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What is an Adoption Social Worker? [A Complete Guide]

How Your Adoption Social Worker Can Help You

Choosing to place your baby for adoption is a selfless decision because it means you are giving your baby a chance at the best life possible.

While adoption is a brave decision, it comes with its fair share of overwhelming emotions. That’s where adoption social workers come in. These professionals will be by your side every step of the way to help you navigate the twists and turns of your adoption journey.

If you’re new to the world of adoption, you might be asking yourself: What is an adoption social worker? How can they help me? You will find the answers to those questions and more in this guide to adoption social workers.

What is an Adoption Social Worker?

An adoption social worker, sometimes known as an adoption caseworker, adoption specialist or adoption counselor, is a certified and licensed professional who will be by your side throughout the adoption process to offer adoption counseling and support.

Adoption social workers are constantly on the move between the office, home visits, and other various locations to accommodate their clients. When you work with a social worker for adoption, you are working with an individual who will go above and beyond to ensure that your needs are being met.

What Do Adoption Counselors Do?

The counseling and services an adoption social worker can provide you with are integral to the adoption process, but this is not the only area they specialize in. The role of an adoption counselor is extensive. Throughout the adoption process they will act as your counselor, your educator, and your advocate. The services an adoption professional can provide include, but are not limited to:

  • Counsel on how to cope with the complex emotions you will experience. Placing your baby for adoption is an emotional choice. Adoption social workers are often called adoption counselors due to the emotional support and advice they will offer you during this emotionally difficult time, as well as post-placement.
  • Assistance determining what kind of adoption you want. Your adoption specialist can help you determine whether you want an open or semi-open adoption, as well as educate you on what post-placement communication might look like with each of these adoption types.
  • Education on the various facets of the adoption process. Adoption social workers will provide you with helpful information on the various aspects of the adoption process, from the logistics to the emotions you may face at each stage.
  • Mitigation of the adoption process. Adoption social workers will coordinate the many parts of the adoption process, from mitigating contact between you and your chosen adoptive family, to arranging any financial aid you may need. Adoption specialists are essentially the catalyst that moves the process along.
  • Help matching you with the perfect adoptive family. Adoption specialists will work closely with you to determine what you are looking for in a prospective adoptive family, such as where you’d like your baby to grow up, whether you would like them to have siblings, what kind of home life you envision for you baby, and more. Once your adoption counselor has a good idea of what you are looking for, they will sit down with you and help you look through profiles of prospective adoptive families to find the perfect fit for your baby.

Why is Adoption Counseling Important?

If you are unfamiliar with the various roles of adoption professionals, you might be wondering: Why do I need counseling for “giving my baby up” for adoption? The importance of working with an adoption counselor cannot be stated enough. Your adoption counselor essentially acts as your lifeline as you need them throughout the adoption process. While they can answer your questions and help you create an adoption plan, they also provide you with much needed counseling when putting your baby up for adoption.

Most adoption agencies offer 24/7 counseling. Even if you know that adoption is what is best for you and your baby, it doesn’t make it any less difficult. It is perfectly normal to experience feelings of grief and loss during and after the adoption placement. An adoption counselor offers you a safe space to talk about these feelings and can help you cope with and process these difficult emotions in a healthy way.

How to Get in Touch With Your Adoption Social Worker

As an expectant parent faced with an unplanned pregnancy, you have enough on your mind without worrying about finding your own adoption specialist. The adoption agency you choose to work with will assign an adoption social worker to you. However, not all adoption professionals have their own adoption social workers on staff.

National adoption agencies consistently have their own adoption social workers who will be assigned to you, as well as most local adoption agencies, depending on the agency’s size and the resources available to them.

During the adoption process, your adoption worker will be your main point of contact. When choosing which social worker you will be working with, consider the following:

  • Are adoption social workers trained to provide prospective birth parents with professional care and support?
  • What kind of training have they received, and is their education ongoing?
  • When and where will you be able to get in contact with your adoption worker?
  • What services can they offer beyond counseling and advice? (Financial assistance, coordinating your hospital stay, etc.)

How Will an Adoption Social Worker Benefit You?

While most adoption agencies do employ their own adoption specialists, the adoption professionals that don’t are typically adoption law firms that focus more on the legal side of the process. However, if the social work aspects of the adoption process are neglected, it can lead to increased stress on you and the prospective adoptive family, and even result in a failed placement.

The importance of adoption counseling for birth parents cannot be overstated. You are making a selfless, but difficult decision, and feelings of doubt and grief during your adoption experience are completely valid. While you are making a choice that is in the best interest of your baby, it is perfectly natural to experience feelings of loss.

You don’t have to bear these emotions alone. Adoption social workers are specially trained and educated to help you navigate these difficult emotions and find healthy ways to cope. Reach out to an adoption social worker today and they will provide you with the support you need.

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