4 days + 20 inquiries = 1 adoptive family

A Tennessee caseworker describes her work with a Virginia family who adopted four siblings.

January 05, 2016

Caseworker Marsha Carrier
Marsha says that consistent communication was key to a smooth adoption process.

The four siblings had been photolisted in their home state of Tennessee for two years. So, on a Friday in March 2012, their caseworker, Marsha Carrier, posted them on adoptuskids.org.

“On Monday morning, we logged in and found twenty qualified inquiries! We removed the children’s profile from the site and formed a selection committee to review the home studies,” Marsha said.

Marsha had been on the children’s case for the last two years and knew them well. In her review of the submissions, an adoptive family from Virginia stood out. Their application contained information beyond the home study—including photos of the family and a detailed narrative provided by Veronica—and it described a family with a lifestyle and interests that seemed to mirror those of the children.

“Everything about the family—from their active lifestyle to their love of going to Lego Land—matched with the children’s interests.”

Green flag—go!

In April, the prospective adoptive family—Veronica and John Gilmore—and the children had their first phone conversation. Later that month, the couple drove to Tennessee. They met at a pizzeria and spent the afternoon bowling.

“They all really bonded during that first visit. It was a big green flag ‘go.’ I knew I was watching a family come together,” Marsha said.

For the next two months, the Gilmores spent every other weekend visiting with the children. Sometimes the Gilmores made the five-and-a-half-hour drive to Tennessee. Other weekends, Marsha and a colleague would travel northeast to their home or meet them half way, in Roanoke, VA.

On July 5, Veronica and John drove to Tennessee for the final time—traveling with two cars and a trailer—and took the children home.

Secrets to a successful interstate adoption

While interstate adoptions require additional work and can be subject to delays, Marsha says that shared goals, consistent communication, an agreed-upon timeline, and electronic interstate communication systems made the Gilmore family’s adoption process go smoothly and quickly.

“All of us—Veronica, John, their family worker, the judge, the children and our team—were all on the same page and working toward the same goal,” Marsha said.

Veronica and Marsha worked in tandem to ensure each state was processing paperwork and completing other steps necessary to complete the adoption home study within the sixty-day timeframe they had established at the start of the process.

Finding a home for every child

Marsha is quick to acknowledge that the Gilmore family’s story is outstanding in many ways, but it is not unusual. Her agency routinely photolists children on adoptuskids.org when it is in their best interest to be adopted out of state or when an in-state family is not found within a reasonable period of time. So far, every one of Marsha’s postings on the AdoptUSKids site has resulted in the child or siblings being placed with a permanent family.  

“My advice to other caseworkers is that if you think you cannot find a home for children, don’t give up. That home is out there. And in my experience, adoptuskids.org is an amazing outlet for helping to find it,” Marsha said.

Recognize an “Outstanding Caseworker”

The Gilmore family recommended that we feature Marcia as an “Outstanding Caseworker.” Read the family’s story on our website.

Do you know a caseworker who has gone above and beyond to help children in foster care find permanency? If so, nominate an "Outstanding Caseworker" to be featured on adoptuskids.org.


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