Social Worker Agencies What was their reaction when you inquired about adoption?
Today I contacted the county DCFS office and inquired about classes and other requirements for becoming a certified foster family, as that is the first step in Illinois adoptions.

The worker asked me a few questions, one of which was, Do you know anyone that is adopted or has adopted?Ӕ I responded that I was an adoptee, and a birthmotherand I swear I could hear the disdain in her voice for the rest of the call.

I assumed (I know, bad thing to do) that things would be different. I figured that since I had œexperience with adoption, they would be a little more accepting.

She even went on to say that they donԒt usually allow people to foster or adopt if they have terminated their rights to a child in the past. She said, We only want serious adoptive parents. If we allow people that have terminated rights to a previous child, how do we know they wont do it again?Ӕ

I meancome on; she could have been having a bad dayŅbut GOOD LORD!

SoI donŒt know where we are. This is a major set back for us. Becoming licensed to foster is a requirement for Illinois.

Are all workers like this? Is this the norm? I am just floored

I could use some supportŅI am really down. I dont know what I am going to tell my husband when he gets home.
Maybe you got the wrong worker on the wrong day. Don't give up. Working with Social Services is not easy for anyone. You can also check with a private (nonprofit) agency that contracts with the state. You have a little more personalized attention from a social worker.
Thanks Peggy

Even if it was the wrong worker on the wrong day...I think thats a pretty stupid rule, if its even a rule.

Plus, she was just freakin rude.

O well, I will just wait and see....maybe call again next week.
"I assumed (I know, bad thing to do) that things would be different. I figured that since I had experienceӔ with adoption, they would be a little more accepting. " ~ brandy
I've always assumed the opposite... that if people knew I had relinquished a child, they would discriminate against me. Shortly after I placed my son, an ex-teacher recommended me to a friend of hers who was seeking a nanny. My initial meeting with this woman went wonderfully, and I am positive she was on the verge of offering me the job... until I happened to mention that I had a son the same age as her 3-month-old daughter, and that I had relinquished him for adoption. It was as if a mask slammed down over her face upon hearing this news... a mask of disdain and, yes, fear. The interview was over within five minutes, she showed me the door, and needless to say, I did not get that job (her loss, if you ask me Wink ).
It did not take me long to realize that people looked at me differently when I told them the truth about my birthmother status. I've been a preschool teacher for years now. I have no doubt that the parents of the children I teach would distrust me if they knew. I have no doubt that I wouldn't have been hired in the first place, if my employers knew.
My deepest fear has always been that if I told too many people, I would fall under the scrutiny of the State, and they would attempt to take away my younger child as well. This is also why I have never applied for any type of welfare, even though we've been so poor at times that we've had to choose between buying toilet paper or buying food. I have no doubt that if Child Protective Services was aware I'd placed my first child, they'd start sniffing around trying to take away my little one as well. Paranoid? Well, okay. Whatever. If bmom "privacy" laws are good for anything, it's this.
Nobody can force you to walk around with a scarlet letter on your forehead. Nobody needs to know, unless you choose to tell them. It is between you, your child, and the adoptive family. It is absolutely nobody else's business, including the adoption agency's or the state's. The next time you inquire about adopting a child, I wouldn't even tell you're a bmom. After all, the records are sealed. Legally, that child was never born to you. Officially, it never happened. If they're now going to turn around and hold it against you, then don't tell them. DON'T TELL THEM. It has no bearing on your ability to be a good parent. It is not relevant. It is not their business. There's no way they will ever find out, unless you tell them. So, don't.
Just my 2 cents.
~ Sharon
Thanks for your reply Sharon.

Actually, I think just the opposite as you do. I feel like every chance I get to talk about my adoption and subsequent placement is a chance to educate someone on the ups and downs of adoption.

I have never hid the fact that I am a birthmother. When someone asks me how many children I have, I tell him or her two, a son I parent, and a daughter I placed for adoption. I will admit, I have had the door slammed in my face once or twice, but generally, people seem draw in. They ask tons of questionsand in the end, I feel like that is one less person that will look at adoption like the stigmatic society that the general public thinks it is.

IŒve spent the last seven years being completely open and honest with everyone about my connection to the triad. I think its important. The only way peopleҒs opinions about adoption are going to change is with education.

Everyone has a varying opinion on adoption. I respect that, but I dont want someone judging me without knowing me. Since I made this post earlier today, I sat down and wrote the worker a letter. I doubt sheҒll care, or even read itbut I still wrote it. Maybe, sheŒll see the light, maybe she wont. At any rate, I am not in the closet when it comes to my birthmom status. I shouldnt have to be.
Brandy and Sharon, that's the most pathetic thing I've heard in a long time! :mad: I can't believe that you can be discrimated against for being a birthmother!!!! I'm VERY sorry to hear this. I really think the world would be a much better place if people would stop assuming things about a group of people and just know that everyone's story is different and it's life. Hugs to you both and I'm so sorry that this has happened to you.
Welcome to the world of DCFS! I hope you don't think I'm being flippant, but they act that badly toward everyone.

**If you don't have kids they get an attitude and say "then how do you know you really want and can handle children?".
**If you do have Biological children you're parenting then you're asked "how do you know you could love and treat adopted children the same?".
**If you already adopted children you're asked "did you tell the previous worker/birthfamily those kids wouldn't always be your only priority?"

