Adoption is complex. There are multiple parties and a wide range of emotions involved. So today we are shedding light on this perspective. One adoption professional is giving voice to what it's like to work in adoption...
When you work in adoption, you learn a lot about people. You see people (whether they're placing or adopting) at their worst and at their best, and you are often humbled by how far loving parents will go to give children a better life than they themselves even had. You learn that even people in the worst of circumstances can make the very best of choices, and that children's needs are best met when adult needs take second seat.
Working in adoption, you learn that money doesn't ensure good parenting, and that adoption is not a guarantee of a better life, only a different one. You learn that adoption is not the "right" decision for every parent who considers it, and that even if the parents consider adoption to have been the best choice, the adoptee may not see it that way, and that is their right, as well. When you work in adoption, you begin to see that none of your clients are anywhere you couldn't have been."Unplanned pregnancies and infertility can happen to anyone."
When you work in adoption you're told you shouldn't "take your work home with you" but the truth is that when you work in adoption, it's not "just a job" you can leave behind at 5 o'clock or on weekends. You hurt when your clients hurt. You celebrate their joys with them, and you bear their burdens, as well. You get tired of people who hear what you do for a living say "oh, what a great job, making people happy!" because you know that every adoption, for all its happy parts, is born of loss, but if you try to explain that to the average bystander, it makes them uncomfortable. Because nobody wants to think about grief being part of the adoption process, but when you work in adoption, it's really important to recognize this truth and to help prepare your clients for it, because whether someone is placing for adoption or being adopted, they are going to have to be able to deal with loss and you are going to have to help them through it, sooner or later.
Ultimately, working in adoption you learn that it's all about the children, even though they are the one party that rarely has any voice in the adoption process at the time that an adoption plan is being made. Adoption has to be child-centered, in order to happen the right way and for the right reasons, even if the precipitating factors (unplanned pregnancy, infertility, pregnancy loss) seem to have been primarily adult problems. For every adoption, you have to remember that some day, you may have to answer to each child for the choices that were made on his or her behalf, and that's what makes what you do so very important, every hour of every day. When you work in adoption, you can never forget this, because you carry that responsibility with you always, and that's what makes the work we do not just a job-- but rather, our mission in life.
This post was written by Elizabeth Jurenovich. Elizabeth serves as the Executive Director of Abrazo Adoption Associates in San Antonio, Texas.