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July 06, 2006

The Importance of Post Placements...

Most prospective adoptive parents are overwhelmed at the invasion of pricacy for their adoption. But as we progress through the process, we often have a change of heart. As a parent of a child from Guatemala, I am naturally concerned with the adoptions staying open NOT for other families but for the other CHILDREN. It is our obligation as a virtual community to make sure that Guatemalan officials feel comfortable with WHO is adopting their children.

Kazakhstan has recently started pressing for post placement reports extending to the AGE OF 18!!!! My first response was "You have GOT to be joking!!!!" But then my friend who adopted her daughter from Kazakhstan clarified...the first 3 years require a social worker, but the rest only require filling out a form or questionaire and mailing it with pictures. But will enough parents comply to satisfy the government and will those who feel its intrusive think twice if the country closes adoptions because of lack of participation?

Many of the agencies are now requiring post placements for the Guatemalan program even though it is not a *country* requirement.....YET. But would OUR community reject the idea of filling out a yearly form and sending pictures in order to keep adoptions open? Is it an intrusion or a chance for us to brag about our children?

Each year, Guatadopt.com puts out a calendar. Last year, the calendar contained over 200 photos of children. With the help of several individuals, we send a bunch of these calendars down to Guatemala to distribute to social workers, PGN, the Court of Minors, etc. We've also voluntarily asked for biographies with photos for the same reason...to show off our children. The response has been wonderful. In this day and age, there are still those who are genuinely surprised to see the smilies of our children. Of course it makes sense!!!! If you can imagine a family member going to school in another country and every few months getting an email from the school saying all is well....then compare that to the family member sending you a photo and a personal email. Well, you get the idea.

If you are considering an agency that is requiring post placements vs. one who does not (keep in mind that some states require post placements regardless)....I hope that you rethink WHY this may be an agency requirement.

I hope everyone will reconsider the importance of post placements and why continued contact with our child's birth country may help to keep options open for other children in the future!!

Posted by Kelly at July 6, 2006 10:20 AM
Comments

Our agency includes postplacements at 6 months, 12 months and 2 years out. I know it is not yet a requirement but I welcome this. When I first learned about this, I thought it reflected well on our agency. I would not be opposed at all to more postplacements, as I agree, that the more information provided back to the birth country, the more confident they will feel about international adoptions. It also gives the birth mother a chance to learn more about the welfare of their child, should she decide to seek this information out.

Posted by: Lilian at July 6, 2006 12:08 PM

I would love for Guatemala to start requiring a few post-placement reports especially if it would ease any of the tensions there over whether international adoption is a good or bad thing. We have a daughter whom we adopted in China and now that our 3 post-placements are all complete, we miss seeing our social worker! I still want everyone involved to know how well our daughter is doing. I would love to "brag" about our new baby girl who is waiting in Guatemala once she is home with us too.

I think the Guatemalan government would be happier about international adoption if they could see the wonderful lives "their" children have with their forever families.

Thanks for posting on this issue!!

Lis

Posted by: Lis at July 6, 2006 03:49 PM

Why is there such inconsistency in what agencies require for post-placements? I could understand minor differences, but the disparity from agency to agency is huge.
Its difficult to find agnecies that publish their post-placement requirements online. But most I have found ask for a SW (social worker) report at 6 and 12 months. One agency has posted on their website a requirement of monthly parental reports for 1 year, then quarterly parental reports during years 2 and 3, in addition to SW reports at 6 wks, 4 months, 10 months, 22 months, and 34 months. According to Kelly's post, some agencies don't require PP reports at all!
Compare this to the (government imposed) post-placement requirements for China: SW reports at 6 and 12 months. Or the (government imposed) post-placement requirements for Russia: SW reports at 6, 12, 24, & 36 months.
In my opinion, there is a limit beyond which the requirements are unreasonable. YES, we want adoptions to continue and as a community are willing to put forward great efforts to help ensure the continued placement of orphans with loving families. But I personally wonder when showing off our child turns into violating the child's privacy.
I believe a line is crossed when an agency requires more PP reports for a Guatemala adoption than for a Russia or China adoption, which are more on par with Guatemala in terms of the number of children being adopted than Kazakhstan.
It would, however, be much better if the Joint Council could establish a post-placement reporting standard that member agencies would use. There is simply too much inconsistency.

