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What does an adoption counselor do?

Updated on February 22, 2015


An adoption counselor is an essential part of the adoption and foster-care process, helping to ensure that children and parents are supported, from initial placement through to finalizing an adoption. This article explores the responsibilities of an adoption counselor and the assistance that they provide.

The people and groups that an adoption counselor works with

An adoption counselor works with various groups, organizations and individuals including:

  • A child's birth parents - Helping them to understand if this is the right thing for them and their birth child. Assisting birth parents in their decision to offer their child for adoption.
  • The child going into adoption or foster-care (adoptee) - Helping the child deal with the physical, mental and emotional transition of moving away from their birth parents and into adoptive or foster-care.
  • The foster or adoptive parents - Ensuring that they are prepared for fostering or adopting. Helping them deal with the transition and the changes that will be necessary when introducing a new member to the family.
  • Social workers - Assisting with a child's support, pastoral care and other needs. Working closely with social workers to ensure that a child gets the right level of professional support.
  • Legal system - Working with the legal system to ensure that all of the regulations and requirements for foster-care or adoption are met.
  • Adoption agencies - Understanding a child's previous experiences, challenges and other aspects of their former care.
  • Healthcare and other professionals - Making sure that a child's medical, physical, social, mental and emotional needs are documented, understood, accepted and met.

Integrating a child into a new family can be tricky - Adoption counselors can help
Integrating a child into a new family can be tricky - Adoption counselors can help | Source
Compassion and love can bring a family together with the adopted child
Compassion and love can bring a family together with the adopted child | Source

Roles and responsibilities of an adoption counselor

The main responsibilities of an adoption counselor are to:

  • Resolve issues with the child, their birth parents and their adoptive parents.
  • Provide support, care and advice throughout the adoptive or foster-care process.
  • Encourage a positive environment and good communications between the affected people and groups.

They accomplish this through:

  • Working with the birth parents to help them come to terms with allowing their child to be adopted.
  • Supporting the adoptive family and promoting their overall emotional well being.
  • Assisting the birth child and ensuring that all of their needs are met.
  • Providing help, advice and information to the individuals and organizations involved.
  • Behaving as a liaison between the various parties.
  • Acting as a mediator and helping to resolve disputes and issues.
  • Dealing with legal issues and ramifications.
  • Providing education, tools and other resources.

An adoption counselor discusses the adoption process


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In closing

An adoption counselor is essential to the smooth transition of a child from their former environment into a safe, supportive and nurturing family life. Although the work of an adoption counselor can often be demanding, the reward of seeing a child placed with a loving and caring family is very fulfilling.


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