Team Approach: International Adoption

teamworkWe talk a lot about teamwork at Adoption STAR. In blog posts that ran in late August, we told you about the four ingredients for a healthy adoption journey (which coincidentally represent the words in our agency’s STAR acronym – Support, Training, Advocacy and Resources).

You can find these blog posts here:

Adoption STAR Provides a “Team Approach” When Working with Adoptive Parents-Part 1

Adoption STAR Provides a “Team Approach” When Working with Adoptive Parents-Part 2

In this post, we want to give you a glimpse of the process and players involved when a family is working with Adoption STAR to pursue an international adoption.

Prospective adoptive parents registered to adopt internationally within Adoption STAR’s primary programs of Hungary or Bulgaria are assigned to work with our International Adoption Coordinator Megan Montgomery, a master’s level social worker. Meg will assist families with all that’s involved with international adoption, including preparation of the home study documents and dossier. She will also be the one to contact you with potential referrals and guide you through the travel and finalization process “in country” with the assistance of our “in-country” facilitators. Meg also assists New York and Florida-based families through the home study process when they are adopting from a country other than Hungary or Bulgaria, but have chose to work with Adoption STAR. Meg will communicate with a family’s primary provider agency as required/needed.

If a family hoping to adopt internationally is based out of Ohio, then our Ohio Program Director Angela Laman, MA, LSW will be assisting by coordinating services and supporting families who have chosen Adoption STAR as their primary provider agency. Much like Meg, Angela will also manage the home study process if an Ohio-based family is adopting from a country outside of Hungary and Bulgaria, but have chosen to work with Adoption STAR (and Angela too will communicate with a family’s primary provide agency as required/needed).

Both Megan Montgomery and Angela Laman are available in person or by phone to talk, listen, educate, support, provide resources, or help in some other way. As the International Adoption Coordinator, Meg does provide oversight to the Ohio program (from a distance), and although you will be only assigned to either Meg or Angela, you may occasionally have cause to hear and learn from the other.

Adoption STAR clients registered to adopt internationally also have access to a host of other Adoption STAR staff members (including a Client Support staff member, a social worker to write your home study and provide post placement supervision, and an Adoptive Parent Mentor and Coach, for example), but we wanted to focus on two additional “key players” for the purposes of this blog post.

Zack Fried, our client Relationship Manager, puts together the client files for our international families and often serves as people’s “introduction” to the agency. In addition, he provides Meg and/or Angela with your initial registration and new file, and is able to keep you informed of the progress on your file. When Meg and Angela are unavailable, Zack will be able to provide you with information and assistance. He will also take detailed messages for any staff member you wish to connect with. In addition to Zack’s professional adoption experience and as an adult adoptee, Zack is happy to answer questions and share information on the adoption journey.

Kathy Crissey, MS, LMHC, is our Director of Adoption. She has been affiliated with Adoption STAR for over a decade. As the Director of Adoption, she has overall responsibility for the management and administration of the agency’s adoption programs, including (but not limited to) our international adoption program. Interestingly enough, international adoption has always been near and dear to Kathy’s heart (both professionally and personally), as Kathy is the adoptive mother of four children from China. Kathy is happy to talk with families about the importance of helping internationally adopted children retain their heritage and develop a strong sense of pride in their culture of origin.

Teamwork is at the heart of everything we do here at Adoption STAR. We hope you have a better understanding of how this approach applies to families that are specifically interested in international adoption.