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A Lifetime of Grieving and Healing: Part 2

It’s imperative adoption professionals provide these services to birth parents in their post placement journey. Counseling should be free, easily accessible, lifelong and adoption fluent. There are some circles discussing the need for third party organizations/therapists to be providing these services to birth parents. This allows parents who don’t feel safe and comfortable returning to the placement agency the opportunity to work with a counselor not associated with that professional. It provides the freedom for a birth parent to comfortably be critical of adoption and the systems that have impacted their journey. 


While there are benefits to third party providers, ASC is currently offering these services to birth parents through our post placement program. ASC birth parents are offered free, lifetime counseling with a knowledgeable, compassionate, adoption fluent therapist. This therapist is an employee of ASC but does not work with adoptive families so there is no conflict of interest. This therapist works from an off-site office and completes sessions virtually so they can provide services to birth parents regardless of their location and confidentiality is a priority. Their connection to ASC prevents certain barriers like a lack of funding, limited number of sessions or lack of availability. However, if a birth parent does not feel comfortable with the therapist provided by ASC, ASC will pay for counseling sessions with an outside provider. 


In addition to processing their own grief, counseling for birth parents provides an opportunity for them to learn about the loss and trauma their child has experienced due to separation. It can help them learn the impacts adoption may have on their child and how they can continue to show up and aid in their child’s healing. Historically, adoption professionals have failed to adequately inform birth mothers of the inherent grief, loss and trauma in adoption and how to navigate the complexities of open adoption. While we are working to improve preplacement education, informed consent, we must fill in the gaps with post placement care and support in the meantime. 


A birth parent’s parenthood doesn’t end the day they sign the relinquishment papers. When possible, their continued commitment to their child can aid in their child’s lifelong journey of grieving and healing. Birth parents deserve support and care in their healing and as they navigate open adoption and a relationship with their child. 

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