Couple thankful for Catholic Charities adoption services

By Jeff Kurowski | The Compass | August 13, 2014

Litt family will participate in pre-game festivities at Bishop’s Charities Game Aug. 28

PULASKI — Seventeen-month-old Addison Litt spots a small bird outside the front window of her family’s rural home. Her eyes follow the quick bursts of flight. Addie’s mother, Danielle, attempts to divert her attention, but the little girl remains fascinated with the action outdoors.

Tony and Danielle Litt of the Pulaski area adopted their daughter, Addie, now 17 months old, through the domestic infant program of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay. (Susan Simoens | For The Compass)
Tony and Danielle Litt of the Pulaski area adopted their daughter, Addie, now 17 months old, through the domestic infant program of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay. (Susan Simoens | For The Compass)

Enjoying simple moments with their child is what Danielle and her husband, Tony, envisioned when they sought adoption services from Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Green Bay.

“We started the process in late 2011,” explained Danielle. “It takes a while to get your profile ready. We were lucky. Our profile was ready at the beginning of March 2012. Addie’s birth mother picked us in December, so it was about a 10-month wait for us from the time we were ready to when we were chosen. We were told that the average wait is two years, so we were really happy.”

Couples in the domestic infant program create their own profiles, said Chelsea Baucom-Young, adoption specialist for Catholic Charities. They are encouraged to be creative with photos and visuals to provide a glimpse into their lives.

“They share information about their marriage, their interests, pets, anything that will portray what it will be like for a child to grow up in this home,” she said. “We want birth parents to feel a connection to this couple.”

Bishop’s Charities Game

The Green Bay Packers will host the Kansas City Chiefs in the 54th annual Bishop’s Charities Game, 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, at Lambeau Field.

Bishop David Ricken will take part in pre-game festivities along with Denis Hogan, general chair of the Bishop’s Charities Game; Ted Phernetton, director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of Green Bay; and the Litt family, representing services offered by Catholic Charities. Bishop Ricken will also throw a ceremonial first pass.

Prior to the game, fans are invited to visit with Bishop Ricken and Packers alumni Kevin Barry and Tony Fisher, 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Lambeau Field parking lot outside the Tundra Tailgate Zone on the southeast side of the stadium.

The Bishop’s Charities Game has raised more than $3 million for Green Bay diocesan charities. Catholic Charities programs include child welfare and adoption services, mental health services, a financial health program and family strengthening program.

The Litts and another couple were selected by Addie’s birth mother for match meetings.

“It’s sort of like a job interview or a first date to see if they are going to be a match,” said Baucom-Young. “It’s important if they can envision being in each other’s lives for years to come because almost all of our adoptions have some level of openness, so they continue to have contact with the birth parents, usually the birth mother.”

“(Addie’s birth mother) met with us and asked us questions,” said Danielle. “She called us the same day to let us know that she picked us, which was great. Her birth mother was very committed to the adoption and knew that it was the right thing to do.

“One of the things that bothers me is the way people talk about adoption,” she added. “A lot of people say that the baby was given up for adoption. That has a very negative connotation. Tony and I had to reframe our thinking about that. She didn’t give up the baby. She created an adoption plan. She wanted what was best for Addie.”

“Her birth mother had some very supportive people on her end, which was very helpful,” said Tony.

The Litts developed a relationship with Addie’s birth mother during the three-month period from when they were selected until she was born in March of 2013. Danielle attended medical appointments. She was in the delivery room for her daughter’s birth. Tony was also at the hospital, but only one adoptive parent was allowed in the room. They brought the newborn home from the hospital.

Only a small percentage of adopted children go to foster care prior to their adoptive home, said Baucom-Young.

“Most go straight from the hospital,” she said. “It’s birth parent driven. The birth parent wants the child to immediately be with the adoptive parents, so the bonding and the forming of that family relationship can begin.”

Adoptions in Wisconsin are commonly finalized in six months. Adoption specialists make regular home visits during the interim.

“Any time a child is placed in an adoptive home, we, at a minimum, see that child every month, every 30 days by state statue,” explained Baucom-Young.

Unfortunately, the Litts’ adoption was not finalized until 10 months after they brought Addie home.

“The birth father decided to contest the adoption,” said Tony. “We had to fight her birth father in court.”

“Addie’s birth mother really remained strong with us in fighting for Addie’s best interest,” said Danielle. “I describe that time to people as the best and worst moments of our lives. It was fantastic having Addie. She’s a wonderful baby, but it was also extremely difficult not knowing what was going to happen.”

“Catholic Charities was extremely helpful,” said Tony, who is an assistant manager for a delivery service company and a part-time radio disc jockey. “They went above and beyond as much as they could.”

“There were times when Danielle just needed to talk,” said Baucom-Young. “She would ask me, ‘Chelsea, is this going to work out?’ I’m there to support them and walk alongside them. The home visits end when the adoption is finalized, but we hope that our families will keep in touch with us. We develop good relationships with the families.”

The adoption finalization hearing was held in December of 2013. Danielle, a school teacher who became a stay-at-home mom upon Addie’s arrival, said that the struggles have been “worth every moment” with her child.

Mother and daughter recently served as part of an adoption panel offered by Catholic Charities.

“We invite couples who have previously adopted through our agency to meet with our new couples,” said Baucom-Young. “It’s sometimes helpful for couples to see other people who have experienced this and to have the opportunity to ask questions. … Those new to the process wonder, ‘Will I ever have a baby?’ The panel helps to confirm that there is hope at the end of this journey.”

The Litts are members of Ss. Edward and Isidore Parish, Flintville, where Danielle serves in music ministry. She hopes to instill the love of music in Addie, who currently “loves to be outside. She’s a climber. She climbs everything in sight. She also loves hanging out with her big sister (Tony’s 12-year-old daughter, Jasmine),” said Danielle.

“(Addie’s birth mother) has given us the greatest gift that anyone could ever give and we are thankful for that every day,” added Danielle. “Addie is our miracle. We prayed and prayed and prayed for our little lady.”

For information about adoption services of Catholic Charities, call (920) 272-8234, 877-500-3580, ext. 8234, or go to www.newcatholiccharities.org.

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