If you are considering placing a child for adoption or you have already made the decision, pre-adoption counseling as well as post adoption counseling can be beneficial to you. Choosing to parent your baby or choosing to place your baby is a huge decision, one that should not be taken lightly. You are making a decision that will affect the lives of many people.
Pre-adoption counseling gives you a neutral person to bounce your pros and cons off of and to get a neutral prospective from someone not intimately involved in your life and can help you in making a final decision.
Many adoption agencies and crisis pregnancy centers offer free counseling and may have on staff counselors. If you have health insurance, it may cover your counseling. Some states (it differs from state to state) may allow adoptive parents to cover pre or post adoption counseling for a period of time. Also, check with your local health department or county services, there are many counselors that may work on a sliding scale or offer services for free.
A good counselor should help you consider and look at both options – parenting and adoption. The counselor may ask you to make a list of pros and cons or advantages and disadvantages to both choices and then help you analyze the list. He or she should allow you to make the decision and support whichever decision you make.
Pre-adoption counseling should also touch on the grief and loss issues a mother will feel and experience once she has terminated her parental rights.
Post adoption counseling or counseling after you have placed your child can be beneficial to help you deal with your grief, work through the many mixed emotions you are having, and deal with any trust and guilt issues you may be having. Again, post adoption counseling may be provided by an adoption agency or you could find an independent counselor. It’s best if you can find one that deals with adoption related issues and loss.
I did not choose to have pre-adoption counseling but did choose to have post adoption counseling, but it was a disaster. The counselor was not familiar with adoption loss issues and had had a baby herself just a few weeks before I’d had and relinquished my son. She would bring her baby to work with her so while I was chatting with her, she’d rock her son or feed him a bottle. Needless to say, I didn’t continue seeing her for long. I gave up and decided to deal with my grief and other issues on my own.
Here’s a few good articles about adoption counseling: