True Love: The feeling when you first look in your child's eyes, the tiny little hand gripping your finger, and you can't imagine your life without him or her.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Being Judged

We had our 2nd post-placement appointment with our new social worker today. The social worker that we worked with during the adoption process (who wrote up our 16-page dossier all about Matt's & my lives alone & together) retired shortly before we travelled to China. So, this new social worker only knows us by reading our dossier (at least I think she's read it) and our 2 visits with her (only 1 more to go- thank goodness!!).

She seems very nice, and might even be someone I would consider hanging out with, if the situation was different. Except.... 

That 1st visit went smoothly I thought. But then she either called or emailed me (sometimes both) at least once a day (usually more) for an entire 7 days after our appointment, with additional questions she'd forgotten to ask. I tried to take it all in stride- after all, she's writing a report about our family that will be sent back to the Chinese government. It wasn't until her very last call that I got totally ticked off. She was questioning why we had decided to put Milo into daycare, and why he was going full-time. I told her that I was in school, and although my schedule this semester (fall) was only part-time, I knew I would be full-time in the winter. I said I felt that consistency was a good thing- it had worked wonders with Xandra, and seemed to be working well with Milo. The daycare we found a couple years back for Xandra (& now Milo) is just incredible. The teachers are so loving & caring, and I never ever worry about either of the kiddos while they're there. Plus, I'm friends with most of the teachers & hang out with them "after-hours," so I know they will contact me in an instant if anything was ever wrong. In fact, I often get text messages filling me in on little tidbits about his day or some funny incident, or even (as I did yesterday) a picture of something he's done. 

I explained all this to her back in August. She continued to prod me, asking if there was any way that I could keep him home for even one extra day a week. I said I'd think about it, but I really felt that he was in good hands. Then she dropped the bomb: "Yes, most children who have been institutionalized do wonderfully in daycare. They love it there, because it's similar to what they've experienced before. So, I'm sure Milo is enjoying himself. Maybe by the next time we meet, you will have made other arrangements for him..."

One thing that becomes glaringly obvious throughout the adoption process, is that you are being judged. You as a person (values, morals, goals, education, job, friends, family, etc...), your family history, your relationship with your spouse (don't get me started on the questions we had to answer regarding our satisfaction with our "physical" love life...), your other children, the neighborhood you've chosen to live, ... every aspect of your life is judged. All of this information is first compiled by the social worker, who then writes a report & gives his/her opinion (judgement) about your abilities as a parent. Then this huge report is translated (hope & pray nothing gets lost in translation!) & sent off to China for them to judge. 

I'm not saying this is a bad thing- I'm sure all of these hoops that we have to jump through weeds out some people who should not be adopting. But it is tiring. It is upsetting. And once we got home with our son, we apparently were under the wrong impression that we were done with that aspect of the process. 

So, the social worker came again today. She was nice again & we had a decent conversation, answering her questions. She waited until the end to drop the bomb again. Once again, she questioned Milo being in daycare. She essentially repeated everything she'd said before, but this time Matt got to hear it, too (remember a couple months ago, she'd asked me about it during a phone call). I explained it all over again, all of our reasons, and our relationship with the daycare. It ended up that she had to leave pretty quickly after that because she had a sick child at home. 

I'm planning on (& am working on) writing a follow-up email to her. I understand her reasoning- I know that some children who have been adopted exhibit a fondness for essentially any adult in a caregiver position because they don't quite understand what a parent is. There are so many potential issues adopted kiddos can have. I learned about a lot of these as part of our adoption education requirements. But I also looked into it more on my own because I wanted to be as prepared as possible.

Thankfully, we've been blessed with a son who does not appear to have these issues. He knows Matt & I are his parents. We are the ones he turns to when he needs comforting. While he is happy to be in daycare, and actually gets upset on days we need to keep him home, he's also very happy to see us when we pick him up. I feel like this woman is really pushing a problem on us that just does not exist. Again, I know it's her job to weed out these things (of course, all parents want to portray their family in the best light possible, so it's understandable she needs to dig a little)... But we just do not have these problems with Milo.

It's hard enough being a parent and questioning all of your own decisions. It's even worse when someone else is telling you (or inferring) that your decisions are wrong, and you're not being the best possible parent you can be. It's one of the worst feelings in the world.


  1. Be thankful you are almost done and not falling under the new rules. I think we have to do twice as many post-placement reports now! I know you're almost done, but can you request a different SW? We switched our home study case worker. I was under the impression that the post placement reports were just to make sure the child was safe and well taken care of...period... Even w/o the "judging" seems like she is unorganized - that right there would be grounds for dismissal for me - if possible.

    Your little boy is ADORABLE by the way! I think you and I have emailed a little - we're bringing home a little girl w/o one of her hands. Glad everything is going so well for you guys!

    Take care and good luck with your next report!!! :)

  2. I literally gasped at a couple of the things she asked you! Awful! I'm so sorry you were scrutinized like that...totally above and beyond anything we got asked! My eye-rolling came when I read our last report, and the foods I had mentioned that Shu likes to eat (salmon, for instance) were not in the report--instead she had listed "traditional" (bland) types of food that China might expect babies to be eating. I knew she had just written what she thought they'd want to read. The next visit I'm kind of planning to say some really bizarre things and see if she actually reports accurately! ;) Anyway...grace, grace to you!


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