More than century ago, a group of deaconesses from the Free Methodist Church founded a rescue home in Guthrie for unmarried women and their children. Oklahoma was still Indian Territory, a harsh environment for single women who had to survive on their own. In 1909, the facility relocated to a farm northwest of Oklahoma City. From 1909 to present, that original site evolved into a state-of-the-art medical center, and Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services (DPAS) became an independent, nonprofit agency to keep pace with the ongoing needs of women, children and families.
DPAS has empowered more than 20,000 women with life and parenting skills, resources and support. More than 5,500 children have been given the gift of a family through adoption. DPAS has successfully placed every child who has come through their doors regardless of physical, mental or emotional challenges.
One of eight providers eligible to assist Oklahoma's Department of Human Services in locating permanent families for waiting children, DPAS's commitment now broadens its legacy with older-child placements. Dedicated professionals are ready to help recruit and prepare families for some 350 foster children ages 4 to 17, who are eligible to be adopted.
Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services welcomes this opportunity to work with DHS and looks forward to a great outcome for those who stand on life's sidelines and wait. Their expertise ensures that families receive the individual support, training and guidance that will guide them through the pre- and post-adoption process. Counseling, adoption coaching, frequent in-home visitation and ongoing guidance are available to all families adopting an older child through this program.
None of these efforts could succeed without the help of many individuals contributing time and finances. DPAS is indebted to the vision and leadership of state leaders like Gov. Mary Fallin and the Legislature, who provide additional funding to DHS to help save these children. Attorney General Scott Pruitt and his team also successfully navigated the courts to allow for greater emphasis on these positive partnerships. DHS Director Ed Lake and his staff are to be commended for these opportunities and for their willingness to share in the challenging work ahead.
Last and not least, DPAS depends upon the kindness and generosity of Oklahomans who answer the call as caregivers and life sustainers. As a nonprofit ministry, adoption costs are subsidized for those who need financial help to be part of this vital outreach. We ask our citizens to partner with us as we recruit and counsel, prepare and nurture new families coming forward with open hearts and open homes.
Working together, let's help empty the rolls of DHS's waiting kids and bring them to a place of wholeness they have never known.
McCool is executive director of Deaconess Pregnancy and Adoption Services.