Adoption in the Age of COVID-19

From the perspective of a caseworker

Walking into the hospital for my job in the last month has been a surreal experience. I imagined that it would be chaotic like the images on television. But instead everything was eerily quiet.

The parking lot was nearly empty at midday when I arrived. A long table blocked the lobby where a nurse sat as a gatekeeper for the hospital. No visitors were allowed except for the maternity floor where one visitor was allowed. Since I am a professional, I was allowed in.

In the last month, I have entered a hospital five times. Each experience has been different. Temperature checks, no temperature checks. I have been given a mask, and then no mask. Now I bring my own mask. I push the elevator buttons with a pen to avoid touching them. In my Hope’s Promise tote bag is paperwork along with Clorox wipes, sanitized pens, extra masks, and gloves. This is the new normal of adoption work during a pandemic.

Adoption casework has been my occupation for almost 15 years. Every case is new, and every case is a challenge. Working amid a pandemic adds additional challenges. Here are some things I have learned:

  • It is possible to do a match meeting with prospective adoptive parents and an expectant parent by video call. The meeting is better in person, but it is possible.
  • It is harder to communicate while wearing a mask.
  • A cotton mask does a good job of soaking up (and hiding) tears at the time of placement when a birth mother says goodbye to her child.
  • Being hypervigilant about what I touch at the hospital is tiring.
  • Video calls take more emotional energy than in-person meetings. And in-person meetings, in this age, take extra logistical planning.
  • The medical staff are truly the heroes in all of this. They are going in day after day to do their work despite the danger.

And finally, and most importantly…

  • God is still present and at work in the lives of expectant parents, adoptive parents, and birth parents.

Julie has been an adoption caseworker for almost 15 years.  She is passionate about providing the best, most ethical services to expectant parents and adoptive parents alike.