Pregnant Women

Know You Have Options

When you’re faced with an unintended pregnancy, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what to do or where to turn.

At JFS, our staff of professional and compassionate pregnancy counselors will help you explore your options free of charge and free of bias or judgment.

A counselor will be personally involved to:

• Answer your questions along the way

• Discuss your options and help you decide what choice feels right for you

• Offer unbiased professional guidance and support

• Explain the adoption process

• Be available for you throughout and after your pregnancy

• Help you plan for life after the placement


As you consider your choices, we understand your thoughts and feelings may change from day to day, even minute to minute. It can be confusing to sort out the advice of friends and family. Know that you're not alone. We can help you weigh your options in order to make the right decision for you and your baby.


If You're Considering Adoption

JFS Adoption will help you select an adoptive family that makes you feel comfortable and secure in your decision.

We have a waiting list of loving families who have been thoroughly screened and approved for adoption. All our home studies include references, plus health, education, and financial histories. Should you decide to move forward with an adoption plan, rest assured that you have the right to choose the adoptive family.


Feel Good About Your Choices

This is an important and difficult decision. JFS can help you whether you are 1 week or 9 months pregnant — even if your baby has already been born.

Considering adoption takes courage, compassion, and love. There are no easy answers, but JFS Adoption is a knowledgeable and dependable resource for your unanswered questions. We are here to listen and help.

For more information, please refer to our Pregnant Women FAQs below.

Pregnant Women FAQs

What are my options?

An experienced JFS social worker will help you explore all of your options, whether that is parenting your child, placing the child with a family member, or making an adoption plan. If you choose to make an adoption plan, you have the right to select an agency or parental placement adoption. You also have the right to your own legal counsel during the process.

Agency placements occur when a birth parent has placed a child in the custody of an adoption agency. The agency then places the child with an approved adoptive family. In an agency placement, the identity of you or the adoptive family may or may not be shared, depending on the needs and wishes of those involved.

Parental placement adoptions are arranged directly by the birth parents and adoptive parents. Identifying information is usually shared, but is optional.

At JFS, we're here to support you regardless of what you decide.

What services do you provide expectant parent(s)?

JFS provides counseling, support, and advocacy. Our team of social workers are available 24 hours a day to help expectant parents.

Will this cost me anything?

There is no charge for pregnancy services at JFS. We'll also help you apply for any medical or financial assistance for which you may be eligible.

How are open and confidential adoptions different?

There are different types of openness to meet the different needs and levels of comfort with each adoption.

In a fully disclosed (open) adoption, the birth and adoptive family have direct contact and have exchanged identifying information.

In a semi-open adoption, the birth and adoptive family have contact, but only some personal information is exchanged such as first names and contact may be through the agency.

In a confidential (closed) adoption, the birth and adoptive family have no direct contact and no identifying information is exchanged.

The type of adoption you choose is a personal decision.

What about ongoing contact?

Regardless of the type of adoption you choose, ongoing contact is a possibility. Birth and adoptive families together decide how to stay in touch. Contact may include letters, pictures, phone calls, emails, and periodic visits. The contact in an agency adoption is usually sent through or arranged by the agency, but can be done directly though the birth and adoptive parents if they desire to have an open adoption. The frequency and type of contact is something unique and special to every adoption and varies depending on the needs of all those involved. We can help you determine the level of contact that is right for you.

What is a Post Adoption Contact and Communication Agreement (PACCA)?

A PACCA is a legally enforceable contract between birth parents and adoptive parents to establish contact/communication regarding the adoptive child after the adoption. It can assist with lifelong connections for a child who has been adopted through foster care, a parental placement or an agency adoption. The agreement is developed in a collaborative process between the birth parent and prospective adoptive family. The PACCA must be filed in a Virginia circuit court in order to be legally enforceable. A PACCA is optional and not a requirement of any adoption.

Can I choose the adoptive parents?

You have a right to choose the family who will adopt your child regardless if you select an agency or parental placement adoption. If you do not want to choose the family, you can talk to your social worker about the type of family you envision for your child and have the agency select the family. You also have the right to meet simultaneously with the adoptive parents and a social worker if you prefer. We are happy to help you to arrange a meeting if you desire.

Do minors need their parents’ permission?

No, minors do not need their parents to agree to adoption. However, we encourage you to discuss the adoption with your family and friends if you feel they will be supportive.

What if I am not a legal resident of the United States?

You have the right to make a legal and safe adoption plan for your child, regardless of your immigration status.

What about the father?

The father’s involvement in an adoption is encouraged whenever possible. Fathers have certain legal rights that vary from case to case. A social worker can help you understand your own situation. A birth father may register with the Putative Father Registry to protect his rights.

Will the adoptive parents take good care of my child?

Prospective adoptive parents are carefully screened, undergo background checks and give a great deal of information about themselves. In addition to providing personal references, they are visited in their home several times by our team of social workers who teach them about the special nature of adoptive parenting. By the time an agency has approved adoptive parents for placement, we've gotten to know them very well, and feel confident they would make excellent parents.

Can I name my child?

Yes, you have the right to name your child on his or her first birth certificate. The adoptive parents have the right to name the child on the second birth certificate, which will be issued after the adoption is final.

Will I get to see the baby?

That will be up to you. Each mother making an adoption plan has a different opinion about seeing the baby. For some, it is helpful; for others, spending time with the baby makes the decision more difficult. Before you deliver, you and your counselor will discuss your feelings about seeing the baby. We want you to feel comfortable with every decision throughout the entire process.

What if I change my mind?

Before and after the child is born, you are under no obligation to continue working with JFS if you decide to parent. We are here to support you and help you explore all your options. We encourage you to speak with your family and friends about your pregnancy and adoption plans. You'll want to look at all possibilities that would allow you to parent your child. After the child is born, you're still under no obligation to place your child for adoption if you change your mind. If you place your child for adoption, under Virginia law you have seven days from when you placed the child or until the child is ten days old before the adoption is irrevocable.

Is there any follow-up after an adoption is completed?

We will continue to provide counseling, support, and advocacy after the adoption is finalized. The level of contact is up to you. We're here to support you through the entire adoption process - before, during and after.

Will my child wonder why I placed him (or her) for adoption?

Probably. Most adopted adults realize that their birth parents placed them for adoption out of love. They knew that they couldn't raise their child but wanted to give him or her life— the greatest gift. Hopefully your child will come to realize that a lot of his or her wonderful traits come from you. Every woman must make the choice that is right for her.

What is the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA)?

Children of American Indian or Alaskan Eskimo heritage may be subject to the Indian Child Welfare Act. If you are part of an American Indian tribe, discuss this with your social worker. JFS must contact the tribal council about the child.

What credentials and experience does JFS have with adoptions?

JFS is a licensed child-placing agency, which conforms to the rules and regulations of the Commonwealth of Virginia. State licensing requires renewal every year and at least one on-site evaluation every year. We have been providing adoption counseling and services for over 50 years.

What is the JFS Client Bill of Rights?

The JFS Client Bill of Rights is:

As a JFS client, you have the right to privacy, confidentiality, and self-determination. It is JFS’ ethical obligation to treat you fairly, with dignity and respect, and without discrimination regardless of your age, race, religion, or circumstances.

As a JFS client, you are entitled and welcome to do the following:

  1. Ask about our professional qualifications.
  1. Ask about, comment on, and make suggestions to improve JFS policies, operations, and services.
  1. Ask to see and discuss our fees.
  1. Know about our policies or procedures to protect your privacy to the fullest extent of the law.
  1. Comment orally and/or in writing about your contact with the agency. This will be included in your client record.
  1. File a grievance, without interference or retaliation. First, discuss your concerns with your service provider. Next, if you desire, have a three-way meeting including you, your service provider, and the Chief Operating Officer. Then, if you are still not satisfied, request a meeting with the CEO. The CEO will make a decision and report it to you and the service provider within five working days. You may request a copy of JFS’ Client Grievance Policy at any time.
  1. Exercise your right to refuse any service, treatment, or medication, unless those rights have been limited by law or court order.

Jump to:   Waiting Families

Our Adoption Services

Teresa Birchett, JFS Adoption Supervisor Jewish Family Services Richmond Virginia

Contact: Teresa Birchett

To begin the process or learn more about JFS Adoption, contact Teresa Birchett, Adoption Supervisor at or call 804-282-5644, ext. 223. If you need immediate assistance, call or text the adoption on-call line 804-543-3434.

