Tuesday, July 17, 2018

5 Choices That Can Complicate Your Adoption Journey

12.5: the number of years we've been in the adoption community.

4:  the number of children we've adopted

5:  the number of choices you need to know about that can complicate any adoption

1:  Hiring an unethical adoption professional.

This is the #1 thing you can do to screw up your adoption journey.

Choosing an ethical agency, attorney, facilitator, etc. is critical, and I spend a lot of time and energy thoroughly explaining this here.  Because it is that important.  

If your foundation isn't one of ethics, how can you expect the rest of the adoption journey to go well?

And remember:  every decision you make today has a forever-impact on your child.  

(One of the questions I receive the most is "how do I choose an ethical adoption professional?"  I answer that here.)

2:  Paying birth or expectant parent expenses. 

This can be a hot mess.  

(At one time, I said I would never, ever pay expenses.  But that changed, and again, it got messy and complicated and frustrating.)  

Yeah, I know, expectant and birth parents expenses are legal in many states, but are they ethical?  

I think the ethics of this are in-they-gray.  Some expenses paid are reasonable in some situations.  But we also all know that money complicates things.  It can become a tit-for-tat, and that's not cool.

If you are going to pay expenses, be very clear about how much and for what, and know that no matter how much you dish out, you cannot and should not expect a placement in return.   

3:  Veering.  

You know I warned you, right?  In the chapter I titled "Stay In Your Lane"?   

There are some things in adoption that are cut and dried.  For example, a baby isn't your baby if and until TPR and revocation are done.  STAY IN YOUR LANE.

Demanding to have a say-so in the birth plan and hospital stay.  STAY IN YOUR LANE.

Pressing to know every detail of an expectant parent's life?  STAY IN YOUR LANE.  

4:  Playing dual-roles.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again.  It is impossible to be both social worker/counselor to an expectant or birth parent AND be adoptive parent.  You can't do both well, nor is it ethical.  That's why I'm a big fan of having an experienced, ethical, adoption-competent social worker involved in any adoption.  Because your job is to be the child's MOM, not the birth or expectant parent's social worker.  

If you pour so much of yourself into the role of "counselor," you will have less of yourself to be your baby's mom.  To be your partner's partner.  

You cannot do everything well.  You were never meant to.  It's not ethical.  It's not fair.  So just don't.  

5:  Making BIG promises.  

Wait, Rach.  Aren't you a fan of open adoption and promises?

I believe in making and keeping promises.  But I also believe in making sure those promises are organic and realistic in the first place.

Promising openness in an adoption, let's say promising X number of visits per year, for the entirety of a child's life is not only naive but frankly unwise.  Because promising such openness isn't considerate of the child.   What will the child want one day?  Need?  Require?  You don't know that when your child is merely a infant, toddler, or preschooler.   Also, you aren't taking into account real life:  people move, people change.   

Make short-term, organic promises.  Keep the communication open.  Step by step, month by month, year by year.  And always, always do what's best for the child. 

And certainly, never make promises you don't intend to keep or promises based on trying to secure a placement.  Because that placement is of a baby, and that baby has a right to thoughts and feelings regarding his or her adoption. 

What would you add to my list?  What have you learned throughout your adoption and parenting journey?

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