Arcadia University student Christina Smith and another birth parent who wishes to remain anonymous have been selected as the Adoptions From The Heart (AFTH) Fall 2020 Birth Parent Scholarship recipients. Smith received $5,000 towards an education in pursuit of becoming an experimental psychologist. Both recipients were selected by the AFTH Birth Parent Scholarship board.

The Birth Parent Scholarship fund was created by current AFTH Executive Director Heidi Gonzalez. The official Birth Parent Scholarship board assembled in 2014 and continues to meet twice a year before the fall and spring semesters of the academic year. Educational scholarships can be used by those who wish to attend trade school, undergraduate, or graduate schooling. The scholarship is financed solely from donations made out to the fund.

The scholarship fund is open to all birth parents across the nation who have placed a child for adoption between 1985 to present. The most recent recipient of the agency’s scholarship is Spring 2020 winner Amanda McDonald of Clovis, New Mexico. McDonald used the scholarship money to finance her final semester of prerequisite courses before nursing school. Since receiving the scholarship McDonald has notified the agency about her successful semester and about her recent acceptance to Ameritech College of Health Care in Draper, Utah.

“This scholarship is still something that has helped me in so many more ways than I could have ever imagined. Not only did it help me not scrape by while I was in school last semester. It helped me to know that I’VE GOT THIS, I’m not alone, people do believe in me, I can believe in myself, and I felt heard by others for the first time in awhile! Those things right there have changed me. You can change the world, if you just simply believe in others dreams, and help them feel heard. That is something I never realized had so much power. Just simply feeling heard,” said McDonald.

Fall 2020 Birth Parent Scholarship winner Smith was in her first semester of college when she discovered she was pregnant with her first child in the fall of 2019. Upon revealing the unexpected news to her boyfriend the couple mutually decided that adoption was what was best for the child. The two connected with American Adoptions and Adoptions From The Heart to make an adoption plan for their son. Their newborn was placed with his adoptive parents in May 2020.

Smith’s son is a major reason behind her decision to return to school and apply for the scholarship.

“Now when I do things I think ‘I want to be someone that he [son] can be proud of.’ I’ll always be proud of him no matter what he does,” said Smith.

AFTH will continue to check in with Smith over the next few years to learn more about her future endeavors.

About Adoptions From The Heart:

Adoptions From The Heart (AFTH) was founded in 1985 by Maxine Chalker, our Executive Director. Maxine, herself an adoptee, wanted to give adoption a new face by breaking down the barriers and taking some of the mystery out of the adoption process. AFTH is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide safe, loving homes for children and offer comprehensive, high-quality services to adoptive families, birth parents, and children. The agency is licensed in PA, NJ, DE, CT, VA and NY.

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