They couldn't ask for more

November 27, 2012

Catholic Charities wants to spread the word about voluntary infant adoption, an open adoption process in which the birth mother selects a family, in an effort to offer an alternative to women with unwanted pregnancies and help more families who can’t have children of their own. Priority for families is given to childless couples or couples with one child unable to have another. Couples should be married for at least two years, be financially stable, in good health, live in the Houston area and aged from 25 to 45 to be considered. For more information, call 713-874-6760.


Courtney and Jeremy Barta couldn’t care less what they get for Christmas. 
After spending Thanksgiving here in Houston with Courtney’s family, they will be heading up to Dallas to spend time with Jeremy’s family. Only this year it won’t be just the two of them. They will be bringing with them the greatest gift they could have hoped for — a longed-for baby from a young woman who chose them to adopt her infant son, now named Joshua Lucas.

“We don’t need anything,” Courtney said. “We are so blessed to have our family together and Joshua here with us. He is truly a gift from God.”
The same is true for Reesa and Arthur Nevarez, who will be celebrating their second Christmas with their adopted son Marcus, who just turned one, and their large extended family.

“Marcus is an immaculate blessing to our family,” said Reesa, an elementary school reading specialist.

Both young couples adopted their sons through Catholic Charities open adoption program, but they arrived there by different paths. 

Plagued by endometriosis and premature ovulation, Courtney, 31, and Jeremy, 32, had been trying for a baby for almost four years before turning to Catholic Charities last year. Turned away at that time because there were enough couples waiting to adopt, they were added to the roster this past spring.

They didn’t have to wait long for a baby. 
Four months after signing up with the agency, Courtney and Jeremy received word they had been chosen by a birth mother to adopt Joshua a few days after his birth on Aug. 16.

“It still hasn’t sunk in fully,” said Jeremy, a claims adjuster for an insurance company. “We’re still adjusting. I see the value now of couples having nine months to prepare, especially for your first child.”

Still, it was love at first sight for Jeremy and Courtney, who sells jewelry and tutors.

“He touched my heart, and it was instant love for our son,” Jeremy said. “Every time I look at him I realize how much I look forward to all the experiences we’re going to have and I’m very thankful.”

Both teachers, Reesa, 33, and Arthur, 37, had come to the conclusion they should adopt a longed-for baby since Reesa had the gene for Fragile X syndrome and didn’t want to pass it on. The syndrome is known to cause autism and mental retardation. 

In 2010, they turned to Catholic Charities and were soon cleared to be adoptive parents. Eighteen months later, they received the call they had been waiting for. Marcus’ birth mother had selected the couple out of a few others because of hers and their love of music. Arthur plays guitar and drums, and Reesa plays piano. Just days after his birth on Nov. 23 in 2011, Reesa, Arthur and Marcus were joined as a family.
There are so many couples like the Nevarezes and Bartas who can not have babies of their own and are hoping to adopt, but these days a dwindling number of babies are available, according to Colleen Kitowski, clinical supervisor of Pregnancy and Children’s Services for Catholic Charities. 

Kitowski is eager to get the word out to young women with an unwanted pregnancy to consider adoption as an alternative to termination or keeping the baby under dire circumstances. Kitowski cited the high poverty rate of young unmarried mothers, an inability to parent and the behavioral issues and bleak future that await many of the children. 

Under those circumstances, Kitowski said giving up a baby for adoption is another form of parenting that heralds a better future for the birth mother and is gift for a childless couple.

“We are trying to educate the community that we as Catholics believe in adoption,” Kitowski said. “It is the most selfless, courageous and honorable decision a young woman can make — to give up her baby for adoption, because it’s so difficult.”

There are many ways to form families through adoption, including international adoptions, infant adoption and special needs adoption. Kitowski said in the Houston area alone, more than 1,000 children in foster care are waiting for a “forever family.” †

Catholic Charities is supported by the Diocesan Services Fund. The DSF theme this year is “Go forth and bear fruit that will last.” DSF operates in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston each year to help the Church carry out the ministries of teaching and sanctifying. Of the 60-plus programs under its umbrella, DSF brings the needed financial resources to carry out these ministries.