Wednesday, March 7, 2018


I love being an adoption social worker. I get to  help singles  and  couples  achieve a  dream by  preparing  them for  adoptive  parenting.  I enjoy meeting their children, receiving annual family photos and hearing from them over the years.

Each day is a bit different. Some days I am running from home to home visiting families. Some days, I set aside time for the paperwork and writing of reports. I try to alternate them so that I can write a homestudy or post placement as soon as possible after seeing a family so that there is a real sense of who this particular family is.

A homestudy appointment has me checking through any paperwork or documents I have received to familiarize myself with the situation and the household members. I want to be as supportive as I can to help a potential adoptive parent adopt and be the best parent they can be. I approach each visit with several goals: to gather the specific information I need to meet state or federal regulations, or those of a particular adoption agency (should I be conducting the homestudy under their auspices); assessing strengths and concerns regarding individual household members; and providing adoption education (regarding the process or parenting).

The actual home visit involves interviews with each household member, including children. Depending on the age of a child, they may be observed as they interact with their parent or sibling, they may be asked questions about their likes and dislikes, they may show me their room and favorite toys and books; or they may ask me questions about adding a sibling to the family through adoption. There is also a run-through of the home, including the living space for the new child.

The interview is thorough. There are discussions of family background, household relationships and interactions, children in the home, motivation to adopt and views on parenting, named guardians, finances and the home and community. Along with the paperwork provided all become the foundation for the written report.

Depending on the time of day, during the home visit, some families provide a beverage or a snack. While always appreciated, it is best to make sure it is food that can be eaten while talking and writing.

After the visit, I spend time again reviewing the paperwork and interview materials and writing the report. I want your personality, lifestyle and hopes for parenting to be reflected and not sound like everyone else. This can take several more hours. If I have additional questions, I email or call the family. Once the draft is ready, it will be reviewed by an agency (if one is involved in the process) or the family. After everyone approves, the final report is produced, notarized and submitted to the proper authorities.

While the homestudy is finished, my role with a family does not stop there. I remain available for questions or concerns throughout the adoption process and will visit again after the child has been placed for the Post Placement Supervision report. These reports detail the adjustment of the child and family and are used to recommend the finalization of the adoption or to report back to those who were involved in the adoption process (attorneys, agencies, courts, state entities or foreign entities).

During any given day, I am on the phone, texting and emailing with clients, potential clients, family members, attorneys, agencies and courts regarding potential or active situations. I am following up on missing documents or adoption paperwork, staying on top of changes in the adoption world and interacting with colleagues to maintain and grow my network of professionals who can be helpful to clients and their children.

It is my honor and privilege to be asked to help a family adopt and to be allowed into their lives. I take my role as an adoption social worker very seriously. I am also a mom through adoption and know the joy of adoption, as well as the challenges of the process and of parenting. I remember my own homestudy and how I worried about what I would be asked. I vowed that as an adoption worker, if I could make the homestudy any less stressful for a potential or current parent, I would. I spend time on the phone before the visit to make sure they know what to expect to alleviate some of the anxiety and to answer any questions. I remain available throughout the process for questions or needed information or referrals. I suggest local support groups or counseling if I feel someone needs more ongoing support. Mostly, I soothe and encourage never losing sight of the goal—to parent or enlarge a family.

There is a child out there for every family. Sometimes the journey to parenting is slower than a person would like and/or takes a different path then they expected. I am there to hold a hand, provide a shoulder to lean on and act as a mentor. Getting through the homestudy is just a part of the process. Adoption works. I see it every day and am grateful for being a part of that journey.

Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. Through her private practice and agency affiliations, she has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled expectant, birth, pre/post adoptive parents and adopted persons, as well as trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program of JCCA and a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and is currently a member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood, Adoption Professional Advisory Council of HelpUSAdopt and active in the Adoptive Parents Committee in New York. Her blogs and written contributions can be seen throughout the Internet, including her BLOG and as Head Writer for ADOPTION.NET  She was named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. You can reach her directly at EMAIL

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