Each year, The Barker Adoption Foundation, a nonprofit organization, receives referrals from teens and women age 14−41 who are experiencing a crisis or unplanned pregnancy.
Trained, professionally credentialed Barker social workers personally counsel women, expectant fathers, and families and guide them through decision-making without judgment or pressure and at absolutely no cost.
In this era of national, internet-based, for-profit adoption providers, many women experiencing a crisis pregnancy are not treated with the same no-cost, compassionate, and respectful care as the women who are fortunate enough to find Barker, a locally-focused provider that provides pregnancy counseling to those living in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C . The Donaldson Adoption Institute has researched and documented their findings on this topic in the report Untangling the Web: The Internet’s Transformative Effect on Adoption. Less-than-ethical, for-profit adoption businesses have been shown to exploit vulnerable pregnant women who may be considering adoption by offering them money, luxurious lodging, and gifts in exchange for the woman placing her child for adoption. With these organizations, Women from the Washington, D.C., area may be relocated out of the area to a state where they have fewer rights as a birth mother, and the birth father may have virtually no rights at all, only to be returned immediately upon placement. In contrast, Barker’s approach to working with expectant and birth parents, pre- and post-placement, stands as a model of ethics in the adoption field.
In addition to its treatment of birth parents, a hallmark of an ethical adoption agency is its lifelong commitment to the women, families, and children it serves. Unfortunately, far too many adoption providers walk away from their relationship with the birth mother and the baby as soon as the adoption is finalized. Barker’s post-adoption services include everything from support for birth mothers who may just need some compassionate comfort or support around holidays or the child’s birthday to continued indepth counseling during the months after placement. If adoptive parents are grappling with issues related to adoption, they can come in (with or without the adoptee) for one-on-one counseling. Barker hosts regular support groups, which are open to the general public, and an annual nationally renowned adoption-education conference that attracts more than 400 people.