Who is the client in adoption? Who should be?

24 Aug

There was an article posted that garnered lots of comments in a closed FB group I’m in, none of the comments were good that I remember. The post was pulled down from the site it was published on. You can read about the specifics on Lori’s post, see link below.

Lori’s post: Ditch the Pitchforks. The Problem is She Revealed the Truth.

I know there will always be a need for some adoptions to happen in domestic infant adoption. When that happens, I think a child welfare perspective needs to be part of the process, specifically, how the child will fit into a family, how they see all that adoption is, and whether the child will be allowed to grieve losses as they come to the surface, be accepted for who they are, the commonalities or traits shared between the birth and adoptive family. You can argue that open adoption makes my concerns moot, you may be right, but I also think there’s a lot of value in finding a home for a child who needs one that will fit well for that specific child (based on the traits and personalities of their mother/father).

And yes, theoretically, and hopefully, an open adoption would be between two sets of parents with similar personalities, traits, likes and dislikes so odds are the personality and traits in the child will work well. But I’m also a cynic and have listened to far too many HAPs who just want a baby, and frankly, any baby will do, even if they share no traits or interests in common with the expectant mother/father. Could it still work over time if they had nothing in common? Sure, maybe, or maybe the adoption will simply close because everything is final, or because *boundaries* were crossed because the two sets of parents were incompatible to start with. That’s what I believe happens when adoption operates as a marketplace instead of a child welfare endeavor where fit is important. On a personal note that I’ve said here many times, not a one of us siblings were like the other, we didn’t have any common interests, similar personalities, nothing fit. I fit with dad in many ways, my saving grace if you will. That’s what I’m trying to convey, poorly, but that’s the intent.

But getting back on point, what if caseworkers started from the position that fit was important for the good of the one adopted? Maybe some agencies do, and please tell me about it if you know they look at that when working with an expectant mother, versus who has waited the longest. And if fit is a primary motive in finding the right family for the one needing a new home I think that’s good. Will they always get it right? No, I’m not that naïve, but starting with that as the goal for social workers to offer those profiles to the expectant mother first wouldn’t hurt, but they’d also have to have a good idea of who the expectant mother/father was first to do that well, anyone know how it works? I’m interested in hearing first hand comments about this subject.

And yes, those “independent adoptions” don’t fit with the above, wonder how many of those self-matched on FB type situations stay open…

Apologies for the muddled thoughts, just can’t get my words it to work right today, interested to hear your thoughts.


Posted by on August 24, 2021 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , ,

20 responses to “Who is the client in adoption? Who should be?

  1. Lori Lavender Luz

    August 24, 2021 at 6:00 pm

    I though you nailed it when you brought up child welfare vs marketplace. That’s why I wanted to explore your idea further. The original article, while odious, was a good place to do some exploring.

    As for finding fit, I think that’s what social workers were doing back in the closed days. Problem is, they took “fit” to mean mostly looks — so priority was given to traits that wouldn’t cause the family to look conspicuously adoptive. “Open adoptions” enabled pregnant moms to find their own fit, thinking they’d be better up to the task. Problem with that is that perhaps they still are not always encouraged to be internally oriented on finding that fit. Others have a stake in her choices and may be motivated to influence them.

    Also, with this train of thought, more efforts should be made to get the other genetic contributor in on the decision. That tends to complexify things in terms of making policy.

    Nothing about adoption has an easy answer. I find that there is always a deeper layer.

    I think your words were very clear 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      August 24, 2021 at 7:09 pm

      You are right, the looks thing of my era (although they failed miserably if they were doing that in mine.)

      I just hope people think deeply about the well being of the ones adopted and less about themselves.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Lakshmi

    August 24, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    I can’t speak for others but in our specific case, my girls have two mothers who have views that are similar, who are both writers, who are both in esoteric studies. It was not planned but in hindsight, it makes the relationship so much more joyful and one where the two of us delight in each other’s company. I cannot say the same for the father’s side of the family since we haven’t met and made that in person connection. I see value in what you say but I can’t see how fit can be quantified because when you are hopeful and desperate you will say anything for things to work. I have been in those shoes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      August 24, 2021 at 7:06 pm

      No idea why you went to moderation, my apologies Lakshmi. Happy you have so many similarities between you two.

      Your concern is also mine, but maybe if it catches on, some will see the value.

