Almost everyone who participates in an adoption will have contact with a social worker. Social workers play an important role in all adoptions.
As most people know, a home study is the first step in an adoption for potential adoptive parents. Most, but not all, states require that a home study be completed by a social worker who has a Masters in Social Work (MSW). Most home studies are completed by social workers employed by an adoption agency. Adoption attorneys usually refer their clients to adoption agencies to complete their home study.
Social workers also play an important role in the matching process at the IAC. They facilitate the match meeting where discussion about everything from the hospital plan to the post adoption contact happen. Attorney adoptions may or may not involve a social worker in the matching process.
In both agency and attorney adoptive placements, once a baby is in an adoptive home a social worker does the post placement supervision that is required before finalization. Social workers also take the relinquishments from the birth parents, which permanently terminate their rights.
Perhaps the most important role that social workers play at the IAC is providing counseling to both birth and adoptive families. The IAC provides non-directive counseling for birthparents. This means that we do not push adoption. We help the potential birthparent to make the choice that is best for them. If they decide to make an adoption plan a social worker provides them with counseling throughout the process, and the IAC provides lifetime support to birthparents.
Adoption is often emotionally difficult for adoptive parents as well. At the IAC social workers provide both education and counseling for adoptive parents. This support is often helpful as families work through grief relating to infertility or sometime families need help with the anxiety that the adoption process can provoke.
As you can see, social workers play an important role in adoption, which is why the IAC has more than 20 social workers on staff. The IAC is committed to ensuring that that we provide all of the professional support that both birth and adoptive families need during the adoption process.