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For week ended January 31, 1999 Posted 11 Feb 1999
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The goal of LDS Social Services

Summarized by Eric Bunker

The goal of LDS Social Services
Provo UT Daily Herald 31Jan99
By Karen Hoag: Daily Herald


Giving her child up wasn't the end; it was the beginning
Provo UT Daily Herald 31Jan99
By Karen Hoag: Daily Herald


After deciding to keep her baby, Amy finds eventual joy in family
Provo UT Daily Herald 31Jan99
By Rana Lehr: Daily Herald

Helping pregnant, unwed mothers through very difficult decisions is the mission of LDS Social Services.

Though the unintended pregnancies result from decisions made with little foresight; LDS Social Services is helping mothers to move forward in their lives. "We want them to resolve their pregnancies in a way that will keep their hopes and dreams alive," says Joe Heagany, director of LDS Social Services in Provo.

The cost of the services is covered by a yearly grant given to the agency from the Church; however, people do not have to be a member to avail themselves of the services. For adoptions, LDS Social Services pays for all of the mother's medical expenses.

Heagany says the agency has a two-fold purpose. One is to provide pregnancy counseling services, and the other is if the mother decides to adopt, help with the adoption planning

Individual, family and group counseling are offered by the agency free of charge using only licensed social workers, psychologists or marriage and family therapists. . If the birth father is interested in counseling, he is also offered the same type of services. We have an institutional image, but we are still real people working with real people," Heagany says.

"It is a painful loss to place a child for adoption. Even though (in many cases) it's best for the child, it is still a painful, painful thing." Heagany commented.

"The birth mother who wants to adopt is given options and choices," says the director. "We help them develop an adoption plan, We work with the birth mom to see what will work for her. We help her establish priorities when she begins to look for adoptive families,"

The birth mother get to select from a wish list, a family who has characteristics she desires such a being musical or artistic or has this or that hair color, height, etc. The birth mother gets an idea about the family and then looks at 20 or so letters from the couples who want to adopt.

LDS Social Services Agency also goes into a thorough pre-placement evaluation with the adopting families. Among other things, they get a child abuse clearance and do a criminal records check.

After the birth mother studies all the available information and selects a family, she meets with them. "They share their dreams about the baby together," says Heagany."

Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 Kent Larsen · Privacy Information