      Thanks for chiming in.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Laksh

        August 25, 2021 at 5:23 pm

        Absolutely! I see value in waiting between matching and eventual placement.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. swiftabc

    August 24, 2021 at 7:08 pm

    I agree with you and Lori both… Adoption should be about child welfare and not about who has the fattest checkbook or has waited in the longest. If we could get “the world” to stipulate the fact that adoption is rooted in trauma and the tragic separation of the first family and rewrite the Happily-ever-after fairy tale of adoption as a solution where there are no losers, that would be a good start. Remandatory education for all prospective adoptive parents on the Seven Core Issues of Adoption and other aspects of adoption complexity

    Liked by 5 people

  4. swiftabc

    August 24, 2021 at 7:14 pm

    Sorry, I hit post before my thought was complete, Require mandatory education for all prospective adoptive parents so they know about and have an idea how to support their children as they process through The Seven Core Issues of adoption and other aspects of adoption complexity and trauma. Birth mothers should be provided with similar education so that they can make an informed decision and not one that has been skewed to see only how adoption might benefit their child. So, IF, they choose adoption, birth parents can do so with information, education, and a decision that is built of knowledge not fear or wishful thinking.

    Liked by 5 people

    • TAO

      August 24, 2021 at 7:17 pm

      Agree with all. How do we convince people.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Patty

      August 30, 2021 at 6:32 pm

      I agree. So few foster and adoptive “parents” even think about what it must be like for the child they are “saving”.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. swiftabc

    August 24, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    We keep speaking out. Writing. Educating. Engaging. It is such frustrating work… Here’s my latest blog on the subject.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      August 24, 2021 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks for posting it. I read them. Just how to break through the pain and trauma someone with infertility challenges so they hear.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Laksh

        August 25, 2021 at 5:26 pm

        I point all HAPs who reach out to me to resources that include your blog among others. I ask questions that make them think about what they know of trauma. I know in the 10 yrs since we adopted, my views have changed and so has what I tell people who reach out to me. Change is slow but we will get there one day at a time.

        Liked by 4 people

  6. Robyn C

    August 26, 2021 at 4:48 am

    The expectant parents usually choose the adoptive parents. I don’t know how I’d feel if the agency got to choose precisely which profiles an expectant parent got to see. I always think people should have more options. But everyone should definitely have more education and support.

    Even though our kids’ birthmoms chose us, they chose us for completely different reasons, and it kinda shows in our relationships. S chose us because of some commonalities, and because she liked where we lived. Z chose us because we already had DS. She liked what he said in the profile, and she wanted her daughter to have a brother. S and I are pretty close. I’m closer to her than I am to members of my bio family. Z and I are not. Z and I don’t have anything in common, while S and I do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      August 26, 2021 at 12:08 pm

      Thanks Robyn for getting what my wandering mind was trying to explain. And of course, e parents should what you say, but do they now across the board? Probably not.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Carly Quinn

    August 28, 2021 at 6:04 pm

    In the 60’s when my parents did their first round of adoptions, it was about who you knew. They hired a lawyer to find them babies. I don’t know the details of all of it but I know there was no agency and little to no contact with birth parents. In the 80’s when they went for round two they did use an agency for the international adoptions but walking into crowded orphanages in Seoul and Manila was a spirit killing endeavor for them. They took whom they were handed and often spoke of wishing they could have brought all of them home. A thought that terrified the eight they did collect.
    I can only imagine the offense my parents would have taken at the suggestion someone educate them how to parent an adopted child. Had it even been available it would have been a hard no. For two adults who believed deeply in higher education for themselves and their children, emotional education was ranked somewhere in the same universe with Astrology and Alien Abductions.


    • TAO

      August 29, 2021 at 4:05 pm

      I don’t think mom and dad had any education either, they just muddled along, if there had been education available they would have taken it. They knew to tell us we were adopted early on, they also knew it would be likely we would be curious and want to search – pretty sure that was because they looked inside and knew they would search.

      Lack of knowledge then is easier to understand, lack of knowledge today is egregious because it’s everywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. momengineer

    August 30, 2021 at 12:19 am

    The Chinese had the “Matching room” where perspective parent files were matched to available baby files. There was even an article where the “Ladies” told they had secret processes to make perfect matches. I was dubious. After all, we traveled in groups for the adoptions in China.
    My paperwork (over three inches thick) traveled in a giant box filled with 12 other files. 5 from an agency in Northern California and 8 from a SF Bay Area “do it yourself” agency. Matches arrived back 8 months later to our translator/facilitator. 8 families were sent to the “requested” orphanage in her hometown. Our 5 families from the Bay Area group of 8 were matched to girls in an orphanage no one at either agency had ever heard of (Note: this orphanage only adopted out about 125 children total.) There was additional paperwork on the Chinese side to break up our original group.
    We were sent on a challenging trip that included 3 different hotels, officials unfamiliar with their paperwork, sick girls (3 of the 5 were infected with TB), and a language our guide didn’t know.
    China’s “One child policy” will always be wrong. My daughter should have been raised by her first family. I benefited from the situation and raised someone whose personality is so different from mine, I had no choice but to grow into role. Were we well Matched? Definitely!

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      August 30, 2021 at 12:31 pm

      Mom, you were willing to grow into the role, I think that’s the key, willingness.

      Liked by 1 person


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