I came to the Adoption Network because I wanted to know more about the adoption and home study process, and to gain knowledge that would benefit my future career goals. I am truly humbled and amazed by what I have learned. My main takeaway from attending the Adoption 101 and 201 trainings is the amount of time, commitment and patience a person or a couple must endure to fulfill their dream of having a child. This part of life comes so easy for so many people that it can be easy to overlook the heartache and issues that many families experience in trying to have a family of their own. On the flip side, it was just as heartbreaking to hear these families express such a dire interest in only infant adoption when I am aware of the large number of adolescents and teens that are available for adoption today. Many families are willing to spend years of their time and excessive amounts of money on an infant adoption when an older child is in need of a permanent family. I understand the lure and the need for a family to want to start from the very beginning with an infant, maybe they feel the bond and connection will be stronger and more “real,” but I do hope we can continue to promote foster care and fostering to adopt as a viable option.
While I came into the Scholar’s program excited to learn more about the adoption process and how I could be a part of helping families achieve their dream, I realized that I often forgot about the other side of adoption. I was so focused on my plans for learning about adoption, working with families on their home study, and the matching process, that I rarely gave a thought about how it also meant that an infant or child was separated from or relinquished for adoption by their biological family. Regardless of the reason or the circumstances, there will always be a child who is losing one family while they are gaining another. I never thought deeply about the effect that this has on the child, regardless if they knew about their adoption or not and whether they were raised by the most perfect and loving parents in the world. Attending Adoption Network’s general discussion meetings caused a major shift in my mindset and the way I think about adoption. I listened and heard the struggles, the heartache, and the emotions from people who were adopted and how this has affected their entire life. Especially those who had to endure the years of searching for their birthparents, being accepted or denied by their birthparents, and even how their adoptive parents and siblings reacted to them choosing to have a relationship with their biological family. I loved attending the Cleveland Heights meetings and I will continue to attend these meetings. I feel these meetings will be beneficial to my career, as they will keep me grounded in real life, and allow me a direct connection to adoptees and adoptive parents. It can be easy to go through the motions of a job, do the visits, fill out the paperwork, meet productivity etc., but those meetings continued to remind me of why I want to be a part of the adoption world.
I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to participate in the Scholar’s program and I hope that I can continue to work with the Adoption Network in the future. I was fascinated to learn about the search process for locating birthparents and working with adoptees, so I would say this is an area I could see myself working in or volunteering in the future. I look forward to finding my niche in the field of foster care and adoption. Thank you again!
Christine Sourek is an undergraduate at Cleveland State University.