Adoption counselors work directly with clients, whether they are giving up a child for adoption or hoping to adopt a child themselves, and these counselors can be found in a variety of organizations, from family planning non-profit groups and private adoption agencies to government agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services.
An adoption counselor’s duties and responsibilities directly correlate to the sector in which they work. Those who are employed by family planning organizations typically spend their days counseling teenage or young adult parents who are navigating the adoption process for their soon-to-be-born child. Adoption counselors who work with private adoption agencies and federal agencies tend to work directly with clients who wish to adopt or foster a child, which involves conducting detailed interviews, background checks, home studies, and psychological evaluations to determine the prospective parents’ ability to care for a child, as well as placing them with the particular child. Those who work with private agencies may also coordinate adoptions involving children from communities outside of the United States, so a high level of cultural understanding is necessary for this position.
Most adoption counselors work in an office environment during regular business hours, though unpredictable situations may arise and require the counselor to travel to private homes or work on weekends or holidays. A bachelor’s degree in counseling, social work, or psychology is generally required for this position, and a master’s degree and hands-on experience in a clinical environment (such as an internship in a counseling office) are also required by some employers. Depending on the state of residence, some adoption counselors may also need to be licensed as counselors or clinical social workers.
Adoption Counselor Tasks
Counsel people in all stages of the adoption process, including biological parents, interested families, and the children themselves.
Assess quality of home life and child care for adoptive families and foster parents.
Find foster homes, arrange adoptions and guide clients through the adoption process.
Provide emotional support and adoption procedure expertise to both birth and adoptive families.