Young, beautiful, life of the party, college educated, established career and pregnant. “This wasn’t part of my plan”, she told me. Her next words were, “ I won’t have an abortion. Can you help me?” I could not imagine anything I would rather do than help Helen navigate these next nine months.

We met almost weekly, often during her lunch hour, in a nearby Starbucks. Right there in the midst of lattes and laughter she sorted through all the difficult details… parenting or adoption? The pros and cons were written on napkins and scraps of paper from her purse. I listened. She talked. Some days it all felt like too much so we talked about football. Finally, her decision was made. She wanted to make an adoption plan for her baby. By now we knew…it was a girl.

Preparing a young woman to place a child with an adoptive family feels like a task that is almost insurmountable. I liken it to rehabilitation after a sports injury. We have to strengthen the muscles all around the part that hurts so they can support the healing. So it is in this situation. She was well aware of the pain she would feel upon the loss of her child so we set out to strengthen everything we could think of so she would be strong enough to endure.

Her baby girl was delivered close to Christmas. With great grace she let her baby go. Her grieving was heart breaking to watch, but a necessary part of her healing. Eventually she returned to work and her social life. Our meeting after this began to be peppered with pictures of her progress. There were stories of parties and trips with friends. She was healing.

About a year after I began working with Helen, another young woman, with similar circumstances, entered my office. After she placed her son, she asked if she could talk to another birthmother about how to survive placing her son. I thought of Helen. A quick call to her confirmed her willingness to meet and talk with this birthmother.

As we sat together at lunch I was speechless as I watched these two clients connect. One addressing each and every fear and concern of the other in a way I never could. She spoke from her heart and her own experience. She passed on to another young woman the hope and peace I had set out to give her many months ago. Helen’s words to me after that meeting were, “ Please let me do this again so I can give back some of what you gave me.”

Birthmothers are among the most selfless people I have ever encountered. Their love for their child brings them to a decision that is beyond the comprehension of most. During this process they need love, support, and counsel in order to make it through. Here at Children’s Services we commit to walk beside these young women on this journey of a lifetime. This is done through ongoing contact and counseling before delivery and continued support through their grief. Our birthmother support group is a supplement to individual counseling after placement. Here, they can talk with other women who have been through the same experience. As you read in this account, there is nothing more powerful.

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Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC)
Approved Clinical Supervisor (ACS)

KHarrell.lpc@gmail.com
703-282-4286

Primary Address:
4601 North Fairfax Drive - Suite 1200
Arlington VA 22203

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Fairfax VA 22033

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