There has been a comment that I have heard from several prospective adoptive parents over the last couple of years....interestingly enough, it is not uncommon for a "catch phrase" to trickle through adoptive families and prospective adoptive families so that I hear it repeated many, many times in the months to follow. I can't decide if it's meant, in all cases, to be a criticism of our program or not, but here it is "Family Life Services seems to be all about the birth parents".
Let me start by saying that FLS is not perfect, nor do we claim to be perfect. If you are looking for the perfect agency with perfect caseworkers, we fail miserably just as we have yet to find the "perfect birth parents" or the "perfect adoptive family". We can commit to is this - to do our best to work with each unique situation to bring together the needs of the birth family and adoptive family to do what's in the best interest of the child.
Our agency and adoption affiliates provide various opportunities for waiting adoptive families to be supported during the adoption process, in addition to our willingness to provide individual meetings or counseling at any time with families prior to or following an adoption. However, at a point of frustration, we hear the saying "you're all about the birth parents".
I began to ponder the phrase and what it meant for us. This could be said of FLS because we try to build good relationships with birth mothers and birth fathers prior to the child's birth to ensure that they are aware of all of their options and can make a personalized adoption plan that works for them; because we seek to be flexible, when possible, to meet the changing needs and intense emotions of birth parents who are making the decision to place a child - forever - with an adoptive family; or because we give birth parents all of the choices that they can possibly have within our state regulations and our agency's standards in order to allow them to control the pace and details of their adoption plan. A birth parent's choices don't always line up completely with a prospective adoptive couple's plans for a placement.
Here's what is often forgotten - it ALL starts with the birth parents. They chose life for the child, they must now decide how to provide the best future for the child possible through parenting or adoption, and they must make a host of difficult decisions in making the plan that they feel is best for the situation. If our agency's philosophy was different, our care, respect, and concern for birth parents would look very different. Family Life Services is an agency who finds families for babies, not finds babies for families. Think about that, would you really want it any other way?