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Randie Bencanann: Thoughts on Retirement

Time to say good-bye

After 27 years at Adoption Connection, I’ve decided to step down/retire/move on/get-going … what is the right word?

I can vividly remember my very first adoption. In 1987, we were a staff of three very part-time workers. I did the homestudy, the birthparent counseling, the relinquishment, and the post-placement visits. The home study was written in longhand on yellow-lined paper and typed by a “secretary.” The “Dear Birthmother Letter” was a one-page, single-spaced letter with a small color photo attached. But the excitement, the anxiety, the ups and downs—for the adopting parents and birth parents alike—were and remain the same.  This was new territory to me, and to all of us, and I remember being nervous about how the first face-to-face meeting would go between these two sets of people from very different worlds. But it went beautifully—each side showed compassion, empathy, and respect for the other’s situation in life. And that was the beginning of my road in open agency adoptions.

I also smile when I think about one of my first homestudies in Contra Costa County—driving forever in farm country (or, so it seemed, to this city girl), arriving at the family’s home, and realizing that the marinating meat I was smelling was for the barbecue dinner the adopting parents were hoping  to serve me. I was never sure if they were relieved or disappointed when I said that I couldn’t stay.

This has been an incredible journey—to be part of so many lives. The complexities of balancing so many moving parts, logistically and emotionally, have been a never-ending pleasure and challenge. My role has been part social worker, educator, diplomat, logistical manager, and motivational coach, all in cooperation with the birth parents and adoptive parents. Adoption is a team effort—no one does it alone. I have been so privileged to have worked with clients and staff who have made this journey so rewarding. I leave knowing that Adoption Connection has a very solid foundation—a staff that is beyond compare—and that I will get to hear many more stories about new families and the broadening of all kinds of new relationships.

As some of you may know, I have been working side-by-side as Co-Director with Lynne Fingerman since I first stepped through the door and was introduced to this field. We have been partners in this program for 27 years—a very long “marriage.” Lynne will become the Agency Director, and will continue to make Adoption Connection the best adoption agency ever!  We are thrilled to welcome a new social worker, Tara Noone, an adoptive parent, to fill many of my roles.

I don’t know what’s next. I have lists of things to consider but my immediate plan is to sit back and see what truly grabs my attention. I’m sure the social worker in me will need to contribute in some way to the greater good. I’m just not sure what that will look like. Then, there’s always more time to walk my new dog, maybe do some writing (don’t we all have a story that we at least are interested in hearing?), see more of the world, and add more chapters and some surprises, to an already very fulfilling life.

Randie Bencanann, LCSW, Adoption Connection Co-Director retired in 2013 after 27 years of dedicated service to the agency. Since she joined Adoption Connection in 1986, she has participated in the placement of more than 1,000 children.

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