Adoption – Initiating and Advocating

Adopting Intentionally – Day 22

For 31 Days I will blog about Adopting Intentionally, you can find an overview and links to daily posts here.

AdoptionAdvocating

Your adoption story is unique.  There are places where you will not have control (see Managing Expectations).  But there are real places where you can take steps forward to advocate for your child before you even meet him or her.

There are lots of players in an adoption.  When working in the foster care system our children have had

  • a case worker
  • a case worker supervisor
  • an adoption case worker
  • an adoption case worker supervisor
  • each child has a lawyer
  • every birth family has a lawyer. 
  • The adoptive family has a resource worker

Navigating expectations with all of these people takes an understanding of the system.

Here are some tips for initiating  . . .

  1. Know your points of contact, their roles and then keep them informed.
  2. Understand that internal communication does not always happen, so begin conversations updating your point of contact with any information that they may need.
  3. Establish an intentional reputation early and clearly.  How do you want to be perceived?  Seek to articulate distinctly who you are and offer yourself as a resource to the case worker and the birth family and ultimately to the child.

We have learned the importance of initiating.  For instance our second son has had a number of medical issues.  We knew that these would be difficult for the case worker to keep track of.  I added to my weekly to do list that I would update the caseworker with how our little guy was doing and what appointments he had had during the week.

This established communication.  It also assured the case worker that we were on top of things, a caring family, one who was organized and capable.

In addition he had weekly visits with his birthmother.  We live an hour from this office.  We moved our schedules around and offered to bring him to these visits every other week.  We were able to establish a relationship with the staff and the birthmother.

We have also learned that it is our role to advocate for our child.  We had a disrupted adoption with our first child.  Even when the birthmother requested that he be placed with us, we were unable to gain guardianship.  We trusted that the agency we were working with would advocate as vigorously as we would.  This did not happen.

Our encouragement to you is that you are the child’s biggest advocate.  Take initiative and advocate for yourself and your child with intention, confidence and caring.

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