The level of services provided to birth parents is based upon the birth parents’ stated needs and desires. When requested, The Mary Kendall Adoption Program helps birth parents to obtain prenatal care, maternity care and postpartum care. Other pregnancy related services, such as diagnosis and treatment of health problems, family planning services, age appropriate information regarding pregnancy prevention, HIV/AIDS prevention, and general information about the prevention and treatment of diseases and other needed services will be provided through literature available at the agency or by referral to a community resource. Birth parents will be referred to the appropriate service agencies to meet nutritional, dental, speech, language, hearing or other health needs. No information will be given to the birth parents regarding termination of a pregnancy as this conflicts with our mission and beliefs.
Depending on the birth parents’ current situation, The Mary Kendall Adoption Program will refer them to the appropriate community resources agencies to obtain continuing education, vocational planning and job placement services to stabilize his/her situation. When living arrangements are not suitable, birth parents will be provided with information regarding possible living arrangements within the community, including residential care, group homes, foster homes, or a home within the extended family. We will offer assistance to the birth parents for completing any necessary paperwork required for these services and will provide the birth parents with additional supportive counseling to decide how best to use the existing resources.
The Mary Kendall Adoption Program requests birth parents to provide a written health summary, including family medical history, immunizations, operations, childhood illnesses and any drug or alcohol use before or during the pregnancy. This information is obtained through the completion of the DSS-191 and our agency’s birth parent information form. Copies of the completed forms are prepared for the parent and are maintained in the birth parent case record.
When The Mary Kendall Adoption Program works with single expectant mothers, counseling services are offered to her family and the father of the baby, according to their wishes. If the birthmother is opposed to counseling being offered to these parties, but the family or the father of the child requests this service, the agency responds to the need for counseling by referring the parties elsewhere or by providing counseling through the creation of separate cases with different caseworkers than the birthmother counselor. In the event that separate cases are created, confidentiality is maintained and protected at all times.
Where practical and appropriate, The Mary Kendall Adoption Program will attempt to honor either or both birthparents’ expressed desire to support the child’s religious, cultural, racial, linguistic, or ethnic identity, provided these desires are consistent with applicable laws and regulations applicable to The Mary Kendall Adoption Program and the desires do not delay the placement of the child for adoption. If placement would be delayed by the birthparents’ desires and wishes, The Mary Kendall Adoption Program will try to resolve the conflict in the best interest of the child for an expeditious and permanent placement, refer to applicable laws and regulations, as well as seek legal counsel if necessary for the resolution of the differences.
For birthparents who choose to carry their child to term and complete the adoption plan, The Mary Kendall Adoption Program provides at least six weeks of post pregnancy counseling. The Mary Kendall Adoption Program will provide counseling and support services for as long as needed for birthparents.
Jeannie Howard, MAE, LPCC
Adoption Services Director