Affirming the Birth Mother's Journey: A Peer Counselor's Guide to Adoption Counseling

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Trafford Publishing, 2006 - 206 pages
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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 alternativesƒ including the possibility of placing in an open adoptionƒ 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, andjoy. 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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Contents

CHAPTER ONE Rationale
1
CHAPTER TWO Options in Adoption
12
CHAPTER THREE Pregnancy Centers and Adoption Agencies
30
CHAPTER FOUR Opening the Door to Adoption
37
CHAPTER FIVE Choosing Adoptive Parents
44
CHAPTER SIX Recovery Planning
54
CHAPTER SEVEN Dear Baby Letters and Gifts
61
CHAPTER EIGHT The Hospital Birth Experience and Creating Memories
68
CHAPTER ELEVEN Special Days
95
CHAPTER TWELVE Familial Reactions
102
CHAPTER THIRTEEN Dealing with the Birth Father
113
CHAPTER FOURTEEN Birth Mothers Support Groups
123
CHAPTER FIFTEEN Managing Open Adoption Long Term
134
CHAPTER 16 Counseling Clients Who Place After Parenting
150
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN Spiritual Care
163
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN In Their Own Words
172

CHAPTER NINE The Entrustment Service
76
CHAPTER TEN Adoption Grief
83
APPENDIX
179
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