Katy Perkins, LMSW-AP

WHAT MOTIVATES YOUR INTEREST IN WORKING IN FOSTER CARE AND ADOPTION?

Social workers are compelled to advocate for those with marginalized voices in order to ensure that all people have opportunities and tools to live their lives to the fullest. I believe passionately that all people deserve a world in which they can be their true selves and have their personal reality honored. If I could change one thing about the practice of adoption, it would be an increased focus on preparing families for the experience of holding more than one feeling at a time. Adoption is complicated and rooted in loss. To not acknowledge this sets all parties up for, at best, emotional distress, and, at worst, alienation from each other. Having conflicting feelings about the adoption experience is not a sign of a “bad adoption,” rather a normal reaction to extraordinary experiences.

HOW DO POST-ADOPTION SERVICES FIT INTO YOUR WORK TO IMPROVE THE ADOPTION AND FOSTER CARE SYSTEM?

As a reunited adoptee, I have seen firsthand the support that is necessary to navigate highly complex personal relationships. I continue to see how, in my own life, the experience of adoption evolves over time. Post-adoption services are important because adoption is not a one-time event. The implications of placement, adopting, and being adopted reverberate throughout the lifespan and generations. In order for change to be effective within power structures, it must occur at multiple levels: individual, relationship, community and society. That is how I approach post-adoption services – as one piece of a larger puzzle. By working to adequately prepare prospective adoptive parents, train the professionals and communities who care for them, and engaging in policy reform at the state and national level, I continue to work towards a more just and compassionate system.