A birth mother’s decision to place her child for adoption is never an easy one. In fact, it is likely the most difficult decision a birth parent will ever have to make. However, “many birth parents are able to reconcile the loss and make peace with the decision,” according to the Child Welfare Information Gateway. But it can take time.
“Only support and the respectful acknowledgment of their choices and their emotions can help birth parents grieve in a healthy manner and, with time, allow for their healing and reconciliation of the adoption as a part of their life story,” explain Chuck Johnson, president and CEO of the National Council For Adoption, and Kris Faasse, LMSW, ACSW, Director of Adoption Services for Bethany Christian Services in their article “Birthparent Counseling in Policy and Practice.”
This is why adoption counseling is so important. An unplanned pregnancy is a time that’s filled with emotions and uncertainty. You need someone who can help guide you through the entire adoption process. And, because each adoption is unique, adoption counseling varies from case to case.
“It is difficult to generalize about the impact of adoption on all birth parents,” explains the Child Welfare Information Gateway. “Each has faced a unique experience and coped in his or her own way.”
The Different Forms of Adoption Counseling
“Counseling is a necessary component of infant adoption, not just prior to placement but, in many cases, after placement as well,” write Johnson and Faasse.
Pre-Placement Adoption Counseling
“As with any difficult decision, feelings of anxiety, sorrow, and grief are common throughout the adoption process,” explain Johnson and Faasse, especially in the beginning. An unplanned pregnancy can be scary, which is why it is important to talk to through your options. Adoption counseling enables birth mothers to “make pregnancy decisions in an informed manner, after personal reflection, with all the facts and options on the table.”
Adoption Makes Family is here to listen, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Our experienced professionals can help and counsel you so that you make the best decisions for your future. We simply want what is best for you and your baby, whatever outcome that may be.
“Adoption is not just scary, counseling is provided because birth mothers can feel overwhelmed with the choices and decisions associated with adoption,” says Dean Kirschner, Ph.D., LCSW-C. “Counseling may help a birth mother/birth father understand the various options associated with choices of parenting or creating an adoption plan.”
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Adoption counseling begins the moment you reach out to our office for an initial consultation.
“Counseling provides an opportunity for the [birth mother] who is wrestling with her decision to make an adoption plan, parent the child, or terminate her pregnancy to objectively evaluate all her options,” write Johnson and Faasse. With all of the information, the birth mother will be better able to make a well-informed and confident decision. In fact, according to Johnson and Faasse, birth mothers tend to report a “high level of satisfaction with their choice to make an adoption plan” after receiving the “professional counseling and support needed in order to reach a fully informed decision.”
Post-Placement Adoption Counseling
“It is not uncommon for women to feel that, once they leave the hospital, they are left to fend for themselves,” write Susan Dusza Guerra Leksander, Susan Romer and Diane Landino in their article “What Is Life Like for Birth Mothers After Placement?” Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon occurrence. In fact, “75 percent of the women surveyed reported that their emotional health was very poor, poor, or neutral in the first year after placement,” according to a national survey conducted by the On Your Feet Foundation. This is why post-placement adoption counseling can be so beneficial.
Counseling support services can continue long after the adoption itself is complete, depending on your preferences. You are encouraged to stay as close as you feel comfortable. The support is here for you.
“Good counseling provides a crucial foundation for birthmothers in dealing with their emotions and moving forward,” write Johnson and Faasse, “throughout the process until relinquishment, and after placement as they undertake the necessary work to grieve and to heal.”
The Cost of Counseling is Covered for the Birth Mother
In 2013 in the state of Maryland, Governor O’Malley signed into law House Bill 563, which has helped numerous pregnant women in Maryland by allowing adoptive families to help cover certain expenses, including reasonable charge or fee for adoption counseling.
“Often, legal and medical expenses are paid AFTER the revocation period expires to prevent families paying for expenses and losing the opportunity to adopt the baby,” says Dean Kirschner, Ph.D., LCSW-C.
Our Counseling Services
Adoption Makes Family serves as more than just a mediator between you and an adoptive family. We aim to foster a genuine connection with you so you feel like you are part of our family. One of the ways we do this is through adoption counseling.
If you are considering adoption but have not talked with a professional counselor, please contact us to speak with one of our staff members. Adoption Makes Family is a non-profit (501-C3) licensed adoption agency based in Maryland founded to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents in a manner that is sensitive, compassionate, and personal. Adoption Makes Family will provide you with counseling throughout the adoption process. And this relationship does not end on the day of discharge from the hospital. There is post-placement adoption counseling available to you if you would like. You are welcome to meet with your adoption counselor or we will help you to find a counselor in an area close to you.
If you have any questions, you can contact us by phone at 410-683-2100, by e-mail at email@example.com or use our online contact form.
- “Do Mothers Get Paid for Adoption in MD?” American Adoptions — America’s Adoption Agency, www.americanadoptions.com/state_adoption/get-paid-for-adoption-maryland?article_id=4972&sitemedia=full.
- Dusza Guerra Leksander, Susan, et al. “Supporting Birth Mothers: Before, During, and After Adoption.” Adoptive Families, 15 July 2016, www.adoptivefamilies.com/openness/birth-mother-support-on-your-feet-foundation-study/.
- “Effects of Adoption on Birth Mother.” Adoption Network, adoptionnetwork.com/emotional-and-psychological-effects-of-adoption-on-birth-mother.
- Johnson, Chuck , and Kris Faasse. “Adoption Advocate.” Mar. 2012.
PATRICELLI, KATHRYN . “Long-Term Issues For Birthmothers After Adoption.” Mental Help LongTerm Issues for Birthmothers After Adoption Comments, www.mentalhelp.net/articles/long-term-issues-for-birthmothers-after-adoption/.