Written by Rebekah McGee a New York Adoption Consultant with Adoptions from the Heart. She and her husband adopted an infant son from Ethiopia in 2012 after a 2.5 year adoption process. Their family then had two biological daughters in 2013 and 2017.
When I graduated from college as a social worker, I worked in elder abuse prevention and senior adult advocacy. It was during this season that my husband and I decided to adopt first to build our family. We ended up moving states during our adoption process, so we had to complete two full homestudies. Throughout our 2.5 year adoption process, we worked with many social workers and adoption consultants. I saw firsthand the impact of a motivated, compassionate social worker and also the importance of those who work with the birth parents. I returned to school to get my master’s degree in hopes to work with adoptive families and birth parents.
As an adoption consultant, I have had the honor of working with adoptive parents and birth parents. I believe that my experience as an adoptive mother has allowed me to empathize with those who are knee-deep in the paperwork process. When I work with expecting parents, I am able to reassure them that if they choose to make an adoption placement, the adoptive parents will 100% love their child as if he/she was born to them. I know this because I experience it in my life!
I am lucky enough to have the wisdom of people in my life who are birth parents and adoptees. I have received advice from those involved in all aspects of the adoption triad, in addition to the training that I have received. When I meet with expecting parents who are considering their options, I always try to understand where they are coming from and try to help them see the bigger picture of their life. I always ask if there was something that could change that would allow them to parent, what would it be? It could be something that can be done with simple changes or just an outsider identifying their support system. Sometimes there are too many factors that prohibit an expecting parent from being in the right timing and place for them to parent. As a social worker, I want to ensure that any limitations are explored so that the birth family is making the right choice for their child.
As an adoptive parent, I believe that I can offer empathy because I realize what great cost it is to make this decision. I am parenting a child at the great sacrifice of my child’s birth family. I have great admiration and respect for anyone who makes an adoption plan. After talking with a friend who made an adoption plan during her college years, I saw that over a decade later, she still thinks about how things were shaped by her social workers in the hospital. I want to be a social worker that positively helps a birth parents navigate this sensitive time. One of the benefits of working with a reputable agency such as Adoptions From The Heart is that the counselors are compassionate and ready to meet birth parents where they are. They are ready to help each expecting parent navigate the situation that is most respectful to the plan they have in mind.
When my husband and I left the orphanage with our son in 2012, we hoped we would return one day to adopt again (Ethiopia is now a closed country) but I believe that my desires to help children in need are being fulfilled in an even more rewarding way as I get to walk beside birth parents and adoptive parents in such an impactful time of their lives.