986.
“I love to see people’s dreams come true!" she says. "I want adoption to be successful for everyone – the birth family, the adoptive parents, and the children."
Keep reading to learn more about Lifetime Adoption, how adoption has changed over the years, and get Mardie's #1 tip for hopeful adoptive couples!
How Has Adoption Evolved?
The process of adoption has dramatically evolved since the days when a mother never saw her child again. Adoption was considered a stigma, and birth records. In today's modern open adoptions, the birth mother participates in the process, by picking the adoptive parents and choosing the level of contact with her child and the adoptive family.
“Closed adoption leaves every day for the rest of your life open to wondering. But open adoption doesn't mean goodbye forever. It's become my mission to educate people about how adoption works in the 21st century,” states Mardie.
"Open adoption is a win-win situation," she continues. "You have access to your child's medical information, your child isn't confused about where they came from. They actually have more peace about it because they know they’re loved by their birth parents. They don’t hate their birth parents, which is one of the things that people worry about."
To achieve Mardie's goal of open adoption education, Lifetime has a nationwide outreach program. Mardie often appears on national television as an expert on adoption-related issues. She also hosts an adoption podcast called Let's Talk Adoption, and has published several books on adoption.
"Lifetime gets around 300 phone calls every day and has 50 phone lines. We have counselors available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for emergencies," shares Mardie. Lifetime Adoption advertises in most states and many birth mothers find us from our sites and from Google searches. Other birth mothers find Lifetime from counselors, personal recommendations, hospitals, physicians, TV appearances, pregnancy resource centers, and other nationwide outreach programs. Lifetime has a comprehensive, proven birth mother screening process.
The Birth Mother's Point-of-View
“Adoption is an unselfish decision for a pregnant woman to make, and it's done out of love. We provide birth mothers with counseling, clothing, and other necessities. We try to give the women who call us stability, so that they can make the right decision,” she says, adding, "We don’t pressure them to choose adoption."
Lifetime makes licensed counseling available to every potential birth mother, and helps as they create a customized adoption plan. Our exclusive Birth Mother Blessing program, Peer Counseling Service, and scholarship opportunities work to help keep adoptive family's costs lower than other organizations.
Tips for Hopeful Adoptive Couples
“The best advice I can think of for couples starting their adoption journey is to put in all your effort, but make sure to have a life too," shares Mardie. "After you complete the necessary paperwork and other items, then put it all away. You can always come back and see what else there is to do tomorrow."
"Work towards the baby that God meant for you, but don't let it consume your life. Take time to enjoy these days as a couple before you're blessed by adoption!"