We’ve recently learned that Marietta Spencer passed away at the age of 95 on April 2, 2017. Marietta Spencer was a passionate, forward-thinking adoption advocate that impacted many people’s lives. The former Executive Director of Children’s Home, Roger Toogood, shared with us a few thoughts and memories of Marietta:
Marietta Spencer had a brilliant mind and a strong focus on both the big picture and small details.
As a result of her leadership, Children’s Home Society of Minnesota was the first agency in the U.S. to make continuing services available after a child’s legal adoption. She spent much of the 27 years in which I was privileged to work with her as the Division Director for Post Legal Adoption Services, a role she created. Even after she retired, she kept actively involved in what she loved by my paying her a “Dollar a Year.”
Marietta was an active advocate for the use of accurate and positive language surrounding adoption. Birth parents don’t “give up” their children; they make a loving plan for their child. There are no “real parents,” but rather “birth parents” and “adoptive parents.”
Marietta believed strongly, way before most professionals, in the importance of obtaining accurate and comprehensive background information about birth parents and their extended families. She developed background forms that ended up in use not only by Children’s Home, but by many other public and private agencies.
Likewise, long before it became a public topic, Marietta was concerned about bullying and developed a program that would help parents and children cope with the issue.
Marietta had a strong passion for her chosen field and gave tremendous time and effort to making the services of adoption, pregnancy counseling and particularly post adoption the best that they could be. As a result of her knowledge and expertise, she made an impact throughout the U.S. and abroad. She was a solid community citizen, a loving parent, and a loyal adoption professional. She will be missed.