Adjusting Our Focus: A Conference Presentation Summary

Adoption STAR staff member Meg Montgomery shares insight regarding their presentation at the 8th Biennial Adoption Initiative Conference in New York City. This is part two of a three part blog series.

a1Next we moved on into the bulk of our presentation. We began by talking about how agencies and families alike can get caught in a trap of their own “good intentions.”

Two current and notable “altruistic” factors leading families to consider International Adoption today and also influencing the work of the adoption professional is an increased awareness of the plight of orphans abroad and the recent Orphan Care Movement.

These altruistic motivators do not necessarily mean the prospective adoptive parent would not be a successful adoptive parent; however, somewhere within (ideally at the CORE of the motivation), there must be a desire/want to parent.

David Brodzinsky, a well-known psychologist with a focus on adoption and foster care, points out that one of the best indicators of a healthy parent-child relationship and stable placement in adoption is the development of realistic expectations on the part of the adoptive parents.

Simply put, if we have come to adoption with the primary motivating factor being altruistic in nature, we may be clouded by the excitement of doing this “good deed” and not fully see the journey that lay ahead.

This is one reason why the adoption professional needs to “stay mindful that the power to find families for children, NOT children for families, is a privilege.”

What does it mean to stay mindful? Yes, is it to be aware, but it’s more than that. It is to be aware of everything, and to not be influenced solely by emotion or judgment. It is be conscious of the facts involved in what’s happening so that one acts, not reacts.

Read about mindfulness and its importance.