About Us

Introducing Beginnings

“At Beginnings, we believe that our connections to one another are our greatest strength.  We believe in creating a space for everyone where families can imagine what is possible together.”             

Amanda Baigent, MSW, RSW, Executive Director

Beginnings provides counselling and support to expectant parents experiencing unplanned pregnancies and assists people wishing to grow their families through adoption and embryo services.

Beginnings Family Services

What We Offer

Free pregnancy counselling

Open adoption services

Interim foster care

Parenting support


Reunion counselling

Open embryo donation services

Community referrals

Post adoption counselling


Beginnings honours our roots in the Christian faith, reflected in the intentions of our founders to carry out the work of serving those most vulnerable. Offering hope and practical assistance to pregnant women and families in crisis while prioritizing the dignity and inclusion of all people is the foundation of our work. From the inception of our organization, Beginnings has sought to be a place where the essence of faith can be seen in the expression of compassion and love.

In the words of one of our founders Rev. Arie VanEek, Beginnings is about “building strong families and instilling faith and values for the next generation.” 

Beginnings core values hold us accountable to doing what is right – advocating for those who are vulnerable and building connections, for families to grow together.

Compassionate Connections – We value a safe and supportive community that promotes understanding, acceptance and self-determination. Our birth parent and adoption counsellors work hard to ensure families receive critical and timely assistance so that expectant mothers, families in crisis and prospective adoptive families are provided with the care and support needed. Our embryo program counsellors strive to meet the needs of embryo donors, recipients and fertility clinics to support the success of their chosen plans.

Communication – We believe in open communication as the foundation of our work and this is a key component of our counselling, adoption and embryo programs. We value building lasting connections by facilitating an open dialogue around the needs of individuals and families as they plan for the future.

Diversity, Equity, and Belonging – We respect and value each other, recognizing everyone’s worth. Beginnings welcomes people of diverse identities including race and ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender, range of abilities, and socioeconomic status.

Professionalism – The history of social work is rooted in faith, and in the desire to engage and support community needs, promote social change, and empower individuals in their overall wellbeing. We are a team of qualified staff, counsellors and social workers who adhere to stringent guidelines and legislative requirements in our work including: The Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service
Workers, the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, and the Ontario Human Rights code. We are licensed to facilitate adoptions by the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services, and we follow the Assisted Human Reproduction Act regulations. Continuous review and improvement of our programs and services requires knowledgeable, experienced and hardworking professionals and we are grateful for the dedicated team at Beginnings.

Meet the

Beginnings Team

Board of Directors

Beginnings is governed by an elected Board whose members serve 3 year terms and are responsible for:

  • Hendrik (Hank) Bylstra
    Hendrik (Hank) Bylstra

    Hank was born in the Netherlands in 1952 and emigrated to Canada that same year.  His family settled in Hamilton where hegrew up and was part of the Paradise Road Reformed Church.  He attended Hamilton District Christian High School and later lived for three years In the Netherlands for study purposes.  Hank attended McMaster University in Hamilton for his Bachelors degree in History.  He attended Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky for his Masters Degree in Divinity.  Hank is married to Connie and they have two adopted Children and now three grandchildren.  He spent ten years as a Pastor in the Free Methodist Church in Southern Ontario before going to Mississauga in 1996 to serve for seven years with two small Reformed Churches in the GTA.  Hank took a 2 year course of studies in Conflict Management at Conrad Grebel College at the University of Waterloo and has served since 2003 as Pastor/Chaplain at Holland Christian Homes in Brampton.  Hank enjoys reading, photography, travel and family times.

Hamilton Office

Beginnings is professionally managed by the following team:

Join In. You’re In The Family

Support the Beginnings family in a range of wonderful ways.