A few weeks ago we were asked by an agency to help find a family for a birth mom who had already delivered and was home with her 4 month old twins. After obtaining all of the details we were a little skeptical about getting involved, but for many reasons we decided to move forward (we adopted 4 month old twins 19 yrs ago!). When an attorney or an agency come to us for a family, they do so because they are expecting that we are screening and preparing a family for presentation. What is involved in this process? First an interest in the situation..then a brief introduction by email. Next we need to make sure the family has a budget in place, has a valid home study and can work with us (a facilitator). Why is this important? Because the agency /attorney has asked us to do a job for them. It can take hours to screen a family – and find out they are not the right family. DO this with 8-10 families and you have spent two or three days. That is a lot of hours and you haven’t even gotten to the place of being able to present the family to your expect/birth mom. That can and will take many more hours. I think the hardest thing for some people to understand is this: Just because you want to adopt, and just because you have a home study..doesn’t always make you the best family for a baby. Moms come to the table with their list of expectations just as hopeful adoptive parents do. Sometimes concessions can be made and sometimes they can’t. Part of my job is to know when and not.
When we are working with a new expectant mom, our contracted families (who we have spent time with already) and our registered families, who we have a completed application, homestudy and have talked with for an hour or more..get offered the situation first. If they are not interested or we don’t have a family who meets the needs of the expectant/birth mom then we network out to a few trusted adoption consultants or attorneys. We know that the consultants and attorneys have screened their families and have an understanding of what they want in an adoption plan. If we can’t find a family in this realm, we usually concede or wait and try again.
Because this agency had a timeline and once again, for many reasons we felt a need to help find a great family for this set of twins, we threw our net a little further and asked and let a few individuals post on facebook groups. We received over 50 requests to be presented to the twins. We answered I think all of the inquires personally even when we could see just from the email that it wasn’t going to work. Most of the responses were positive but one stood out and kept me captive for days: The owner first replied to us (please note that we did not reach out to them personally) that they had been waiting for 5 yrs to adopt and they they were the family for the twins. They didn’t know everything yet about them except what I had posted in my original brief but they assured me they were a loving Christian family. I thanked them for responding but wanted to let them know that we were a facilitator and that we could not work with them due to the state they lived in. In her next email she got a little rougher and asked me to step aside since the twins were working with an agency. Once again I replied, tried to be supportive and let her know this was not going to happen, the agency had asked us to provide a service for them. Her next reply was rude and abusive, letting me know that the reason facilitators were illegal in most states was because of me and the fact that I was standing between her and the children she should be adopting. That I was money grubbing and basically should be sent to hell. SO here’s where I am going with all of this. The internet is a wonderful place for information, facebook is a great way to stay in touch with all of our families and friends and forums are a great way to seek support and answers for and from others that are in like situations…..did you know that when you write something on a forum it stays there forever…when you write something on your adoption page on facebook anyone can see it. I use facebook all the time – especially when working with a new mom. When you post on your facebook page that I am an “asshole” I can see this! And when I can’t all of the other people I work with professionally and maybe have worked with in the past will let me know it’s there. Screening done! All in one day, I received a sweet email letting me know they are the perfect Christian family gets reduced to be being an “asshole” because I wouldn’t provide her the name of the agency. And this is why the agency has me do the screening. I saved them from having to work this family out on their own.
We had another young couple get upset once because I would not ask the expectant mom leave the attorney they were working with to cut out the expenses to the family. She wrote on a public national forum that there were all kinds of red flags and that we weren’t being supportive of them. There were no red flags except that they were asking me to do something unethical. We had not signed any contracts with this family. They came to us from a post we made on a board, they got chosen by the expectant mom, had all of the information about her including medical records and then decided it was too expensive for them. A friend saw the post they made and let us know. We called and asked them to remove it. It was wrong of her to have posted it, and if we really wanted to we could follow her post with the whole story. We didn’t want to do that, they were young, we thought they would make good parents and didn’t want them to make the mistakes of making these allegations publicly. We could choose not to work with them, but we didn’t want them to discourage others from ever working with them again. This birth mom has delivered and the baby is with a wonderful adoptive family.
Long story short… a lot of work goes on in an adoption plan, alot that if you don’t work in this field don’t realize is happening. It’s complicated, dramatic, explosive and crazy at most times. I know that most of the families reading this already know better….be careful when you are posting stuff. If you are frustrated or angry don’t push send..put it in the draft folder. It only takes about an hour on the phone to figure out what families “get” adoption and which families don’t, but don’t make it any harder on yourselves in a moment of rage.