What Happens at an Adoption Center Match Party?
The Adoption Center of Delaware Valley has been holding match parties for 22 years and has prepared materials to assist social workers select, prepare and support children who attend the parties. The parties are staffed with volunteers and the Center's coordinators, supervisors and administrative staff.
The Adoption Center has held match parties at community centers, bowling alleys, roller-skating rinks, churches and school auditoriums. The best results-the number of children who find families-happen when there is a lot of opportunity for mingling, talking and participating in the event together.
Adoption Center staff members wear name tags so they are easily identifiable and greet social workers, children and parents.
Families and social workers also wear name tags. So does each child who, in addition to her name, will have the number one (1) if she is to be adopted alone or the number in his sibling group if they are to be adopted together. The name of the child's social worker will be written at the bottom of his or her name tag.
Every child will be photographed with his or her social worker; the photos will be placed on a Picture Board so families may scan them during the party.
Prospective parents will be given the day's agenda and urged to talk with the children about their favorite activities, school, hobbies, TV shows, foods and pets. They are told not to discuss adoption with the child.
Anyone interested in a specific child will be asked to see his or her social worker and will be given a form on which he or she can state interest in a child.
Social workers are urged to make the most of the party. Families will want to learn more about the children, and this is their opportunity to talk with them about where the children are living, how they are doing in school, what their likes and dislikes are and other relevant information that they want to share.
Social workers are encouraged to talk with families not only about children they brought to the party, but about others on their caseload in whom the families may be interested.
Many social workers consider using the party for matching. They think of the party as a "first meeting" where families can mingle with children informally and, as a result, may become interested in a specific child. Having a number of other children and families present may make this interaction less pressured than a one-to-one meeting.
At the party, social workers will be asked to complete a survey rating the party and the materials they were given. Suggestions for improving the party or ways the Adoption Center can help prepare the children better are welcome.
How Social Workers Learn About Potential Matches?