More support needed to break stigma for mothers who choose adoption over abortion, advocate says

More support needed to break stigma for mothers who choose adoption over abortion, advocate says

SAN ANTONIO – As the state grapples with possible abortion law changes from the U.S. Supreme Court, one San Antonio adoption advocate says more support and less judgment is needed for women who choose to have a child and place them for adoption.

Elizabeth Jurenovich, executive director for Abrazo Adoption Associates, sits in an office surrounded by photos of babies and families who’ve chosen the adoption route. She started the agency in 1994 and said a lot has changed in those decades.

“The average birth mother who’s making an adoption plan is typically between the ages of 22 and 35,” Jurenovich said.

Most mothers making adoption plans already have children they’re parenting, and about half of them are single moms, according to Jurenovich.

As abortion law changes linger, she said more needs to be done to break the stigma for those who choose to carry a baby and put it for adoption, followed by support.

“In order for more parents to choose adoption, there has to be more social support. There has to be services. There has to be, you know -- an adoption tax credit that offsets the costs of parents that adopt. There’s no adoption tax credit for women in place,” Jurovenich explained.

An abortion can be done privately, but Jurovenich said a woman who carries a child to term and then places it up for adoption raises eyebrows among some. She said that needs to change, and it starts at the top.

“I’d love to see lawmakers making more of an effort to uphold and honor the women that do choose life and do choose adoption instead of abortion,” she said.

There’s also concern that out-of-state unlicensed baby brokers would target expecting mothers.

“We are seeing an influx of more and more out-of-state actors that are not licensed to do adoption, who are anticipating that there’s going to be a floodgate opening in Texas,” Jurovenich said.

She’s urging lawmakers and state leaders to begin enforcing existing laws to protect women and their children.

“I am concerned that we’re going to see a vast increase in the number of child abuse and neglect cases. Because women who cannot end a pregnancy may not have the strength and courage and the integrity to approach the adoption process,” Jurovenich said.

According to Child Protective Services, more than 4,600 children were placed for adoption in 2021. That’s fewer than the year before.

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About the Authors:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.