When Dagny Bartlett became pregnant, her boyfriend walked out of her life. Without a large support network, Dagny thought it would be best to place her daughter for adoption. Still she had worries.
“I don’t know if at that time in my life I could have even parented a child,” Dagny said. “It was scary. It terrified me that maybe I was making the wrong decision.” Soon after, Dagny contacted Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada (CCSN) Adoption Services.
“Catholic Charities listened to what I needed for my child and made it happen in the best possible way,” she said. Throughout her pregnancy, Dagny received support and education that cleared up misconceptions about adoption.
“To choose adoption is the selfless choice of love,” she said. “Birthmothers have to love their children, if they didn’t, they wouldn’t have chosen life. Adoption gives a child a life they could never have.”
As her due date neared, Dagny decided she wanted an open adoption. This meant that while the adoptive family would raise the child, Dagny would still be able visit and be a part of her life. “Openness benefits the birthmother because it gives her closure,” Dagny said. “If you choose openness for your adoption you will be full of joy and happiness, and isn’t that what a child is supposed to bring into your life?”
While Dagny has experienced the joy of seeing her daughter Madelynn grow up, she also has bonded with the adoptive family: “The day I met the adoptive parents, they told me if it wasn’t for my choice, they wouldn’t have a family. They hugged me and kissed me and we all cried.”
Through open adoption, Dagny has developed and maintained a relationship with Madelynn and her adoptive parents. The relationship has grown over the years and Dagny is able to celebrate holidays and birthdays with Madelynn and her family. Madelynn is able to know the love of both her adoptive and birth family as she grows. Looking back, Dagny has no regrets and now speaks at adoption support groups held at CCSN. “Adoption is one of the best decisions I ever made,” said Dagny.