The Barker Adoption Foundation is committed to providing lifelong services to birth parents, as well as to other members of the adoption circle. Barker has provided extensive support and counseling to over 30,000  birth parents since 1945 and offers assistance and counseling long after the actual placement of a child for adoption.

Individual Counseling

During the first year(s) after placement, it is normal for many birth parents to experience feelings of grief and loss. Barker’s birth parent counselors continue to provide support and counseling during this time. In later years, experienced counselors in Barker’s Family and Post-Adoption Services Department are available to provide counseling on a range of issues. These include processing feelings about the adoption, navigating relationships (if in open or semi-open adoption) with the adoptive parents or child, explaining the adoption to any other children, and searching or reconnecting with birth children.  

Monthly Discussion Group

For over 25 years, Barker has facilitated a monthly discussion group for birth mothers and birth fathers. The group is open to anyone who ever placed a child for adoption, whether through Barker or another agency. The group provides a supportive, safe, and welcoming place where birth parents can talk about their experiences and explore their feelings and thoughts with others who have faced similar issues. The group is facilitated by a Barker social worker and meets the second Thursday of every month from 7 to 9 p.m. at Barker’s Bethesda office, or check out Barker’s Events Calendar.

Intermediary Services

For birth parents in semi-open adoptions (who share update letters and photographs on a non-identifying basis), Barker serves as the intermediary with the adoptive family by forwarding letters, updates, and requests for information. 

Barker also can support those involved in open adoptions, arrangements that an increasing number of birth and adoptive parents are choosing. As in all relationships, complicated, unexpected, or challenging issues sometimes arise, and birth or adoptive parents may feel the need to seek professional guidance. Barker can help them to navigate these unique relationships to maximize the benefits of open adoption for all members of the adoption circle.  

Search and Reunion Services

Birth parents who have placed children through Barker may initiate the process of searching for the children they placed if those children are now of adult age (18 for adoptions finalized in Washington, D.C. and Virginia, and 21 for adoptions finalized in Maryland.) Please contact Barker’s Family and Post-Adoption Services Department at 301-664-9664 or by email at postadopt@barkerfoundation.org for more information.  

Maintaining Contact with Barker

Barker strongly encourages any birth parent who has placed a child through the agency to keep in touch and make sure Barker has current and updated contact information. This information will remain strictly confidential and will not be released without written permission. Having up-to-date information is helpful in the event that we need to contact you. You may share updated contact information by email at postadopt@barkerfoundation.org.

Annual Conference

Barker’s highly regarded annual adoption and foster care conference in the Washington, D.C., area offers the opportunity to hear from some of the nation’s leading adoption experts and from all members of the adoption circle about their experiences navigating the adoption journey.  Birth parents frequently help plan our conference, speak on panels, and shine a spotlight on birth parent issues.  Over the past several decades, birth parents have found Barker’s conference to be a highly beneficial source of information and support.