Prospective Adoptive Families: Why Choose Friends in Adoption?
By Kate Kaufman Burns, MSW, LCSW, reposted from FIA newsletter, Introduction by Deirdre Graham, Community Outreach Manager.
As I reflect on the energizing LGBTQ Family Building Expo and look forward to our upcoming Get Acquainted Workshop, I keep coming back to this thought: For prospective adoptive families, Why Choose Friends in Adoption? For nearly 40 years, FIA remains one of the most unique child-placing agencies in the country. There is no denying that FIA is truly a distinct organization. If you’ve ever seen us presenting, attended at GAW, or had the pleasure of speaking with the team or visiting our offices you know that our organization is creative, individual, and above all- REAL. In the spirit of further unpacking what precisely makes FIA special, I thought there was no better way than to post the following article written by FIA’s Kate Kaufman Burns, MSW, LCSW.
Why FIA? By Kate Kaufman Burns, MSW, LCSW.
1. Specialists in domestic adoption
Many agencies do not specialize in any one kind of adoption placement program. Perhaps they have domestic, international, and foster care programs operating simultaneously. Since its inception in 1982, FIA has focused its time and energy on growing and sustaining its domestic infant adoption program. They are experts in understanding the emotional, social, psychological and legal aspects of domestic adoption prior to placement and across the lifecycle of adoption. FIA works with a team of professionals, including adoption attorneys and several Masters level Social Workers, who work together to ensure that the needs of all members of the adoption triad are consistently and carefully met throughout the entire adoption process.
2. Equal focus on the needs of pregnant individuals, birth parents and adoptive parents
There are many agencies who simply do not have the resources, skills, or experience to be able to meet the needs of the birth parents in ways equal to those of the adoptive parents. FIA prides itself on being able to provide ongoing counseling and support to prospective birth parents based on their unique, individual and collective needs. This support is available and ongoing from the point of introduction to the agency for as long as such support is needed.
3. Compassionate Care Center (CCC) and Lifelong Support
FIA stands apart from other agencies in that that they are available to care take an adoption from the point of match, to placement — and most importantly — for the years that follow. Their post adoption care center includes a vibrant and accessible network of professionals and agency staff members who specialize in understanding the intricate issues of adoption as they impact children, adolescents, and young adults growing up in a family touched by adoption. FIA’s CCC provides opportunities to connect adoptees and their families with the resources they need in order to form a secure and more fully integrated sense of self. Whether an adoption is open or closed, FIA has the resources and commitment necessary to ensure the health and wellness of all involved in a story of adoption well into the known and unknown chapters of the future.
4. Ambassadors for training and education
Understanding grief and loss, identity and integration, transcultural and transracial adoption, the legal aspects of adoption, post adoption contact, and talking with children, young adults, and the community at large about adoption are strengths of the team at FIA. Starting at the point of the “Get Acquainted Workshop”, continuing at the time of the home study or pre-adoptive counseling, branching out to support groups and counseling efforts focused on birth parents, and extending well beyond placement to the world of post adoption where there are ever-evolving questions for everyone involved, FIA makes the education and empowerment of all members of the adoption triad a priority.
5. A family for every child
There are some agencies who are committed to finding a child for every adoptive parent or couple they service. FIA has never looked at their mission through this lens; rather, their founder and director, Dawn Smith-Pliner, has always espoused the phrase, “A family for every child.” Finding forever families and sources of stability and joy for children in need of permanence has been the long-time goal of FIA. In addition, FIA will champion any State-qualified person or couple who has a heart open to providing this kind of home environment for a child in need. Where many agencies have exclusionary policies that limit what types of families are able to adopt based on religion, marital status, or sexual orientation, FIA does not place – and has never placed – such limits. A qualified, compassionate and experienced adoption agency is paramount to the success and wellness of those considering adoption and the professionals involved in the process. Most importantly, choosing the right agency is paramount to the well-being of the children involved. Finding the right adoption agency is the first step in ensuring that the legacy of love for a family and child is maximized and losses minimized. Finding an adoption agency who understands how to do this is critical. Choosing Friends in Adoption is the first step. Choosing Friends in Adoption is the right choice. ♥