Most of you who read our blog know that I’m the Executive Director of a fully-licensed, 501C3 agency located in Georgia. But most of you are probably not aware of how hard we are trying to do our part to make adoption safer. There is so much loss of time and money but the greatest tragedy is the loss of hopes and dreams.
I know it’s hard to believe sometimes but, as adoption professionals, some of us also feel the same frustration with adoption. Many of us got into this field to help, not to make things more difficult but when you’re the one that’s feeling the pinch I know it’s hard to know who to blame. You’re not sure if it was a lack of attention, a stupid law, a scamming person, or just dumb luck. Believe me, I get that, and it breaks my heart to watch it happen and not be able to fix it.
Adoption professionals feel frustrated working with families who are not really prepared financially or legally to adopt and those that have difficult personalities, but that’s part of the business. What is now becoming a part of the business, but shouldn’t be, are other professionals who charge high fees for passing on information (thus raising the cost of the adoption higher), lure birth families to leave an agency (and family) to come work with their agency or worse, are unethically supporting a mom to work with both at the same time!
Like adoptive families, smaller professionals (and some larger now) also feel the impact of disrupted adoptions and scammers. Though all of us (at least those who are doing this for the right reasons) support a mother’s right to choose to raise her own child, most have invested in the mother’s living expenses already, a caseworker to check on her, an attorney in another state, etc. and they are left with huge holes in the budget, and the lost cost of a rollover if they offer one, when the mother chooses to do so. I, for one, am willing to take that risk for a mother who truly wants to raise her baby and I will defend her right to do so. However, as we know, this is not always the case.
Most adoption professionals really are upset when things go wrong even if we appear to be apathetic on the outside; it’s difficult to straddle the advocate position of both sides. We really do want mom to go to the physician even though we can’t make her. We really do care if adoptive families honor the agreements they make to send pictures and keep in contact. We honestly do want to encourage open adoptions for those who want it. We really do pray for the right mom to find the right family and the ICPC process to go quickly. And most of us really want to make adoption safe and inexpensive for an adoptive family even while they want to help mom to have a better life. But all of these things plus the awful parts of adoption contribute to higher costs and shaky adoptions and a lot of us feel powerless to stop it.
Here, we give kudos to those professionals who work tirelessly to help their clients have good, safe adoptions; it’s not always easy. Some spend hours, you never know of, searching and researching the web in an effort to investigate those they work with. Some deal only in-house and some only with churches. Some wait to start helping moms to be sure she feels ready. Some offer help getting government subsidies and such so that no mother is choosing adoption due to costs. Most of us are doing all we can.
Adoption is becoming a difficult alternative way to create a family and it shouldn’t be. We all need to do something to make it safer. If you are the political type maybe you can help with laws. If you are an agency, spend more time getting to know your birth mothers. If you are considering adoption take time to get to know your adoption professional better. Let’s all just start asking more questions and start telling each other what we find out. We know we can’t fix all the problems in adoption but we can be a very small part of the solution!