Saturday, 23 March 2019

A& F Podcast: Adopter Stories - #12 Anne

In this episode Anne shares her story of adoption a girl with her husband. Anne's came to adoption having a broad range of experience and she tells some of the challenges and some of the joys that they've experienced.

If you'd like to share your story then please get in touch through the Adoption and Fostering Podcast's facebook page here, or our twitter feed here.

Friday, 22 March 2019


There’s literally too much to say, so forgive me if I don’t.

But reading the Tavistock Institute’s journal on the early benefits of the Adoption Support Fund asking if it was sustainable I was left with the same old questions. Cycling along this morning the same question about adoption support services rattled round my head:

“Do we aim for what is realistic or we realistically aim for what is impossible?” 

I guess on one level it’s all academic, I’ve limited influence and am just one voice and if we’re honest not a particularly radical voice. But as a community what can we do? The plain reality is that adoption support at best is ok, but that’s not the experience of many and all evidence is that at least a third of adopters are struggling, really struggling. If you’re reading this are you struggling are you being helped, who do you call tonight and what could they do? 

Well, that’s all kinds of complicated isn’t it. These are my children, I took them on with open eyes, I expected to do what other parents do and I am. But, that’s where it does get murky, I’m struggling and the struggle is hard and I need help, but that’s what all parents and families do isn’t it? It wasn’t my plan that’s for sure, but that’s every parent of a vulnerable child’s story. See, complicated.

Played into my thinking I’ve been meeting with a group of parents and carers who’s children are violent, aggressive, challenging, complex and much loved. The link is the children and all kinds of family make ups are in the group, mainly biological parents. It’s broken my heart to be honest and one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done for a whole load of reasons, mainly the total void of support for them. The hero narrative that I’ve railed against and the patchy adoption support that I’ve blogged about for years would be snapped up by many of the families. We gripe but we’ve got a very different story to tell. Many adopters do have a hard time but we’ve always got our stories that often open doors that other families can’t open. So, with that in mind I read the Tavistock Institute’s report and I feel conflicted.  

We need more support as families that have adopted but what is realistic and fair in this economic climate? Do we fight hammer and nail for more or pragmatically step back and let others step ahead. 

Is that thought a pragmatic failure? Is that compromise? Yes. 

Every politician wants to be photo’d with an newly minted adoptive family, the gold dust settles on them. Do we dance to their tune, smile and doff our caps and take what is realistic or do we shout louder and louder for what is best at the risk of pushing them too far away? There are so many issues that are important and my inbox is not a stranger to important issues for adoptees and adopters, issues that people want to shout from the rooftops and bring campaigning weigh to bear against. But do we aim for what is realistic, push for the ideal or dance through some middle ground. 

Perhaps I’m tired. Adoption issues are often the very same issues of a silent and hidden majority. Our struggles with social care, schools, health and CAMHs and violent and aggressive behaviour are replicated across many more families that have no voice. 

So, perhaps we do need to shout louder, perhaps we need to be a little cleverer.

“Do we aim for what is realistic or we realistically aim for what is impossible?” 

Saturday, 16 March 2019

Adoption & Fostering Podcast Episode 58 - Helen Oakwater

This week we speak to Helen Oakwater, adoptive parent, speaker and author, about her new book 'Want to Adopt? How to prepare yourself to parent a child from the care system'. We have a broad discussion based on the contents of the book including the nature of the adoption system, is adoption preparation fit for purpose?, resilience and the impact on adopters. There was a lot to covers so we rattled through it. There were a couple of grown up words, but frankly if you've made it this far you'll be fine!
You can buy the book on Amazon here.

Scott and Al employ some banter, be warned do not eat food during the first 5 minutes due to the nature of the anecdote shared. We catch up all things weddings at the end and Al loses control of his faculties. Be clear, Al has a clear understanding of the difference between a shovel and a spade and isn't being an arse, well you know? and there is no such thing as the Kalmari window, sorry Mr Johari.
As ever get in touch if you want to ask a question, offer an opinion, slag us off or some such. If you're feeling warm and fluffy leaving us a nice review on iTunes could be your act of kindness for the day.

Friday, 8 March 2019

Adoption & Fostering Podcast - Adopter Stories - #11 Natalie

In this Episode Natalie share her experience of adopting a 19month old girl with her husband. After what seemed like a period of normality some of her daughter's early live experiences manifest in her behaviour and ultimately led to them changing their parenting.

If you'd like to share your story then please get in touch through the Adoption & Fostering Podcast's facebook page here, or our twitter feed here.

Friday, 1 March 2019

A&F Podcast Ep 57 - Scott & Al talk, Behaviour policies, Vicarious Trauma & Therapy for Parents

We catch up on some correspondence and ponder the challenges of school's behaviour policies vs relational based models of behaviour management. We also discuss some of the challenges of parenting and the impact of vicarious trauma, the consider the need for therapeutic support and intervention for adoptive parents.

Scott's new venture is discussed and we both go awry when considering our geographical grasp of the route of his upcoming walk.

As always thanks for listening and if you're feeling benevolent or bored please head over to iTunes and leave a little review here .

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Automated reply

As per our pattern, tensions rose slowly and inevitably to a moment of unravelling. One child could not contain their inner world any longer and words were used with the intention to harm, and arms and legs.

Not pretty, not nice. We're all left raw and some of us a little bruised.

In line with our agreement, actually my insistence,   I emailed my Adoption Social Worker to keep track of our story*. I gave a fair but concise account of events, what led to it and what happened. I thought that I'd share the grown up words that had been directed at me as it was a key part of the story. With a big sigh I pressed send, unsure of what response this would precipitate.

To my surprise within  a few minutes an automated email response came from the RAA.

"Sophos has detected inappropriate language within this email...........Please review your email and remove any suspect wording."

Sometimes blog posts write themselves. I laughed and laughed, you just can't make this stuff up.

There's a metaphor for modern adoption support in this that I just can't get my finger on.

Answers on a postcard.

Post script: My social worker answered very quickly, as usual, once I'd removed the child's grown up words.

*That our story and files now fall into my mythical RAA's system and that is somewhat removed from my local authority's system is a slight worry that nobody seems able to bottom out. 

Friday, 15 February 2019

Adoption & Fostering Podcast - Adopter Stories #10 Rosie

In this episode of Adopters Stories Rosie tells her story of supporting her mother and her husband as they adopted three children. Its a hard story to hear and challenges the normal adoption narrative. The experience has had a pivotal impact on her career choices and subsequent life.

If you'd like to share your story then please get in touch through the Adoption & Fostering Podcast's facebook page here, or our twitter feed here.