Choosing adoption for a child is a decision that cannot accurately be described in words. The amount of thought and emotion encompassed in the process of contemplating and choosing an adoption plan can be extremely overwhelming and can bring about many difficult conversations with oneself, partners, friends, and family. Many birth parents turn to family and friends for support and advice when contemplating how to handle an unplanned pregnancy. Sometimes these trusted support systems can be extremely helpful in navigating the overwhelming possibilities but other times, they can create more stress and confusion and birth parents need to find additional sources of guidance and support. There are many organizations that exist to help birth parents as they process through the many options they have. Two such organizations are:
- The Option Line: (1-800-712-4357)The Option Line is a contact center that provides 24/7 access to bilingual counselors who can help provide calm, compassionate, and attentive counsel to birth parents in need. They are able to connect birth parents directly to a local Pregnancy Center in their area who can provide in person services such as exams, ultrasounds, and parenting classes.
- Pregnancy Centers: Many pregnancy centers exist throughout the United States and are available to provide in person options counseling at no cost to the birth parents. Many Pregnancy Centers provide medical services such a pregnancy testing, STD and STI testing, and ultrasounds. Many centers also provide abortion consultations that help to provide a transparent description of the process, risks, and outcomes of the different types of abortions. The client counselors at Pregnancy Centers provide a listening ear and a source of compassionate and encouraging support to birth parents as they discuss their options and feelings associated. Most centers have information about local adoption agencies and the client counselors have contact information for pregnancy counselors with the agencies in order to provide a direct connection if desired. Pregnancy Centers also provide access to local parenting resources and classes for birth parents to help support them in the journey to parenthood should they choose it.
In addition to the Option Line and Pregnancy Centers, there are many groups that exist on social media to help dispel myths and stigmas surrounding adoption and to provide mentorship and support to expectant parents considering adoption. Two such groups are:
- BraveLove: BraveLove was founded in 2012 by an adoptive mother who wanted to provide a space on the internet that presented truths of adoption and how it is a loving choice for expectant mothers. Their mission is to be a media advocacy organization that provides the world with reliable adoption information and advocates for the truth that adoption is a loving and brave option for unexpected pregnancies. They offer resources such as testimonials from birth mothers who have chosen adoption and transparent answers to many common questions regarding the process, choosing an agency, and how choosing adoption may impact the future. They also offer direct links to adoption agencies listed by state. Their website and social media is filled with videos and testimonials of women who have made the brave and selfless choice to make adoption plans and how their experiences with adoption have impacted their lives for the better. Many testimonials include details of open relationships and ongoing contact with birth mothers and their children. BraveLove also facilitates support groups and provides connections for birth mothers who have chosen adoption.
- On Your Feet Foundation: On Your Feet was founded in 2001 and their mission is to provide compassionate and reliable post-placement support for birth parents. They provide access to case management services, grants for counseling, tuition, and emergency rent assistance as well as online and in person support groups. They have a blog devoted to raising awareness about important topics related to adoption, birth parents, the adoption triad, and self-care. Birth parents experience the process of placing a child in different ways and On Your Feet recognizes support is needed in processing the complexities that follow an adoption plan and there is no timeline of when the support is needed.
These are only a few of the many resources dedicated to helping support expectant parents as they navigate the complexities of an unplanned pregnancy and providing resources and encouragement for them after placement.
If you are an expectant or birth parent or if you know an expectant or birth parent, seeking guidance and support these are all great resources to turn to. You can also view more information to other organizations, support groups, and online resources on Nightlight’s Post Adoption Connection Center page.
If you are a hopeful adoptive parent, I encourage you to visit the websites providing support to birth parents and raising awareness for the voices of birth parents, as it will help you have a greater understanding and connection to your child’s birth family and their experience in the adoption process.
If you are seeking to provide support to organizations caring for and supporting birth parents, I encourage you to reach out to your local pregnancy center to see what areas they may have needs or donate to an organization like BraveLove or On Your Feet Foundation to help them in their missions to serve and advocate for birth families.