This guest post is by Faith Getz Rousso, an adoptee and adoption attorney.
Are you ready to take the field? Did you do your education to put together a qualified, experienced and committed team that will guide you towards your ultimate goal of adopting a child?
First and foremost, one must educate themselves as to the type of adoption you will be pursuing. Private independent? Foster care? Agency Adoption?
Ask people you know who have adopted, whether they adopted through foster care, agency or private. Ask about their experiences with the agency and/or attorney.
Speak with a few agencies and a few attorneys. This is a highly emotional process, and you must be comfortable communicating with the manager of your team—the person or entity that will be calling the shots and guiding you to the finish line.
Are you comfortable opening up and revealing your fears? Your concerns about adding to your family through adoption? And the uncertainty of who will respond to your profile?
This should be the first step—start from the top because either the agency or the attorney you hire will be responsible for the applying the rules to the adoption.
Who else is on your team? As the potential adoptive parent, you are the star player. But as any athlete knows, it takes a team. You cannot do this alone. The combination of all the players on the field will bring you success … there are no superstars.
Who are these players? The social worker will conduct your home study to certify you as a qualified adoptive parent to take placement of a child.
Often, your attorney recommends the social worker to you or in agency adoptions the agency employs the social worker. In addition to the social worker asking you questions about your past, your family unit and evaluate your home for safety concerns, the social worker will be an important resource to discuss the adoption process.
A physician. A medical professional should be brought on the team early into the process to review medical records from expectant parents. Meet with pediatricians and let them know you are in the process of adopting a child. Request the doctor review the medical records upon receipt from an expectant parent.
Ask if you can contact the doctor if there are medical issues with the child in the hospital; or, as an alternative, inquire whether the doctor will speak with NICU doctor if the birth mother signs the necessary medical release.
Although it may appear too soon to interview pediatricians…try calling a pediatrician on a weekend with a child in NICU for an opinion that you have never met before.
A Media consultant may also be a valuable player on your team. If you are responsible for placing your own media then you may want to consider bringing someone well-versed in social media on board to assist with the placement of your posts and to get them in front as many people as possible.
Now, the cheerleaders. Cheerleaders should know the rules of the game. Their role is to determine when the players need to be boosted and their spirits raised, when to be empathetic, and when to show enthusiasm.
These people may be adoptive parents or part of an adoption support group. They know when to cheer and also understand the possible disappointments that can accompany the adoption process.
The fans. The fans are the players’ well-intended family members and friends who root the player on. They take joy in their success and feel the players’ pain when there is a setback.
They may not know the rules of the game. They may not understand that the players cannot control when an expectant parent will select them to be the parent(s) of their child, and even the most committed team may not be successful.
A loyal fan supports their team no matter what the outcome is. It is important to recognize that if the fans do not know how the adoption process works, do not understand that expectant parents sometimes change their minds after meeting the adoptive parents, or that an expectant parent may not follow their doctor’s advice.
If this is the case, you should not rely on your fans for empathy. Instead, keep them in the stands for encouragement and to celebrate their joy when you bring home a baby.
Adoption takes a team. What it takes to “successfully” adopt a child to make your dreams come true is a combination of talented players combined with chemistry. Each player accepts their role while respecting the leadership of the attorney or agency that is guiding the team.
Faith Getz Rousso, Esq. is a private adoption attorney with a practice in Garden City, NY. She is an adult adoptee and a mother of two boys with many years of family law experience. Her new website may have the info you are looking for.
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