About AOI's Options Counseling and Process
Pregnancy Options Counseling does not make this decision easy; but with AOI, it is the first step for an expectant woman considering adoption. At Adoptions of Indiana, our counselors assist and support women through this critical decision-making process with total privacy. Our staff offer a caring and non-judgmental environment where women can ask questions, learn their rights, be linked to resources for prenatal care and health insurance, and evaluate what’s best for themselves and their child. It is our mission to provide women with a comfortable and safe place to talk about their options and gather useful information, support, and guidance through their decision-making process. Our social workers are available to her 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
When our social workers meet with an expectant woman, they take time to get to know her. They discuss her interests, family make-up, living and employment situation, as well as her current pregnancy. We provide a workbook called “Making the Choice” which details many things women must take into consideration when experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. The workbook includes questions about affording a baby, what financial assistance is available for their family, who will help care for the baby, what the woman’s goals are, as well as what are her hopes for her baby. This resource helps a woman imagine what life might be like if she chooses to parent her child or make an adoption plan. We also assist her in applying for pregnancy Medicaid and provide information about her rights and the rights of the baby’s father. While a woman is considering adoption, she is entitled to up to $200 in pregnancy-related assistance. We typically provide this in the form of a gas card to help her get to work or prenatal visits. We have also provided pre-paid telephones or emergency housing, depending upon her needs.
If a woman decides she would like to proceed with an adoption plan, we discuss traits she is looking for in a family for her baby, such as race, religion, special interests, or other children. We eventually show her family profiles and she will take as much time as she needs to review the families and determine if there are any she would like to meet with. We typically meet with a woman at least three times before we show her family profiles; however, our timetable is sometimes dictated by how far along she is in her pregnancy. We prefer to start discussing families late in the second trimester to give an expectant woman time to consider her decision. Until a woman chooses to match with a waiting family, we rely on donor dollars to provide her with the care she deserves. After that time, the adoptive family takes over the financial aspect of our support.
Our goal is not to convince a woman to create an adoption plan, but to help her make the best decision for her and her baby, so we do not measure our performance based on the number of adoptive placements. We measure our success by tracking the number of women who reach out to us for guidance. Some women never follow up after the initial visit, some decide to place a child with an adoptive family, and some ultimately decide to parent their child. Either way, we are honored to be part of their journey and provide whatever support they need.