The Lion, The Goat, And A Bushel of Hay
Domestic Adoption Services Update
Domestic Adoption Services Director
When I was a little girl, my father loved to tell riddles to pass the time whenever we were traveling. He was a master at keeping us occupied with mind games, like riddles, and paper drawn games, like battleship. One of the most memorable riddles was where you have a lion, a goat, and a bushel of hay. You are on one side of a river and you have to get all three across in a rowboat. The catch is that you can only take one at a time with you in the boat or the boat will sink. How do you get all three across? If you take the lion, the goat will eat the hay. If you take the hay, the lion will eat the goat. Ok, so you can take the goat, but what do you do next? This is where it got tricky and you had to be creative and solution focused.
As a social worker, solution focused approach, has been a mainstay in my “bag of tricks”. It’s how I think about the world around me in general and I credit my parents and to some extent this little riddle. While my father gave me the gift of finding solutions, my mother gave me the gift to realize that sometimes it “just is what it is”, and that in that realization we must make our choices accordingly. Long before I started my MSW training, it is these philosophies that provided my foundation to determine options and try to make the plans and choices which would hopefully lead to preferred outcomes.
The pandemic has caused me to call upon this riddle metaphorically more times over the past year than I think I had in all my years working previously. So many people have asked how Covid-19 has impacted domestic adoption. My answer is, in theory, it has not. We have been consistent with our placements throughout last year and into this one, no different than other years. What has changed is how we do things; how we need to think about counseling sessions, hospital plans, traveling, discharges, placements, surrender signing, court dates, etc., etc., etc. No process remained consistent and although each case is always individual, we now had to often test the limits of how to effectively provide all the necessary services for adoptions to happen successfully. There isn’t one aspect of this work that has not been impacted, and yet expectant parents have reached out to us to assist them with their most difficult and loving decision, adoptive families have moved forward with their family building, and babies continue to come into this world and be the ordinary miracles they are. Families are connected and grow through the work we are fortunate to be a part of.
For those whose children have found their way home to you in 2020 and in the start of 2021, we are thrilled and honored to have been part of your family’s journey. For those who are waiting, know that we are still working on your behalf and as they say in adoption, “It’s not if, it’s when”. I wish I could tell each family exactly what their wait time will be, but I cannot. What we do know, is that it will happen. To those who are getting started, we are happy to have you join us as you begin the process of completing your home study and building your best adoption team.
We know that the landscape of adoption ebbs and flows and like a pendulum will swing one way and then the other. We are still working through some of the challenges that this pandemic created, but we’re in this with you and for you. We are glad you’re here and we look forward to watching your family grow through the amazing process of adoption. I hope that the challenges get a little simpler as the world starts to open back up and our “normal” processes start to re-emerge. No matter what, there will always be factors to consider, and with a little thought, there are always solutions to be found.
P.S. For those who are still thinking about the solution to the riddle, you take the goat across the river, go back to the original shore, and get the lion. Take the lion across the river and leave the lion but take the goat back with you. You can then leave the goat and take the hay with you. Once you have left the hay with the lion, go back, and get the goat. Bring the goat across the river and all three are safely across. The lion has not eaten the goat, the goat has not eaten the hay.