Thursday, March 10, 2016
Everyone who adopts comes into contact with a social worker at some point in the adoption process. Perhaps it is when you are applying to an adoption agency or during the homestudy. Maybe you have sought some guidance or counseling. Sometimes it is the social worker who introduces the birth mother to the hopeful adoptive parents.
I am aware that each person’s life experience is different and that this affects how they see and experience adoption. Therefore my aim has always been to help individuals and couples reach a decision that takes these differences into account and is the right one for them.
I have helped birthparents consider their options and decide to parent or plan an adoption. I have counseled pre-adoptive parents to choose what sort of adoption is the correct one for them (domestic, international or foster care) or what type of child they hope will join their family. I am there when adoptive parents seek guidance or practical assistance on how to share adoption with their child, integrate adoption into their family or if they have questions on something that is adoption related. And, I have helped children and young adults who are struggling to understand their adoption or early history.
The social work profession is based on helping those in need and to protect the right of all individuals to self-determination. This may mean making tough choices, but having the right to those choices without pressure from others. I am horrified when I hear adoption stories which include manipulation or coercion. And, while we would like to believe these are stories from the distant past, I continue to hear birth parents state that they were left with no other choices or adoptive parents who say they were given little information or time to consider whether a child was the right one for their family.
I will continue to explore all options with birth and adoptive parents. I will talk about extended family and communities assisting with or accepting adoption decisions. I will help adults think through their choices before and after custody of a child has been transferred and counsel those questioning their decisions. I will help children understand where adoption fits into their life and identity, and how and when to share this with others.
For the past 29 years, I have worked with all sides of the “adoption triad” (birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptees). As many of you know, I am an adoptive mother of 2 daughters who joined my family in 1987 and 1991. I love the work I do, I love being a social worker and I am honored to be included in a birth or adoptive family’s adoption journey.
Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. She has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled adoptive parents and parents-to-be, and has trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program from March 1992 to March 2015. She is Head Writer for Adoption.net, member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and has a private practice in New York City. She was a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. Follow or reach her at ADOPTION MAVEN BLOG or EMAIL.