Thursday, February 4, 2010

Selling Open Adoption??

Monday evening in class my social work professor had myself and my two other classmates do a role play as a social worker in the field that we want to go into. Therefore I played a social worker who was working in an adoption agency. I envisioned myself being in an open adoption. here is how the role play situation went down....

Me: Hi my name is Amy. What brings you here today?
Idelle: Hi, my name is Idelle and I want to know about adoption.
Me: What have you heard about adoption? What are the good and bad things you have heard?
Idelle: I have not heard anything about adoption.
Me: Ok, since you have not heard anything about adoption, I will explain the three different types. Open, Semi-Open, and Closed.
Idelle: ok...
Me: Closed is when the child and birthparent have no idea who each other are. the child grows up not knowing anything about the birthparent. Semi-open is when the birth parent has limitations on contact with the child. Open adoption is probably the best option for all parties involved. The child, birth parent, and adoptive parents all have open contact from the get go.
Idelle: ok..
Me: Do you have any questions for me?
Idelle: no. I was just curious.
Me: Are you the one who is pregnant or are you inquiring for someone else?
Idelle: Not for me, but my daughter who is 25 and pregnant.
Me: Do you think your daughter would be open to coming in to talk with me?
Idelle: Probably not because of the situation of how she became pregnant.
Me: Ok, thanks for letting me know.

End of role play.

At this time my professor reflected on the role play. She asked me, "do you think you were trying to tell your client that Open Adoption is the BEST way for everyone?" "Do you think that you were 'selling' open adoption to your client?" I said, "i do not think i was selling open adoption. i envisioned myself sitting in an open adoption agency. therefore open adoption agencies advocate for open adoptions, but it is the choice of the birth parent of what level of openness she wants with her child." I also had red flags go up when the client told me that she was inquiring for her daughter who as 25, and yet the daughter didn't want to come in due to the way of how she became pregnant. I was thinking, "Why is the mother coming in?? What is the real reason of why the daughter is not coming in? Is the client not wanting her daughter to be a mom?" I know that all of these questions would come in later with answers.

Ever since my professor asked me if i was  "selling" open adoption, it got me thinking. Were all of us open adoption birthmothers sold to choose open adoption?? I personally do not think I was. I knew walking into the agency doors that the agency does open adoptions. I did my homework before entering the agency. So here are my questions that I need to ask about. "How does a social worker phrase things in a way that don't sound to be 'sold'? How does one learn to not pass judgement on a mother just coming into the office and inquiring about the different types of adoption?"

I know that I have a lot to learn. :)


  1. I think one thing you could do to make it so that you aren't "selling" open adoption is just to state what it means without saying, "It's the best option for all parties involved..." I think there's where you started "selling" it.

  2. Hmmmmmm, now I'm wondering if I was "sold" open adoption too. Charlie's amom was the one who explained open adoption to me and she did say she felt it was better for the child but I think I would have gone through adoption anyways.

    I do think that discussing the types of adoption without saying which you feel is best would be a way to present the different types of adoption without influencing the person on one type over another. However, if you are working for an open adoption agency then I would expect that social worker to prefer open adoption over the other types of adoption and think she should state that because if adoptive families and birth families are knowingly using an agency that specializes in open adoption then they may be wanting/expecting an open adoption and if the adoptive family or expectant mother didn't want an open adoption then they/she might not be at the right agency for them.

    Boy that was a long comment!! :)

  3. I think it's natural for us to want to recommend what we personally have experienced. I guess just presenting it by stating "You have several options and here's what they are..." That way you're not influencing their decision. Plus in your job you don't want people coming back to you and saying "You made me choose such and such and now I'm unhappy." With practice I'm sure you'll do just fine.


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