/ Modified may 15, 2012 4:32 p.m.

Open Adoption Brings Together Two Families

An unplanned pregnancy leads one Christian mother down an unexpected path--and to an agency in line with her beliefs

Mary Koenig (right), a birth mother speaks with Cecilia (Sissy) Peace (left) a Pregnancy Assistance Counselor for the Christian Family Care Agency in Tucson about the implications of bringing a new life into the world. (VIDEO: AZPM)

Mary Koenig has given birth to three children in her life and she says that she values her role as a parent. She’s the type of mother who puts the welfare of her children first, keeps meticulous scrapbooks that highlight important milestones, and is always eager to share with others the accomplishments of family.

“My role as a mother is something that I’ve always enjoyed and was important to me,” says Koenig.

But although Koenig has three children, she’s raised only two of them. Her youngest was placed with an adoptive family at birth.

“I was not married at the time, and I had teenaged children, and just realizing how hard it was for them to grow up in a single-parent family [led me to decide] I wanted this child to have a two-parent family,” she says.

Koenig says her Christian beliefs prevented her from considering a termination of the pregnancy, and she wanted the adoptive parents to be Christian as well. She also know she wanted an open adoption, so she sought the help of Christian Family Care.

Cecilia (Sissy) Peace, pregnancy assistance counselor with Christian Family Care, says her agency serves children and families through foster care and adoption.

Peace says an unplanned pregnancy can bring up a range of emotions in women. She openly counsels expectant mothers to make decisions with a consideration for the “sanctity of life.”

“We have two options in our agency: it is either parenting or adoption… abortion is not an option in my counseling at all,” says Peace.

Her objective, says Peace, is to have a structure that will allow the biological mother to maintain contact with her child through a covenant arrangement.

Koenig maintains contact with her child through arranged visits at least once a year, and she says she is now comfortable with the difficult decision she made nearly 11 years ago.

“I believe in the sanctity of life," she says. "This child had a right to be born, and I just needed to find out where his family would be.”

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