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5 Birth Mothers Share How an Adoption Scholarship Changed Their Lives

American Adoptions prides itself on the support it offers to prospective birth parents as they go through the adoption process — but our support doesn’t end there. In addition to providing counseling and mediation for years after a birth mother places her child for adoption, our agency also provides something unique to help birth parents start a new chapter in their lives.

This is our birth parent scholarship, through which we’ve helped birth parents fulfill their educational goals and dreams. Every birth mother who works with our agency receives a scholarship application for the chance to receive assistance with the costs of further education (birth fathers are also welcome to apply). Twice a year, we award scholarships to eligible birth parents to help them make their education dreams come true.

American Adoptions started this scholarship program in 2001. We checked in on some of our previous scholarship recipients to celebrate the successes they’ve achieved since they received their scholarships:


Carly was 18 years old and already attending a local college for her general education requirements when she found out that she was pregnant. As an adoptee herself who wasn’t ready to raise a child, she knew that adoption was the right choice for her and her son.

“I just wasn’t at a place in my life where I knew I could give my son what I wanted him to have,” Carly says. “I knew what adoption did for me, and I decided to give him a better life.”

Carly knew she wanted to become a physical therapist but, right after placing her son for adoption, she also knew she wasn’t at the right place in her life to start going back to school. That was eight years ago and, this fall, she will graduate from a 20-month program with a physical therapist’s assistant degree, otherwise known as an occupational associate’s degree, from the Pima Medical Institute.

The support from American Adoptions — financial and emotional — has been instrumental in getting her to where she is today, she says.

“I never imagined how hard it was going to be when I was going to place my son for adoption,” she says. “It’s great to have kind of a sounding board, because I’ve never been through it, obviously, and I’m in the middle of it. But it’s nice to be able to talk to people about their story and what happened to them.

“I just think, overall, it’s changed my life so much because I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t chosen adoption,” she says.


When Julia unexpectedly became pregnant in 2013, she had no idea what she was going to do. But, knowing that abortion wasn’t an option and that she didn’t have the support from her child’s father, she decided that adoption was right for her.

“I knew I wanted my daughter to have a stable home as well as two parents that could love and nurture her into the young woman that I hope she will become,” she says.

Less than eight months after she placed her daughter for adoption, Julia applied for American Adoptions’ birth mother scholarship. Already enrolled in a bachelor’s program and expecting to graduate just a year and half after placing her child for adoption, she hoped for financial assistance to help her pay off the remainder of her career at the private college she attended. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she recently gained admission to a master’s of public administration program, as well.

“I knew my life did not stop after adoption,” she says. “It gave me a second chance to pursue my goals and dreams so that I can be a better version of myself and help people along the way. I wanted to show my daughter that I didn’t give up on myself and, more importantly, her.”

Julia plans to use her degree to work in the higher education system, perhaps through career counseling or student affairs. In the meantime, she’s also created a support group for birth mothers like her.

“I want to help young women who have gone through the adoption process to help them live out their dreams, goals, and ambitions and help them not feel that their life has ended after adoption but rather begins,” she says.


Trillian was 19 and preparing to go to college after saving up full-time for a year when she found herself unexpectedly pregnant. She knew that she didn’t want to compromise her higher education plans (which she’d been dreaming of since starting high school) to raise a son she wasn’t ready for yet, so she chose American Adoptions to give herself and her child a better life.

“I was really excited to read the birth mothers’ stories on how the agency provides financial assistance for college,” she says. “I applied for the scholarship because I wanted to use every resource available to me from the agency.”

Unlike financial aid, the American Adoptions scholarship was provided to Trillian before school started, allowing her to purchase her books before her first class and already be up to date on her first reading assignments. This allowed her to actively participate in class discussions from the start at her state university, from which she graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in social work and gerontology.

Today, she works at an agency through which she originally had an internship, has recently been accepted into another state university’s master’s program and is considering either a social work or public health concentration — all because of her experience with American Adoptions.

“Before I started college, I was very lost as to what I wanted to study and which field I wanted to work in,” she says. “The support I received from the Birth Mother Peer Support helped me to really find my niche in the helping field…I couldn’t have done it without the help and support from American Adoptions.”


Julie was working full time in a busy emergency room and was one year into her master’s program when she found out she was pregnant. With her boyfriend just about to move out of state for a job relocation and herself remaining in town to finish her degree, they both knew they couldn’t raise their baby the way they wanted to — and knew adoption was their only option.

