Understanding Options Counseling Experiences in Adoption: A Quantitative Analysis of First/Birth Parents and Professionals.
Madden, Elissa. Ryan, Scott. Aguiniga, Donna. Crawford, Marcus.
University of Texas at Arlington. School of Social Work.
Permission to Copy
Published: November 2016
Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute
525 Broadway, 6th floor
New York, NY 10012
Sponsoring Organization: Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. Lynn Franklin Fund.
This report presents the findings from Phase 1 of a study that explored the decision-making experiences of women and men who have placed a child for adoption, as well as the context in which options surrounding crisis pregnancies are discussed with expectant parents by professionals in the adoption community. Phase I of the study consisted of a survey with 223 first/birth parents and a survey with 141 adoption professionals. This phase of the study sought to examine the types of services, materials, information, and support offered to first/birth parents when they were considering adoption as a choice for their child. Professionals involved in private adoptions were also invited to participate in a survey that examined what services, materials, and interventions they provide as a part of their routine practices with first/birth parents seeking information on adoption. Findings indicate many first/birth mothers believed that relinquishing parental rights to their child for adoption was their best option at that time; however, for too many others, the lack of resources and support, compounded by the external pressures that many felt to relinquish their parental rights to their child for adoption created an environment that was void of choice and viable options. As a result, many first/birth mothers reported that their decision to place their child has had a negative impact on their lives. The report concludes that for options counseling to be a just and effective practice, equal attention should be devoted to all options. It emphasizes that safeguarding the rights of expectant parents will help ensure that adoption becomes a valid and coercion-free option that enables a parent to make the best decision for their child. 22 tables, 39 figures, 23 references.
voluntary relinquishment; birth mothers; consent to adoption; parental attitudes; birth parent counseling; counselors role