Are you a health care or social service professional exploring resources for a pregnant client?
An unintended pregnancy can be a time of great anguish and confusion. It can also be a time of tremendous emotional growth when a woman can re-examine her goals and values and reset her life direction. Catholic Adoption Services strives to assist young women with the reality of the pregnancy and planning for the baby. At the same time, we focus on values and lifestyle choices that will move her in the direction of achieving her goals.
Click on the links below to read more about our services.
Catholic Adoption Services is a program of Catholic Community Services of Western Washington and provides high-quality services to women in an unintended pregnancy and adoptive placement for those who choose to make an adoption plan for their baby. A minimum of six months of caring services are offered regardless of the woman’s decision – placement for adoption or parenting. We have been providing these services for over 80 years and have a strong record of accomplishment. We are licensed by the State of Washington and accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Services to Children, Youth and Families.
We work cooperatively with medical professionals, school personnel, social service providers – anyone the pregnant woman chooses as part of her support team.
To Access Services
To speak with someone about our services, call 206-328-5921 during normal work hours. It is our goal to call you back that same day and certainly within 24 hours to schedule an initial meeting. Feel free to call for consultation or to see if a specific referral is appropriate.
If you need to speak with someone during non-business hours, call 206-328-5921. If we are not in a position to answer your call, leave a confidential message and we will return your call within the hour.
For a medical emergency, call 911.
Where You Will Find Us
Our services are available to you anywhere in Washington State.
Catholic Adoption Services provides services throughout the State of Washington:
- In Eastern Washington, we work cooperatively with Catholic Charities in Spokane and Catholic Family & Child Service in Yakima.
Any woman who is pregnant or who has recently delivered and would like support and assistance in exploring plans for her child is eligible for our services. Some things you should know before you get started:
- A woman does not have to be Catholic to receive services.
- Not all of our approved adoptive families are of the Catholic faith.
- Our long history of quality professional services and our strong reputation attracts birth parents and adoptive couples of broad diversity.
- We provide services to all who request them, without regard to color, gender, race, ethnicity, religious preference, or ultimate plan for her child.
- We provide services at a location that is convenient to the client.
- Services are provided free of charge. No fee is collected or bill charged for services provided to pregnant women or their families.
- Confidential and professional counseling
- Help with decision making
- Assistance in arranging pre-natal care
- Assistance in obtaining housing and housing-related services
- Assistance with transportation
- Financial assistance
- Referral to educational programs
- Referral to vocational training programs
If the woman decides to parent her child:
- Ongoing support and counseling for up to six months
- Home visits
- Information on child development and childcare
- Baby clothes, including an initial layette
- Baby furniture, as available
- Referral for other needs
If the woman decides to prepare an adoption plan for her baby:
- She can choose a family from Catholic Community Services’ approved adoptive families.
- She can meet with the family selected.
- She can choose an open relationship, remain anonymous or determine the amount of contact she wants to have with the adoptive family and her baby. She can document her choices in a written Communication Plan that is filed with the Superior Court.
- She may access post-adoption counseling services.
All staff providing services to pregnant women have earned a Masters degree in one of the social sciences and are licensed by the State of Washington as an Independent Clinical Social Worker or as a Mental Health Counselor. They have many years of experience working with pregnant and newly parenting women and their families. Services have been accredited by a national accreditation agency – Council on Accreditation for Services to Children, Families and Youth – and meet the highest standards for professional services to pregnant women.
Services provided are strictly confidential. We will work with the individual woman and those significant others she chooses to be included. We will not divulge our relationship with or anything about our work together to anyone without her written consent, unless her life is in danger. We do encourage that our clients allow us to communicate with others in their support system so that we might all best address her unique needs.
Why services may be helpful
Finding out you are pregnant when you hadn’t intended to be, when no one expects you to be, when the pregnancy interferes with your life’s plan, can be a big shock. Oftentimes it is useful to have an objective, yet supportive, expert help the pregnant woman process her emotions, explore decision-making and assist her in planning for what comes next. An unintended pregnancy can interfere with a young woman’s ability to carry out her daily responsibilities, cause anxiety, disrupt sleep, and interfere with logical thinking and decision-making. It is normal and natural reaction for the pregnant woman to feel confused by the circumstances in which she finds herself. She may need emotional and material support during this time. We can provide that support by assisting her at any time during her pregnancy and even after delivery. Contacting us very shortly after she has learned of her pregnancy provides us more time together to identify and explore her goals, values, and possibilities, and put together a plan or several alternative plans for her and the baby. We recognize that sometimes that is not possible. When necessary, staff can assist with parenting resources or a high-quality adoptive placement in a very short period of time – even after delivery.
The pregnant woman is faced with making very important decisions for herself and her baby. These might be among the most important decisions she make in her lifetime. She should feel good about her decision as it will have a significant and life-long impact. We encourage her to take the time to consider her options thoroughly and from multiple perspectives before making any decisions. She will be emotionally grounded and more committed to her ultimate decisions if she can reflect on her decision-making process knowing that she made a good decision based on all the available information and options. The foundation of good decisions includes knowledge, understanding, options and emotion. We can help her explore all of these elements as she considers the decision that is ultimately right for her.
It can also be a very normal and expected part of the process for her to change her mind – make different decisions, often multiple times, during the course of her pregnancy. It is evidence that she is carefully considering different decisions. This process will help her arrive at an ultimate decision that she will know is the right decision for her and for her baby.
If possible, it is important to plan ahead so that she has the necessary resources in place when she delivers and leaves the hospital. Parenting her baby might the right decision for her. With a plan in place, she can ensure that she has a suitable place to take her baby, baby furniture and clothes, diapers, formula and people to assist and support her when she is ready for discharge from the hospital. Placing her baby for adoption might be the right decision for her, and with a plan in place, she can consider adoptive families, meet them and choose the right one for her child, prior to discharge.
Open Adoptions and Communication Agreements
Catholic Adoption Services works with the birth parents to develop a plan that best meets their needs of their baby. They can choose the level of “openness” in the ongoing relationship with their child and their adoptive parents.
Some birth parents prefer to have contact with their child after the adoption is finalized and provide adoptive parents with their name, address and phone number and expect the same from the adoptive parents. Some birth parents prefer to remain anonymous and choose not to have contact with their child or the adoptive parents. Most birth parents’ choices fall somewhere between these two extremes. All of the choices are “good” choices if they best meet their needs and that of their baby.
Catholic Adoption Services staff will assist birth parents in considering their options and will facilitate the development of a Communication Agreement that will outline contact and Communication with their baby and the adoptive parents. Communication can include written progress reports with photos, letters and gifts, and in-person visits. The Communication Agreement is submitted to court with the adoption-related paperwork and is enforceable through the court system.
Screening and Approving Adoptive Parents
Approving a family to parent another’s child is a very important responsibility and we take it seriously. Unlike some adoption providers, we do not look for ways to approve every family. We only approve families who meet our exacting standards. If a birth mother is choosing to make an adoptive plan, she will want to ensure that the family selected for her child has the skills, talents, commitment and capacity to meet her child’s need well into the future.
All of our approved adoptive families at Catholic Adoption Services are thoroughly screened and meet very high standards in personal adjustment, integrity, personal health, economic stability and marital stability.
- They have passed three distinct criminal history and abuse background checks.
- They have had a recent physical examination and their physician has divulged any medical issue and has recommended them as sufficiently healthy to parent.
- They have been recommended by a minimum of six friends and family members who have known them over an extended period of time and are in a position to judge their character, their relationship to each other and their ability to parent.
- They have been recommended by school and/or childcare professionals who may be involved with other children in the adoptive home.
- They have submitted a financial statement and tax returns that reveals that they have the financial capacity to care for the material needs of a child now and into the future.
