Ann Book, The Call’s NWA County Coordinator, recently went live on Facebook to promote one of our favorite local organizations: Shared Beginnings. Michaela Montie, the Founder and Executive Director of Shared Beginnings, joined Ann to talk about her organization and her family’s foster and private adoption experiences.
Michaela and her husband moved to the Northwest Arkansas area nearly a decade ago, and they quickly got involved with a local attorney who specialized in private adoptions. Unfortunately, their experience did not go as smoothly as they had hoped. There was little to no support offered for Michaela’s family and the child’s biological mother. The experience lacked education, guidance, and direction, leaving Michaela searching for a support system.
After a year and a half, the Montie’s were interested in opening their home to foster children. They went through training with The Call, but they were nervous about full-time placement because of their 18-month-old’s medical issues. They elected to open their home for respite care, which we are always in need of here.
Now nearly ten years later, the Monties have been through several adoptions, both private and through foster care, and they plan to finalize another adoption in December. All the while, they remain an open home for foster care.
Michaela started Shared Beginnings in 2018 with the hopes of radically changing the private adoption process in Northwest Arkansas. She wanted to prevent others from experiencing the same situation she faced when she adopted her first child, and she has already significantly impacted the region.
Driven by her passion for helping expectant mothers, Michaela established Shared Beginnings first and foremost as an organization that supports expectant mothers who are considering private adoption. The organization walks alongside these mothers throughout the entire private adoption process and provides them with services and resources that are not otherwise available.
Shared Beginnings considers itself an agency of the community. They work to establish long-term, open relationships and adoptions for biological parents and adoptive families. One way they accomplish this is by making family rooms available at their facility. These rooms provide a safe, neutral environment for the biological and adoptive families to meet and develop relationships.
If you are interested in adopting a child but have reservations, Michaela recommends opening your home for respite care. The strategy worked for Michaela, and she believes it will help you better understand the process and your capacity to help through foster care or adoption.