In today’s blog post, we look at the importance of Adoption Education. Adoption STAR’s Home Study Classes offer Prospective Adoptive Parents the tools and resources to make informed decisions as they consider who they feel confident parenting.
In her acclaimed adoption blog, author Carrie Goldman addresses a commonly asked question in her article, Aren’t You Worried That Birthmother Is Smoking During Pregnancy?
Goldman states, “There is no recipe for a perfect child.” She remembers her adoption journey ten years ago, and she reflects on how she handled the fears of whether or not the children she adopted would be healthy or not, “… if I am uncomfortable adopting a baby whose mother smokes cigarettes and drinks caffeine throughout her pregnancy, then maybe I should not be adopting.”
Adoption STAR is known for its incredible adoption education program. Founded by an educator, Adoption STAR specializes in providing pre and post adoption educational opportunities. Additionally, as a Hague Accredited Provider, Adoption STAR’s education program will more than fulfill international adoption requirements. Those exploring a domestic adoption will fall in love with the educational opportunities provided for them as well. To download the Educational Activities Chart click here.
One very important class entitled Child Interest ~ Considering Child Referrals addresses what a prospective adoptive parent needs to know before they accept an adoption referral. The class will address, the types of questions one should you ask when they hear about a birth mother or a child in need of adoption. This class educates attendees on what an Apgar score means and what might place a baby at-risk for developing special needs. The class also explores alcohol and substance abuse, mental illness in the birth family, as well as other possible genetic issues that may be passed down by the birth family.
The class also focuses on how to complete the Child Interest Grid. The grid allows the adoption social workers to determine whether or not a client should be considered (and profiled) for a possible match with an expectant parent and child. The grid covers risk factors in the birth family as well as risk factors based on the information related to the child’s birth. Adoption STAR recommends to its prospective adoptive parents to review the grid with a pediatrician and to conduct their own research as well as to explore their own personal feelings about all of the topics on the grid. The grid can easily overwhelm a prospective parent and this is why the Child Interest class, additional research and connecting with a pediatrician is essential. Connecting with experienced adoptive parents who have completed a similar grid may also be beneficial.
When clients circle a Y (Yes) on the grid, it informs the agency staff that they have done their research and feel comfortable and confident that they would be open to hearing about situations with that particular risk factor. It does NOT mean that they will be committed to adopting a particular child or and it does NOT mean that they are saying Yes to being considered just because they circled Yes. It only reflects the fact that they are open to being considered and profiled.
If a client circles an M (Maybe) on the grid, then they will NOT be considered first for such situations. A Maybe tells the staff that they are unsure whether or not they are comfortable with the risk factor (or that they have not done the home work necessary to completely understand the risk factor.) Clients who circled Yes will be considered first. If the Agency has explored all the clients who circled Yes and feels there needs to be additional families considered for a particular situation, that is when clients who circled Maybe will be contacted.
Clients who circle a risk factor with N (No) will NOT be considered or contacted for a case that includes such a risk factor. Sometimes when several risk factors are involved in one situation, and most of them include a Yes and/or Maybe, there could be times when one of those risk factors includes a No response and in that case the social worker may contact the client to further discuss and explore.
The grid is not a legal document, but rather a tool to assist the clients to better determine what they are most comfortable with. It also allows the Agency to better understand what the client is comfortable with and what prospective adoption situations are most appropriate. The Agency does not find children for families, but rather families for children. In order to work in the best interest of all children, the Agency must identify families that can provide a loving and stable home and be ready to handle whatever risk factors are involved with a child.
Granted, clients who have more Y’s often hear about more situations, one must be careful to be true to themselves and the agency regarding the home work they conducted, what types of situations they feel they can handle as parenthood is a forever commitment. Even if a child is not born with any known risk factors it does not guarantee that the child will be healthy. As this article suggests, there is no such thing as a perfect child via adoption or birth. And medical perfection aside, no matter the genetic or environmental risk factors involved with your child, we do believe that you will always consider your child “perfect!”
This grid, is taken into consideration with two other grids, all used as tools to determine what families may be in the best interest of a child. These grids are known as the Post Adoption Contact Grid and The Child Identity Grid that deals with topics such as age and race. What is important to also consider is the preferences of the expectant parents. A client’s grids may appear as a potential match for a particular child or any number of potential situations, but the grids are not considered alone but rather alongside the preferences of the child’s birth family and they may have very specific requests related to the personality, qualities, age, race, religion, etc. of an adoptive family.
Adoption social workers will routinely challenge clients to revisit their grids if they feel they are not realistic or if it is obvious that what they are open to in certain areas contradicts what they are closed to in other situations or vice versa. Prospective adoptive parents may revise their grids at any time.
Visit our Calendar of Events to find out when and where the next series of Home Study Classes will be.
Read More about Adoption Education: Obtaining Educational Credits, Adoptive Parent Adoption Education (Home Study Classes), Agency Assisted Private Adoption, Podcast Series, Heart of the Matter Seminars, Adoption Laws in your state
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