From Nursing Homes to Adoptions

Ann’s Graduation Picture – My Favorite Picture

I didn’t go through the graduation service because I had work to do with Social Work Consultation Services, (SWCS). I was visiting at least 2 nursing homes a day all over the State of Utah. I was driving hundreds of miles a week.

Crazy NH Patient

My job was to read files on new residents, visit with them and write up an assessment for the files with suggestions for care. I also reviewed the facility’s social worker’s notes and discussed any concerns the social worker had.

Sometimes I would have to spend the whole day at a facility helping them prepare for a state review visit.  Those days were usually tense and very stressful. That and all the driving eventually got to me.

My friend Janice received her social work degree from a college in San Antonia, Texas.  She was looking for work and I told her I was looking for another job. She applied and was hired by SWCS.

I was so happy to see that job in the rear view mirror. I had applied to Children’s Service Society (CSS) and was hired.  I now was doing what I really wanted to do: ADOPTIONS!


CSS was strictly doing infant adoptions at that time. My supervisor, Bonnie and I had been friends since we were in Social Work classes together. We got along really well.

One day, the director and I were talking about my daughter, Kara’s placing her first child through CSS’s services. She politely informed me Kara’s file was in a locked drawer in her office and I wasn’t allowed to view it.

I was a bit incensed by her comments. I had no thoughts what so ever of looking at that file, until she told me I wasn’t allowed to see it. I’m a person who taught ethics courses at Salt Lake Community College and I knew it was unethical for me to look at that file.

In the past most adoptions were closed. The State of Utah still considers all adoptions as closed. In the late 1990s, those traditions were were being rejected. Birth parents now pick the new parents and meet with them personally.

While I worked with CSS, Bonnie and I split up the clients evenly.  That worked just fine until I was given the file of a family I knew.  The wife was a director of a nursing home who I had had a run in over a patient’s request versus a family’s request.

Elderly care

The patient was dying. He wanted no extraordinary life saving measures where his wife and son wanted him to live at any cost. The director and I had words over this. She was on the family’s side and I was the patient’s advocate. The problem was solved when the patient quietly fell asleep and passed away peacefully.

Bonnie did the family’s home study. We held a meeting with our agency director and we approved the couple for adoption of an infant. That same day a birthmother showed up at the agency with a newborn baby she wanted to place.

We showed her several families” profiles, including the family we had just approved.  She chose them. They were very surprised, but almost broke their necks getting to the agency for their new baby.

Once all the craziness was over and Bonnie and I caught our breaths, Bonnie told me how she felt about the couple. She said she was really turned off by the mom’s attitudes towards her. The mom wanted special treatment and insisted she be the first on an imaginary list for the next available baby. Well, she got her wish.

Adoptions, by that time in the 90’s, were slowing down and birthmothers were the ones making decisions on which family would parent their infants. Some families waited up to 5 years to adopt a baby.

CSS was a great place to work. I learned a lot about what was required to complete an adoption, from home study to placement to finalization. I learned what was needed for court and for state licensure requirements.

The worst thing was that CSS couldn’t afford for me to work full time.  Therefore I had to find another source of income.  I read somewhere that Salt Lake Community College was hiring instructors for their Social Work program. 

Salt Lake Community Colleges

I applied and was accepted to teach 2 sections of the Intro to Social Work program. The school also had me teach one course on Intro to Psychology.

I loved teaching.  What can I say? The next year, I taught an intro to Social Work course, an ethics course and 2 courses on Developmental Psychology.

NH People

I really enjoyed the Developmental Psychology courses where I had the students interview either a grandparent or a senior citizen in a nursing home.  The results of those interviews were really eye-opening to those kids.

I was hoping to get on the fulltime, regular faculty at the college and was promised a spot. I gave my notice to CSS and prepared to teach fulltime. Mr. Murphy showed up.  You know the guy who says “if anything could go wrong, it will!” The Social Work program director was fired for bad behavior and the regents decided to cancel the program.

My situation was a little scary. What was I going to do? With an injection of funds from my uncle’s death that came at this critical moment, I decided to open my own adoption agency. That’s when Adopt an Angel, Inc. was born.

If you are a first time visitor to my blog, my name is Ann Lamphere, this is my story. I’m the adoptive parent of Kara Kay Lamphere Sansing.  I’m also an adoption social worker and have been the director of an adoption agency.

This is “My Adoption Life” story.  It is not the fairy tale life I wish I could be spinning.  This is my real life experiences with the darker side of living with a traumatized adopted child. These posts are my honest memories of what has turned out to be my life’s work.

Adoption agencies in Utah that I support:

Wasatch International Adoptions

Children’s Service Society

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Published by annla1441

Adoption Social Worker. Lived in Utah

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