CFS Featured in a new Book Written By Former Client
Catholic Family Services has been featured in a new book by Ms. Janet Gillispie and Ms. Sammie Jo Barstow. The book, Delivered: My Dark Path Through Addiction was published by New Hope Publications and released in May of this year.
The book is a memoir written by Ms. Gillispie detailing her history of drug addiction, along with her decision to work with CFS and make an adoption plan for the child she was carrying a the time.
The author came to CFS at age 34, with a significant drug history and pregnant. Through the work of the CFS social worker, we provided her with safe housing, medical care, and clothes. Throughout her stay in a community group home for women, the CFS social worker met with her on a regular basis and provided her with the counseling and emotional support she needed. She later delivered a baby boy, and went on to make an adoption plan for the child.
The book is an honest portrait of her life as a drug addict. However, it had a happy ending, with Janet eventually getting successful treatment for her addiction, becoming a successful single mom and eventually returning to her previous profession as a X-Ray Technician. She has been so successful in her professional life that she was awarded UAB Employee of the Year in 2006.
Some quotes from the book are:
“I can’t say enough about Catholic Family Services and all they did to provide for me and show love and compassion for me and my unborn baby.” (P. 80)
“Each year, I get pictures and some news about the little boy I placed through Catholic Family Services. He is now 19 and loves to play the piano. Who knows what will happen in the future? Maybe I’ll have the chance to meet this son someday.” (P.179)
Adoption and Excellent Parenting Make a Difference
(Opinion from Tom Cook, DSW, ACSW Regional Director, Catholic Family Services)
As the director of Catholic Family Services, I read with interest your front page article on Blake Byrd, a student at Corner High School and winner of the Bryant-Jordan Regional Achievement.
What caught my eye was not his athletic accomplishments, but the fact that he was adopted by family members at a crucial time in his young life. Adoption and excellent parenting made a difference in this young man’s life. In his case two family members, his great uncle and his wife, “stepped up to the plate” and made a life-long commitment to him, gave him the family and sense of permanency along with spiritual direction and guidance to be the fine young man he is today.
Because his biological parents were not in a position to care for him, the birth mother choose to make an adoption plan. It is obvious she made the right choice.
Catholic Family Services is a local Birmingham agency that offers women facing a crisis pregnancy objective and professional counseling to help them decide to parent or make an adoption plan. Adoption is a very viable and positive option for women facing an unplanned pregnancy and Catholic Family Services is a local resource that can help.
Tom Cook, DSW, ACSW
Regional Director, Catholic Family Services
Dr. Cook responded to a News article on Alabama first lady Dianne Bentley's speech promotiong adoption that was published in Birmingham News.
Misconceptions hurt numbers
... I read with great interest The News' article on Alabama first lady Dianne Bentley's speech promoting adoption as an alternative to abortion ("First lady, others call for adoption not abortion," Wednesday). She is correct in her position; adoption is a very viable alternative to abortion or to taking on the role of parent before one is capable of doing so.
Unfortunately, adoption is not often considered by women, or health care providers, when dealing with a crisis pregnancy. I would speculate this is because of certain myths or misconceptions about the topic.
For instance, a woman who chooses adoption is not abandoning, or giving up, her baby. By choosing this option and talking it through with a social worker or therapist, she is actually making a plan for the child. This is a responsible and loving act.
Adoption has also changed, in that women have more control of the process. At most agencies, women can often meet and choose the adoptive families, and have ongoing communication with them after placement. This gives a woman the knowledge that the child is doing well and the choice she made had a positive outcome.
The first lady is right. All health care providers, educators, clergy and citizens should support women facing a crisis pregnancy and at least remind them adoption is a choice that is there for them.
Regional director, Catholic Family Services
Catholic Family Services hosted an Appreciation Dinner on October 19, 2010 in recognition of individuals and businesses that contribute to the ministry of pro-life and children. Pictured Above are Attendees and CFS Clinical Director, Dr. Tom Cook presenting to contributors.
Pictured above is Ms. Jessica White, Girl's Incorporated Preventing Adolescent Pregnancy Coordinator. She presented at a parenting seminar on "Female Reproduction" held at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School. This program was a cooperative effort between CFS, OLF School, and Girls Incorporated.
Pictured above is Ms. Janis Posey, certified counselor, with Teen Link/Kids Link Program with the Crisis Center at the parenting seminar on “Bullying” held at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School. In the accompanying photograph is Office Damon Johnson with the Birmingham Police Department discussing with parents and students ways to deal with this problem. The program was a cooperative effort between Catholic Family Services, OLF School, the Crisis Center, and the Birmingham Police Department.
Pictured above are former Catholic Family Services Advisory Board member Ms. Nancy Barnacastle and Advisory Board President Deacon Bob Martin. Deacon Martin presented this token of appreciation to Nancy for five years of service to CFS and to the Advisory Board.
CFS is a private, non-profit, counseling and adoption agency serving people of all faiths since 1928. The agency receives funds from the Catholic Charities Appeal and The United Way of Central Alabama.
