By Melissa Williams, LCSW // Executive Director
Adoption.org recently celebrated its first year anniversary as an adoption agency. Around that time, we also celebrated our tenth adoption placement.
These markers have provided me with an opportunity to reflect on everything that has happened over the past year. It’s been a bit of a wild ride! We’ve had many ups and downs and a few learning opportunities, and underneath it all, I’ve been reminded of a few fundamental truths about adoption.
Adoption is hard. Adoption is beautiful. It’s rewarding. But it’s also complicated. It costs time and money and tremendous amounts of emotional energy. Emotions run high on all sides. The effects of what happens in adoption are tremendous and lifelong.
Adoption requires patience. Sometimes adoptive and expectant parents spend a lot of time investing in an adoption match and in the end, it doesn’t work out. This can be very painful. You’ve put blood, sweat, and tears into this relationship and it’s hard to let go. Sometimes expectant parents choose to parent rather than place at the last moment; this is hard for everyone. The guilt, grief, and sometimes anger experienced after this happens cannot be understated. Sometimes the adoption process is stymied by the requirements and needs of outside entities. This can be enormously frustrating. It takes incredible strength to persevere through through these difficulties.
Adoption costs money. It’s a sad and frustrating truth. I wish that adoption services could be completely free. But the reality is that there are costs associated with providing ethical adoptions. Our amazing staff works endless hours to provide outstanding training and counseling; to assist in creating lifelong connections between families and birth parents; and to support, encourage, and uplift all our clients during this life-altering event. We work diligently to ensure that everyone feels peace about the decisions that are made and the relationships that are formed. Sometimes we are required to pay outside professionals to help support the adoption plan. Sometimes there are medical bills. Sometimes adoptive families provide financial assistance to birth mothers for pregnancy-related living expenses. All of these factors contribute to creating an ethical adoption plan, and each requires resources that require a financial investment.
Our work is sacred. The decisions that are made–the choice to place a baby for adoption and the choice to bring that child into a family–these are decisions that will change the life trajectories of every single person involved. This isn’t something we do for the money. It’s not work that we leave in the office at 5 PM. We are helping to create families, and as a team we never forget that our work carries with it an enormous burden of responsibility. Building families is truly a sacred work.