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Is the desire to search/re-connect interpreted as a failure on the part of "the system" or "adoptive family"?

I'm curious about this...Social workers who work in the field of child protective services are beginning to talk about how they "feel" when children come of age and desire to find the family the system tried to protect them from. They feel that this desire of the now grown child reflects a failure on their part (not necessarily a rejection by the child who they worked with). This feeling sometimes gets in the way of looking for biological family as placement options for a child in need. This feeling sometimes gets in the way of talking and preparing the child (and those caring for the child) for the vast numbers of children who continue to try to reconnect.

So, how does this "feel" for the foster parents or adoptive parents - especially when there was an involuntary termination of parental rights? Is it harder because of that?


Asked by Anonymous at 4:19 PM on Sep. 5, 2009 in Adoption

This question is closed.
Answers (33)
  • I think that as much as we all talk about the field of adoption needing reform, I believe even greater need exists in child protective services. Yes, protect the children first! But understand that even these children deserve to know their origins - help to prepare them, their foster and adoptive families, and the workers who stepped in to see that the desire to search is not a failure.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:12 AM on Sep. 7, 2009

  • umm yeah harder.

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:20 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • OP here: can you tell me more about that though?

    If the child has no cognative recall or memory of the abuse/neglect that caused the removal (similar to how domestic infanct adoption adoptees don't have cognative recall or memory), then doesn't it stand to reason that their desire to reconnect would be similar to that of an adoptee who was voluntarily relinquised? Meaning that despite the abuse/neglect, the need to know one's origins remains a deeply seated desire that should be supported?

    And if those adoptees are now adults and want to search, why should that be considered or felt as more of a failure than when adoptees who weren't involved with the child welfare system search?

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:24 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • i feel like they reconnect because who doesnt want to see their biological parent, its human nature to want to know where you came from, not failure on anyones part...besides maybe the parent who got their kid taken away, a child should have to reconnect, they should already connect.

    I cant say how it feels, I dont know. My fiance was in the system fromt he time he was 2 til 11. his mom died the year he went back at 11. His foster mom of 9 years never fought for adoption because she saw them as she was substituting his mother until she could get better. The foster mom and him are still close, he calls her i think that the connection they have means a lot.

    my cousin was adopted at 6 years old, she's a couple years younger than me., her mom was heavy in drugs and couldnt pull it together...she now talks to me and her aunts, her adoptive parents seem fine with it, after all we are her blood family.

    Answer by Dom123123 at 4:26 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • if you are whoever is truly a social worker and went to school they will leanr in school early on the desire to know your orgin is human nature

    Answer by Anonymous at 4:28 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • They feel that this desire of the now grown child reflects a failure on their part (not necessarily a rejection by the child who they worked with). This feeling sometimes gets in the way of looking for biological family as placement options for a child in need.

    The failure in my view is a system which routinely sanctioned closed adoptions and failed to understand that severing mothers and their children would have severe consequences. Social workers bought into the idea of closed adoptions just like so many of us did. Yet, there is a lot of solid evidence now that it is natural for children to seek their roots, and in many cases want to reconnect with birth family.

    Unfortunately, because many SWs still do not understand that searching is natural and normal, they discourage it. A search doesn't mean a SW picked the wrong family for a child. Nor does it mean the adoptive parents failed to parent well.

    Answer by Southernroots at 6:17 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • Adoptees search for many different reasons. Sometimes they search because they do not feel connected or that they fit in with their adoptive families. But, many adoptees who have families they are very connected to and comfortable with search (my son was in this category). Wanting to reconnect with birth family is an indictment on closed adoptions and a system that considered children as blank slates, not on bad matches by social workers or bad adoptive parents.

    Some agencies and SWs now understand that keeping children in contact with birth family or reconnecting them can be a positive experience, and I commend them. Social workers who still view reunions in a wholly negative light need to educate themselves. Otherwise, they will continue to perpetuate the mistakes of past decades.

    Answer by Southernroots at 6:23 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • Ummm....yeah. As a social worker I wouldn't not place with a biological family member - as long as that family member is willing to what is best for the child. That is what I "feel" professionally. I honestly do not know of any social workers who would "feel" otherwise. It is not up to us to put our personal thoughts/feelings into the situation. It is up to us to do what is professionally in the best interest of the child. I can say that in previous experiences I have suggested NO to placing with a biological family member because of huge safety concerns for the child or children involved. But you give social workers too much responsibility - we don't decide those things. A judge does.

    Answer by frogdawg at 7:53 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • I am speaking more about reunions from closed newborn adoptions or open adoptions, not adoptions from foster care when rights were terminated by the legal system. The situations are usually very different.

    As for social workers and reunions from closed adoptions, I know of some who enthusiastically support the concept of search and others who do not. One adoptive mom I know told me the agency social worker discouraged her daughter from searching. He was convinced her birth mom would not want reunion, but, he was dead wrong.

    Answer by Southernroots at 9:38 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

  • OP again - actually I am refering to adoptions through fostercare and subsequent desires of those adoptees to reunite.

    And often from the adoptees viewpoint - when it comes to desires to connect with bio family - there is no difference, except for having others incredulous that you would want to.

    I'm both a CPS social worker and a former youth in care. And social workers have huge responsibiliy and power in fact. Not recording an interested bio family, or not searching too hard based on personal biases does occur. The feeling that if "family" couldn't/wouldn't protect the child at one time is a very powerful deterant to considering the value and importance of bio family down the line.

    Thus the basis of the question.. Z

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:45 PM on Sep. 5, 2009

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this is for the ap from a birthmother.

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