Today, the expectant mothers we serve have more complex needs than the clients we served 10 years ago, and we have adjusted our services to meet them where they are.
Expectant mothers experiencing unplanned pregnancies and mothers with young children who contact us considering making an adoption plan are sometimes coming from a challenging, vulnerable place. While some expectant mothers have a strong support system and access to resources, others may be in an abusive relationship, unemployed, experiencing homelessness, or have mental health or substance abuse treatment needs. The women Gladney serves range from teenagers to women in their forties, with an average age of 26, and 49% of the women already have other children. More than 70% of the women are from Texas, and the remainder of the women are from other states across the U.S., including 15 states outside Texas in 2019 alone.
As women consider their options, Gladney understands the weight of the emotional, sacrificial decision to place a child for adoption. Our caseworkers can attest that women who make an adoption plan do so because they love their children as much as the adoptive parents who will raise and care for them for the rest of their lives. Whether a mother ultimately chooses to place her child for adoption or chooses to parent, we positively impact her life and the life of her child. Gladney’s goal is to let mothers know they always have options and to try to prevent the possibility of children entering foster care because of parents not having the ability, support, or resources to care for their children.
As we shared in the 2019 Annual Report, we transitioned the purpose of our residential home to serve pre-teen and teen girls in foster care, due to a decreased need for on-campus housing for expectant mothers. The women we serve want to remain in their communities, where they can maintain their support systems and access other resources. Gladney’s caseworkers go to meet with them where they are. When a woman enters our adoption program, she is genuinely cared for, accepted, and empowered. She receives services while living in her own community through meetings and phone calls with her caseworker, who provides her with information and emotional support to prepare her for the delivery and adoptive placement of her child, choosing an adoptive family, processing her thoughts and feelings, and planning her own next steps in life. Gladney provides her with adoption planning guidance; prenatal care referrals; and financial assistance for clothing, housing, prenatal care, food, utilities, and transportation.
We empower her to consider her future through goal setting and connections to community resources for life skills training, housing assistance, and continued education. An expectant mother chooses the family who will adopt her child, and Gladney works to ensure adoptive families and expectant mothers have similar expectations for communication and relationships with each other after placement. Adoption is a journey with a variety of needs over time, and all Gladney birth mothers have lifelong access to guidance, support, and referrals from our Post Adoption Services team.
How You Can Help:
Engage in conversations about adoption with your personal network, circles of influence, and care providers. Tell them about all of the different adoption services and parenting education resources Gladney offers. Point them to these websites for more information:
Gladney’s mission goes hand in hand with other organizations serving vulnerable children and their families. We want everyone—expectant mothers, parents, teachers, medical professionals, social workers, judges, high school students, counselors, and more—to know adoption is always an option. It can be a proactive prevention to children entering foster care and can be a healing solution for waiting children in foster care who need permanent, loving, and caring families. An adoption plan can be made during pregnancy, at the time of delivery, or months or years down the road in the parenting journey.