One of the most selfless and loving acts a woman can do is place her newborn baby in the arms of another family. Unfortunately, not all people see it that way due to long-held stereotypes that claim just the opposite and consequently, result in the occurrence of fewer adoptions.
“The biggest [myth about a birthmom] is that she doesn’t love her baby; that she just doesn’t love her and that’s why she’s giving her away,” said Linda Godard, a caseworker at New Hope Family Services located in Syracuse. “It’s partially why we don’t have as many adoptions, because that’s what [pregnant women] are saying to each other. ‘How could you make that plan? How could you give your baby away?’
“We say it’s a very courageous decision, a very loving decision to place [your baby] with another family because there isn’t a birthmom [out there] who wants to do this,” said both Godard and Martha Raub, executive director at New Hope.
New Hope Family Services, a not-for-profit Christian adoption agency established in 1965, specializes in providing birthparent services for unplanned pregnancies, as well as the option for women to place their babies with adoptive families, through its American-born infant program.
The New York state-certified agency receives client referrals — women interested in placing their baby for adoption — from numerous sources, such as the Salvation Army, the Rescue Mission, hospitals, social service agencies and community health centers. A birthparent caseworker is then assigned to that person and they can hold a meeting to discuss her options to place or parent her child.
“We don’t put pressure on her either way,” Godard said. “We just help her, come alongside her and counsel with her. We’ll often see her in a family situation, what her resources are, her support system … we’ll work with her through the pregnancy and through the birth of the child, and then at some point she has to make a decision whether she’s going to parent or place her baby for adoption.”