Last week I set out from Denver to head to Orlando for a conference about adoption laws and practices.
I got to stay in in a Doubletree Hotel Resort for a couple of days. The grounds were beautiful.
I was there to attend and speak at the Florida Adoption Council’s annual conference.
Shortly after arriving, I met Ashley Mitchell, who was there to present as a birth mom, and who is the force of nature behind Big Tough Girl (TM). (Ashley and I have known each other for awhile, but this was our first meeting. Of many, I hope.)
(Just to prove that I did wear clothes, here’s this.)
Adoption attorneys and social workers gathered around the theme of post-adoption support. The conference offered updates in adoption laws (adoption birth records are still sealed), as well as how to make adoption practices work better for the people who place a child, for the adoptive families that are formed, and for the children themselves.
Ashley spoke to the latter, as did a panel of adopted persons, as did I.
My workshop was titled “What Today’s Climate of Openness Means To You: Setting Up Your Clients for Long-term Success.”
I covered how, with the Internet and advances in DNA testing, adoption professionals must help their clients realize that nothing is really closed any more, and that they must prepare folks for not just contact, but true openness, for relationships. For mess and for clarity, for grief and for healing, for waning and waxing, for hard things and for rewarding things.
I covered my definition of openness, which is dealing with What Is. And my definition of closedness — not dealing with What Is, maybe not dealing at all. I shared the possible consequences of each approach.
The attendees were incredibly receptive to the message. Many said during later during lunch that they had been wanting a simple way to help their families embrace openness. They were happy to have a framework that will enable them to easily articulate to clients both the why and the how of cultivating openness in their relationships.
I’ll take all that over Disney any day.
- What you can do to head off an open adoption closure
- How to get closed clients to open up
- Why there should be no supplicants in an adoption arrangement
- All Adoption Advice posts