Unplanned pregnancy? We are ready to help.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing an unplanned pregnancy you are not alone. The Barker Adoption Foundation pregnancy counselors provide confidential support to help you navigate through whatever decision is best for you and your baby.

Counselors are available 24/7 and are ready to meet you where you feel most comfortable and answer any questions you may have. If you recently delivered your baby and need to make an adoption plan, Barker's pregnancy counselors will meet you in the hospital to provide services, provide information about waiting families for you to choose from, and ensure your rights are being met through Virginia, DC, or Maryland law.

Call a Barker Pregnancy Counselor at 1-888-731-6601 today to receive free and confidential information about the adoption process.

Hear from pregnancy counselor, Erica

Información en Español

We invite you to contact a Barker pregnancy counselor anytime, 24/7, to talk and find out more about your pregnancy options.

Text the Barker Adoption Foundation

Text Us: 240-600-1106

Adoption Is Not What It Used To Be

We have served birth parents like you for over 70 years, and we understand the process of adoption has changed. While in the past there was only one adoption process, where women would hand their baby over to a family with little to no communication thereafter. Today you have options. You decide what type of adoption plan is right for you, and select a family from our diverse waiting families that can provide the values and hopes you may have for your baby.

We take pride in our ethical adoption services and our commitment to ensuring your rights under Maryland, DC and Virginia laws are met. We also understand that while feelings of grief and loss are normal, adoption is not about “giving your baby up” – rather it centers around what you decide is best for you and your baby.

Here are some frequently asked questions that you may have while exploring adoption:

Not every expectant parent is at a point where they are ready to parent a child. Providing a stable and loving family for your child may be the most courageous and responsible decision you can make. 

The following are the primary reasons that expectant parents choose adoption:

  • Some feel they are not currently financially or emotionally stable enough to parent.
  • Some are parenting other children and believe that adding another child will be more than they can effectively manage.
  • Some have educational and career goals that prevent them from parenting at this time in their lives.
  • Some lack family support or hold religious beliefs/values that influence their decision.
  • Some envision that parenting will mean doing so alone and do not feel that they have adequate resources as a single parent

No matter how far along you are in your pregnancy, now is a good time to call. Our counselors can give you information you may find helpful now and will continue to support you as long as you need it. It is never too early or too late to contact us.

Consents for adoption are signed after the baby’s birth, typically a day after delivery. We will never ask you to sign a consent before the baby is born.

The birth mother and birth father are required to sign consents for adoption. If the birth father is unknown, we can assist in identifying and informing him, or work with the courts to terminate parental rights.

Birth parents working with Barker always have the choice to select the family they feel is best for their baby. When you are ready, your pregnancy counselor will provide scrapbooks made by our waiting families and tell you more about them. Some of these families also choose to appear on our website. Visit our Waiting Families page to view their profiles.

Contact our pregnancy counselors today by calling 1-888-731-6601 or texting them directly at 240-600-1106 to start talking about your options.

The Adoption Plan Process

There are five essential steps that are part of the adoption process for women considering adoption. Barker's pregnancy counselors will help you navigate those steps by providing emotional support, honest information, and talking to you about your options in a pressure free environment. We have worked with women in your exact situation, and understand the feelings and questions you may be facing.

Learn more about Barker's adoption process below or watch our video.

Lisa Hughes (LCSW-C), An adoptive family specialist and former pregnancy counselor at The Barker Adoption Foundation 

Here are some frequently asked questions that you may have about the adoption process:

Absolutely not. We offer counseling to you with no strings attached. We are here to help you decide what is best for you, and if that is parenting, then that is great. Barker will connect you with resources to help you parent successfully, even when adoption is not the plan that you select.

In an agency adoption, each state and jurisdiction has a specified period after birth parents sign consents. During this period, birth parents may reflect upon their decision and, if they so choose, revoke their consents for adoption. This is known as the revocation period. The following periods are in effect in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area:

  • Maryland: 30 days after signing
  • Washington, D.C.: 14 days after signing
  • Virginia: 7 days after signing consents and after baby is 10 days old
Resources for Birth Mothers

Resources for Birth Mothers

If you are considering placing your baby for adoption, having limited available resources may be a major challenge. The Barker Adoption Foundation helps birth parents with critical resources such as housing, food, and medical care. Your Barker pregnancy counselor will work with you to tailor a resource plan that meets your specific needs.

