When people start their adoption journey, one of the most common fears I see is the anticipation leading up to the home study. I was no exception to this fear. The idea of having someone possess the ability to dash my hopes and dreams of becoming a parent again was terrifying. What if they didn’t like my furniture? What if my personality rubbed them wrong? What if they saw the dust I forgot to wipe off the ceiling fan? What if I had too many pets? A million what ifs. So what is a home study?
Sarah Baker | November 01, 2013 | 12:18 PM
Every November we now celebrate National Adoption Month. The history of National Adoption Month is relatively new. As we learn more about adoption and the need for forever homes and advocating for ethical adoptions, the awareness continues to spread.
History: In 1976, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced an Adoption Week to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care. In 1984, President Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week. In 1995, as an adoptee himself, President Clinton expanded the awareness week to the entire month of November. Then in 1998, President Clinton directed the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a plan to expand the use of the Internet as a tool to find homes for children waiting to be adopted from foster care. (childwelfare.gov)
Activities and celebrations are kicked off with a Presidential Proclamation, and while efforts made at the national level certainly help build awareness of adoption, participation in local programs, events, and activities by those of us with a direct connection to adoption can often be the most effective way to promote positive perceptions, debunk the myths, and draw attention to the tens of thousands of children in foster care who wait and hope for permanent families. (adoption.com)
Adoption Awareness is needed in many areas. First, helping find waiting children from foster care their forever homes is a huge priority. Every child deserves a permanent home and a loving family. There are many situations that can lead to their orphan status, but that does not make them unwanted or unadoptable. While foster adoptions are vastly needed, there are all types of adoptions that this month celebrates: Kinship adoptions, step parent adoptions, domestic infant adoptions, international adoptions, etc.
This month isn’t just about celebrating the beauty of adoption or bringing awareness to the thousands of children waiting to be adopted. Adoption advocacy is also an important part of National Adoption Month. Working hard to learn about adoption and the long term effects it has on everyone involved is necessary. Helping expecting mothers find and develop the tools they need to parent when they are considering adoption is also a huge step. Advocating for adoptees rights to their original birth certificates and birth certificate reform, as well as promoting open adoptions is beneficial for their self-identity.
Each day this month, I plan to post on our social media outlets, giving thanks or bringing awareness to adoption. You can follow our adoption at www.facebook.com/OurAdoption
Here is a link to a calendar of unique ways to celebrate adoption and spread awareness. http://www.adoptivefamilies.com/pdf/2013calendar.pdf
Sarah Baker | May 26, 2013 | 08:50 PM
You have the baby home with you, you are sleep deprived, covered in spit up and the house is a mess… AND now the social worker is going to come check in on you. Ahhhhhhh! In an agency facilitated adoption, there are post placement visits done by a social worker employed through the agency. These post placement visits occur monthly and document the adoption for the court prior to finalization. In Ohio, where our adoption is taking place, the finalization of the adoption takes place 6 months after the surrender. (We finalize with Ezra on July 22nd!!!!! YAY)
I really wasn’t sure what these post placement visits were all about and we were a little nervous going into them. Luckily, the same social worker that did our home study and was with us through the whole process was the social worker that would be doing our post placement visits as well. She put us at ease and explained to us that these visits were just to check in on us and the baby to make sure we were all bonding and progressing well with the adoption.
Each month our social worker visits our home. We fill out a small form that helps her build a report that will be given to the court when our finalization paperwork is filed. The form asks simple questions about who is present at the meeting and milestones Ezra is achieving. We also include 3-5 pictures with the form that we have taken that month. We were excited that this past month we could include pictures of him with his birth family!
The post placement visit isn’t to monitor your parenting skills or anything like that, but to protect you and the child. Some adoptions don’t go as planned. Sometimes the parents or the baby are unable to form a proper bond. It is very important for a child to bond with his/her caregiver as early as possible. When a bond fails to form, a child can develop Reactive Attachment Disorder. RAD* is more common in children with absent or abusive parents or babies in orphanages. This disorder will lead to lifelong problems of social impairment. It is better to find out as early as possible if there are any problems with the adoption not working well for a family and for the baby. For us, obviously, Ezra is our precious miracle. He is the child we have longed for. He is the brother Isaac has always wanted. He is a perfect fit and we couldn’t imagine our life without him. He is ours! While uncommon, not every placement goes so smoothly.
So, don’t be afraid of the formalities of the adoption process. Everything is done to protect you, but more so, to protect that sweet baby. We as adopting women want to be mothers, but remember those babies need more than what we want, so putting them first is always the top priority.
(Each agency likely has differing methods for how an adoption is managed. It is best to inquire in advance the procedures required by the agency and the state the adoption is taking place in.)
*If you have adopted a child or are fostering a child showing signs of RAD, there are many resources for you available. Locally, a place called Positive Pathways helps families deal with this disorder.