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Now We are a Family

How adoption in the Granite State has changed over the last quarter-century

When I interviewed Caroline Glennon and Ginny Tsiromokos of Child and Family Services in Manchester our conversation didn’t focus same-sex adoption. We spoke at length about adoption more generally, which was only appropriate given that I was still gathering information for this series of articles.

Glennon manages the program at CFS, and Tsiromokos the adoption home study coordinator. Here’s further excerpts of what we talked about back in March.

Changes in the adoption landscape

GLENNON: “It was so different. 23-24 years ago, it was sort of a fringe period. I would say right around 25 to 30 years ago is when private adoption first started making its way into New Hampshire. And that’s adoptions through attorneys.”

“We were doing so many more agency adoptions. The vast majority of adoptions of babies just went through agencies. There was just an assumption that you would go to an agency if you were a birth mother and that they would handle everything for you. And of course we did. Then there was the emergence of private adoptions and attorneys who would do that for you. And so over the last 25 years we have seen it go from the majority being agency adoptions to the majority being private adoptions in New Hampshire.”

“I think it evolved because there were things at the time that attorneys were able to do for a birth mother that maybe agencies weren’t, like provide financial support.” “Many agencies now can combine a little bit of that. They can offer some support. We do offer some financial help to our birth mothers; and private adoption attorneys in turn offer a lot of counseling services and mediation services through us. I think we do a lot of working together.”

Exciting to help people

TSIROMOKOS: “All the paperwork does come through me, and I’m the person people contact first.”

“It’s always a little exciting that you’re helping these people. Some people have done a lot of research, by the time they’ve gotten to me they’ve been online and they’ve looked at all different things. They’ve got this whole list of specific questions. And other people call up and they are: ‘I don’t know anything. Tell me about it, what’s the process?’”

“Some of them hang up and go away, and you never hear again. And then other people are calling back the next day and saying, ‘Okay, send me the papers. We’re good.’ It sort of depends on where they are in their process.”

Ups and downs

GLENNON: “With every single case there’s a high and a low, because you do have a birth mother that’s grieving, and then you have an adoptive parent who’s just got a baby. Even the adoptive parent is grieving for the birth mother.”

“Twenty-five years ago, 23 years ago, it would be a birthmother would come in, and if it got to the point of adoption, they would say ‘This is what we’re looking for.’ And we’d look in our pool of adoptive parents and try to match them as best they could. And there’d be no meeting or anything. But that was just the cusp, because it was within a year or two after that they were meeting.”

Changes in international adoption

GLENNON: “It is harder. There are now a lot of regulations. There are the Hague regulations for many countries, which are very difficult procedures to do through.”

TSIROMOKOS: “There’s a lot more paperwork; it’s a much longer wait. When I first started, it seemed like we were doing a lot of China, Guatemala, and the process was relatively standard. . . . Adoption in a lot of these countries has just gone away.”

GLENNON: “I think people felt at one time that going internationally was more of a definite. . . . We don’t see that in any country right now”

An incredible journey

TSIROMOKOS: “It’s a huge journey. And it’s one that’s up and down and back and forth and around circles. It’s a lot. It’s a lot for some people. But for most people, the end is good.”

GLENNON: “I go through the roller coaster, and I know I’ve had many sleepless nights. . . . Although I warn them about them, seeing them go through them is agonizing. . . . The delight at the end, we feel that every bit as much. That’s what keeps us doing this work.”

(Clay Wirestone can be reached at 369-3305 or cwirestone@cmonitor.com.)

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