When a woman decides to place her baby for adoption, it’s a huge step — but it’s just the first of many. She will encounter countless important decisions along the way. It can be a daunting process, but a few special American Adoptions staff members are dedicated to helping her decide what’s right for herself and her child.

Haley Castrop, Brighid Titus and Katie House are Birth Parent Specialists at American Adoptions, which means they help birth parents through the adoption process from start to finish. Each of them sat down to help explain to you, our readers, just exactly what a Birth Parent Specialist does and why the position is so essential for everyone involved in an adoption.

Educating the Woman Considering Adoption

When a woman considering placing her baby for adoption contacts American Adoptions, she’ll be directed to a Birth Parent Specialist. This staff member will be her point of contact throughout the entire adoption. It’s essential, then, that the two individuals form a relationship.

It is, of course, a sensitive situation, and the amount of false information available about adoption doesn’t help. A Birth Parent Specialist’s first responsibility is to educate the woman considering adoption. The specialist gets to know her (as well as the expectant  ) and to understand her situation. At this point, the specialist can begin to help the birth parents understand what they might or might not be looking for in an adoptive family.

Choosing an Adoptive Family

Armed with more information, the expectant mother will now choose a family that she feels comfortable with to raise her baby. Birth Parent Specialists at American Adoptions do encourage at least some degree of openness in an adoption, so the woman has to decide what amount is right for her. Does she want regular contact? Does she want to be able to visit? If she wants no contact at all, that’s an option as well.

When the expectant mother has an idea what she’s looking for, the Birth Parent Specialist will show her the profiles of adoptive families that align with the qualities she’s searching for. If she finds a family that she feels may be right, it’s time for her to get back with the Birth Parent Specialist to move forward. If she’s having trouble finding an appealing family, the Birth Parent Specialist will help explore why that’s happening. Either she’s not fully committed to the idea of adoption, in which case the Birth Parent Specialist will help her decide if it’s really the right call for her, or she just may need to look at more profiles.

When a woman chooses a family that she thinks might be right, her specialist will call that adoptive family. They call it the “opportunity call.” If the adoptive family thinks it’s a good fit, it’s a match.

Taking Care of an Expectant Mother Before Adoption

Finding a match for a woman considering adoption in no way means a Birth Parent Specialist’s job is done. They’re now tasked with fostering communication between the expectant mother and adoptive family. A Birth Parent Specialist will set up opportunities for the two parties to get to know one another. The specialist will help the expectant mother to build the relationship, to get to know the family and to ask any questions she may have. Any doubts should be dealt with sooner rather than later if possible; those will only magnify once the baby arrives.

It’s not just the expectant mother’s relationship with the adoptive family that’s important, though. A Birth Parent Specialist will stay in touch with her to verify that everything is going smoothly with the pregnancy and her health. The specialist will keep track of appointments and make sure the expectant mother’s bills are being paid.

A Birth Parent Specialist is, first and foremost, in the expectant mother’s corner. The more comfortable and healthy she is, the more likely the adoption will be successful for everyone.

Hospital Plan

As with all pregnant women, it’s important to have a birth plan. This process is going to be more extensive, however, where adoption is concerned. Our specialists refer to it as a “hospital plan.” The general delivery options, such as whether the woman will have a vaginal or caesarean delivery, are covered, but it expands from there. The Birth Parent Specialist will help the expectant mother decide if she wants to feed the baby and how, if the baby should sleep in the room with her, and more.

The Birth Parent Specialist is the one responsible for all of the moving parts of the hospital plan. They’ll make sure the adoption attorney is on hand, and they’ll inform the hospital of the situation. They even get to call the adoptive family to tell them their new family member is making his or her debut!

Post Placement

A Birth Parent Specialist’s contact with a birth mother doesn’t stop as soon as everyone leaves the hospital. While it’s amazing to see a child join an adoptive family, it’s important to remember adoption is a lifelong journey for everyone — one that includes pain and grief for birth mothers.Her specialist will make sure to follow up with her to see how she’s doing

Neither Haley, Brighid nor Katie hesitates to say that they love their job.

“I love helping the birth mothers find the right family,” says Haley. “It’s always very cool to be able to find that family that fits everything she’s looking for… You have this family that’s so happy and had waited probably a long time to be able to have this baby, and that part’s awesome too.”