More About Jill
Jill is the Director of Domestic Adoptions at Caring for Kids in Cuyahoga Falls Ohio. She has been in child welfare for 25 years.
Jill believes that the most effective social worker is open to learn from the person being served. She asks herself, "Would I want someone thinking they knew better for myself or my family or my extended family?" From that perspective of respect for the dignity and unique nature of every story that unfolds under her supervision, Jill and others like her are progressives in the adoption industry.
The birth parent comes first at CFK, says Telli Carter, office manager at CFK. "If Jill is in a meeting and a birthmom calls in, she leaves that meeting to take the call." This consideration for the birth parent, in the many ways it shows up at Caring for Kids, creates what author and adoption veteran James Gritter calls "a fruitful culture for choice" in his book The Spirit of Open Adoption. Here the birth parent will feel safe to explore their options without pressure or coercion, they can choose a family to raise their child based on their own values, and most controversially, feel free to change their mind. If, in that fruitful culture for choice, the adoption goes forward, it is with the beauty and comfort to be found within "the blessing of the birth parent." That birth parent who began the process anxious, sad, feeling inadequate and ashamed, can emerge feeling proud of their decision, less anxious about the future and maybe, maybe feeling that they are a part of something beautiful and empowering.
This transformation of the birth parent is Jill's favorite part of her work. Her generosity and level of compassion is displayed in the social workers she supervises. "We really do genuinely want them to make the decision that's best for them. They are the ones who have to live with this decision for the rest of their lives." Jill takes the words 'right' and 'wrong' out of the conversation about birth parents. "It is what's right for them at the time and what they feel is best for their child at the time. And most of the time, pretty much all the time, it is at their own heartbreak. But it is because they are putting their child first and saying that this is what's gonna be best for that child. So, I think that is what people should know. That they are not people who don't care about their child. They absolutely care about their children and go through great pains to attend many meetings and get much counseling and go through lots of steps to find just the right family and have their baby placed in that family." "They are just human beings like all the rest of us, and, in a position to make a tough decision."