Dear Adoption Social Worker, We’re Breaking Up With You

Dear Adoption Social Worker,

We hope you’re well.

There’s something we’ve been meaning to tell you for a while now: We’re breaking up with you.

Our relationship isn’t working.

You don’t call. You don’t write. What kind of relationship is that?

We were hoping to tell you in person. But since you’re not returning our calls, this note will have to suffice.

If you’re wondering whether there’s another woman in the picture—another social worker, for instance—the answer is no.

We’re just not feeling the love any more.


When we first met you, we were smitten. With just a few words, you swept us off our feet.

Finally, after the disappointment and frustration of infertility treatments, we felt like we were on our way to becoming parents.

We had heard so many horror stories about adoption, but with you we felt confident. We thought we were a team, and that you would be there to navigate us through every step of the process.

And you were great, in the beginning.

When we worried about “failing” our home study, you told us not to stress out over it, that we didn’t have to scrub our floors until they sparkled the way that others who tried to impress you did, and helped us get over our fear of birthmothers.

From the outset, we knew our relationships would be one-sided—that we needed you more than you needed us.

That’s why we opened up our lives to you, sharing intimate details that we hadn’t shared with anyone else.

And that’s why, even when things didn’t seem fair or right, like the way we always had to re-arrange our schedule to suit yours, we didn’t complain.

We knew that you had all the power, and that if we made one false move we could jeopardize our chances of becoming parents.

But then things between us got strained. You became distant, withdrawn.

Looking back, it probably started when we told you about our plans to post our adoption profile on Instagram.

“Instagram?” you said.

“Well, we already have a website…”

“A website?”

You said that reaching out to women with an adoption plan online was disrespectful.  It trivialized their decision to place.

“What kind of person would choose parents for her baby by looking on the internet anyway?” you asked.

We wanted to tell you that we were fully aware of the seriousness of an expectant mother’s decision, and that many birthmothers had said they liked going online because it gave them more control over the selection process.

In fact, in many cases they had picked out the adoptive parents for their child before contacting an agency.

The way we looked at it, it was just one more way to spread the word that we were adopting.

“It’s one thing to tell your minister or aunt that you want to adopt,” you said, “but do you really want to put it out there for the whole world to see?”

That was exactly why we were doing it.  We figured if it worked for other hopeful parents, maybe it would work for us.

We wanted to tell you that this was 2015, and that everyone was online. But we let it go. We didn’t want to make waves.

We figured you were the expert, and that it would just be a matter of time before you would call us about an expectant mother who wanted to meet us.

Early on, you warned us to go easy on the phone calls. You said that if you spent all of your time answering the phone you wouldn’t have time find us a match.

But eventually the silence was killing us. So one day we called to check in.

When a week went by and we didn’t hear from you, we called again. And again.

Pretty soon it turned into a game–when will our adoption social worker pick up the phone?

One day you did. But the conversation was awkward. You didn’t acknowledge our previous calls. You didn’t even sound like you remembered us.

We know you’ve got a lot on your plate. But when you’re dealing with an emotional, unpredictable life-changing process like adoption, is it too much to ask for a call back every now and then?

Thanks for your assistance and guidance. Yours respectfully,

Your Former Clients

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