We are now living in an era where adoptive families may bypass using an adoption agency altogether and pursue an independent adoption. However, families who choose this route put themselves on-call and at-risk with prospective birth mothers.
These families also may find themselves in uncomfortable situations but feel the need to go through with them out of fear of birth mothers changing their minds about the adoptive family or the adoption itself.
These are just a few examples of why working with an experienced adoption professional can make your relationship with the birth parents much easier on you. One way American Adoptions accomplishes this is through our comprehensive birth mother screening process, which you will notice does not include drug screenings.
One-On-One Relationship – From their first phone call all the way up to the birth of their baby, all birth mothers have their own individual Adoption Specialist who consistently measures their commitment level to adoption and the care they are taking of themselves and their baby.
Prenatal Care – In adoptions when birth mothers contact us early enough in their pregnancies, we work closely with them and their medical professionals to provide the necessary prenatal care, when possible. Their prenatal records are then reviewed and presented to the respective adoptive family.
Social Medical History – When a woman joins our agency, we require her to fill out a Social Medical History form, a self-disclosed document with information about her medical history, her family medical history and her substance usage. American Adoptions has one of the most in-depth Social Medical History forms in the nation.
Now that you know how we extensively screen pregnant mothers, you may be surprised that we don’t drug screen them.
When American Adoptions was founded, we required prospective birth mother drug screenings. However after a year, we ended this practice because it caused the following challenges and adverse results:
Relationships with Birth Parents were Adversarial – American Adoptions strives to build relationships with prospective birth parents that are based on trust, communication and support. Mandated drug screenings undermined this relationship and instead created an adversarial relationship from the beginning, which communicated to birth mothers that we did not trust them.
Benefit of Changing Our Policy – The strong relationships we build with our birth mothers contribute to the strong bonds shared between adoptive families and birth mothers, resulting in more successful adoptions.
Adoptive Families Were Given a False Sense of Security – Drug screenings for adoption can be passed using a number of masking agents and deceptive techniques. If a birth mother did indeed use drugs during pregnancy, the adoptive family was surprised when the baby tested positive for a substance at birth.
Benefit of Changing Our Policy – There is always an adoptive family who will accept a child, no matter what. We gain as much information as we can about a birth mother’s drug use so that we can match the appropriate family with a birth mother.
Women Who Didn’t Use Drugs Were Offended – Most women who contact American Adoptions do not use drugs during their pregnancy. When these women were required to submit a drug test, they were often turned off by the policy and felt disrespected and distrusted.
Benefit of Changing Our Policy – Our agency is more attractive to pregnant mothers because of the respect and trust we have in them.
Remember, in your APQ you may indicate which substances you are and are not comfortable with the birth mother using during her pregnancy. Thus, you will not find yourself in an adoption opportunity in which you are uninformed or uncomfortable.
Just because we don’t drug screen birth mothers doesn’t mean we gain less information about their substance usage. In most cases, we actually receive more information because of the relationships we build with these women.
As noted above, we ask prospective birth mothers to complete a self-disclosed, confidential Social Medical History form, which is provided to the adoptive family. We also provide adoptive families with medical records collected by the doctor and hospital.
We assure women that even if they have been using drugs, we will keep this information confidential, and that there are never any consequences for being honest. We explain that there are adoptive families for every situation, no matter the circumstances, and that prospective families just want to be prepared and informed about their child.
Here is something to ask adoption agencies who claim to drug test all of their birth mothers: What happens if a birth mother contacts their agency too late into their pregnancy where drug testing isn’t possible? Would they turn away one of these pregnant mothers even though a family may be comfortable with her situation?
All adoption professionals have different opinions on birth mother drug screening. American Adoptions believes that our approach is more effective in determining birth mother drug use and infant exposure earlier in the process, and that it helps promote trust and honesty throughout the adoption process.
To learn more about our drug screening policy, contact American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION or click the following for free adoption information.
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