Families exchange information and stories during adoption celebration

GREENVILLE — An Upstate celebration of National Adoption Day brought together people to discuss both the process of adoption and what the act has meant in their lives.

The inaugural event, held recently at Our Lady of the Rosary Church, focused on celebrating the act of adoption. It was organized by Victo­ria and Gene Norris and Ingrid and Ray Ireland, members of the Respect for Life ministry at the parish.

“One of the options to abortion is adoption,” Mrs. Norris said of the motivation for the event. “We talk about it, we put signs up: ‘Adoption, the loving option to abortion,’ but yet it’s never really brought up all by it­self. It’s always suggested, but we’ve never done anything to go into depth about how you adopt, or some of the families that have experienced adop­tion. Now we want to give it a little more credence. We wanted families to share their experiences.”

She explained that Madalyn Palash, a senior at St. Joseph’s Cath­olic School in Greenville, suggested creating an event around National Adoption Day, which is Nov. 19.

Among the families on hand to talk about their experiences were Mark and Kelli Reinstein, who attend St. Mary Magdalene Church in Simp­sonville.

Mrs. Reinstein related how, after having their first three children naturally, the couple was told they could not have any more.

It was like God said ‘this is my plan for you; you are meant to adopt,’” she said. “It was definitely a calling. I was really praying about it a lot about three and a half years ago. I had liter­ally gone to bed one night praying about it, and I woke up to my alarm clock going off — it was the radio, and they were advertising about an adop­tion seminar coming to Greenville, and I was like, ‘OK, it’s interesting to wake up to that.’ I thought, ‘is this a coincidence’”?

At the end of Sunday Mass that day, Mrs. Reinstein said a teenage girl in the congregation gave a talk about being adopted, to promote the same adoption seminar. “And I said, ‘OK, now we’re in church, and this is happening,’” she recalled. “It was so clear that [adoption] was what’s supposed to be happening in our family.”

In 2013, the Reinsteins adopted a son, Carter. As his parents discussed his adoption at the event, Carter sat and played contentedly with a cell phone.

“We knew we felt like this was defi­nitely God’s calling for our family,” Mrs. Reinstein concluded.

Caitlan Reid, adoption specialist lead staff for Bethany Christian Ser­vice’s Greenville branch, was also on hand to talk about the services her organization offers to both birth mothers and the adoptive families. She said the agency, the largest of its kind in the United States, placed 39 children for adoption in South Caro­lina last year through its Domestic Infant Program.

For more information about Bethany Christian Services, visit www.bethany.org.

Miscellany/John C. Stevenson: Mark and Kelli Reinstein, along with their son, Carter, attend an adoption celebration at Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville.