What Does the Adoption Process Look Like for Women Battling Addiction?

Choosing adoption, can be one of the most difficult decisions of a woman’s life. While a woman may feel a sense of pressure as she must decide the future of this child, part of the support we provide as social workers, is the motivation to take control of the situation and figure out what is in the best interest of that baby.

Women and men vary in their reasoning for making an adoption plan. Often times, it’s the lack of financial stability or the mental or emotional capacity to raise a second or even a third child. Another reason for placing a child for adoption may be the that a woman is battling a drug addiction and what’s a different life for her child.

Many would agree that battling a drug addiction is extremely difficult. It is not something that can be fixed overnight and being sober and clean can have its ups and downs with relapses. During the initial counseling with woman, we discuss drug or alcohol exposure during pregnancy. It’s important for social workers to create a space of trust, honesty and open communication with women. We are never there to judge or make her feel inadequate, but rather our role is to listen and provide her the tools to make a good and healthy decision for her child. Being able to come forward and admit that you have a problem is one of the first steps to recovery.

As a pregnant woman, it takes a lot of courage to not only admit that you are still struggling but also a lot of selfless motivation to put your child’s best interest before anything else. There is no shame or guilt in taking responsibility and choosing adoption as the path for your child. The strength that a woman battling addiction has in choosing open adoption is extremely powerful and should be honored and respected.

Part of the process in making an adoption plan is choosing the right family for your baby. While many women might feel ashamed or worried about finding a family that is comfortable with their prenatal drug exposure, it is important to realize that there are waiting adoptive families who have been educated on drug withdrawal and feel comfortable and ready to be placed with a child that may have had some drug exposure.

Amanda Aliberti, a social worker at Adoptions From The Heart shared one of her first experiences working with an expecting mother battling addiction:

“I will never forget one of my very first expecting mothers that I worked with a little over 6 years ago when she came through the office door. She was such a pleasant woman and was very open and honest about her story. She told me she was addicted to crack and had been for over 15 years. She was not trying to make any excuses for her choices but knew in her heart that parenting her child would not be fair to him. I never once passed any sort of judgment on her, but rather had a great amount of respect. I know she felt a lot of guilt and shame over her continued drug use during her pregnancy. I remember looking at her straight in the face and telling her that if nothing else, she should be proud of herself for the selfless decision she was making for her child. She should feel empowered that she could consciously decide to provide her child with a happy and healthy future through open adoption. Part of being a good parent, is taking responsibility and giving your child the best future that he or she deserves. That is what my client did. She chose open adoption, found an amazing family and gave her son a happy life.”

If you are pregnant and struggling with addiction, please know that there are counselors who are there to listen without judgement and help you find resources to assist during your pregnancy whether or not you decide that adoption is right for you and your child. 855-711-1609

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