We invite you to contact a Barker pregnancy counselor to learn more about how we provide financial and emotional support. Pregnancy counselors are available 24/7.

Call Us: 1-888-731-6601
Text Us: 240-600-1106
Email Us

STEP 1 – TALK TO A PREGNANCY COUNSELOR

Schedule time to meet with a pregnancy counselor and discuss if making an adoption plan is right for you and your baby. They will meet wherever you feel most comfortable.

STEP 2 – CREATE YOUR ADOPTION PLAN

Once you have decided, you will work closely with your Barker pregnancy counselor to determine details like “What kind of adoptive family would I like for my baby?” “Do I want to stay in contact with my baby, and how would I want to communicate?” Your adoption plan also includes details regarding your hospital stay. Your pregnancy counselor can assist you in preparing a birth plan for the hospital and can have a social worker advocate for you while you are there.

STEP 3- SELECT A FAMILY FOR YOUR BABY

Selecting adoptive parents for your baby is an important step in the adoption process. Barker has several waiting families. Each prospective adoptive family are screened, local (MD, VA, DC), and prepared to provide your baby with love and support they will need. Once we know more about what is important to you and are ready to make the next step we can present you with a selection of family profiles from which to choose.

STEP 4 – MEETING THE ADOPTIVE FAMILY

With a Barker adoption, we support you in identifying what kind of post-adoption contact or relationship you wish to maintain with the adoptive family and your birth child, and help advocate for those wishes with the chosen family. We also develop the legal document that outlines the adoption arrangement that you and the adoptive family agree upon.

STEP 5 – POST ADOPTION SERVICES

Creating an adoption plan for your baby is often filled with many emotions, and the support you receive throughout this delicate process does not end once you leave the hospital. Barker’s Pregnancy Counselors and our Family and Post Adoption Services are available to you even after the placement. Services range from individual counseling (financial assistance available. Learn more here), to a free monthly support group exclusively for birth parents. Ask your pregnancy counselor about the various post adoption services and support available to you after placement.

We hope these steps created a better picture of what your adoption plan and process may look like. We encourage you to speak to a Barker pregnancy counselor today to discuss any of these steps in greater detail. It is never too early or too late to reach out or to explore your options or start the process. Call our free and confidential line today at 1-888-731-6601.

Birth Fathers

Does the birth father have to agree to adoption? How do I tell him about my adoption plan? What if I want to place my child for adoption, and the father is unknown, uninvolved or unsupportive?

We understand and have experience with all of these situations. A pregnancy counselor can discuss the birth father's rights and the options that are available. 

Here are some frequently asked questions you may have about the role of birth fathers and the adoption process:

Couples and Married Couples - Birth Father Questions

Couples and Married Couples

We understand that this can be a delicate time for each of you, and your support to each other is invaluable. Expectant parents who are considering an adoption plan for their baby together may choose to speak to a counselor together, individually, or some of both. Barker’s pregnancy counselors will provide confidential support as you work through your thoughts about the process.

Father of The Baby - Adoption Questions

Father of The Baby

Many times in an unplanned pregnancy the focus is primarily on the birth mother and her feelings during this time. In most circumstances, birth fathers also face similar emotions of grief, sadness, and even embarrassment when faced with their partner's unexpectant pregnancy. If you are a father in a similar situation, please understand that these feelings are common and supporting an adoption plan for your baby does not portray you as irresponsible, weak or a man not living up to the responsibilities of a father. In fact, considering adoption for your baby is the exact opposite. Barker Pregnancy Counselors can work with you individually or with you and your partner to explain all your options and how the adoption process works. Call 1-888-731-6601 today for free confidential support and services.

Adoption is a formal transfer of all financial and legal parental responsibility. You will have no responsibility to pay any fees or child support for your child if you chose to place your child for adoption.

Hearing that your girlfriend is pregnant can be shocking and scary. You may wonder what to do or who to turn to. Barker is here to help you explore your options, including placing your child for adoption.

Adoption is a loving and unselfish choice and you might decide it is the best option for your child. We have resources and staff that can help you explore your options and your level of desired involvement in an adoption plan. 

Unknown or Unsupportive Birth Father - Adoption Questions

Unknown or Unsupportive Birth Father

Having an unknown birth father does not have to end your plans for adoption. While you may be feeling scared and overwhelmed, you are not alone. We will work with you to help you understand the laws in each State, and will hold your hand throughout the process of making sure that you follow the legal guidelines for creating an ethical adoption plan.

