Thursday, April 14, 2016

Helping Others Reach Their Dreams

In the past week, I spoke to singles and couples at the Adoptive Parents Committee monthly meeting and the JCC of Manhattan, all who were in the early stages of the adoption process.  Some were still thinking through their options, several had started or completed a homestudy and others were starting to advertise and talk to birthparents.

I was in the same position 30 years ago. We all had something in common - the desire to be a parent.

It doesn't take much for me to remember the anxiety of beginning the process.  I was nervous that no one would choose me. That perhaps it wasn't in the stars for me to be a mom. Now, I can smile at the concern because I am the mother of two daughters through adoption. It worked for me. It has worked for thousands of families I have helped through the options and homestudy process and whom I continue to see as I provide counseling and guidance on the joys and challenges of parenting through adoption.

But last night I was attuned to where they are in the process. There was a sense of excitement about being a parent, mingled with questions and concerns that the process really works.

We spoke a lot about the homestudy process.  What was the timeline and what were the differences in domestic and international formats.

There were questions about relationships with birthparents, especially those first phone calls - what should be said or unsaid?

With only an hour allotted for my talk, there were a lot of uncovered topics that I like to bring up in the “deciding to adopt phase" - talking about your adoption plan with family and friends, getting comfortable win the idea of sharing the adoption with the child, learning about an open adoption.  All possibly causing additional anxiety, but important to be thinking about early on, not just prior to placement but in the years to come.

I did talk about building a network of other adoptive families. Before the adoption as a support system, to share experiences and possibly to be aware of adoption situations not right for a particular family.  After adopting so they and their children have a peer group of families similar to theirs, built through adoption. To expand their network with professionals who will not only guide them through the process, but be available as they make choices throughout the years. 

Adopting is a big step in family building.  It is often a new and unchartered territory for singles and couples- with a process, language and its own complexities in parenting and family life. As an adoption homestudy provider, I not only complete the mandated reports, but stay available to my clients as questions arise. I wish I had that when I adopted so many years ago. 

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 of JCCA from March 1992 to March 2015, was Head Writer for, a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series She is currectly a member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood and active in the Adoptive Parents Committee in New York, where she has a private practice specializing in adoption and adoptive parenting. She was named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. Follow or reach her at ADOPTION MAVEN BLOG or EMAIL.