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How We Screen Pregnant Birth Parents

And Why American Adoptions Does Not Drug Screen

A sense of total security is often one of the main reasons why hopeful adoptive families work with a trusted adoption agency during the adoption process.

Some hopeful families may use a private attorney or decide to complete the process independently. But, families who choose independent adoption put themselves at-risk with unscreened prospective birth parents.

Both agencies and attorneys will screen prospective birth families and provide counseling for the birth and adoptive families. Additionally, both will help the adopting families prepare paperwork and fulfill legal requirements.

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 parent screening process, which you will notice below does not include drug screenings.

If you want to learn more about how we screen birth parents, or if you are ready to start your own adoption journey today, you can contact American Adoptions now at 1-800-ADOPTION for additional free information. 

How and Why We Screen Pregnant Birth Parents

To have a safe and legal adoption, there are many careful steps hopeful families and adoption professionals must take. American Adoptions is a reputable and reliable adoption agency that screens prospective birth parents through ways such as:

Prenatal Care: In adoptions when pregnant parents 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.

One-On-One Relationship: From their first phone call all the way up to the birth of their baby, all prospective birth parents 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.

Social Medical History: When a prospective birth parent joins our agency, we require them to fill out a Social Medical History form, a self-disclosed document with information about their medical history, their family medical history and their substance usage. American Adoptions has one of the most in-depth Social Medical History forms in the nation.

Why American Adoptions Does NOT Drug Screen

When American Adoptions first began over 30 years ago, we did require prospective birth parent drug screenings. But 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

  • Support

Mandated drug screenings undermined this relationship and instead created an adversarial relationship from the beginning, which communicated to birth parents that we did not trust them.

Benefit of Changing Our Policy: The strong relationships we build with our birth parents contribute to the strong bonds shared between hopeful adoptive families and prospective birth parents, resulting in more successful adoptions.

Adoptive Families Were Given a False Sense of Security

It is possible for a prospective birth parent to falsely pass a drug screening for adoption through a masking agent. If a birth parent did indeed use drugs during pregnancy, the adoptive family would be surprised to see the baby test 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 parent’s drug use so that we can match the appropriate family with a birth parent.

Birth Parents Who Didn’t Use Drugs Were Offended

Most prospective birth parents who contact American Adoptions do not use drugs during their pregnancy. When we required them 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 birth parents because of the respect and belief we have in them.

In your Adoption Planning Questionnaire, you may indicate which substances you are and aren’t comfortable with the pregnant birth parent using during their pregnancy. So, you will not find yourself in an adoption opportunity in which you are uninformed or uncomfortable.

American Adoptions' Policy on Drug Testing

Although we do not drug screen birth parents, we still gain information about their substance usage. In most cases, we actually receive more details because of the relationships we build with them.

As noted above, we ask prospective birth parents to complete a self-disclosed, confidential Social Medical History form, which is then delivered to the adoptive family. We also provide adoptive families with a collection of doctor and hospital medical records.

We assure prospective birth parents that even if they have been using drugs, we will keep this information confidential, and that there are never any consequences for being honest.

Additionally, we explain that there are adoptive families for every situation — no matter the circumstances — and that prospective families want to be prepared and informed about their child.

Our Final Thoughts about Drug Testing

Here are a couple of questions to ask adoption agencies who claim to drug test all of their prospective birth parents:

  • What happens if a birth parent contacts their agency too late into their pregnancy where drug testing isn’t possible?

  • Would they turn away one of these pregnant parents even though a family may be comfortable with their situation?


All adoption professionals have different opinions on birth parent drug screening.

American Adoptions believes that our approach is more effective in determining birth parent drug use and infant exposure earlier in the process. And, it helps promote trust and honesty throughout the adoption process.

To learn more about our drug screening policy and our overall screening process, you can talk with a trusted professional today and get free adoption information when you call 1-800-ADOPTION now.

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