tholic Social Services offers non-judgmental counseling and adoption services to pregnant moms and will help them consider all of their options.
"We help them get resources in place," said Amy Falcon, a CSS social worker who does pregnancy counseling.
If the woman is uncertain about what she wants to do, Falcon can give her information and assessments so that she can make up her mind. CSS offers counseling about parenting, adoption and decision making.
"I never tell them what to do," said Falcon. She will, however, help the client find resources for problems such as drug and alcohol abuse and other issues.
"Sometimes they don’t know for sure what they want to do," she said. "They go back and forth."
The services are at no cost to the birth mother. And, CSS only offers open adoption, where the birth mother is encouraged to stay in contact with the adopting parents.
"That’s what most mothers want," she said. There is no age limit to women who come in for pregnancy counseling.
"People in crisis don’t know where to start," said Falcon. "They can still receive the counseling even if they are not considering adoption."
You do not have to be a Catholic to use the service. They do not offer abortion counseling. Falcon estimates that they adopt 3-4 babies per year.
After the baby is born, Falcon will continue to offer counseling help with the birth mother’s grief process. The birth mother is also given the option to change her mind after giving birth and before the adoption.
All of the parties mourn during the process, according to Falcon. The birth mourns the adoption which can continue for a year, the adoptive parents mourn not having their own child, and the child mourns being adopted. Counseling with CSS helps all of the individuals to come to terms with the adoption.
An adoption with CSS can cost the adoptive parents from $5,000 to $15,000.
Angela Schawe is the adoption social worker for CSS who works with the adoptive parents. Adoptive parents are screened to make sure it is a healthy family, she said. They will also take classes on what to expect with an open adoption and how to handle the child’s questions.
The families work out all of the relationships. "The adopted children treat birth parents like an aunt and uncle," she said. "When the child falls and skin his knee, they go running to the adoptive parent. Often, they call the birth parent by their first name.
An open adoption helps the birth mother heal, she said. "It helps with her grief process if she can keep a relationship."
It gives the birth mother the opportunity to see her child grow up, but not to have the financial and emotional responsibility.
"They usually have a lifelong relationship," Schawe said. "It is good for everybody."
CSS will also help place special needs babies. They can request help from agencies outside of the 28 counties they serve and in conjunction with other groups.