By Stacey Levine, LMHC, Adoption Counselor -
Hello! My name is Stacey Levine and I have been in the adoption field as a social worker for almost 20 years. You might say I am obsessed with adoption. The whole thing...birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptees. There is something special in adoption and I am so happy to be a part of it all.
Through my years, I have formed many opinions about knowing if a case is THE case for you. When you get that call, the call you have been waiting and hoping for, there can be a myriad of emotions. Elation, relief, excitement and yes...even fear and trepidation. My absolute best advice is to take note of what your gut feeling is telling you. It will be your best guide. When you learn about the details of the case, circumstances of birth parents, their desires, background on birth families, drug and alcohol use and other facts, an initial response is important. I find that it is important to understand what this woman who is seeking to place her child has experienced in her life. For example, a birth mom who was diagnosed bipolar at age 16 after being victimized and abused, has never taken medication and with therapy has moved forward, may not be bipolar at all. It is important to look at family history and assess current situation. Although the decision is all yours to make, it may be important to run it by your social worker to help understand what exactly you are feeling about the case. If the case just doesn't feel right, it may not be the best option to accept just because it is "almost perfect" for you and you are ready NOW. This is a lifelong commitment and the beautiful baby you will bring into your world will be yours forever! We had a case where the chosen adoptive family did not work out after the baby tested positive for a drug the family was not comfortable with. The baby was full term, no withdrawals and discharged as a healthy newborn after 48 hours. We called other families who needed too much time to make a decision and then we called a single mom and told her the bare details of the case. She screamed and said "I am on my way." She did not know anything about the case, but later told me she knew this baby was hers. He is a thriving 8 year old today.
In summary, please know the right case will FEEL like the right case. Try to enjoy the process and enjoy your new addition when he or she arrives!
Stacey Levine, Adoption Counselor
19 years experience in the adoption field