Everyone needs someone to talk to — especially a woman considering adoption. If you’ve been thinking about this path, we know that you have plenty of questions. That’s why it’s always best to start by reaching out to an adoption social worker.
This professional is truly the heart of the entire adoption process. But if you’re unfamiliar with adoption, you might be unsure of what this type of adoption agency worker is, why they’re so essential, and why you should strongly consider reaching out to one no matter which unplanned pregnancy option you choose. Find the answers to all of your questions in this guide.
What is an Adoption Counselor?
An adoption counselor, also known as an adoption social worker or an adoption specialist, is a licensed professional who guides prospective birth parents and adoptive families through the adoption process.
It is not easy to become an adoption specialist, nor is it easy to do their job. These professionals need to be extremely flexible to better serve the needs of their adoptive families and birth parents. Every adoption is different, and each adoption agent must be ready for whatever their next case will look like. Any adoption counselor you talk to is passionate about what they do and works tirelessly to help each adoptive family and prospective birth parent make their adoption plans come true. Without their dedication, it would be hard to imagine what the adoption process would look like today.
What Does an Adoption Counselor Do?
Choosing adoption for your baby is a huge decision. Thankfully, an adoption counselor can provide the emotional support and guidance you’re looking for, along with other important services.
Here are just a few things that adoption social workers are known for:
- They can help you process your emotions: Almost every birth mother experiences complicated emotions, like doubt, grief and loss. That is why counseling for women considering “giving a baby up” for adoption is crucial. Your adoption counselor can help you walk you through these feelings to help you move forward in a healthy way.
- They can help you determine if adoption is the best choice for you: Many women contact an adoption agency when they’re not sure what to do next or how to cope with their unplanned pregnancy. If you decide to call a 24-hour adoption hotline, a confidential adoption counselor can give you an overview of all of your unplanned pregnancy options, for free and with no pressure to choose adoption.
- They can help you make an adoption plan: At most adoption agencies, your assigned social worker or adoption specialist will be your guide through the adoption process. This means that they’ll be able to walk you through each and every important decision as you make an adoption plan that has everything you’re looking for.
- They can facilitate contact between yourself and the adoptive family: After finding the perfect adoptive family, you might be unsure of how to handle your first conversation or what say. Your adoption specialist can be your point of contact during your first phone call and at any point after if you need help getting to know the adoptive family. Whether you’re looking for an open or semi-open adoption, your adoption specialist can help you build the relationship you’re envisioning.
Above all else, the most important service that any adoption counselor can provide is step-by-step guidance and support. This professional can be a strong member of your support team during the adoption. Never be afraid to reach out to them when you just need someone to talk to or a shoulder to cry on.
Can I Reach Out to an Adoption Social Worker After Placement?
Of course! Adoption counseling services are available before and long after placement. As you begin to adjust to your new normal, it’s likely that you’ll need someone to talk to who can help you cope with life after placement. In addition, you might need someone who can offer advice on post-placement contact with the adoptive family and your child. No matter when you’re looking for help, you can always reach out to your adoption coordinator for advice.
Where Can I Find a Social Worker for Adoption?
Adoption counselors can be found in many places. They might be social workers who work at an adoption agency, or they can be independent psychologists, licensed adoption counselors, or family therapists who specialize in adoption. Normally, the easiest place to find counseling for adoption will be through an agency. A counselor’s services are always covered for you when you work with an adoption agency, so you don’t need to worry about any fees for using their services.
When you contact an adoption agency, a social worker for adoption will be assigned to you. So, don’t worry too much about looking for one on your own. However, if you have already found a family and you’re thinking of completing an independent adoption using only an adoption attorney or law firm, these professionals likely will not have adoption counselors on staff.
While you might think that you don’t need the services of an adoption counselor, we would encourage you to think again. The emotions of an adoption are unpredictable. You might think you’re coping with your decision okay, only to be hit with difficult feelings months or even years later. Even if you decide to not use adoption counseling services during your adoption, knowing that you have access to them at any point if you change your mind can be comforting.
What to Look for in an Adoption Case Worker
More than anything else, it’s important to find an adoption counselor you feel safe with. Adoption is an extremely personal decision, and not just anyone can give you the support or care you’re looking for. It’s also a good idea to make sure that the agency you decide to work with offers free, unbiased information and that you can reach them 24/7. During the adoption process, your head is going to be filled with countless questions during and after normal business hours. No matter what time it is, you should be able to have all of your questions answered.
If you have any other questions about adoption counseling, or about where to find counseling for parents considering adoption near you, please fill out our free information form.