chapter  28
ByJoan Raphael-Leff
Pages 11

In the United States for some time, and in the United Kingdom, adoption agencies and centres are exploring new possibilities in considering the needs of birth-mothers and offering counselling to herself, her partner and/or parents during the pregnancy to consider the variety of options available. Psychotherapy or counselling may be promoted at a later date to work through these unresolved feelings about the adoption. When abortion has been ethically unacceptable, unavailable or delayed beyond the point of safety, or when emotional, physical or practical factors prohibit mothering, the baby may be offered for adoption. The bonding process in adoptive families is hampered by lack of a defined period of waiting, analogous to pregnancy. Parents may be on 'red alert' for prolonged periods of time, or have a baby sprung on them without much warning. Emotional signalling between the infant and caregiver may become distorted if adoptive parents attribute meanings beyond those implied in the communication.