Dealing with Social Services in your adoption

Working with social services is an important part of the adoption process. Gregory Keck, PhD Attachment Therapist & Adoption Expert, shares advice on how to best make use social services to help and assist with your adoption.
Dealing With Social Services In Your Adoption
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Dealing with Social Services in your adoption

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People who adopt children from the U.S. have to deal with a Children Services Agency, Social Service Agency, and in doing that they go through a process. Early on the process is usually quite comfortable and friendly because the agency has children they want to place. They identify families who are interested in having placements, they go through training, they identify a child, they determine the child is a good match with this family and they place them there. However, if the child takes a lot of baggage into this family, and most traumatized kids have a lot of baggage, the parent may become frustrated and not really getting what they expected. They may have known all of this information intellectually, but they maybe didn't understand the gravity of it in terms of a day-to-day living arrangement. So they often call the agency when they’re angry and frustrated, and rattle of a whole litany of things that this child has done. So now what was once a happy, receptive, hopeful, optimistic person is very frustrated and really struggling with the day-to-day things like fire setting, and peeing and pooping around the house, and stealing, and hoarding food, so they’re contacting their social worker saying, “You know, I didn't sign up for this. I didn't know that this kid would do this, this, this, and this.” And so the agency sees a very different person and if they don’t understand the dynamics of what happens when a traumatized child goes into a family they may start to blame the parent who’s calling in and get angry with the parent, and think that the parent is not accepting of the child. So my advice for the parents is, the same as with the kid, if you’re really angry don’t call your social worker and ventilate all this anger and give them all this anger with all these details about how you don’t know if you can do this, you didn't really sign up for this. Wait until things are more orderly, until you’re more calm, and approach the agency and tell them what’s going on. “There’s this difficulty, and this difficulty, and we’re wondering if we need a therapist or what services you can provide, or what can you do that will help us preserve this placement and strengthen the placement, and reduce some of the frustration and conflict that we’re having?”

Working with social services is an important part of the adoption process. Gregory Keck, PhD Attachment Therapist & Adoption Expert, shares advice on how to best make use social services to help and assist with your adoption.

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Gregory Keck, PhD

Founder & Director, Attachment & Bonding Center of Ohio

Gregory C. Keck, Ph.D., is the founder and director of the Attachment & Bonding Center of Ohio. He is an internationally known psychologist and trainer who addresses the issues of trauma, adoption, and post-adoption challenges. He and his staff provide attachment therapy for adoptive families whose children have experienced serious early childhood maltreatment prior to adoption. In 2012, he received the National Association of Social Workers State of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the parent of two sons who were adopted in adolescence.

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