Meet Isabella: From Unexpected Labor to Placement Day

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Isabella, a 19-year-old college student on Long Island, awoke one morning in excruciating pain. She rushed to the emergency room with her now-fiancé, unsure what it could be.

She was shocked to discover she was not only pregnant, but in labor.

She and her fiancé decided they were not ready to have a baby. At 19 they were just beginning their lives together, working towards their college degrees and living in a studio apartment. Isabella commented on their living situation, “There wasn’t enough space to fit a closet, let alone a crib.”

Isabella and her Fiancé in the snow with their two dogs.

After discussing the situation with the hospital, they referred Isabella to Spence-Chapin. A Spence-Chapin social worker, Mary, came immediately to meet with Isabella and discuss all her options. She assured Isabella that this process would be on her terms and that there was no rush to make any decision.

“She let us know that this process is on our time, that Spence-Chapin has resources we can use as birth parents so we don’t feel rushed to pick adoptive parents… She said that they have interim care. That was very reassuring knowing that once the baby was discharged from the NICU, that there isn’t a timeline when we have to pick a family.”

When Isabella learned about Spence-Chapin’s Interim Care Program, she was relieved to know that her child would receive individual care in a private home until she was ready to make final plans.

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Isabella continued to engage in Spence-Chapin options counseling services and ultimately determined that an open adoption was in the best interest of her and her son. She and her fiancé reviewed family profiles, carefully reading through each story to determine who would be the right fit.

The process was not without its challenges. After selecting a lovely couple and connecting with them, the match fell through. The couple decided they weren’t ready to adopt. Isabella and her fiancé were disheartened. Their social worker encouraged them to take another look at their other top choices, and another couple stuck out to them. Isabella said, “It felt like it was meant to be”.

The family they ultimately chose was one full of love and was ready to share that with their son. Isabella shared what inspired them to choose this couple:

“We saw their story of how they fell in love. They were abroad when they met, and stayed connected even when they didn’t live near each other… We felt like no matter how far away they were gonna be, they were never going to lose that connection. That made us feel like they were very open and loving people. It was very easy to pick them after learning their story.”

Isabella with her Fiancé and child with his adoptive parents.

They met with the family several times, and were there on placement day. Their connection has continued to grow as their son has gotten older, and they are so happy with their decision to have an open adoption. Isabella enjoys regular visits with her son and his parents, and together they’ve formed a special, everlasting relationship.

Spence-Chapin Options Counseling

Like Isabella, many birth parents are overwhelmed and lack support while determining how to move forward. We are committed to helping birth parents understand ALL of their options. That’s why we provide free, unbiased options counseling.

Birth parents can speak with us however they feel most comfortable—phone, email, text, virtual video, or in person at one of our several office locations in New York, New Jersey, and Arizona. Counseling is available 24/7 in multiple languages, and is available for all birth parents and families, regardless of age or immigration status.

And for those who choose to make an adoption plan, they are supported by a dedicated social worker and independent legal counsel, ensuring their voice is heard and rights are respected, every step of the way.

The Interim Care Program

Isabella was one of many birth parents who have benefited from our Interim Care Program. The program allows new parents the time and space needed to plan for the future of their family.

Volunteer Interim Care Providers care for a newborn baby in their own homes under the guidance and supervision of Spence-Chapin staff while birth parents continue to work with their social worker on a plan for the future. They are dependable, nurturing, and committed to making a difference in the life of the child.

To find out more contact us at

212-400-8150 or email us at