Posted by: jayjay at July 6, 2006 04:41 PM

I direct an agency which works in Guatemala and have been involved in adoption as a professional and an adoptive parent for 34 years. When I began my agency I made it a policy to require post placement assistance for every adoption whether it was required by the country or not. This only makes good social service sense as well as it shows the placing country our responsibility to the children and families we work with well passs the placement time. We have open relationships with all families and an open door policy to help each family throughout their life with adoption issues or just plain family growth issues. Healthy adoptive families are our goal and I feel that many of our families find that comfortable.

I just want to remind all my friends at guatadopt that hard part of adoption might feel right now the terrible wait for your child to come home, but the real work begins, not ends whn they arrive in your arms....... Enjoy ... Our prayers are with the children and families as they wait for PGN to do their job and free these children to their new life and family.

Posted by: Sandi at July 6, 2006 10:47 PM

Lilian-
Unfortunately, Guatemala does not see these post placement reports...only your agency does. My agency told me that at this time, Guatemala has no post placement requirements because they lack the man power and ability to process and review the information provided. They simply have no system set up to organize and store the records properly, so they do not even see the information we send in, which is a total shame in my opinion. I, too, have had no problems with sharing information and pictures on my post placement reports. I welcome any chance I get to brag about my beautiful daughter and show off pictures of her gorgeous little face. My agency requires one report each month for the first year and quarterly reports for the second and third years. I think it would be wonderful if Guatemala could see how healthy and happy these children are and what a good thing international adoption can be. I get so angry when I read stories of obvious rumors being spread about how these children are being sold, abused, killed, etc. I have to remind myself that they have no evidence to the contrary, though, so it's hard to blame the people of Guatemala for their views of Americans. I think it would help if they could see how their children are growing up and benefiting from the loving homes and families they have become a part of.

Posted by: Monica...Anna's mom at July 7, 2006 09:07 AM

Our agency requires post-placement reports for domestic and Guatemalan adoptions. For domestic, the first year the child is home, parents are required to fill out monthly reports until 6months, then a one year report, then yearly til 18yrs old. We are also required to send four photos of the child. I have always welcomed these reports. First they are a record of our child's year's growth. I copied them and saved them for our child's scrapbooks. Second, I have always been happy to share this info with our child's birth mother. Whether or not she asks the agency for the reports is her choice. I was disappointed to learn after many years, that she has never asked to see them. Yet I believe she has made the choice to move on with her life and trust her initial decision when she chose us from our file to be her child's family. For their Guatemala program, they require monthly reports the first six months home and one at the end of the first year. The board of directors of the orphanage in Guatemala where our children came from require these reports. I am honestly surprised at any agency which would not require post placement reports. To me, this is not following through to be certain the children they placed are happy and thriving. I can't imagine being offended that they would ask for such reports. Finding good, safe homes for these children is their responsibility, not finding children for families. I think there is a very important difference there and have always appreciated our agency's philosophy which states that difference.

Posted by: Nancy at July 8, 2006 04:13 PM

If I thought that the post placement reports would be beneficial to the adoption process in Guatemala or to the adoptive parents, I would be more supportive.

I do not understand why an agency requires post placement reports for Guatemala. What does the agency do with them?

I was very disappointed with our agency during my son's adoption process. Because we were contractually obligated, we have to do post placement with the agency (and of course pay an additional fee).

For our particular experience, I do not see the benefit.

My agency also requires that one of these visits takes place at their place of business. This requires a two-hour drive (one way) with a toddler that hates the car. (My agency is unwilling to work with me on this requirement). Based on the comments above, are most post placement requirements merely a completion of a report by the adoptive parents?

I am a little confused (as usual).

Posted by: Coleen at July 21, 2006 05:43 PM

Colleen,

Think of it this way. Guatemala, or any other sending country, is allowing children to leave their country. Try to forget that we are the "rich, civilized" USA and relaize that there are many child predators in our world. Post placements are one way for the sending country to have confidence that the adoption is in fact in the child's best interest. While they may seem a hindrance to all of us good parents out there, they are a protection against those who are not.

It does seem ridiculous though for them not to take place in your home.

Kevin
Guatadopt.com

Posted by: Kevin at July 21, 2006 10:50 PM

Post placements are wonderful way to document your child's progress as a young person. When you look at someone on a daily basis, you don't always see how s/he is growing and developing, the new skills s/he has mastered and the many ways you have made those developments possible.

I am looking forward to our post-placement reports because it will give me an opportunity to reflect on the positive changes we see in our family and in our daughter.

Posted by: Lisa at July 26, 2006 12:57 PM
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