We strongly believe adoption practice is a hybrid, combining both law and social work. The adoption statute creates a symbiotic relationship between the bar and social services professionals: neither can accomplish an adoptive placement without reliance on the other for some component of the adoption. In any given case, an agency may place a child for adoption, but an attorney must utilized to finalize the placement. Similarly, an attorney may place a child for adoption, but the home study of the adoptive parents and background investigation of the birth parents and child must be completed by a social worker. Customarily, social workers also take on the responsibility of counseling and working with expectant mothers who may be considering an adoption plan. By working closely with birth parents, social workers are able to maintain the high standard we hold our adoption services to at The Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson.
Social workers who work within the field of adoption also attain the credential of Certified Adoption Investigator. These certified individuals are qualified to prepare adoption investigations and/or accept relinquishments and consents from birth parents; this certification ensures that in addition to their higher education, they have adoption specific training. Our social workers are extremely well trained in handling the counseling of an expectant mother or the parents who are considering placing an older child for adoption. In an ideal situation, this counseling will span a long period of time to allow any involved parties an ample amount of time to digest each aspect of the adoption process.
A degree in social work or professional counseling does not necessarily mean that person is qualified to perform adoption counseling. There are only so many classes that are offered in which adoption and adoption-related issues are focused solely on. Not only do our social workers possess an understanding of adoption law, but they are able to assist birth parents in a very personalized way. Each social worker must have a true understanding of the birth parents’ viewpoints so that they can better assist them when exploring and explaining options.
We are the only firm in South Carolina to blend the legal and agency aspects of the adoption process. The Law Offices of James Fletcher Thompson are proud to have four social workers on staff that handle the delicate task of adoption counseling. We wanted to extend our thanks during National Social Work Month to each wonderful member of this team that carry the title ‘Social Worker’. Their role goes far beyond just their title!