The Importance of Counseling for Birth Mothers
In my experience, if a birth mother is willing to speak with a counselor about her adoption plan, she is far less likely to make a last minute, emotional decision. I try to explain to birth mothers that regardless of whether they choose to parent the baby or proceed with an adoption, they should make their decision based upon solid reasons. In that way, if they ever have second thoughts about what they have done, they can always revisit their reasons and find comfort in knowing, they did the "right" thing. If they make a decision based solely upon emotions, as time passes, those emotions become less intense and then they are without any support.
Considering an adoption plan is the most difficult decision a woman will ever make. Prospective adoptive parents, who have not completed a home study
and received counseling in preparation for adoption, often to do not understand the magnitude of this decision. Too often, uninformed people equate adoption with abortion. In other words, as in the case of the general public, the commonly held belief is that a woman proceeds with an adoption because she does not care about her child, because she does not want her child, or because she wants to be rid of the child. In fact, none of those feelings are true with regard to a woman who considers an adoption plan for her child. It is a "plan" in all senses of the word. She is making a plan for her child's future. If she did not care about the child, if she did not want the child, or if she wanted to be rid of the child, it would not be nearly as difficult for her to simply "give the child away". Because of the emotional involvement and attachment to the child, making an adoption plan, even based upon the most solid reasons, is still agonizingly difficult. It is for that reason that counseling is so vitally important.
In our practice, we have developed a worksheet that we give to birth mothers which includes 12 statements. Each statement is intended to be correct. The idea behind the worksheet is that by the time the birth mother initials her name in the "YES (CORRECT)" column 12 times, she should be lead to the inescapable conclusion that counseling is a good idea. In fact, our further experience is that rarely will a woman, who sees a competent counselor, comment that the counseling was a waste of her time.
For all of these reasons, we strongly encourage the birth mothers to see a counselor. Frankly, the adoptive parents
with whom we have worked have been very understanding and appreciate of the need for counseling.