Social work is fundamentally dependent on communication, and it is out of necessity, at least a two-way process. Social workers need to support people and to ensure that their behavior, words and tone remain supportive while clients, in order to have the healthiest experience, need to begin the journey by understanding the importance of healthy communication between a client and their adoption agency.
Communication is affected by our emotions, and because adoption is an emotionally charged process, reactive emotions can interfere with our ability to clearly communicate our needs, thoughts, words, and certainly it affects our ability to hear what is being said to us. However, if we become aware of these challenges and realize that stress, whether positive or negative, affects our ability to communicate, then we can develop a genuine understanding regarding the importance of developing a rapport with your social worker.
Communication is a reality when entering the world of adoption. You are required to communicate your feelings, thoughts and desires, even hopes and dreams. You need to be able to share with your significant other and family members and gage how they feel and even learn to compromise. You need to divulge deeply personal information and be open to learning new information and providing answers to questions that you may not even thought about before. You meet people called social workers or other adoption professionals and need to discuss and answer while being honest, and somehow feeling comfortable! It is a great deal to ask, at the same time if you stay focused on the process being in the best interest of a child, rather than an intrusive one, rather than one we “have to get through” rather than it being tied to regulations, you may begin to feel more comfortable. Keeping an open mind, being positive and flexible often allows communicating to become more natural.
Every personality is different. Some are more comfortable communicating verbally, others through written word and others via face-to-face interaction. Realizing that communication involves body and soul, Adoption STAR does its best to communicate information via individualized time, meetings as a couple, group work, telephone, sharing of articles and blog posts, and other electronic communication sources, Twitter, Facebook, including social media.
For social workers in demanding fields like ours, coupled with the need to problems solve and provide extensive information to clients is more doable when the keystone to our work is education and we realize that the information we are sharing is new. A social worker’s communication strength is active listening even with clients who may struggle to articulate their experiences.
Here are some ways clients can be assisted in their ability to communicate with their adoption agency:
- Realizing up front that their relationship with their adoption agency and staff must be one of complete candor.
- Realizing that they need to keep the agency informed of anything that may their ability to communicate or adopt, including, but not limited to: change in address, changes in physical, medical and/or emotional health or condition; becoming matched with an expectant parent or child via another agency or attorney, or becoming pregnant.
- Realizing that e-mail may not be the best way to communicate information that should otherwise be discussed.
At Adoption STAR we appreciate that both the decision to adopt and the process of adoption can be difficult for many individuals and families. The adoption process is very often filled with moments of hope, as well as moments of disappointment. Applicants who view the process as discouraging or have an overall negative view of the process are more likely to feel unhappy and unsuccessful in the program. Planning for the possibility that plans will change is a key element to keeping calm and stress free while going through the adoption process. Applicants who remain optimistic and view the adoption process as a journey filled with learning experiences are more apt to feeling happy and successful in the program.
Developing trust of the process and especially with those you have chosen to work with will no doubt make your journey more positive.
Below you will find additional links related to communication:
- Non Violent Communication Skills.
- How To Address Adoption with Grandparents.
- Communication with Waiting Families.
- We believe in the sharing of honest and helpful communication. We view our relationship with our clients as life-long, just like parenthood.
- Adoption and Social Media: Recommendation for Healthy Ongoing Communication.
Read More on What is Happening at Adoption STAR: Our Calendar of Events for 2013