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International Adoption Clinic
Mary Grace & Anna Grace Powell

When Jim and Kelly Powell adopted daughters Mary Grace and Anna Grace from the Democratic Republic of Congo, they learned first-hand adoption is beautiful but hard, too. It can also be isolating and stressful at times, but the Powells were able to find a helping hand in the International Adoption Clinic at Children’s of Alabama.

“They were one of the pieces of our process that wasn’t stressful,” Kelly said. “That in and of itself was a blessing to our family. They made it easy. They took the burden off of us rather than adding to the pre-existing stresses.”

The clinic eased stress for the Powells by having them complete mandatory training online instead of in person in Birmingham. Living an hour away in Cullman, the Powells were balancing the schedules of their two sons, Parker and Logan, in addition to navigating the adoption process.

“Not only was it incredibly helpful to do the training remotely, but the course itself was so informational,” Kelly said. “We still go back and reference things we learned from them during the training.”

After Mary Grace and Anna Grace officially came home, visits to the clinic started and never have they been difficult. In fact, the staff at the clinic went out of their way to make the entire process easier on everyone.

“They prepared me ahead of time on what to expect, what to bring with us and from the moment we walked in were welcoming to the girls. They were so accommodating,” Kelly said. “It was obvious that everyone there really cared about the kids. They weren’t just trying to get us in and out as quickly as possible. They sincerely cared to make sure the girls were comfortable. They put children first. That helped me and I know it also helped the girls.”

Another huge help for the Powells was the care the clinic takes beyond the medical, psychological and occupational needs the children may have. When the Powells were unsure about the girls’ readiness to start kindergarten, Dr. Jennifer Chambers, M.D., MPH, TM, the clinic’s founder, talked through it with them. The clinic also stepped in to help the family schedule a specialist appointment at Children’s when Anna Grace needed to undergo tests.

“Our pediatrician was only able to get us an appointment for six months out and I knew that was too far out,” Kelly said. “I decided to call the clinic and fill them in on what was going on, and they got us an appointment with the specialist within two weeks. I literally cried because I had no doubt they were advocating for my child. It was incredible how they sincerely cared for my child just as much as I did.”

The clinic continues to be an advocate for Mary Grace and Anna Grace— as it is for all its patients — and again shared insight when the Powells needed guidance on school. Unsure of whether or not the girls were ready for kindergarten, the Powells consulted the clinic. An occupational therapist talked them through their concerns, focusing on the girls’ developmental stages, specifically through the lens of adoption. The clinic also was consulted when the girls’ school needed guidance on how to best plan out the girls’ academics.

“Every single interaction we’ve had with the International Adoption Clinic has been top notch,” Kelly said. “When people work from the heart, I think that’s what happens. And it’s very clear that they really sincerely care. It’s not just a job for them and that makes a difference. It has positively impacted our family and made things possible for our family.”
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