Where did you grow up and what did you like about it?
I grew up in Greenwood, Indiana, just south of Indianapolis. I enjoyed my neighborhood and school. I grew up in a suburban area with a big backyard. Our house had a huge walk-out basement and was a gathering place for my friends.

My parents always welcomed my friends in our home. I played volleyball and tennis, and I supported other sports, so I felt very connected to my school. I also enjoyed having three of the four seasons. I loved autumn — cooler days, the beautiful leaves, apple cider, wearing sweatshirts. I miss that living in Florida. Although, I don’t miss the snow.

Cat or dog?
I love all animals, but definitely DOG. Unfortunately, I am allergic to cats. I absolutely LOVE dogs and wish I could just live on several acres with lots of dogs. I have an 11-year-old sheltie named Spirit, and she is my heart.

We lost our golden retriever, Agnes, last year and she was almost 14. I think it is unbearable to lose your dog. One of my favorite quotes is by Immanuel Kant, “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.” I completely believe this.

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream and your earliest memory of first having it?
I like ice cream, but I don’t love it. I LOVE chocolate chip cookies and brownies 🙂
Why adoption? Why do you dedicate yourself to it?
I can’t think of a more interesting career. Every day is different. Every story is different. I first began working in the field of adoption as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. I worked with pregnant women who were considering making an adoption plan for their unborn child.

I helped them prepare for the relinquishment of the child and provided grief counseling after placement. I was impressed with these women, who made such a selfless decision because they wanted to give their child a better life.

I also had the opportunity to conduct home studies for adoptive families. I was equally impressed with how much these families just wanted to a child to love, many of them having experienced miscarriages and/or multiple failed attempts to become pregnant.

And now as an attorney, I still work with birth mothers and adoptive families. I can’t think of a better job than helping a birth mother choose the parents to raise her child and helping adoptive parents create the family they have wanted for so long.

What’s your favorite adoption experience?
It would be absolutely impossible to choose my favorite adoption experience. Each and every one is unique. I have had the privilege of finalizing children’s adoptions when they have been in foster care for years and are finally adopted by their forever family.

I have seen birth mothers kiss their babies goodbye before signing adoption paperwork and placing their child in the arms of the adoptive parents. Each one has made an impression on me, and I feel privileged to have been a part of their story. In some cases, I am one of the only people in the world who knows the child’s adoption story. I hold that privilege dear.

However, there is one adoption finalization that was very unique. A birth mother had temporarily placed a child with family members while she made an adoption plan and chose adoptive parents. The child was eventually transitioned to the adoptive parents’ home, and when it came time to finalize the adoption, the adoptive family invited the biological family members to attend the finalization.

They took photos together in the courtroom. I remember thinking at the time how wonderful it will be for that child when he is older to see those pictures and know that his biological family was there to celebrate his adoption. Children can never be loved by too many people.

If you were in charge of the world, what’s one thing you’d do to make it a better place?
I would institute gun control measures. But besides that, I would require that schools teach children life skills such as relationship skills, communication skills, coping skills, conflict management skills, and financial management skills. Also, there would be programs in schools that teach children compassion for each other and for animals, as well as how to problem solve.

Every day in my work, I see young adults that have no idea how to manage their lives or their relationships. And most of them sat in a classroom for 12 years. This is not a negative comment toward teachers. I respect teachers so much, and I know that the majority of teachers are extremely invested and work so hard to teach and reach their students.

Rather, my comment is about a change in educational philosophy and what children need to learn during their school years to be able to function as healthy, loving adults.

 

Learn more about Tammi and the Destiny team.

 

Author: Destiny Adoption Services

Destiny Adoption Services is proud to support and guide birth parents and adoptive families on the journey of adoption. We’re a state licensed nonprofit adoption agency with four decades of adoption experience, and our professional team of experts includes moms, adoptive moms and birth mothers who provide compassion combined with trusted resources and skills.