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A Social Worker’s Perspective

Maureen Orogot  (pictured) is a Family Placement Social Worker with Child’s i Foundation. Child’s i Foundation runs Malaika Babies Home a short-term transitional care center for abandoned babies in Mengo. This is what Maureen had to say:

I believe that the best place for a child to grow up is in a family or community setting. Years of research has shown that children who stay in an institutional setting for any longer than 6 months can sometimes be damaged psychologically if they do not receive proper care. In a family setting, children learn to love and be loved and feel part of a family.

I would like to encourage all Ugandan Families to open up their hearts and homes to children. Especially to the children who have no one. In this way they will grow up with an identity, a home and a sense of culture and belonging.

Most people are apprehensive when it comes to adoption. Some of the prospective parents mistakenly believe that it is costly and takes a lot of time. There are also cultural

perceptions surrounding children in the orphanages or children’s homes. There is no guarantee that a child from an orphanage or babies’ home will turn out problematic.

Some prospective adoptive parents are sometimes reluctant to answer sensitive questions. These questions are a very important part of the adoption process. We have now processed 32 adoptions and so far we have not had one placement breakdown and I believe this is because we do such thorough assessments. We need to find out as much information to ensure parents can meet the needs of a child and we support the parents every step of the way.

Some parents come to us expecting to be given children in the shortest period possible. Some drop out when we explain the whole process because it can take up to 6 months. We follow a process that includes assessment, appearing before an adoption panel and time to bond with the child they will eventually adopt. We always advise our parents to look at the period leading up to the adoption as the “pregnancy” period. Just like it takes a mother nine months to carry a baby to term prospective parents should be willing to wait for these special children. This waiting period actually makes the experience makes the experience extra special.

Adoptive parents sometimes tend to withhold vital information during our assessments. This information is very important especially when it comes to matching them with the right children.  As social workers we do understand Parents’ fears . It is our duty to cater for both the parents’ and child’s interests in this case.  Whereas the child’s best interests are priority we also take the prospective parents’ interests are equally into consideration.

On some occasions we note that its only one party interested in the adoption. At times the spouse or family members are not interested and yet it is important for an adoptive parent to have strong support network which usually strengthens their ability to nurture a child whether adopted or biological.

Children are a gift and bring joy to a family regardless of their health status or nature of growth. Parents come to us asking for a normal child health. The most important thing is how the family nurtures, loves and brings up this child will determine how normal and health this child is.

It’s important to all Parents to know that children are a gift from God whether biological or adopted. Most adoptive parents ask for a particular age for a child which at times becomes an issue because when the process is being carried out the social worker is able to find out what age is appropriate for a certain family and where a child suits best. Because it’s always about the child’s best interest first.