Years ago, I watched a PBS program about new books and the authors. I can still remember that day so vividly. The weather was cloudy and I was bored with the basketball games running on the regular TV stations. It was a Saturday in the middle of January.
The author of the book They Came to Stay was Marjorie Margolis. The story was about how Ms. Margolis discovered that single parents were adopting children. Because of that discovery, she adopted two little girls, one from Korea and the other one from Vietnam. (The book is on Amazon for $580.00 – LOL)
WOW! I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but at 34 I felt that wasn’t going to happen because there was no “dad” candidate in my life. The question in my mind was “Would any adoption agency consider allowing me to adopt as a single person?”
I rushed out and bought the book. I read it in one sitting. Then, I read it again and again. I finally reached a point where I felt I could approach an adoption agency in Salt Lake City. Utah and see if they would approve me for adoption.
Children’s Service Society’s (CSS) adoption social worker told me it had not been done before, but she was willing to speak to me and we set up an appointment. I was so thrilled!
I’ve always known that I’m a bit different than the people I grew up with. I was thrilled even more when the social worker turned out to be an incredible black woman. She told me she was the first black adoption social worker in Utah and she was excited to help me become the first single adoptive parent in Utah. We were firsts together.
The home study procedure was a real learning curve. It was paperwork and more paperwork. I started the process in March and it was finally done and approved in May.
Locating a child became the next problem. My choice in a child was either a girl or a boy between the ages of five and ten in the United States. I preferred a five-year-old, but I wasn’t about to limit my choices since I didn’t have the funds to do an international adoption at that time.
I spent the next two and a half years dealing with three new adoption workers because my initial worker left the agency after we had been working together for about nine months (She found a better paying position, so I couldn’t cry, even though I wanted to.)
The new adoption workers were against a single parent. Talk about discrimination. One told me that the only child she would consider for me was one that was so handicapped, nobody else would adopt. WHAT??? As a single parent, I knew that wouldn’t work for me.
While with CSS, I had three home studies. The last social worker I worked with was absolutely against me adopting. What disturbed me later about her was that she was a single lesbian woman. I found that out a couple of years after I moved on to the State of Utah.
When I went to the State of Utah, I became the first single parent approved for adoption in the state. I do think if I hadn’t had those three approved home studies from CSS, they would have denied me.
Because I recognized that it would help me eventually find a child, I became a foster care parent. That was an experience that I realize now was a great learning experience.
When no children were coming my way through the services of the state, I decided to go international. After waiting four years, my daughter Kara finally arrived from India.
That’s when my adoption advocacy started to take root. Here I am now, an adoption social worker, a parent of a child with Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD), and an educator trying to get the word out about RAD.
Thank you for reading this post. If you would like to contact me, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
N. Ann Lamphere, MSW