Most DCFS workers are just rude. Maybe they're underpaid, or overworked, or influenced by supervisors who are rude. I don't know. But the answer you got was very, very typical.

Sometimes I feel like giving them some credit and I think they're nasty because they need to see how you respond to people who are nasty. Because people are nasty toward parents who adopt, too, like you say they're nasty toward people who placed a child.

Call them back, better prepared this time. It doesn't matter what that telephone person thinks, you want a packet of information and to be told when the next orientation session is. You want to attend that orientation and be trained and homestudied, just like any other potential adopter. It's the homestudy worker you'll have to worry about, but so far they seem to be the nicest of everyone at the DCFS office I've had to have contact with. You just have to run a guantlet of nasty people whose opinions don't matter to get to the nice ones.

Good luck!
I agree with you DianeS and think it is some plot they have to weed out the casual lookers and the serious... When we made our first call we were treated like looky-lous and told to call about three other places first....... It took several calls just to get the county info packet delivered and about three-months to get the Waiting Children newsletter sent to our home.
If you think you are treated badly because you tell them you have been a brithmother--try telling them IVF has just failed.... The sound of silence....Wow the silence can be defining..... In fact don't even bring up the fact you have given brith or ever even thought about it during the training classes..... and god forbid you have actually raised a child.... keep you experiences to yourself until it is time to do the Homestudy and work with your caseworker......
Brandy, I'm so sorry that happened to you. It seems to me that placing a child you can't care for is the most responsible thing to do. Obviously, your circumstances changed and now you can take care of a child.

The fact is you are a taxpayer and the worker works for you. If you continue to have problems, I suggest calling your state senator or representative -- especially one who is on the Health and Human Services Committee -- and ask for intervention. Keep your eyes peeled for relevant hearings too.

Good luck!
Thanks for the positive responses!

I called back today, got the same ladyand asked to speak with the director. The director got on the line and I explained what happenedŅShe was very apologetic and seemed genuine. She is sending me the information I need.

Also, she said that the worker would be talked to. She wanted to make sure it would never happen again.

Anyway, I got what I wantedlets just hope that everything from this point is smooth. (Yeah right)

Thanks again everyone Smile
Well, I had a nightmare trying to get to the "right" person. The first person I talked to was a DSS rep from a different county. She was fantastic----until she realized I didn't live in her area and her county doesn't allow them to work with non residents. She told me to call my area's DSS. When I finally got a human, I was told 1) that I had to understand I couldn't "just" do it for the money (at the time, I didn't even know about subsidies) 2) that if I wasn't a stay at home mother I wouldn't be welcomed in any of the (required) classes and I shouldn't be so picky (after all I wanted a child 2-18, of any race, medical or behavioral need, but preferrably preteen to teen). I complained, but really didn't get anywhere. Luckily, I called a private agency and got a great SW who was supportive and encouraging. Then, disaster struck just a month before everything would be finished, and the agency lost funding for my area. Since then, things have been sooo slow.

So, I don't just think its trying to weed out the uncommitted. I think its a combination of being underfunded, frustrated and frankly just not seeing potential adoptive families as a priority.
I thought I was alone.
While I am not a birth mother, I am the daughter and neice of adoptiees, and the birth sister to another. I have first hand learned that we don't have to be blood to be loved.
I called the first place and totally get the riot act too. I am an Early Childhood Education professional. I own and run my own preschool/daycare from my home. I understand children in a healthy manner. Oh, and I have three Biological children too! The lady wanted to know "What if they don't get along" I wanted to tell her my oldest two don't get along some days, and I can't send them back to anyone. She talked to me like I knew nothing. I have run state license paper work before, done background checks, had my home inspected, have to be ready on any day for the state to walk into my home looking for faults! I hav4e first hand experience with a long list of issues, shoot all three of mine have ADHD and we make it thru our days. She gave me the impression that I was bothering her from more important people. This is not something we do lightly. It is just new to us. Well place two was at least nicer, if not very imformative.
Its truly awful to hear that you've been treated like this. I'm a birth mom and I place my daughter with a woman who's also an adoptee and a bmom. Part of why I chose her and her partner to raise my child is because of the personal experience they've had with every side of adoption. I felt like they'll have unique insight into what our daughter will face in life, as well as what I'm going through. I can't possibly see why someone would discredit your ability to foster or adopt a child base on your experience instead of seeing it as an asset.
This is awful. My Mom is a birthmom to a girl who would be my half-sister (I've never met her though). She was going through a rough patch when she had my sister, but now she's a lawyer with two children.

Just because you couldn't raise one child doesn't mean your situation can't change, and you become able to handle another child.

Incidentally, my parents were kinship foster carers to two cousins when I was little. I don't know if my Mom mentioned that she was a bmom, but if so, it didn't affect their decision. And my parents kept with those kids long after many foster parents would have probably gotten them moved to another home. They went through hell with those kids, and only moved them when they realized the kids were a danger to me. (Unfortunately their initial concerns had been dismissed so that took longer than it should have. They trusted the 'experts', and unfortunately the experts turned out to be wrong.)
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