Many have been asking what my job as an Adoption Caseworker entails so I thought I would post a little information about what I do on a daily basis.
We advertise all over the country, so I work with birthmothers and adoptive families from all over. When a mom is considering creating an adoption plan and calls our agency I have the privilege of talking with her. On the first call I listen to her story and try to offer some hope. If she is certain this is what she desires for her unborn child, we create a plan. The plan entails what type of Adoptive Family she wants to parent her child (single, married, religion, race etc), how much openness she will want in the future with the family and child (visits, pictures, letters, no contact...), who she would want to be in the delivery room with her (alone, her friends/family, the adoptive family, me, etc). Once the plan is created we send profiles of Adoptive Families to the birthmom and I wait for her to decide who she will be choosing to parent this growing, unborn child. After the family has been selected I facilitate a conference call. It's an opportunity for the family and the birthmom to talk; most of the time the birthmom wants to proceed with the family after the call and sometimes she doesn't, sometimes she wants more profiles. I can't imagine picking a family to parent my unborn child just by seeing pictures and talking to them on the phone, but we see it every day. The birthmom spends the rest of her pregnancy getting to know the adoptive family and preparing for the emotional hurricane she will experience after her baby is born.
Every state has different laws as to when a birthmom can relinquish her rights and whether or not they are irrevocable. The signing of the relinquishments is one of the hardest parts of my job. I see women physically exhausted from birthing a child, emotionally ripped apart because they love their child enough to place it with another family. I see them give up their parental rights and then I see them say goodbye; good bye to the child they carried, the child they so desperately wanted to keep.
On the flipside, I see adoptive families that have struggled with infertility, miscarrages and one failed adoption after another. I see their hurt, anguish over wanting to be a parent. I see them leave the hospital having what they have hoped for and grieve for the mother who gave it to them.
It's a job that breaks my heart. It requires me to lean on the Lord daily and ask Him for understanding. It is so bittersweet to see a mom lose what she desires most and a family gain what they have yearned for.