Pictured above is Dr. Tom Cook, Director of the Birmingham office of Catholic Family Services and the 6th graders of Our Lady of the Valley Catholic School. These 6th graders successfully raised $4,684.52 through the "Change For Life" fundraiser at the OLV school and parish. The students distributed baby bottles to OLV parishioners and parents at the school, who returned the bottles filled with loose change, cash and checks. The students had a pizza party at the school for their successful efforts.
The money will be used to support the agency pro-life ministry, which includes assisting women in crisis pregnancies, and our adoption and foster care programs. CFS receives funding from the local Catholic Charities Appeal and the United Way of Central Alabama. Should other parishes or schools wish to support the agency through this type fundraiser, they can contact Dr. Cook at 324-6561.
Below is a Media Ad that will run on the following Birmingham Radio Stations beginning on April 19, 2010: WDJC, WAGG, and 1480 Catholic Radio.
Pictured above is Dr. Tom Cook, Regional Director of Birmingham Catholic Family Services. The agency received a check for $2,250 from the Respect Life Committee of St. Peter’s the Apostle Catholic Church who raised the money through their “Change for life” parish wide fundraiser. Members of the committee distributed baby bottles after Mass and the bottles were returned filled with cash and change. This donation will be used to support the adoption and foster care program of CFS, and to assist women going through a crisis pregnancy. CFS also receives funds from the Catholic Charities Appeal and the United Way of Central Alabama.
Former Catholic Family Services Foster Parents, Len and Teresa Holland, were nominated for the 2010 Childcare Resources Children's Advocate Award.
Birmingham Catholic Family Services Director, Dr. Tom Cook, is pictured above with Mr. Troy Wolkow, agency field director with State Farm Insurance. Birmingham State Farm agents selected CFS to receive a check for $1,000 which will be used to support the adoption and foster care programs of CFS. This is the second year in a row that CFS has been selected by the local agents to receive this donation. Catholic Family Services also receives funds from the Catholic Charities Appeal, and the United Way of Central Alabama.
Featured above is Dr. Tom Cook, Regional Director of the Birmingham office of Catholic Family Services, and Mr. Tom Maxwell, Treasurer of the Alabama Lawyers For Unborn Children, Inc. This group of pro-life attorneys is presenting the agency with a check to support its programs of adoption, infant foster care, and service to women in crisis pregnancies. The Alabama Lawyers for Unborn Children, Inc. has been a consistent supporter of CFS and it pro-life ministry. CFS also receives funds from the Catholic Charities Appeal and the United Way of Central Alabama.
Pictured above are attendees at an adoption seminar at the Birmingham office of Catholic Family Services. CFS, along with the Alabama Adoption Coalition, hosted the seminar on November 4th to kick off National Adoption Month. Seminar topics included presentations from the staff of the International Adoption Clinic at Children's Hospital as well as from APAC (Alabama Post Adoption Connections).
CFS is a recipient of funds from the Catholic Charities Appeal, and the United Way of Central Alabama.
Pictured above Dr. Don Paoletti presented an in-service at Catholic Family Services to local Catholic School counselors and CFS staff on Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Dr. Paoletti is a local child and adolescent psychiatrist that provide psychiatric services to Women and Children at Catholic Family Services through The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
Dr. Tom Cook, Regional Director of Birmingham Catholic Family Services, holds a check given to the agency by Bob Faust, Executive Director of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition Education Fund, Inc.
CFS received a check for $4,059.00 from the sale of “Choose Life” auto tags in Jefferson County. CFS has been participating in this program since 2005 and to this date has received $22,198 from this foundation.CFS will use the grant to fund its programs of assisting women in crisis pregnancies, infant adoption, and infant foster care.
The agency also receives funds from the Catholic Charities Appeal and the United Way of Central Alabama.
The agency was presented with a grant for $4,600 from The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and will be used to provide outpatient psychiatric care for women and children in Metro Birmingham. CFS also receives funds from The United Way of Central Alabama, and The Catholic Charities Appeal.
Pictured above, from left to right are CFS board members Ted Holt, Mary Roth, Dann Lee, Dr. Tom Cook (agency director), Tom Mahoney, Deacon Bob Martin (Board President), Dr. Juan Gutierrez and Marco Gonzalez.
Pictured above are Dr. Tom Cook, agency director, Deacon Bob Martin, CFS Board President, and Mrs. Jan Bell, VP for Community Philanthropy for The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. The CFGB awarded CFS a grant for $4,600 to provide outpatient psychiatric care to women and children in Metro Birmingham. To find out more about the Community Foundation go to the About Us Section and click on Partnerships at our web site.
The Birmingham office of Catholic Family Services has received a grant of $6,500 from Hill Crest Foundation, Inc. The funds will be used to provide outpatient mental health services to the uninsured and under- insured individuals in Metro Birmingham.
CFS is partnering with the Jefferson-Blount-St. Clair Mental Health Authority to provide these services. Dr. Tim Stone will see CFS clients on a monthly basis and the agency will also be assisting with medications, if the client can’t afford to purchase them. The Hill Crest Foundation was established in 1967 and its primary focus is on health care and meeting other community needs. The foundation has funded this service at CFS since October of 2006.
