After reading Kate Brogan’s May 5 column, “Maine Voices: Women considering adoption deserve a thoughtful look at their choices,” a few things resonate for me.

I am the clinical director of a social services agency that provides both adoption as well as parenting support services, and it is my hope that we are careful not to categorize private adoption as a last resort forced upon a woman, or that all private adoption is “high-stakes business.”

Like many other adoption agencies, Stepping Stones prides itself on providing support and resources not only for women and families who choose adoption, but also for women who choose parenting. The support includes housing, case management and parenting education.

Stepping Stones has positive relationships with reputable crisis-pregnancy centers. Each service has its place, and it would be dismissive to assume that all crisis-pregnancy centers push adoption on their clients in lieu of parenting, or that they have partnerships with adoption agencies that partake in this unfair imposition.

After working with more than 300 women facing unplanned pregnancy over the past 10 years, I have learned that when women are provided with information about all options, adoption is a choice that many women make and feel positive about.

That being said, it is important to acknowledge that while adoption always involves a sense of loss, for many birth parents the pride and love they feel about the decision to carry a pregnancy to term and place their child for adoption often outweigh the grief and loss that accompany the decision.

Adoption should be viewed as a viable and loving option that deserves respect and recognition. Adoption agencies should be viewed as an important resource that ensures that high-quality and ethical support services are made available to women.

Kristen Hirsch, LCPC

clinical director, Stepping Stones