Struggling…….

I’ve been struggling today. We’ve just what I would call finished up..with two adoption plans. One that we worked on for 7 months, the other just a few weeks. By finish up, I mean consents have been signed and are irrevocable in both plans. The adoption won’t be finalized for 6 months or more and our relationship with the families and the birth moms will continue a life time. I’m struggling because a lot of emotion and time go into an adoption plan, whether it lasts 7 months or it lasts just a few weeks. Like post adoption/post pregnancy blues, I get a sort of depression too. I know it’s time to work on the next plan, time to network, time to reach out to or individuals I haven’t had time for..but I don’t feel ready yet. Then I remembered I have a blog! I could write my thoughts on here and say what I needed to say. I thought I would try to explain what goes into working with a mom for 7 months…..or two weeks. I know I’ve written about this before – so please humor me, I find it therapeutic.
When someone calls us and wants to talk about adoption….we first find out what is going on in this woman’s life. If possible we schedule a face to face within a couple of days. It is much easier to read a story with someone sitting in front of you. Many times this is the last meeting we have. We provide information about what adoption is and what it isn’t and they may decide at that point it isn’t for them. If we do have a second meeting, we talk about what kind of resources are available to parent..who is important in their life, are there significant female relationships close by, what about the father of the baby and his family. We ask them what resources they are using now. We also talk about histories of drug use and mental illness. We do a lot of fact finding and listening. With all of this info we leave and start doing background checks. We look for current jail time, warrants, past jail times etc. We look into facebook pages and anything else we can find online. Sometimes you can’t find it right away, it takes time. If after a second meeting someone wants to move forward with an adoption plan, we start to put it into place. We look at what her expense needs are, we look at what kind of family she wants, what kind of future as far as openness goes, and we start assisting with looking for a family for her. During this process if she is homeless we ask for help in the community for donations. We visit food banks for food boxes, we start setting up counseling and Dr’s appointments. We start looking for housing. Housing is usually the hardest because many of the women we work with have had evictions, bad credit , no history of income. Rents are really high in California, especially the Bay Area. It can takes months to find a landlord to take a chance, and not compromise our mom’s confidentiality where the adoption plan is concerned. Once mom finds a family (which yes could be a family we are working with) then all of the legal components are put into place. It is decided whether its going to be an agency placement or an independent placement. This is usually determined by the adopting family. Either way, an attorney is involved and/or an agency is involved and all expenses are filtered through one of these entities. EVERYTHING is documented. If it’s to be an independent placement, then an Adoption Service Provider sits with the expectant mom and explains the process and makes sure mom is not being coerced. If its an agency placement then mom is seen by an agency Social Worker. We continue to provide support and case management on a day to day basis. We facilitate the relationship between mom and family. We set up appointments and provide transportation. We go out to lunch or dinner on a regular basis, this can provide a lot of insight about what is going on with mom, how she’s feeling about her adoption plan and whether she needs more help. We get mom to counseling and treatment if she will accept it- you can’t force someone to seek drug treatment. We get mom to court if needed. If mom is in jail we do jail visits, and court room visits to keep everyone up to date. If mom needs to be moved we find a new place and move her. All the while keeping everyone updated and as involved as possible. If mom needs bus passes we get them to her. We take her to get her food boxes. We communicate with landlords and attorneys and anyone else that needs to be communicated with. We read between the lines…one of the most important parts of what we do and we filter what needs to be communicated. As I tell our families, some of your expectant moms life may have nothing to do with the adoption plan, and frankly is not anyone’s business except hers, she is not being hired – she still has free will and can make her own choices, even when they are not good ones. We will ALWAYS provide what information we feel is important to the adoption plan. We listen to the adoptive family, we provide support and updates as needed. Communication is key to a good adoption plan, even when circumstances have gone in directions we had hoped they wouldn’t if you can keep communication open it can work. I think the most important thing for people to understand is that we aren’t in positions to judge, we don’t have to agree with the life that some of our moms live. They come to us to do an adoption plan and that is what we assist with. It’s our opinion when professionals are involved in the plan, it is more of an experience, a journey, a path. We want everyone when possible to not necessarily have a kum – by-ya moment but recognize that what’s happening is a life altering event for all members involved. We’re working with human beings, not numbers. I don’t have to agree with the lifestyle the mom I’m working with has chosen, but I am certainly not her judge. My role is to help her with her plan, help her get through this journey with less pain as possible and hope to uplift her circumstances while doing so. My role is to help our adoptive family understand what is happening as best as they can, to filter the chaos and make their way into parenting this new baby as crisis free as possible.
We don’t force people or bribe them with the promise of a new car to sign consents, we don’t go out and pass out cards to pregnant women to come to us to do an adoption. We don’t talk families into matching with a particular situation..we don’t make false promises to families about matching times, and we are honest about what fees are involved. We don’t lie about the number of adoptions we do or how we do business. We provide community outreach with the help of diapers and formula. We help provide shelter for women in need. We give FREE parenting classes for families involved in child welfare.
At the end of the day I am very happy with what we do in our community and the families we help to adopt. And I am happy I have a blog because I feel much better now. 🙂

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