John & Pattie DeCastra hosted the new foster parent orientation in their home welcoming Catholic Family Services new foster parents. Pictured Above: Director, Tom Cook; Dwayne & Trisha Albritton; Marc & Susan Corsini; Greg & Jennifer Davis; John & Patty DeCastra; Bob & Kathy Esper; Len & Teresa Holland; Pat & Debbie Lucas; David & Jean McGuire; (Not Pictured- Rowell & Trinita Ashford, Mike & Carol Reddington)
Catholic Family Services is pleased to announce the addition of three new foster families, (Pictures Above) Marc & Susan Corsini, and their three children, Nicholas, Matthew & Isabella- (OLS); David (not pictured) & Jean McGuire, and their daughter, Anna- (St. Mark); and Bob & Kathy Esper- (OLV).
Catholic Family Services psychiatric program has been renewed thanks to a grant from The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. The agency will use this money to contract for outpatient services from, (Above) Dr. Don Paoletti a local child and adolescent psychiatrist. Dr. Paoletti will see women and children who reside in Jefferson County at no charge; however the referral must come through the CFS clinical staff.
On October 2, 2008 the Birmingham Office of Catholic Family Services hosted an appreciation dinner in honor of Len and Teresa Holland for devoting 30 years of service foster parenting 44 infants and young children that were in CFS care.
(Above Left) Mrs. Barbara Pitts, CFS social worker , presents Teresa and Len Holland with a plaque in appreciation for their 30 years of service as foster parents with CFS. (Above Right) Mr. Philip Selig, Vice President of the Advisory Board of Catholic Family Services, presents Teresa and Len Holland with a gift from the Advisory Board members. The couple received a gift certificate for The Summit in appreciation of their work for the agency.
(Above Left)Deacon Bob Martin, President of CFS Advisory Board, presents to United Way Volunteers on November 10, 2008.
(Above Right) CFS adoptive couple talks about adoption experience at CFS.
Listed below is a letter Dr. Tom Cook submitted to the editor that appeared in the Birmingham News on December 10, 2008 about recruiting African American Families for Adoption.
Recently, on December 3rd, Congressman Artur Davis sponsored a community seminar which supported and encouraged the recruitment of families to adopt special needs children in the care of the State Department of Human Resources (DHR).
As the director of Catholic Family Services (CFS), a private, non-profit child welfare agency, I would like to compliment Representative Davis for his work in helping raise the awareness of the needs of these children. This kind of leadership and commitment to the families of the 7th Congressional District is appreciated. Anytime adoption is promoted, children and families benefit.
Adoption is not always an easy process, for any of the parties involved, but the outcome is worth the work. CFS has been providing adoption services in Birmingham since 1928 and serves people of all faiths. Our focus is on finding permanent, loving, homes for infants in our care, and on helping the woman make a decision to either parent or make an adoption plan.
Catholic Family Services, just like the Department of Human Resources, is here to promote adoption and to find caring adults who are willing to make a lifetime commitment to a child. It is certainly beneficial to both agencies to have the unequivocal support of Representative Davis in helping us do our work.
Below is a video interview Dr. Tom Cook had with the local CBS 42 television station about Catholic Family Services Adoption Program in conjunction with the story they did when they found a newborn in a duffel bag in Bessemer.
Shown above are some of Santas little helpers from Prince of Peace Parish delivering presents for clients served at the Birmingham office of Catholic Family Services. Also shown are a small portion of the hundreds toys provided for distribution to CFS clients.
Donations came from Prince of Peace and Blessed Sacrament parishes, the Our Lady of Fatima Guild at Our Lady of Sorrows, individual donors and local businesses. Through the work of these volunteers and Mrs. Johnita Harrell, CFS receptionist, the agency was able to provide Christmas toys and gifts for 163 children in 66 families in Birmingham and surrounding areas.
CFS is an agency supported by the annual Catholic Charities Appeal.
Parishioners of St. Peter the Apostle parish, Birmingham, made a generous donation for the 2009 Change for Life (baby bottle) Campaign. The checks were provided to Her Choice Women's Center and CFS. Standing with Dr. Tom Cook (second from left), Regional Director of the Birmingham office of CFS are members of the Respect Life Committee Jim Blaszczynski, Mary Mueller and Eileen Kennedy.
Members of St. Peter's raised these funds by filling up baby bottles with change and donating this to the agency. The money will be used to support the services to women in crisis pregnancies, adoption and foster care programs offered by the agency. The Respect Life Committee, along with all the parishioners of St. Peter's have been generous and consistent supporters of the agency.
Caption: Pictured above are Dr. Tom Cook, Director of the Birmingham office of Catholic Family Services and the 6th graders from Mrs. Mahoney's class at OLV School.
The students raised money for the agency in the Change for Life fundraiser conducted at OLV parish. Students distributed baby bottles after Mass and the parishioners returned the bottles with their change, cash, or checks. These students, and parishioner, raised $3,750 and counting to support the adoption and foster care services at CFS.
The students were rewarded for their valuable services with a pizza party sponsored by CFS. Catholic Family Services is a recipient of funds from the Catholic Charities Appeal and The United Way of Central Alabama.