Alternatively, you may fill out the contact form below.

Click here for our JFS Adoption contact form.

Waiting Families

Your Baby's Potential Parents

JFS maintains a list of loving families waiting to adopt a child. All individuals are thoroughly screened and approved to adopt. You can read about some of these wonderful people below.


Jenny & Jon

As you can see from our picture, we are currently a family of four (but two members have 4 legs!).  Our dogs are very important to us because they are how we met, at a local Richmond dog park.  We each grew up in Richmond and our immediate families live close by.  Jenny has two sisters and Jon has a brother.  By coincidence, our extended families are both from the Tidewater area with many still there.  We enjoy spending time with family whether it be attending a local baseball game or simply grilling out on our deck. We love to bike, hike, kayak, check out local restaurants and travel as much as we can. We both look forward to expanding our family with a child through adoption!

Jenny and Jon Murray with their dogs. JFS Jewish Family Services Richmond Virginia
The Vanskiver family

Annie and Jesse:

Hello!  We  are Annie and Jesse, the mom and dad in our family of four. We have been truly blessed as a couple, to have a wonderful extended family close by, dear friends, and most importantly, our two amazing sons, miracles of fertility treatments (Owen, age 4 and Theo, age 2.)  We dream of another child, a daughter, to complete our family. We truly live for our family, and believe that families are built, not born. Therefore, knowing that we desperately want another child, a daughter, in our family, we believe our path for this child  is through adoption, allowing you to choose us to be your child’s parents. Our home is filled with love. It is wonderful, sometimes crazy, and fun, all of the time.  But it is still missing our little girl. Thank you for reading about us, and for helping to make our dreams come true.

Dave and Nicole:

Hello from Dave and Nicole. We lead a busy life built around family, fun, and community. Our family is lively and already blessed by adoption as both Nicole and our daughter are adoptees. Living on a few acres with a small zoo of dogs, pigs, horses, donkeys, and even chickens lets us enjoy starlit evenings catching fireflies and roasting marshmallows plus being part of a tight knit county. Luckily we’re also close enough to town to spend our weekends active around Richmond at the Children’s Museum or street fairs. We are a family of travelers visiting Disney or taking a Disney Cruise every year and also have a home at Myrtle Beach so we can enjoy sand and sea breaks, Our next big plan is a trip to explore Alaska. Dave works with computers and works from home several days a week. Nicole is a stay-at-home Mom. We enjoy being very active in the lives of our children as Room Moms, Scout leaders, chauffeurs, and cheerleaders. We love having a big boisterous family and are looking forward to completing it with another addition.

Matt and Kensington, waiting adoptive parents

Matt & Kensington:

Hello! We are Matt and Kensington and we are excited to grow our family through adoption. Matt grew up in rural Ohio and Kensington grew up in Southwest Virginia. We met six years ago in Chicago where we lived before moving to Richmond with our adorable cat, Sylvester, to be closer to family. Our house is in a great neighborhood—walking distance to schools, parks, museums and restaurants. Friends and family are always welcome and we enjoy hosting parties and holidays. We love traveling, cooking/baking and outdoor activities like hiking and biking. Matt works for an airline and Kensington is an optometrist. Both careers allow flexible schedules that give us lots of time to spend at home and with family. We are eager to provide a loving and nurturing home with the support of family and friends, and give a child fantastic opportunities and experiences!

Marcelyn & Sean

Hello! We have been blessed to be parents to our beautiful daughter Sophie thanks to adoption, and now we want to expand our family and help Sophie become a big sister. Sophie’s still young but is learning words quickly, and she loves “woof-woofs”, her word for dog; we know she’d love to chatter away all day with a little brother or sister.  Sophie also loves books and we look forward to reading goodnight stories to her and another baby soon. Our family and friends love Sophie as much as we do and will be just as welcoming to our next child, whatever his or her background.

Marcelyn & Sean, waiting parents
Teresa Birchett, JFS Adoption Supervisor Jewish Family Services Richmond Virginia

Contact: Teresa Birchett

To begin the process or learn more about JFS Adoption, contact Teresa Birchett, Adoption Supervisor at or call 804-282-5644, ext. 223. If you need immediate assistance, call or text the adoption on-call line 804-543-3434.

Alternatively, you may fill out the contact form below.

Click here for our JFS Adoption contact form.