- They have undergone a psycho-social assessment by our professional adoptive staff.
Selecting an Adoptive Family
The Catholic Adoption Services staff assigned to work with the birth mother will ask how she wants to be involved in selecting the adoptive family for her child. Then they will ask her a series of questions that will help her focus on what she wants for her child and what kind of adoptive families can best meet those preferences. Some birth mothers prefer:
- A casual, rural lifestyle.
- An urban lifestyle with easy access to a city’s art and culture.
- Involvement in sports and recreation.
- A family’s focus on education and reading.
- Specific religious, racial and/or cultural affiliation.
Families will be selected from Catholic Adoption Services’ pool of potential and approved families that best match her stated preferences. A birth mother can be as involved in selecting the adoptive family for her child as she wishes. She can:
- Have Catholic Adoption Services staff make the selection of adoptive family from those families.
- Review waiting adoptive family profiles and select on the basis of the information in the profile.
- Meet prospective adoptive parents and “interview” them to determine best fit for her priorities for her child.
Her involvement in the process is up to her. Know that Catholic Adoption Services will only place her child with an adoptive couple who have been thoroughly screened by professionals.
Each of our approved and waiting families meet very high standards and are all great families. Each family is different with a variety of life resources for her child. She cannot make a bad decision in picking any one of our approved and waiting families.
Hear about what birth parents, professionals and clients’ parents are saying about our services below:
Young women who have used our services have said:
I don’t know how I could have gotten through this without your help. I’m in school now and doing great. I see my baby when I’m home on breaks.” ~Therese
“I am back in school. Nobody knows I had a baby. They think I had appendicitis. I have received my first progress report with photos. She’s beautiful and she looks so happy. Thank you for everything you did to make this happen for me and my baby.” ~Julie
“I don’t know where my baby and I would be if it weren’t for you.” ~Malika
“I just wanted you to know that my baby and I are doing well. He is two years old today. I can’t thank you enough for the help and support you gave me when I was so confused. I am back in school and have a part-time job. It isn’t easy, but I know we’ll make it and I’m happy. I think of you all the time and use the tools you gave me to calm myself and make decisions.” ~Jeannetta
“I have been extremely happy and content. I can’t remember ever feeling so full of joy. My job has been very rewarding and school keeps me busy. I met a wonderful man in September. And, I know Jeremy is well cared for. I couldn’t be happier. Thank you!” ~Angela
“I wish I had been in a position to parent Jacob, but I wasn’t. I love him so much. I know he is in a good place. Nick and Sandy are wonderful people and they are so good about sending cards and photos. Thank you for helping me through that awful time. I don’t know if I could have made it without your help.” ~Sarah
“I received a letter from my son’s adoptive parents today. I just wanted to let you know how grateful I am to you and to say thank you for making it all happen.” ~Kerry
Adult adoptees have shared these thoughts adoption experience:
Professionals have said the following about our services:
have been so impressed with the caliber of adoptive parents that come through CCS.” ~Hospital Social Worker
“You have this process down. You were so thorough and everything went so smoothly.” ~Hospital Social Worker
“She (birth mother) was so well prepared for what was happening. I could tell that she had thought about the alternatives and didn’t come to this decision easily.” ~Postpartum Nurse
“It is so reassuring to know that you will continue to work with her (birth mother) and support her in her parenting. Not all agencies do.” ~Hospital social Worker
Thoughts from clients’ parents about our services:
“You were my angel. I don’t know how I could have gotten through this without you. I was in absolute shock! You stayed so calm and kept reassuring me and you handled things so quickly. And you helped me in my relationship with (daughter). We are closer now than we have been in a long time. Who knew something good could have come out of this.” ~Mother of birth mother.
“I appreciate the time and attention you gave (daughter) and (daughter’s boyfriend). They needed someone who was less emotionally involved than I am who could help them make a plan and then implement that plan. They have both grown a lot in the time you have been seeing them. Thank you.” ~Father of birth mother