Recently I was speaking with a professional in a neighboring field, and she asked why my title is “Pregnancy Counselor” rather than “Adoption Counselor”. She explained that the impressions she had about pregnancy counselors did not match up with the work I do. She wondered if the term “Adoption Counselor” would conjure a more accurate image. With so many different kinds of pregnancy counselors out there I understand her point, but there is a very good reason why my title is what it is.
When you hear the title “Pregnancy Counselor” there are many images that might conjure for you. Some might think of a counselor who helps pregnant women work through the normal stressors of pregnancy. Others might think of unlicensed counselors such as the volunteers who staff many of the local crisis pregnancy centers. Others might think of the unlicensed counselors at some agencies that pressure parents to place their children for adoption.
Here at The Barker Adoption Foundation, “Pregnancy Counselor” means something altogether different. There are several vitally important differences that set our Pregnancy Counselors apart.
All Barker counselors hold Master’s degrees in social work and are licensed in at least two (often three) states. Being licensed means that our counselors have to meet the training, skills, and professional requirements of each state before providing counseling. We have to continue our training and education to keep our licenses, and we have to agree to follow a strict code of ethics. Our counselors are happy to meet and exceed these requirements, because we know how important it is to provide informed, competent, and compassionate care to birth parents in need.
We call ourselves pregnancy counselors rather than “adoption counselors” because we never assume a birth parent will place their baby for adoption. We are not only counselors for parents who make an adoption plan; we are counselors for anyone who is curious about adoption and wonders if it is right for them. We hold space for the birth family to carefully consider their options. When we work with birth parents who are ultimately able to parent, and choose to do so, we rejoice with them. We firmly believe in that no person ever should ever feel pressured to place their child for adoption, and we weave that message into everything we do – right down to our titles.
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