Affirming the Birth Mother's Journey: A Peer Counselor's Guide to Adoption Counseling
Counselors who deal with women in crisis pregnancies are frequently hindered by fear, negative preconceptions, and ignorance regarding one of the positive, life-affirming options available to women: adoption. Many counselors are unaware of the wide array of choices now available to clients seeking to place. Sadly, the failure to inform a woman about her alternatives—including the possibility of placing in an open adoption—can prove detrimental to both mother and child. Recognizing the needs of its clients, the Calgary Pregnancy Care Centre has embraced the adoption option. In addition to addressing volunteers' fears and equipping them to present the alternative in a positive, non-threatening manner, the Centre (based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada) provides clients with ongoing support. The results have been striking: whereas the American adoption rate is one percent and the Canadian rate is two percent, Alberta's rate is four percent. The Centre itself has seen years in which up to ten percent of clients carrying to term have placed. Taken from the birth mother's perspective, and written for counselors, this book explains how Pregnancy Centers can support clients through the complex adoption and grief process. Its aim is to help counselors present the adoption option; enable clients to choose adoptive parents and nurture long-term relationships; support women through the grief process; run a successful birth mothers' support group; and contend with other pertinent issues. Included are extensive interviews with birth mothers and other members of the adoption constellation. Open adoption is a positive option. We have walked with birth mothers through decision-making, grief, and joy. We have seen their children thrive in relationships with both the biological and adoptive families. We have watched adoptive couples become advocates for open adoption. Our hope now is to equip other Centers to give clients this life-changing opportunity.
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