“We came to describe the decision for adoption as both the most selfish and selfless thing we have ever done — selfish in the sense that we both were adults, had good-paying jobs, homes, educations, and the ability to raise a child, but we chose not to because we knew we still had more personal goals to accomplish and it was not what was best for us,” she said. “Selfless because the baby was ours, we loved her, but we also wanted more for her.”

Julie still had two and a half years left in her master’s of nursing program when she became pregnant. Even though she was working full time, she was still taking out loans to cover her education. With the goals of completing her training on time with her classmates with the least amount of debt possible, she applied for American Adoptions’ birth mother scholarship.

With the financial assistance from the agency, she ended up graduating in December of 2016 with her Master’s of Science in Nursing and works full time as a nurse practitioner. While she’s done with school for now, she’s still considering a doctorate degree or post-master’s certification.


At the age of 22, this birth mother had recently dropped out of college when she became pregnant with twins. Because she was homeless and living in her car for the majority of her pregnancy, she choose to place her children for adoption knowing that she couldn’t financially, emotionally and mentally care for them the way they deserved.

“By the time the adoption process was over, I was already back on my feet contemplating what to do with my life,” she says. “When it was all said and done, I felt I owed it to myself to improve my lot in life.”

Her adoption process changed her life in more ways than she expected. Soon after, she realized that her own experience with adoption could offer something unique to those going through the same process in their lives.

“I have always thought of my adoption experience as an experience that I didn’t go through in order to be in the same position I was in before I got pregnant,” she says. “I feel that as humans, we go through things for a reason. For me, I feel that I went through that experience in order to figure out what my purpose in life was. As cliché as this sounds, I feel that my purpose in life is to help others who may be facing an adoption or who may just be down on their luck.”

By receiving American Adoptions’ birth mother scholarship, she was able to cover her cost for tuition and decrease her need for student loans. She ended up graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Missouri-Kansas City with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She is currently in her second year of law school, from which she hopes to find a career in the area of family law.

*Name has been changed to protect birth mother’s identity.


We’re incredibly proud of what these five women have achieved. We know that they’ll continue to do amazing things in their lives, and we’re honored that they’re a part of the American Adoptions Family. Thank you to Carly, Julia, Trillian, Julie and Amanda* for sharing your stories!

To learn more about American Adoptions’ birth mother scholarship, please contact your adoption specialist today.

Please share and consider donating to the American Adoptions birth mother scholarship fund!

You can send donations in check form to:

The American Adoptions Scholarship Fund
C/O: American Adoptions
9101 West 110th Street Suite 200
Overland Park, KS 66210

Or call 1-800-ADOPTION to learn more about how to help the birth parent scholarship program.


Thanks for Your Support of the Birth Mother Scholarship!

On April 13th, we held our annual Birth Mother Scholarship Fundraiser, which included a raffle, silent auction and trivia competition at the Sports Cave in Overland Park, KS. The event was a huge success and a lot of fun for all who attended!

This year, we raised approximately $15,000 in proceeds for our scholarship fund, 43 percent above our goal, making it our largest fundraiser to date. One hundred percent of these proceeds will go toward our Scholarship Fund, which supports birth mothers who have placed a child for adoption through our agency.

Around 70 businesses and retailers in the Kansas City area donated their services and products to the silent auction and raffle including Buca Di Beppo, Encounters Salon and Day Spa, Family Tree Nursery, Kansas City Steak Company, JSI Photography, Kansas City Royals, Sporting KC, Massage Envy, Kosama, Ssekos Designs, Southmoreland on the Plaza, Steve Bird at Permanent Paving, Thirsty Palette and Rau Construction.

We also want to extend a special thanks to the folks at Sports Cave, Shaun at Xtreme Trivia and Shannon at ADA Fundraising for supplying our venue, trivia and silent auction items and to Jason Nivens and the folks at 98.9 the Rock for promoting our event.

We are also blessed with support from other members of the adoption community, including Scott Nehrbass, Kevin Kenney, Felice Webster, Jean Cavaliere, Marni Denenberg, Michael Belfonte, Peter Wiernicki, Scott Myers, Gary Patton, Mary Beck, Chris Feld, Kelley Law Firm, Dexter and Moffitt, Wayne Mott and Shorstein and Kelley.

Additionally, we had more than 150 family members, friends and community members come out for our event, as well as donations from a number of adoptive families.

We cannot thank you all enough for your support. Since the American Adoptions Birth Mother Scholarship Fund began in 2001, we’ve been able to help more than 160 women continue their education. It’s a cause that we continue to feel passionate about!

To learn more about the Birth Mother Scholarship Fund, please visit the Adoption Scholarship Fund page of our website.


Consider Supporting Our Birth Mother Scholarship Fund!

Did you know that American Adoptions awards scholarships to some of the women who place their children for adoption with us? Since its founding in 2001, American Adoptions Birth Mother Scholarship Fund has helped more than 160 women continue their education.

Each year, our agency hosts a local fundraiser to raise money for the scholarship fund. If you’re an adoptive family in the Kansas City area, we want to invite you to join us!

When: Saturday, April 13th, 2013 from 3-8 P.M.

Where: Sports Cave Bar & Grill in Overland Park, KS

What For: Kansas City’s Rock 98.9’s own DJ Jason Nivens was adopted and will be there to talk about his experience, oversee a trivia competition and give away 4 tickets to Kansas City Rockfest 2013. Our grand prize items are:

  • A $500 VISA gift card
  • $500 in Southwest Airlines Tickets
  • An Apple mini-iPad, In addition

There will be numerous raffle and silent auction items as well:

  • Professional Photography Sessions
  • Royals Tickets
  • Autographed University of Kansas Basketball by 2013 Men’s Basketball Team
  • Autographed Sporting KC Soccer Ball by 2013 Men’s Soccer Team
  • Autographed photographs of Styx and the Doobie Brothers
  • Gift Certificate to Southmoreland on the Plaza Bed & Breakfast
  • Great Wolf Lodge voucher for a Family Suite (worth $319)
  • Six-Month Membership to Kosama Complete Body Transformation
  • Encounters Salon and Day Spa Microdermabraison with Deep Cleansing Facial
  • Gift Certificate to Kansas City Steak Company
  • Tickets to Sanford and Son’s Comedy Club

Please Note: You must be present to win raffle items and Rockfest tickets.

However, if you’d like to buy a $5 raffle ticket to be entered for our grand prize items (the VISA gift card, Southwest Airline Tickets and Apple mini-iPad), you may do so regardless of attendance at the event. Please email for information.

To enter the trivia competition, email for more details. Each member of the winning trivia team will win a $50 VISA gift card!

Proceeds from the event go toward the American Adoptions Birth Mother Scholarship Program, which helps the courageous women who place their children for adoption continue their education.

To donate to the American Adoptions Birth Mother Scholarship Fund, visit or email us at


Helping Others During National Adoption Month

When adoption professionals and others were looking for a month to spread adoption awareness, they chose November with hopes that the added push would get many children into permanent homes before the holiday season. This time of year, many other organizations also make a push to create awareness, fundraising and volunteerism for their cause.

Thus Giving Tuesday was born as a complement to consumer days Black Friday and Cyber Monday!

Like many of you, each year American Adoptions staff members look for ways to give back during the holidays. One way our organization does this is by sponsoring children in the foster care system in Kansas (the state where our headquarters are located). Each staff member makes a donation in exchange for getting to wear jeans for the month of December. The money we use goes toward Christmas presents for the children we sponsor, and it’s wonderful knowing we’re helping them have a special holiday!

Annually, American Adoptions staff also supports and promotes the American Adoptions Scholarship Fund for Birth Mothers. Since its founding in 2001, the Scholarship Fund has helped many women who have placed with us to continue their education.

Interest in continued education is often a reason that a woman chooses adoption. The hope a scholarship can create is amazing, and it can change the life of a birth mother, giving her a more positive overall adoption experience.

Please visit our scholarship page to learn more about the wonderful women this fund helps. Or watch the following video to hear the story of birth mother Samantha and the opportunities the scholarship has made available to her:

If you’d like to make a donation to the American Adoptions Birth Mother Scholarship Fund, please send your donation check to:

The American Adoptions Scholarship Fund
C/O: American Adoptions
9101 West 110th Street Suite 200
Overland Park, KS 66210

Please Note: At this time, we cannot ensure that you will receive a tax deduction for your donation, but we can give you a receipt with which to consult your accountant or tax professional. 

For more information about our scholarship fund, call 1-800-ADOPTION, or email us at Thanks for your interest and support!

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