National Adoption Month: Finding a Friendly Agency
November 11, 2009
“Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Family” is a series of conversations and blog posts celebrating National Adoption Month. This post in the series comes from Robyn Harrod, LCSW, Adoption Director of Southern California Foster Family and Adoption Agency: National Adoption Month is an exciting time for adoption professionals to educate, support and recruit prospective adoptive parents. There are numerous events that take place across the country celebrating adoption. For LGBT families considering adoption this is an excellent time to learn more about the process and to find an agency that is welcoming and supportive of your family. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="200" caption="Robyn Harrod, Adoption Director of SCFFAA and Diane Wagner, All Children – All Families National Advisory Council Member"][/caption] At Southern California Foster Family and Adoption Agency (SCFFAA), in Los Angeles, we are proud to be one of the first recipients of the All Children – All Families Seal of Recognition from the HRC Foundation for our work with LGBT families. Approximately 50% of our adoptive families are LGBT individuals or same-sex couples. Even in a city as liberal as Los Angeles we have found that many of the LGBT people who have contacted us are very hesitant when making that first phone call to an adoption agency. They don’t know how to find an LGBT friendly agency and are nervous when asking whether the agency accepts same-sex couples or single LGBT adults. We hear the relief in their voices when they find out we are welcoming and especially when they hear the statistics of our agency. Like everyone going through the adoption process, LGBT families want to feel welcomed and accepted, not just tolerated. It is very important for LGBT families to do their research and find an agency that they feel comfortable with and who will meet their needs. There are many ways to do this. The best way is to talk to other families who have gone through the process and get their feedback about the agencies that they have used. More and more LGBT people are forming their families through adoption and it is our understanding that these families are most often open to discussing their experiences with others. HRC has a list of agencies across the nation that are actively working with the LGBT population. Many LGBT friendly agencies participate in community events, such as Pride. When you are talking with an agency, ask them about the families they work with and their placement statistics. For example, at SCFFAA we have placed for adoption 98 children with 62 adoptive LGBT families. After you have found a few LGBT friendly agencies, we suggest attending several orientations to find the one that meets your specific needs. The adoption process is somewhat like riding a roller coaster and you want to make sure that you are with an agency that can support you during the the ride. Many of our LGBT families continue to be a part of SCFFAA even after they complete their adoption process. They become advocates for the agency; they become speakers at our orientations and supporters of our annual holiday party. We believe that the ongoing relationships with our LGBT families are due to the respect and encouragement that is given to them, starting with their first encounter with the agency. As many of you know, there are certain states that prohibit LGBT people from adopting. Right now we are working with a lesbian couple who moved to California specifically to adopt through the foster care system. As a lesbian couple they could not do that in the state where they were previously living. They found out about our agency through our website, came to our orientation and decided to proceed with our program. They are now matched with 12 month old twins. Although we are glad that we could assist them in forming their family, our hope is that all states will one day recognize the importance of allowing LGBT families the right to adopt. Until then, it’s important to know that there are hundreds of professionals who, like me, value you and want to help you build a family, and we can help you navigate your way on that journey.
May 17, 2013