Alright. NOW I can write about our decision. I was just waiting to hear back from our social worker. As it turns out, she merely said, “yep, OK” to herself when receiving my email and didn’t see any need to respond. I contacted her by phone and she knows so now you can know.
There are two problems with the situation we find ourselves in right now regarding the adoption process. One, we are becoming increasingly uncomfortable working with our agency. For some reason all of our situations, and all of the ones we’ve heard about from other people, are going through a social worker in another part of the state. This other social worker is incompetent at best, unethical at worst. Unfortunately our social worker persists in working with her despite how she’s bungled several situations from both birthparent and adoptive parent perspectives. We don’t anticipate her working with any local situations in the near future, so the likelihood that we’d have to work with this other social worker is quite high. We’re to the point where we can’t be sure whether or not our next situation will be handled capably and ethically. So we’ve decided that we’re not willing to compromise on our standards for an ethical adoption just so we can be parents sooner.
Second, we’re tired. The failed placement has taken a lot out of us and has affected other parts of our lives that need some serious attention at the moment. It would do us a world of good to take a few months’ break before plunging back into the hell of waiting.
What we’ve decided to do, then, is to leave our agency and look for a new one in Iowa. By the time we arrive we’d like to have everything transferred and be working directly with an Iowa agency. Towards the end of our time in PA (we’re moving at the end of July) we’ll release our profile for anyone due after our arrival in Iowa.
I’m not happy that we’re back to square one with agencies, but this year we are MUCH more informed and have a better idea of what we want. I don’t think our agency has a contract with the devil or anything, but now I’m looking for different things. Specifically, I want an agency that has some built-in barriers to agency coercion and a bonafide plan to inform potential birthparents as well as possible about their parenting options.
Right now we’re considering Luthern Family Services. They can do an update of our PA homestudy so we won’t have to pay for a whole new one. Here’s what I like best though: when a woman comes in with an interest in adoption, their first move is to set her up with counseling. They work with her to come up with both parenting and adoption plans. That means that even if she says she is serious about adoption, they stress that the decision is not truly made until she meets her baby at birth. If she decides to parent even after planning to place, she won’t have to scramble for parenting resources; she’ll have a plan in place for her and her baby. Once the woman has talked through her options and is “serious” (I don’t know how they determine this), they show her profiles. She’s encouraged to pick and meet as many families as possible. They also strongly encourage mothers to spend time with their babies after birth before making the final decision. They sound very mother-centered.
We’re of course looking at other agencies but this is the one we like so far. If anyone has experience with them please let me know! I don’t want to just take their word.
I feel simultaneously sad and relieved about our decision. On the one hand, it is consistent with how we feel about adoption and will also free us up to concentrate on some other things for a while. On the other hand, we’ve already been waiting a year and it is absolutely breaking my heart that we will now probably wait another year or longer. One adoption professional from Iowa said that people are waiting a long time right now. We’ll see. But that the room we set aside here for our baby is going to stay empty is so hard. I can’t bring myself to dismantle the crib yet or put the clothes in boxes.
We won’t have a baby the same age as my sisters-in-law’s babies, and we won’t get to baptize our baby at St. Benedict’s. We will be far away from grandparents when he or she arrives. Our narrative has been shattered and it is heartbreaking.
But I still think we’ll be parents someday. Just not in the way we had envisioned. And isn’t that always the way?
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