Last November, I went to Korea and searched for my Korean family with the G.O.A’L. First Trip Home program. Before I left, I had my chain jerked a few times by my American adoption agency, Children’s Home Society and Family Services (CHSFS) and my Korean agency Eastern Social Welfare Society regarding my Korean family search. You can listen to the podcast about the situation here >>
Now, that I’ve taken time to process the whole experience, I have this message to CHSFS.
Dear Children’s Home Society and Family Services,
My brief engagement with your post-adoption services in November 2011 was one of the most frustrating and disappointing experiences in my adoption experience to-date. I really wanted my belief that adoption agency policies and procedures were not adoptee-centered to be dispelled via my contact with your post-adoption services department. However, that belief was only confirmed by the communication that transpired between the post-adoption social worker and myself. To be clear, the messages I received were not malicious or hostile, but they were subtly dismissive, confusing, and frustrating at a time when I felt very vulnerable. I do not believe that CHSFS was deliberately trying to create a negative environment or punish me as an individual. But, as a person who has seen adoptee-centered support in action, I can only conclude the following:
CHSFS has not taken advantage of the vast adoptee/adoption support resources in their own backyard. Minnesota is the land of a gazillion adoptees and the land of several non-agency adoption focused organizations who have developed and provide adoptee-centered services. Perhaps you have heard of AdoptSource, AK Connection, Adoptees Have Answers, etc.? That you have not partnered with any of your neighbor organizations suggests to me that you do not recognize the quality of work that is being performed right next door.
CHSFS has not listened to its growing population of adult adoptees about their experiences and needs. If adoptee experiences and feedback were taken into account by CHSFS and incorporated into practices and policies, I would be not writing this letter. And, adoptees who come to you for services you purport to provide would not feel disempowered, frustrated, hopeless, or angry.
CHSFS doesn’t really want to help adult adoptees. Your agency has access a plethora of adult adoptee adoption professionals, adoption researchers, and adoption-focused organizations that could make your agency a leader among agencies and, yet, you remain in the status quo.
Please, please, please prove my conclusions to be wrong. I don’t want to just dish out criticism, this isn’t just venting – I want to be proven wrong. I want the experience of the next adoptee who contacts CHSFS for services to negate the awful experience I had. The only thing I want to conclude about your agency in the future is that you “get it” and that your are putting your knowledge into action through partnerships, policies, and practices.