Pamela DeMan, LCSW – Biography
Unlike most of my colleagues in the profession, I knew by junior high school that I wanted to become a social worker. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Spanish at Valparaiso University in Indiana, I moved to Mexico. Seven years later I returned to the U.S., and earned my Masters in Social Work at New York University. With two young sons and hopes of improving my own parenting abilities while assisting families, I started working in the field foster care and adoption in the South Bronx in 1981.
During years of recruiting, training and studying potential adoptive and foster parents for children placed into the foster care system due to neglect and abuse, I met numerous other people who hoped to adopt newborn infants instead, but couldn’t find out where or how to begin. The foster care agencies and county social service departments had enormous caseloads and no time to even answer questions from couples hoping to adopt babies. So in 1988 I began my own practice in adoption counseling and home studies.
Over the years, adoption has changed, along with society. Many of my early home studies as a private practitioner were for adoptions from Romania, as the media informed the world of deplorable orphanage conditions. While that country no longer welcomes adoptions, the pictures of its orphans inspired many Americans to look overseas for their sons and daughters. China’s political policy of one-child-per-family encouraged many beautiful children to come home to the United States. As political and economic conditions change, and personal and legal awareness evolves, nations modify their adoption regulations. Often home studies are done for clients who have immigrated to the United States and wish to adopt related children who were orphaned in their homeland. I have done home studies for families adopting from many different countries, including Bulgaria, Cambodia, Columbia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Russia, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
Domestic adoptions are also changing. Families can choose whether or not to utilize an adoption agency. Birth mothers can actively participate in the adoption plans for their children. Adult adoptees have made us all more aware of the importance of honesty and openness. The internet allows potential parents to learn about waiting children from all across the country. While these changes are beneficial for the children, they may cause initial anxiety for prospective adoptive parents.
As with other social issues, we have learned that “the experts” in the field of adoption are not necessarily qualified by advanced degrees, but by their actual life experiences. I have done home studies for adoptive parents of various ages, diverse races and ethnicities, and varied educational, economic, social and marital backgrounds. I can also interview and write reports in Spanish if needed.
I’m most proud of having raised seven children (bio/step/adopted). Now that they are grown, my husband and I live in a little log cabin in the woods – which is why I work primarily in the Hudson Valley and Catskill Mountains. In addition to my private adoption work, I continue as part-time supervisor in an agency promoting adoptions from the foster care system, and enjoy writing articles and attending adoption conferences. I also do home studies for child custody cases involving separated or divorced parents.
Contact Pamela for a confidential consultation.
Delaware County, Greene County, Sullivan County, Rockland County, Orange County, Ulster County.
Voice and Fax: (845) – 798 – 1727