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Being in the adoption space for over a decade has taught me a lot about the adoption conversation dynamics in PRCs. Most can agree that the number of women who end up parenting in an unexpected pregnancy versus women making an adoption plan is well in the majority. It is unlikely that gap will close between the two choices. But where the work that PRCs do fits into making an adoption plan is a well overdue conversation.

For the most part, women who have been introduced to me as interested in talking about making an adoption plan have come overwhelmingly from PRCs that knew about the work that I did in mentoring women through the process of making an adoption plan. They either heard me speak somewhere or heard about what I do from other people who have. I am a card-carrying member of the Birthmother Club, having placed a child myself. Being someone who has walked the road before does carry certain clout. I guess membership has its privileges?

Most PRCs are happy to have me help broach the topic. As they usually admit, they are not all that used to having these conversations. There is an undercurrent of mystery around women making an adoption plan, in general. What becomes awkward for PRCs is where they fit into the picture once a woman they are working with agrees to pursue adoption. Does it have to be one or the other? I couldn’t disagree more.

 

Making An Adoption Plan Starts With Trusting Someone

 

One thing I know about working with PRCs who refer their patients to me is this: they care incredibly about the women they serve. I have never been introduced to a woman interested in adoption who hasn’t had a team of PRC staff behind her 100%. They make great emotional investments in the women who seek help from them. Getting them to trust me enough to interact in that relationship takes a lot. Their patients trust them. I don’t want to upset that relationship. PRCs want to know I will take care of their patients as passionately as they do.

Likewise, when a PRC refers a woman to me for adoption support, they tell that woman that she can trust me with her plans. That means a lot for both the woman making an adoption plan and me, the advocate. Choosing adoption is a big undertaking. The word adoption is scary for a lot of people. Women making an adoption plan need to know that the one walking them through it has their best interests in mind. When she is referred to me by a PRC who has cared for her this far, they let her know she is in good hands. She also needs to know that she can turn to them still if she needs them. A good adoption agency seeks to strengthen relationships with PRCs and their patients for better long-term outcomes.

 

Choosing Adoption Requires Continued Support

 

Working with a woman making an adoption plan takes a lot of people who care enough not just to help her choose life, but to keep choosing life when adversity comes along. And it will. There is usually a friend/family member/coworker/partner who does not agree with her choice, especially with adoption. It’s not just helping her make a choice. It is helping her stay the course. Women making adoption plans need to know there are people in their corner when the road gets hard.

PRCs are where women making that choice are reaffirmed in their decision. Adoption agencies and their advocates work hard to support women making an adoption plan, but the more people walking alongside her, the better. Help with emotional support, services, and assistance is still necessary for expecting moms making an adoption plan. It is not about choosing who will support your choice. It is about embracing all the support when needed.

 

How PRCs and Adoption Workers Can Work Better Together

 

When was the last time your PRC had a good conversation about adoption? What might have changed in your state about adoption laws since that last time you and your staff had a discussion? Staying connected to a trusted adoption agency that has made the time investment in educating your staff goes a long way in building confidence in staff members speaking directly to patients about adoption. The more aware they are, the easier the conversation will be.

How can adoption agencies do a better job of serving PRCs? Let’s talk about needs. How can the adoption workers you trust do more for your PRC? Tell us! It is high time we build a bridge to better experiences for women making an adoption plan.