This latest prompt from the Open Adoption Roundtable deals with some things I’ve been reluctant to write about (hard to believe, I know). I have learned the hard way not to talk trash about people online – it’s never a good outcome. But…well…here’s the prompt:
We each interacted with at least one professional during the adoption process (agency, lawyer, facilitator, consultant, hospital social worker, etc.). What was one thing that they did that was most supportive of open adoption? What one thing was least supportive?
Let’s start from the top. Our state requires all adoptions to go through some sort of agency; either a county Department of Social Services or a private agency, non-profit or for-profit. There are also separate social workers for potential adoptive parents and expectant parents. We didn’t deal with lawyers per se, not even really for our finalization hearing. The people we worked with were with our adoption agency; a non-profit agency, supposedly non-religious and LGBT-friendly.
They also advertised themselves as being pro-openness. One of the first things that we did with our social worker was to put ourselves in the place of an expectant parent deciding whether or not to place. That really helped me to choose more openness rather than less. She also gave us the packet of things from M that opened up our adoption a little bit more. That was huge in determining how our adoption would start off.
Unfortunately, our social worker also did her bets to caution against opening our adoption fully. Just letters, pictures (according to the schedule, of course – oh, and could you send the first set of pictures as soon as you get home from the placement? You know, to keep on that tight schedule) and occasional visits. In a neutral location, with both sets of social workers present. Like all the other “open adoptions” she had worked with before. Give out an untraceable cell phone for a phone number. Don’t put your last name on any correspondence. Oh, and all correspondence must be according to the schedule and through the agency. “Once you give a piece of information away, you’ll never get it back.” Such a big help when we were struggling with how open to be with School Girl’s other family.
We have had a more and more open adoption with M, C & J over the years. But I cannot honestly say that our agency was a help to us. I’ve also learned that that particular agency is much more supportive of openness than previously. Which is nothing but good for new clients.
We’ve gotten far more help from School Girl’s other family and our own instincts than from anyone else when it comes to our open adoption.