So often, everyone from family members, friends, clients, strangers or really anyone who catches wind that I work in the adoption field seems to be really curious as to what it is really like to work in the adoption world.
My favorite go-to answer is “It’s the best and worst job you will ever have.”
When an adoption case worker spends a significant amount of time with her birth mother client, often times a relationship on both sides develops. The adoption caseworker has to maintain appropriate boundaries and be able to disconnect emotionally when decisions have to be made. There is a fine line where you have to remain professional and yet personable. In some instances, a case worker can become a significant person in a birth mother’s life; she may have come to the agency alone and the emotional support of a caseworker is imperative to her well being. A birth mother may be going throw an incredibly difficult time in her life during her adoption journey and she bonds and attaches to her case worker. In this situation, I have seen where a birth mother has a more difficult time saying “see you later” to the case worker than her newborn. This is where an aftercare program is crucial to maintain a relationship with the adoption entity and provide the ability for a continued relationship with another avenue rather than becoming pregnant again. Adoption case workers are human too, and have chosen the social service field for a reason; they too can become attached. The longer you are in the adoption service field, the more you are able to prepare yourself, maintain boundaries and learn how to make the decisions that are in the best interest of your client, even when it is difficult.
It’s the best job:
- when you witness a birth mother supported by a birth father
- when you watch an adoptive mother hold her new baby for the first time
- when you watch a birth mother find her wings after adoption and achieve her life goals
- when you see the difference you are making
- when you get to see pictures of the adopted children growing and thriving in their adoptive homes.
It’s the worst job:
- When a birth mother changes her mind and you have to tell the adoptive family.
- When a birth mother is difficult to locate and you are on a time constraint: C-Section, Consent Signing, Meeting with the Adoptive Family
- When a birth mother has scammed the agency and the adoptive family
- When a birth mother struggles with her adoption choice
- When a birth mother makes poor life choices and remains in her negative life cycle.
- When you are woken up multiple times in the middle of the night and go to the hospital or have to be on the phone
Working with Birth Parents
- Earning their trust
- Watching them grow and developing an amazing rapport.
- Seeing their joy in making an adoptive family happy.
- Watching them succeed.
- Having them lie or scam you.
- Having to watch them struggle with a boyfriend or family not in support of their adoption choice.
- Having to discuss the importance of truth and understand that a relationship cannot be built on lies.
- Having to confront your client.
Working With Adoptive Parents
- Working with an adoptive family for the second time.
- Having an adoptive family recommend another family to you.
- Having the adoptive family understand and recognize how many hours, blood sweat and tears that have occurred behind the scenes to make the adoption happen.
- When an adoptive family defers to you and trusts your judgement.
- When the adoptive parents don’t take your advice and jeopardize their adoption (apartment/knocking on door.)
- Watching their world collapse when you have to remove a baby or tell them the birth mother changed her mind.
- When an adoptive family gets angry at you for something out of your control.
- When an adoptive family is not emotionally ready to do an adoption, but has been home study approved and needs to grieve before being able to positively engage in an adoption relationship.
- When an adoptive family feels a sense of entitlement. These are real women, pregnant with real babies and making an incredibly difficult decision.
- These relationships are built with raw emotion, bonding can occur at an intense level.
The adoption world is a family. We have our moments, but at the end of the day we have a common goal; to build families, to share love, to empower women.
We are one.
Find out more.
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The time is now!