Being a prospective adoptive parent requires you to place all of your hopes and dreams into the hands of your adoption agency. They ultimately determine what information is shared about you and how often. We need to do what they say and when they say it (and pay what they say and when they say it) regardless of any of our own personal feelings. This is our path, but it is not an easy one. And we have become increasingly concerned about our agency’s attention to detail and overall competency in this process.
A number of months ago, we became aware of one of the more seasoned social workers adopting a child through our agency (her employer) from one of the birth mothers she was directly counselling. I still cannot make sense of how this fit with her professional code of ethics. I question how the agency even allowed this social worker to work predominately with prospective birth mothers when she herself was on the adoptive parent wait list. It feels like a major conflict of interest. I think about it often, and have reviewed the codes of conduct on the social work professional association’s website. As much as I would like to explore the circumstances around this placement with the agency’s director, I fear I will be labeled as “trouble” and it will impact our chances of being shown. It feels awful to put my own self interest ahead of ensuring that the birth parents and adoptive families served by the agency are supported by staff who have impeccable ethical standards.
We had put our file on hold in April when they called us two weeks later to let us know that despite me specifically asking, our file had been with a birth family at the time, and they now wanted to see our home study. We had to make a quick decision about showing the file and also buying more trip cancellation insurance. Ultimately this was not our match and we endured unnecessary heartbreak due to their mistake of neglecting to tell us about our file being out in the first place.
Our home study update had just happened prior to this incident. We did not even get to see a draft of it before being asked to make the decision to share it with the potential birth family. When I finally got our own copy (that had already been viewed by the potential birth family), it was filled with errors. This was so frustrating after spending a huge chunk of money on an hour long interview.
What has upset me most recently, is a clerical error made. My brother-in-law and his wife (who now have four biological children) looked into the possibility of adoption a few years ago and attended a seminar with the agency we are currently with. Shortly after our home study update, they received OUR bill in the mail. They contacted the agency who apologized and said there was “someone with a similar name in their database.” The agency never let us know about this breach of our confidentiality. Thankfully, our family knows about our adoption wait, but had we been keeping this private, this could have been even more upsetting. I do not feel thrilled about my in-laws knowing exactly how much money we have spent to date on this process. I have been contemplating about whether or not I say anything to our agency, but once again fear that if I cause “trouble” it will impact the quality of services and support we receive from them down the road.
Ultimately, I feel powerless. Infertility makes me feel powerless and so does this adoption journey. This is such a challenging feeling for someone who craves feeling organized and in control.
I would be so curious to see what other’s think about our experiences thus far with our agency. With this anonymous blog, it feels safe to vent about our agency’s mistakes, but I know I need to be incredibly careful.