Just when you think all the months of hard work, worry and uncertainty are finally done, as you gaze into the beautiful eyes of your newborn baby… there’s a knock at your door. It’s the adoption social caseworker, AGAIN. You are thinking to yourself…what more could she possible want from me? What questions could she possibly ask? She knows all there is to know!
Now begins your Post-Placement Supervision period. Post placement supervision services are provided by an adoption caseworker between the time that a child is placed in the home of the prospective adoptive parents, and the time that the child’s adoption is finalized in court. The caseworker will visit your home several times during this period, which will generally be somewhere between 6 and 12 months, depending on the legal requirements in your state. (Note: If the adoption is finalized in the state where the baby was born before the completion of the post placement supervision, the supervision must still be completed to meet the requirements of your state.)
Post placement supervision is an important part of the adoption process. The caseworker can help you understand your baby’s cues, and can help you find ways to enhance your baby’s adjustment. Your caseworker can provide support or advice if you or your baby encounter any adjustment issues after placement. The caseworker is not there to judge, but rather to help adoptive parents through this wonderful but challenging time. Caseworkers review with adoptive parents the concepts of attachment, bonding and entitlement. The caseworker can also assist you in linking up with the medical, educational, counseling and social services in your area, if needed.
The caseworker will prepare post placement supervision reports, which will be used by the court for the finalization of the adoption. The reports are also sent to the ICPC (Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children), if the baby was placed across state lines. In some states, the caseworker will prepare a written report to the court. This report includes a recommendation of whether the Petition to Adopt of the adoptive parents should be granted, thus allowing the child to be legally adopted.
Your caseworker will be your support and advocate in the months after your baby joins your family. So, when you get that knock on the door, welcome her in to your home and share your joys and concerns!
Jessica Sullivan, MSW, Virginia Assessments Manager