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Catholic Charities Corporation Administrative Offices:

7911 Detroit Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44102

(216) 334-2900

A Q&A with Adoption Services

Posted November 16, 2021

Read below to learn about adoption with Ellen Specht and Sandra Fay.

Ellen Specht talks about what it is like working as a social worker in Adoption Services.

A Q&A with Adoption Services Catholic Charities Social Worker, Ellen Specht, holds a baby before handing him off to his adoptive parents for the first time.

1) What is your name and title?

Ellen Specht, LSW - Adoption Social Worker

2) How long have you been working at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland?

21 years

3) What does your day-to-day job look like?

Varies depending on the day and the clients I am working with or whether a baby has been born. It is not a typical Monday through Friday 8-5 type of job. I work evenings and weekends, whenever a client needs me. Most of my work involves traveling around to various counties to provide services to my clients. The office is only for paperwork.

4) What is the best part about working in Adoption Services?

Preserving life, giving options and providing hope, and supporting others during the most difficult time in their lives.

5) What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

The most challenging aspect of this job is the most emotional aspect of the job. Permanently terminating parental rights is a very difficult and emotional thing to help someone go through. Knowing that despite their hearts breaking, they are putting their child’s best interests and needs before their own. It is truly selfless.

6) What do you wish people knew about adoption?

The happiness of one family comes at the cost of the sadness and broken hearts of another family. Adoption is all about loss, no matter whether you are an adoptive parent, birth parent, or child. It is a bittersweet journey.

7) Do you have any advice for those considering adoption, or for women with unexpected pregnancies who are unsure of what to do?

For those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy or considering adoption, there are many options available. I am here as a support to them, to help them decide what they would like to do. There is not a requirement that they place their baby for adoption if they get information or meet with me on a regular basis. My goal is to help them determine what is the best option for them and to support them in whichever option they feel is best for their family. The process is about them and no one else.

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Program Director, Sandra Fay, also gives insight into her work in Catholic Charities.

A Q&A with Adoption Services Catholic Charities Adoption Program Director, Sandra Fay, smiles at a couple holding their baby for the first time.

1) What is your name and title?

Sandy Fay, Program Director - Adoption

2) How long have you been working at Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland?

I have been working with Catholic Charites, Diocese of Cleveland for 28 years. I have been in my current position for the last 21 years.

3) What does your day-to-day job look like?

It really does depend on the day! We regularly deal with all members of the adoption triad, adoptive parents, birth parents, and adoptees. We strive to help guide families through the adoption process, whether it is building their family through adoption, making an adoption plan for their child, or seeking information about their own adoption that may have occurred years ago… Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland, has a long history—over 100 years—of facilitating adoptions. We have several thousand adoption records that I frequently access to review for individuals seeking various pieces of information.

4) What is the best part about working in Adoption Services?

The feel-good moments! Witnessing a new family formed through an adoptive placement and legal finalization. Or giving the pieces of a puzzle to an adoptee or birth parent regarding an adoption that took place in the past through the review of old records. Every day and every single situation is different so it keeps things exciting!

5) What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

I would say the most challenging aspect of the job is witnessing the number of waiting families that far outnumber the number of birth parents making an adoption plan. This has remained consistent through my years here. We work with birth parents coming to us for counseling as they consider placing their child for adoption and the staff provides support to them whether they make an adoption plan or choose to parent their baby.

Also, in working with the county systems and the children in their care, learning about the histories of their neglect and abuse is heart-wrenching.

6) What do you wish people knew about adoption?

I wish that more people knew that for someone dealing with an unplanned pregnancy or for somebody who is struggling to parent their young child, making an adoption plan is an option!

Things have changed over the years and many private adoptions are very open now in that birth parents and adoptive families have ongoing contact, not like in years past when adoptions were more closed.

I also wish that more people would consider opening their homes to children in need of temporary placements for foster care and or a more permanent placement through adoption for children that are in the custody of public agencies.

The field of adoption is not ever a smooth ride for the individuals involved and it has its ups and downs but the good often outweighs the bad. For individuals involved with an adoption or even in foster care, it is a lifelong progression!

A Q&A with Adoption ServicesA Q&A with Adoption ServicesA Q&A with Adoption Services Rachel and Ryan, clients of our Adoption Services, receive their beautiful baby boy after a period of waiting.

Learn More about Adoption and Foster Care Services

Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Part of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland

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