Housing Birthmothers (cross posted)
Hopping over from the adoptees board to ask a question about another situation in my family!

Another family member is currently in the process of trying to adopt a second child (their first child, adopted at birth, is almost 3 years old). Their agency called them a couple weeks ago asking them to provide housing for a potential birthmother (my words--not the agencies, the assumption of course is that she will place) who needed to stay in their area. They agreed, but the agency hasn't been specific about what the expectations are. I'm wondering if others have had the experience of housing a potential birthmother & can share what their responsibilities and expectations were, and what the agency did.

I have some significant concerns about the agency & their expectations, and the lack of support my relatives are receiving from the caseworker. I would be interested in sharing more details about my concerns via private message, don't want to post any details publicly due to privacy issues.
They should only agree to this if it is something they would do for an expectant mother who WASN'T going to place their baby.
Is this a girl in LDS SS who is looking for a prospective family for her baby or is this a girl who is just needing a place to stay in a closed adoption? Just curious.

I know this is a pretty late response but I'm not on here much. Perhaps it is too late to answer but if it can help someone else...

My family has been housing potential birth mothers for six years now. Some have made adoption plans, some have chosen to parent. We stayed completely uninvolved in their decision-making process. We have shared our experience and feelings as adoptive parents when they asked. The reasons for staying in our home were varied. One wasn't telling anyone other than her parents and the birth father that she was pregnant and wanted to get out of her hometown before she showed. Another had an unhealthy relationship with her parents that was making it difficult for her to reach an independent decision. One had already placed and needed a place to stay until she got back on her feet financially. One needed to get away from an abusive boyfriend.

The expectations for a host family are pretty simple. They just need to provide a safe and comfortable living environment and food. If there are other things that a woman might need, such as transportation to doctor or counseling appointments, they should have talked to your family ahead of time. The family should be able to offer a listening ear with support but without advice. In our case, we felt comfortable making the woman as much a part of our family as she felt like it by inviting her to be a part of our family prayers, inviting her along when we went to do things, join us when we popped in a movie, etc. We did not expect her to be a live-in babysitter, clean more than her bedroom and bathroom, or be involved with us more than she wanted to be.

In my years of offering this service, I have found that the agency in my area has changed tremendously in their policies and procedures for host homes. It's no longer, "Can you do this?" and dropping her off. Now, they call to tell me about the woman and her situation, such as how old she is, how long we can expect her to live with us, whether or not she has her own car, etc. If it sounds like something we are willing to do, we then meet with her in person, have a chat and get to know one another a little. We are then asked privately if we are willing to move forward as hosts and, I assume, she is asked if she would feel comfortable living with us. Then we meet again and the caseworkers do most of the talking. They go over a sheet of rules and expectations for both parties. Our agency also now has a liaison specifically for host families. If there is a problem or concern, we contact her. She also will visit our home regularly to talk about the situation - get updates, ask questions, find out if everyone is still okay with the situation.

Although it hasn't been without bumps in the road, housing expectant mothers has been a good experience for our family, and is one of the ways in which we feel we give back to adoption (whether or not they place). I would be interested to hear more about your family's situation by PM.
Unfortunately, in this situation it was basically the "Can you do this" & dropping off approach. They did give the family basic information, but much of it ended up being completely incorrect. The family was given no guidance as to what their expectations were, they were told to just set whatever rules they felt were needed. The few rules they did set were basically ignored. This girl continued to see her abusive boyfriend (who had threatened to kill her)--not only that but he now knows where they live (this man is a known gang member & drug dealer), she snuck out of the house, she skipped doctor appointments, they suspect she may have brought drugs into their house, and when they finally got her to move out (with very little assistance from the caseworker, even after they reported they problems) she came back to get the rest of her stuff, left the window unlocked, & snuck in later to steal a large amount of cash.

I'm sure not all situations are like this, but frankly these relatives were lied to, the agency was completely unsupportive, and they would never consider doing something like this again.
Yikes! I wouldn't do it again after an experience like that, either. Hopefully your family has been direct with the agency about the experience and how her behavior and actions affected them so that it can make some serious changes in how it handles these situations moving forward.
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