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There are a lot of reasons why expectant parents find themselves considering adoption. Unplanned pregnancies may happen during a time when parents can’t financially afford to parent a new child. Pregnancies may happen during a time when expectant parents know that they are not emotionally or logistically ready to provide the environment their baby deserves. Sometimes expectant parents may have been planning to raise their baby, but during the pregnancy life circumstances change and leave them feeling unable to do so. These situations are all hard, and what often makes them harder is when expectant parents feel like they are on the cusp of being able to raise their baby, but they just aren’t sure what decision is best. They aren’t sure what the future holds. They don’t feel like they can really wrap their head around what it might mean to put their jobs or education on hold. But they also aren’t sure what it would be like to place their baby for adoption. Would they always feel like they “gave their baby up” when they didn’t need to? How can they even figure out what they want when they have to put up with everyone else’s opinions and pressures?

We know how hard this time can be, and we are here to help you sort through everything you are facing. If you are wondering about adoption the first thing you should know is that you don’t have to feel pressured to make any decision! I have counseled many expectant parents who ultimately decided to place and needed help ensuring that their adoption plan was right for them. I have counseled many more expectant parents who just needed my help to create a parenting plan that gave them the confidence they needed to parent their child.  Both kinds of counseling is fulfilling because it helps an expectant parent(s) come to peace with their decision. Helping expectant parents sort through an unplanned pregnancy is often challenging, but always rewarding work.

There are a few things that I have found most helpful when thinking about placing a baby for adoption. First, this decision belongs to the mother and father of the baby, and no one else. You may be feeling pressure from you family or friends to make a certain decision, but try to identify what opinions and feelings belong to them and which belong to you. Second, research your options. Barker counselors are here to help you with this, if you’d like. There may be options available to you that make parenting possible. There may also be options for levels of openness with adoption that you didn’t realize were possible (even common). You may also not have known how many laws exist in DC, MD, and VA to protect birth parents. Third, layout a thorough parenting plan and a thorough adoption plan so that you have a clear sense of what each choice would look like for you.  Give yourself as much time as you can to make the decision, and then continue to reevaluate to be sure that you are comfortable with your choice.

Weather you decide to parent or place this baby, your decision will be made out of love. We are here to help you form whatever plan is best for you –no judgment, no pressure.