According to the Lutheran Family Services website (2017) there are eleven steps to the adoption process, each which are part of the planned change process. The eleven things are: meet with an LFS counselor, fill out an application, set up interviews, conduct and complete the home study, participate in adoption classes, work with LFS staff to complete a family book, wait in the adoptive pool, get matched with a birth mom (and her family), take the baby home after it is born, receive regular support and provide reports to the court, finalize the adoption after six months.
Initially, there appears to be a lot of nerves nd anxiety when an adoptive couple is meeting with a LFS staff and when they are filling out the application and setting up the interviews, which is to be expected as they engage in this life- long journey. Prior to the first home visit, paperwork is either sent out or handed to them at an informational meeting about the agency. Once the adoption counselor arrives at the adoptive family’s home and everyone is settled in, there is a brief time for questions and answers either about the paperwork or adoption process in general.
After all the questions have been answered, the adoption counselor reminds the couple that the home study rocess is going to be intrusive, but she is not there to judge them-she is only there to gather the required information. The prospective adoptive couple appeared to be aware of the intrusiveness of adoption and was willingly ready to move forward. The husband and wife were both responsive to the questions being asked and they opened up right away. It was evident to me that the wife was the primary spokesperson for the couple, so it was important to give time for the husband to respond to questions as well.
Unfortunately, I was not a part of the initial contact that the couple had with the agency, but it is ypically heard of that families or couples are interested in adoption, so they search Google for agencies that are near them. When they find LFS, they will set up a meeting to learn more about the agency and what it has offer them. I have been able to sit in on a few different informational meetings with different couples, and it is interesting to see the differences in responses from different people.
Most of the couples were engaged and ready to learn. However, I met with one couple who was fully engaged, but as soon as someone walked into it was very evident that anxiety was high. that room, Assessment (home study) Assessments in home studies, as previously mentioned, are intrusive. The initial home visit is to gather general information about the couple’s family and lifestyles. The second home study consists of individual interviews, which is especially invasive.
In these interviews, everything is discussed-one’s childhood, traumatic events, how they were punished growing up, what their parent’s relationship is like, what their relationship with their parents is like, what the relationship with their spouse is like, what their sex life is like, if there’s a problem with porn in the home, whether or not the individual has been able to grieve ver their infertility if he or she is infertile, and what treatments have been done related to their infertility, and numerous other topics are discussed as well.
Planning and contracting (in planning, identify a plan that targets the micro, mezzo, and macro-level system) (prepping for child-might be tied into the assessment) The planning and contracting stage of the tedious adoption process involves the home study. During the stage, the adoption counselor is writing up the assessments and home study. In doing so, she is seeking out areas of concern in which there might be some questioning related to the couple or ndividual being able to parent. Depending on the adoption counselor, this sage might be intertwined with the assessment.
I preferred to intertwine the assessment and planning, which allowed me to write parts of the home study as we engaged in the process. If there is an area of concern, it needs to be addressed and discussed with the clients, and if need be, the adoption process will stop while the couple is seeking out the assistance that is needed. The couple that I was able to shadow had a few areas of concern, but after discussing them appeared to be irrelevant to their life now. The first area of concern was hat the husband was a refugee as a child.
In conversing this topic with the husband, it was discovered that he processed through the trauma that went with being a refugee when he was a child; he is no longer effected by it. Another area of concern was that when he was growing up, his parents utilized spanking as a form of punishment. Spanking is a common concern that I have seen in almost all of the home studies that I have read. In discussing spanking, the adoption counselor is simply looking to make sure that the spanking was not physical abuse and it does not affect who the individual is now.
The only rea of concern for his wife was that she had a few problems with her parents during her teenage years-which is also typical to find during the assessment. It was discovered the problem arose when her parents made her change school districts, for an understandable reason, but did not seem to make sense to her when she was a teenager. An especially important part of the planning process is to ensure that the husband and wife have been able to grieve their loss of fertility, which in most cases they have.
It is important that their infertility be discussed to make sure that if a child were to be placed with them, their loss ould not affect their parenting. Again, the purpose of an adoption counselor is to safeguard a stable family for the child. • Implementation (a child comes into the home) Implementation can happen in a variety of ways. There might be a designated adoption, which is when the birth mom knows of a family that she wants to adopt her child. Another way implementation can happen is through a hospital call.
A hospital call is when the birth mom has the baby and decides that she wants to make an adoption plan at the hospital. In situations like this, the adoptive family is called and they basically pick the hild up from the hospital and take it home. Another form would be when an adoptive family meets the birth mom in a match meeting, and at the time that the baby is born, it is placed in the adoptive home. A match meeting is when a birth mom comes in wanting to make an adoption plan, she looks at the profile books of the adoptive families in our pool, and sets up a meeting to meet the adoptive family I person for the first time.
Lastly, implementation can happen through an international adoption agency. In international adoptions, the implementation happens in another country, as the adoptive amily goes to the country they are adopting from to pick up their child. The implementation stage has not yet happened for the family mentioned above, however, I have seen it with a two- year-old. An implementation that is domestic with a two-year- old looks a lot different from a typical domestic adoption. In this specific situation, the child needed a prior transition.
Before the child was permanently placed with the adoptive family, the adoptive family had a few play dates and a sleepover. For this family, implementing a child in the home was not as easy. The two-year-old did not have structure prior to living with the family e does now, so the adoptive family had to be strict with his structure and work through attachment and other issues that arose as well. In fact, about a week after being placed with the child, the couple came into the office because they were close to giving up. However, they were able to work through it and the little boy is doing much better now.
In most domestic situations, implementing a child into the home is a very exciting time. It comes with struggles, but it is similar to struggles that any new parent has to work through. International adoptions are going to look more like the case with the two-year-old. People who hoose international adoption are not going to receive the child until it is at least a few months old. In which case, they will also have to work through issues of attachment and other concerns that may have arose from the child being inn an orphanage.
Evaluation Monitoring and evaluation occurs after a child has been placed in the home and is intertwined with the termination process, which the adoptive families are aware of. During evaluation, the adoption counselor will visit the home to learn how the new family dynamic is progressing. The adoption counselor is there to make sure everything is going alright and the child is doing ell in his or her new home. If outside resources are needed for the child to better succeed, the adoption counselor will link the family to the resources are required, such as therapy.
I was able to shadow a post-placement visit for a couple, who both the husband and wife were adopted from South Korea, and therefore, decided to also adopt from South Korea. They adopted twin boys who are a little over a year. While we were visiting, we made sure that the boys were accomplishing their developmental milestones, such as “taking a first step, smiling… waving. play[ing], learn[ing], behave[ing], and mov[ing]” (2017). Termination (court finalization) Though termination has not yet happened, the process of it will occur once a child is placed in the home.
Altogether, it takes about six months for termination to happen after placement. Every other month, leading up to the sixth month, the adoption counselor will do a post placement visit with the family. The purpose of these visits are to ensure that everything is going well in the home with their new child. On the months that the adoption counselor does not visit the home, the parents are required to fill out a post placement form. The day of termination is the day that the adoption becomes finalized in ourt.
I have been able to attend two court finalizations, which have been one of my favorite things that I have been able to do at my practicum. Everybody is in such a light, happy mood, including the judge. In fact, during the finalization the judge even shared that finalizing an adoption is his favorite part of the job. After the court hearing, the adoption counselor brings paperwork to someone at a desk to receive official signatures. Following the signatures, the adoption counselor approaches the adoptive family, congratulates them, and lets them know that if they ever need anything, they can always call.