Why Your Agency Harps on Post-Adoption Reporting Requirements

17
May

IMG_1057Post-adoption reporting requirements can be frustrating for families for several reasons. Post-adoption reports require planning and scheduling, have a cost involved, and can feel intrusive. The adoption process and the transition home can be overwhelming and stressful, you may not want to think about yet another thing to do. It can also feel intrusive to have a social worker in your home again to assess and report about your family. Families may even feel that their adoption process in the foreign country did not meet their expectations and decided that not completing the reports is a way to protest the process. While there are certainly reasons a family would want to avoid the completion of the reports, there are three very important reasons that families should complete the reports.

  • You promised the country you would complete the reports. When your family accepted your child’s referral and completed the adoption process, you promised to complete the reports and submit them to the country. Keeping this promise is one way to honor and respect your child’s birth country.
  • Your family deserves the additional support and resources. The social worker who visits your home post-adoption may be able to provide you with additional resources to support your transition. The social worker may also ease some of your concerns or stressors by normalizing the issues and behaviors your family may be experiencing.
  • Children without families are depending on you. Perhaps most importantly, is that children who are currently without families in your child’s country of origin are depending on you to timely submit the reports. Foreign governments often want to know how children are doing after their adoption and may use the reports to determine how to proceed with international adoption in the future. The U.S. Department of State has shared that when foreign governments do not receive the reports, they often think something bad may have happened to the child. This has led to the closure of adoption programs in several foreign countries.

MLJ’s Social Services Team does a number of things to best ensure that our families timely complete and submit reports. These efforts include the tracking of families post-adoption and sending reminders. It also involves the collection of fees for post-adoption reports upfront for in-state families as well as a post-adoption deposit, refundable upon the timely completion of a certain number of post-adoption reports. Unfortunately, we may also be required to report to a family’s state if they have not complied with reporting requirements. Failure to timely complete post-adoption reports can have a significantly negative impact on waiting children, so we must take these issues seriously to safeguard the rights of all children to have families. In addition, when MLJ acts as a primary provider on a case, we will need to report to the country, even when a family has decided not to submit the report, to let the country know about the status of the child if known to us or to share that the family has not been responsive. In our experience, it is a rare occurrence that a family decides not to comply with the post-adoption requirements. However, when this happens, it is necessary for us to submit our own report to the country, so that the country maintains a trusting relationship with us as an agency. Country’s often authorize agencies to work in their country, and submitting post-adoption reports is often a condition of continuing services. If you are frustrated with your agency for pushing you to get the reports done, please know that there are important reasons why an agency must make these requests.

We hope that all families see the value in post-adoption support and reporting, but even if you don’t, we hope that you understand why agencies must continue to send reminders and to do our best to ensure that the child’s country is satisfied that the post-adoption reporting requirements are being met, so that international adoption can continue and the children from that country have the opportunity for a family in the future.

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Nicole Skellenger works as MLJ Adoptions’ Chief Executive Officer and Adoption Attorney. Nicole has spent time in orphanages with children who have nothing and are desperate for affection and has committed herself to using her skills to create better futures for these deserving children.