A New Beginning – Adoption help and guidance for all involved


By Gaye Bunderson

When Stephanie Pearl and her husband adopted a baby girl from China, Stephanie learned a lot. And what she primarily learned was how little she knew.

“I didn't get any preparation,” she said. She wasn't informed about attachment between baby and parents nor about cultural awareness, and was left in the dark about what she calls “lifelong adoption-related issues.”

That motivated Pearl, who is trained in social work, to launch her own adoption agency, called A New Beginning. She started the agency 13 years ago, and it grew to the point she had to keep finding new, bigger spaces to house it. A New Beginning has been located in its current offices at 8660 W. Emerald, Ste. 142, in Boise for five years.

Over the past 13 years, Pearl has tweaked and modified and updated her program, teaching adoptive parents all the things she was not informed about, as well as adding new information as needed in the world of modern adoptions.

“I'm really happy with the training,” she said.

“It's very thorough,” Tina Kierce, marketing director for A New Beginning, said.

A New Beginning encompasses everyone involved in the adoption dynamic: birth mothers (and fathers and grandparents), adoptive parents, and foster children who are looking for permanent homes.

The agency offers comprehensive information and assistance. An example of that is what Kierce refers to as a “wrap-around program” in its A New Beginning Pregnancy Service.

“We wrap a lot of support around birth moms,” she said.

A New Beginning, though a nonprofit, has a paid staff of eight people, including five social workers. Both Kierce and Pearl describe the staff as passionate and willing to go above and beyond a normal, eight-hour workday when necessary. They are available 24/7.

“When a girl comes to us, she has one-on-one attention for anything she needs,” Kierce said. “We are there from when she walks in the door through the birth, the delivery and afterwards. If we don't have a service, we help them find it.”

That may include housing, food and clothing needs. A New Beginning maintains strong connections with hospitals, clinics and individual physicians, as well as an in-house attorney who has provided ongoing legal assistance to the agency for a number of years.

Some birth moms stay connected to A New Beginning and help mentor other moms. They are feted with a Birth Mother Day each year just prior to Mother's Day.

Another service provided by A New Beginning is its Youth Advisory Board. The agency is dedicated to finding homes for youth in foster care and in helping young people who are aging out of the foster care system and need help as they face the unknown. Young people previously in foster care are board members and help mentor foster kids who are now where they used to be.

“We love helping families and kids in foster care, and we are super passionate for aging-out youth,” Kierce said.

Approximately 22-24 infant adoptions take place each year through A New Beginning, with 35-50 birth moms using its services. Some mothers choose to keep their babies. The mothers who choose adoption are “very brave moms who make that decision,” Pearl said.

Both the birth moms and the adoptive parents are allowed to read one another's profiles and select the parents or the mother they are most comfortable and compatible with. The birth mom generally interviews two to three families prior to making her choice; she may have certain preferences, such as wanting a family with no children or of a certain religion or that lives in a rural part of the state. The adoptive parents are entitled to have stipulations as well. “It's a process of matching them,” Pearl said.

Adoptive parents pay all the fees surrounding the birth and the care of the mom.

The agency also has a program called A New Beginning Wellness, which is right next door to its home office on Emerald. There, a counselor works with birth families, adoptive families and foster families.

A New Beginning is an open adoption program, and Pearl feels that's the best and healthiest situation for everyone involved. However, open adoption is optional and not mandatory.

“We have learned so much,” Pearl said — and the agency is still growing. It is now looking into adding another social worker. “This agency has surpassed my vision and exceeded my dreams for it. I'm excited about it.”


The agency has “a big presence” online, said Kierce. For more information, go to AdoptANewBeginning.org or call 939-3865.