Birthmother Counseling: A Detailed Look
What kind of help do unexpectedly pregnant women need? How does America World meet their needs? We'd like to offer more insight into the process of domestic adoption and the services we provide to birthparents.
Initially, an unexpectedly pregnant woman needs to have a source of support; a friend who will listen to her talk about her fears and the anxiety that has come with learning of this pregnancy. Counselors at America World Adoption provide support and guidance 24/7. In Iowa, (515) 505-2737; VA or MD (703) 346-4921.
Teresa McDonough, MSW, is a counselor in Virginia and Maryland. “One of the most important opportunities early on is to really listen to the woman and assess what is creating the anxiety over her pregnancy. What is she most scared about? What are some of the obstacles she needs to overcome? Once her unique situation is known, we are in a better position to provide her the counseling and reassurance she needs so she will feel cared for and supported.”
Our counselor in Iowa, Kim Laube, says, “If she is early in her pregnancy and considering abortion, America World counselors can work in partnership with local crisis pregnancy centers to provide an opportunity for her to see her unborn child through ultrasound. An opportunity to hear the child’s heart beating within them often is enough for a woman to begin to think about their child’s welfare as well as their circumstances. Counselors at America World provide referrals and transportation to crisis pregnancy centers.”
When a woman decides she would like to explore the idea of adoption, our counselors provide her with information about the various types of adoption; closed, open and semi–open. The counselor helps her determine what type of parents she is hoping to find for her child. Eventually, counselors provide her with profile books of families who are waiting to adopt a child. Once she makes a selection, she meets the adoptive family of her choice. That meeting is the beginning of the adoption journey of the birthmother and the adoptive parents. Our birthparent counselors provide counsel and guidance through the rest of the pregnancy, birth, and post placement.
There are times when a woman’s needs go beyond counseling. She may need financial assistance, transportation, help with accessing medical care, or other support. Again, our counselors provide such support, as allowed by individual state laws.
America World counselors assist the woman throughout her pregnancy, delivery and placement of her child. It is normal for a birthmother to have mixed and changing feelings as her pregnancy continues. As a part of counseling, the woman is encouraged to voice those changing emotions and talk them through.
Support is provided during delivery and counselors are at the hospital to assist with the interaction of the woman, child and adoptive parents. The counselor explains all legal paperwork and assists the woman in the process of relinquishing her parental rights.
Counselors will provide ongoing counseling services to women who have made an adoption plan for as long as they need to be served. Grief and loss are common emotions when placing a child for adoption and they need to be addressed. Counselors also provide relationship assistance to birth mothers, adoptive families and their babies.