As a person who has worked in the adoption field since 1987 and the last 20 years at JFCS, I wanted to correct some misinformation in a recent article about the adoption program at JFCS (“JFCS closes Family Hope as longtime director retires,” Feb. 16).
Adoption services include services to women who are experiencing an unintended pregnancy, adults who want to adopt and infants, children and teens who are in need of parents. Birth parent services may culminate with an adoptive placement.
At JFCS we worked with 20-plus birth parents during the past 10 years, which resulted in five infant placements. These birth parents were all from Pennsylvania. Every state has its own adoption laws, with Pennsylvania being one of the more conservative. For families who want to adopt, Pennsylvania involves a lengthier period of legal risk. In other states, due in part to different adoption laws and demographics, there may be more birth parents making adoption plans. The majority of families coming to JFCS-Family Hope wanted to adopt in states with less legal risk.
As a result, Family Hope helped families locate and work with agencies in other states, where they were more likely to obtain an adoptive placement with less legal risk. Over the last 10 years, JFCS-Family Hope was involved with 80 families who had adoptive placements. Family Hope provided training, home studies, coordination of placements and post-placement services until the adoptions were finalized in all of the 80 placements.
Over 20 years ago, families came to JFCS to request adoption services, as they felt they weren’t being well served by other adoption agencies. As recently as the past month I’ve met with three families who were turned down for services due to their religion, age, and/or family structure. This past year has seen fewer adoption agencies and more restrictions on the adoptive families. It is my concern that Jewish families may not be able to fulfill their desire to create their families via adoption.
It was with great pride that I was tasked with creating an adoption program through JFCS, and I’m very sorry to see the program end with my retirement. It is my belief that the community still needs this service.