The decision to place your baby for adoption is one of the most difficult things you will ever do. It can feel lonely and confusing. You want the best for your child but are also trying to navigate financial concerns, pressure from family or friends, influence from adoption professionals or prospective adoptive parents, and stigma associated with an unplanned pregnancy. That is a lot to try to hold on your own. You shouldn’t have to. That is why we urge all expectant mothers to research their options, resources and the potential repercussions of adoption. We want you to feel confident in your decisions, knowing that you are doing what is best for you and for your child.
What is Options Counseling?
Options counseling is when men and women are facing an unintended pregnancy receive unbiased, objective guidance and support in evaluating the various options (i.e. parenting your child, placing your child for adoption, or termination of the pregnancy). The goal of options counseling is to make you feel supported in your decision based on your own personal values, needs, and preferences.
Many reputable adoption agencies and adoption attorneys agree that the expectant mothers should have the right to receive options counseling but the laws on birth mother rights vary from state to state. Eleven states require counseling in some or in all adoptions. Twenty states require that birth parents in some or all types of adoption are made aware that counseling is available to them. While these laws are a good start, they do not guarantee that birth parents will receive an appropriate amount of counseling or that their counseling will be unbiased.
What is the benefit of Options Counseling?
Many birth mothers seriously consider options other than adoption, mainly parenting their child. However, many birth mothers do not receive information about parenting or resources that could help them parent their child. Lack of emotional and social support, financial and housing concerns, and fear of disappointing prospective adoptive families can often be deciding factors in whether or not an expectant mother decides to place her child for adoption. It can feel like there is no one to advocate for you or to help you navigate this important life decision. Options counseling allows you to explore all your options, ask questions and receive the support you need to feel confident in your decision, whatever that might be. Options counseling respects your autonomy and right to make your own decisions without bias and influence from other parties.
- Visit a Pregnancy Care Clinic OR seek the assistance of a licensed therapist in your area (One that is not associated with an adoption agency). Click here to find a pregnancy care clinic near you.
- Ask your adoption professional or doctor for information on your options and for resources to receive unbiased, adoption-neutral options counseling.
- Be aware that counselors, adoption professionals, and doctors may have biases based on their philosophical, religious or social views or if they represent both the expectant parents and the adoptive parents. If you believe the counseling you receive is biased, ask to receive alternative options counseling.
- Reach out to an AdoptMatch Approved Adoption Professional. If you do not already have an adoption attorney or adoption agency that you are working with, we recommend that you reach out to one. All AdoptMatch Approved Adoption Professionals agree to our Guiding Principles that state that they are committed to offering all expectant parents the support needed to ensure a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and recovery.
Considering adoption? Don’t forget to download and read through “The Expectant Mother’s Guide to Adoption” which will provide you with the information you need to guide you through your adoption plan.