Friday, September 22, 2006

Adoption Agencies As One's Resource

A very experienced adoption worker emailed me these thoughts today as she also wondered what she could do, from the standpoint of adoptive parents, to offer more support. If anyone has any thoughts then either email me or make comments.
She wrote, "It seems we keep encountering situations of adoptive parents (often fairly new adoptive parents) who seem to get themselves really worked up about various issues, and it seems that a lot of it may be due to them spending enormous amounts of time processing issues with everyone imaginable and getting way too many different opinions. I think it’s real important for adoptive parents to have strong support networks; I just wish that parents would look to their caseworker/agency as a primary support and probably who they should ultimately turn to for advice on some issues. It often feels that we have to rein people in from some questionable advice they’ve been given, decisions they’ve come to, etc. I know that new families are overwhelmed with the adjustments everyone is going through. That state of trying to get back to some kind of balance within the family, I think, makes people vulnerable to both good and bad advice. We spend a lot of time with families. Sometimes people need to figuratively take a big breath, step back a little, and look at the big picture.
I know you are careful to be supportive of your readers without giving out specific advice. I think it would help if you could advocate for families to try and develop a good working relationship with their caseworker/agency and always check with the worker/agency when they have questions, at least until their adoption is final, and even afterward as needed."

I was personally fortunate to have a very available caseworker to go to for advice, I called her often, particularly in the Cristy and Joe years. Maybe adoptive parents are afraid to bug their caseworkers? I never had that fear because I knew how strongly my caseworker felt about disruptions, had she not passed that on to me, who knows if I would have quit many times? She modeled it as well, as none of her children, all adopted from the foster care system, were easy.

I still call her and I always will as I am, way too often, in deep over my head and can't see the forest for the trees. When I told her about today's therapy session and the fact that Jose went to school and got in so much trouble that he was suspended from school on Monday and has ISS for Tuesday and Wednesday, she mentioned I might should have allowed him to stay home for the rest of the day.

And she was right, I should have done so.