My distaste for the largest MN adoption agency’s post-adoption service program (or the lack thereof) has been mentioned here and here. So, how about we take a look at the other larger private adoption agencies here in Minnesota? (Well, at least their websites.) Perhaps they’re doing it better?
Bethany Christian Services: This national agency, which has locations in a number of states, talks about post-adoption on its Plymouth, MN office website. The site lays out a post-adoption philosophy (or something) at the top of the page:
“Adoption is an event that marks the beginning of a lifelong journey. Each person involved can benefit from specialized support and education, known as Post-Adoption Services, at different times throughout life.”
Kind of generic, don’t you think? If one digs a bit deeper into the website, s/he’ll see that there’s no mention of anything post-adoption related happening at the Plymouth, MN office. Also, the Plymouth office newsletter shows zilch in regards to post-adoption. And the staff section of the website lists a fairly long list of adoption social workers, but there doesn’t appear to be a designated post-adoption employee.
Verdict: A large adoption agency that, like CHSFS, says it offers post-adoption services even though it has nothing. Concerned? Contact Cindy Kruger, Bethany Christian Services, Executive Branch Director, Plymouth, MN: 763.553.0344, email@example.com.
Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LSS): I used to work at the adoption department of LSS. Although at one point it was considered the second largest adoption agency in Minnesota, it doesn’t place nearly the number of children as Children’s Home Society & Family Services (CHSFS). It has a very small staff.
Here’s what the website says about post-adoption:
“LSS offers a broad range of post adoption services for the birth family, the adoptive family, and adopted children and adults. This includes support to the adoptive family following placement and finalization, facilitating communication, correspondence and updates between birth parents and adoptive families, providing background information and search and reunion services. We also provide support groups and trainings, as well as referrals to outside resources.”
Come on! Seriously? This is filler language. The LSS version of supporting parents after placement is actually a part of the initial adoption process. (tricky, tricky…) LSS does minimal facilitation of communication between birth parents and domestic adoptive families. LSS doesn’t facilitate communication between birth parents and international adoptive families. Because of staff size, LSS provides a slow search and reunion service.
Verdict: Another large adoption agency in Minnesota, like CHSFS and Bethany, overstates its post-adoption service program with lofty language. Concerned? Contact Mark Peterson, LSS of Minnesota, President & CEO: 651.642.5990. (In case you’re in the mood to contact CHSFS, here’s the info: Maureen Warren, President & CEO, Children’s Home Society & Family Services: 651.255.2300; firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Oh, these adoption agencies! They talk-the-talk, but never walk-the-walk. Why don’t they just state the truth? Post-adoption services doesn’t bring in money for agencies, namely because agencies are not into innovation. They are businesses that rely on aged business models. Post-adoption services are the first areas agencies consider cutting during depressed economic times. And do you want to know something else? Agencies rely on adoptee and adoptive parent organizations to do the actual post-adoption service work. Haven’t you noticed that they try to put their names on programs, events, and camps done by other organizations? Genius, isn’t it?
Genius only if they’re not getting caught. More on this later…