What is 'Open Adoption?

Adoption has changed a lot over the last few decades. No longer are things a secret. Today, birth mothers and birth fathers are typically very involved with all aspects of the adoption process, including selecting, meeting, and requesting regular communication with the adoptive parents. Open adoption is positive for all involved, most importantly the child. Contrary to previous beliefs, children in open adoptions have no confusion as to who their parents are. If anything, openness can help children understand adoption.

There are several degrees of openness, and your Barker pregnancy counselor will help you explore what kind of contact you would like. That might include a periodic exchange of pictures and letters or a visit from time to time. We have a lot of experience in this area and will guide you through these important decisions when you create your adoption plan. 

In an open or semi-open adoption, birth parents may wish to meet the adoptive parents they chose during and after the pregnancy. The birth parents may also request regular communication with the adoptive parents after the placement. Each situation is unique and can be tailored to the kind of experience that gives you, the birth parent, peace of mind knowing that you chose what is best for you and your child.

Here are some frequently asked questions that you may have while exploring the levels of contact you may want for your adoption plan:

An open adoption occurs when adoptive parents and birth parents decide to remain in contact as the child grows up. The degree of openness is determined by both the adoptive parents and the birth parents and can include regular visits or only periodic updates and photos. Barker counselors will help guide birth parents and adoptive parents toward the level of openness that works best for all parties and, as needed, help to facilitate the ongoing contact.


Open adoption happens when potential birth parents/family and prospective adoptive families have personal contact with each other. Conversely, a closed adoption occurs when the adoptive family and birth mother and/or birth father choose not to have contact prior to or after the placement of the child.  In an open adoption, the identities of all parties are known. Open adoption communication and contact agreements differ from one family to another -- and may even change over time -- and generally include letters, e-mails, and/or visits.  

Birth Parents

  • Birth parents can feel in control of their decision to make an adoption plan.
  • Improved mental health, as birth parents are reassured that they will still have a connection with baby and the adoptive family.
  • The normal grieving process can be worked through easier than with a closed adoption.
  • Reduced fear about the well-being of the child.

Adoptee

  • A child can have immediate and accurate information about their adoption story.
  • He/she will be able to have information about their biological heritage.
  • The ability to associate their physical characteristics with their biological family, i.e. where did my height, eye color, and hair color come from?
  • An open adoption can promote a sense of identity and self-confidence in an adoptee.

Adoptive Parents

  • Fear and insecurity can dissipate. Birth parents can reassure adoptive parents that they are now baby’s parents.
  • Adoptive parents get a chance to know birth parents. This gives them the opportunity to answer questions a child has about their birth family accurately.
  • Adoptive parents will be medically informed and have access to the child’s medical history.

Honest communication continues to be the most important factor of success for everyone involved in an open adoption. As communication about wants, desires, and expectations grows, the more comfortable everyone involved will tend to be. It is helpful to speak to an adoption professional to explore adoption in depth. This will give you the opportunity to learn more about open adoption, with no strings attached.

If you (or a loved one is) are pregnant and considering adoption, we invite you to contact a Barker pregnancy counselor anytime, 24/7, when you are ready to talk.

Call Us: 1-888-731-6601

Text Us: 240-600-1106

Email Us

A closed adoption occurs when the adoptive family and birth mother and/or birth father choose not to have contact prior to or after the placement of the child.

Birth parents working with Barker always have the choice to select the family they feel is best for their baby. When you are ready, your pregnancy counselor will provide scrapbooks made by our waiting families and tell you more about them. Some of these families also choose to appear on our website. Visit our Waiting Families page to view their profiles.

The families ready to adopt include individuals and couples who have stable and loving homes and are of all religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds. They each prepare a scrapbook, with photos and information about 

themselves, their family, their home, and their hobbies, to help you understand what is truly important to them and what kind of life they envision and can provide for a child they adopt. Some of these families also choose to appear on our website.

Hear from a Barker birth mom and her experience with open adoption.

I just gave birth, can I still choose adoption?

Pregnancy Counselors Available 24/7

Our pregnancy counselors are available 24/7 at 1-888-731-6601 and can meet you at the hospital to talk about adoption, selecting a family, and identifying what kind of post-adoption contact or relationship you wish to maintain with the adoptive family and your birth child.

I Just Gave Birth - Support