Working With An Adoption Agency

Adoption STAR Associate Director Michael Hill writes about the varying reasons why healthcare/helping professionals might refer pregnant people to an adoption agency.
Earlier this month I had the opportunity to do some outreach work in Ohio, one of the states Adoption STAR is licensed to work in. During the trip, I had several appointments to keep and stops to make, including a scheduled meeting with a wonderful social worker that provides services to a lot of pregnant patients.

During our 45-minute meeting, she said something that I found to be very insightful. “I personally feel so much more assured when I know that a woman is working with an adoption agency,” she said. “If they’re working with an agency, then I know they’ll have good support and direct access to services like counseling, support groups, and more. At some point in their life, chances are a woman that places a child may be in need of these services. I think it’s always ideal when she can turn to the very agency she worked with to get the support that she needs.”

As per information provided by Spaulding for Children (as a part of the federally funded Infant Adoption Awareness Training Project), here’s some important things for healthcare and helping professionals to know about referring pregnant people to an adoption agency:

  • Typically, adoption agencies are licensed by the state to provide adoption counseling and adoption services and place children for the purpose of adoption. Some adoption agencies are prohibited from providing information about and/or referral for pregnancy termination due to agency policy. You need to be aware of what services each agency provides in order to make a referral.
  • Adoption agencies provide counseling support and/or referrals to address other needs.
  • Some adoption agencies will provide follow-up services regardless of whether the mother ultimately decides to parent the child or make an adoption plan.
  • Adoption agencies have approved, waiting adoptive families whom they have prepared for adoption. Expectant parents or women who have recently delivered are assisted in selecting one of the approved families for their child. The agency retains legal custody of the child until the adoption is finalized in court.
  • Adoption agencies typically do not charge fees for pregnancy counseling or adoption services for expectant parents. These expenses are covered by donations and/or adoptive parent fees for services.

Please know that when it comes to making a referral to Adoption STAR, all of our expectant parent clients are provided with:

  • Confidentiality
  • Free counseling
  • An experienced and caring staff offering you respect as you go about your decision making process
  • 24-hour staff availability
  • Ability to choose the adoptive family and keep in touch and visit, if desired
  • Open, semi-open or closed adoptions
  • Medical and other expenses paid
  • Resources and referrals (housing, education, employment, etc.)
  • No foster care – immediate placement with the adoptive family
  • Support groups