Saturday, 18 May 2019

The A&F Podcast Adoptee Conversations - Courtney

Hello & welcome to Adoptee Conversations from the adoption and fostering podcast. 
In this  new series we’re inviting adoptees to share their perspectives and views on all things adoption. We’ve no agenda and are looking to have open and frank conversation. In this, the first episode, I chat to Courtney from the United States and she shares her views and perspectives on adoption as well as parts of her story. 




Please note, Courtney is open and honest about the impact of adoption on her and how this manifest in her life from a young age. Some of the detail of this may be upsetting for listeners who have experience of adoption from whatever perspective  so we advise caution. If there’s any doubt then give it a pass or ask a friend to listen to screen it for you. 
If you’d like to know more or have any questions for Courtney her twitter handle is @wordyramblings and she’d be more than happy to answer questions. 







We hope you find it interesting and if you’re an adoptee and would like to share your perspective or experience then please do direct message us at our twitter feedor on our facebook page.

Friday, 17 May 2019

A&F Podcast Episode 62 - An Interview with Satwinder Sandhu from the International Adoption Centre

This week we speak to Satwinder Sandhu from the International Adoption Centreas well as add a little wedding chat on then end for those that want the low down on Scott's nuptuals.

Satwinder has recently taken over the role as the Chief Executive of the IAC and Scott invited him in to speak about a subject that is not often the focus of the adoption community. There were some questions in relation to some aspects of the practice and some of the stereotypes that are hovering around. Satwinder is open and honest in relation to his experience as well as the positives and some of the challenges of the process. As he's new in the job we didn't go too hard on him!

At the end of the podcast we have a little catch up on the giddy details of wearing kilts, choke holds from Canadians and all that from Scott and Tris' wedding of the century.
As always a cheeky review on iTunes here would be appreciated.


Saturday, 11 May 2019

A&F Podcast -The Great North Ace Conference: Supporting Families that live with #CCVAB #CPV

This weeks episode is  the recording of a conference workshop that I delivered at the Great North Ace Conference at the end of April for the ACE Network NE.
I was asked to speak to professionals about supporting parents, carers and families that live with children who can display challenging, violent and aggressive behaviour in a short workshop. Its a subject that I’d normally run over a minimum of a half day so I talk fast and sometimes skip over issues that I’d dig around in for a lot longer.



The book 'Lets talk about Childhood Challenging Violent or Aggressive Behaviour in the Home' can be bought hereon amazon in paperback and on kindle.



I hope you enjoy it and as I note I will be starting some webinars on the subject in the near future.

Friday, 3 May 2019

The A&F Podcast : Episode 61 - An Interview with Betsy de Thierry

In this week's episode Al interviews Betsy de Thierry and they discuss the roots of shame, types of shame and the impact on many children who have experienced trauma and challenges in their early lives. We've a book to give away that Betsy has written 'The Simple Guide to Understanding Shame in Children: What It Is and How to Help'




We've got a copy to give away so check our twitter feed, here,  for details of how to do that. 
There's a little banter too as we chat about some of the recent events online and the challenges of communicating with those around the adoption triangle. 

As always, a cheeky review on iTunes here would be appreciated and if you're really keen you could vote for us at the Podcast awards here. 



Friday, 26 April 2019

The A&F Podcast- Adopter Stories #14 Garry & Kyle

In this episode we speak to Garry and Kyle as they share their story of, firstly, fostering children with complex needs and then adopting them. 



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, 19 April 2019

The A&F Podcast- Adopter Stories #13 Stephanie

In this episode Stephanie shares her story of adopting two little boys with her husband. She discussed the challenges of ethnicity and faith as well as the struggle to get appropriate support for her children.


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.





Thursday, 18 April 2019

A duty call, adopter sufficiency, contact and support.

Frankly, it all been a little bit terrible. The giddy joys of caring for vulnerable but determinedly spikey children has been all a bit 'in yer face' of late and we've all been frayed round the edges. I find myself asking big and unusual questions, 'what bits of my life can I remove and still keep an income' being the main one. If there ever was a time when we needed two present parents it feels like now.

Set against that is the increasing opportunities to help people living with challenging and aggressive children.

I find myself inhabiting two worlds, helper and helpless. In 2008 it became quite clear that we would need to become the help that we needed and that's ok to a point but, well not really, as there comes a moment when you need a grown up in the room to sort it all out. We're not sure where we're at right now, we've created this PACE/NVR/permissive/authoritarian fusion of parenting that seems to work to a point. It's when we pass that point that seems to be the issue, we can hold all this crap together right up to then when we can't then we need to go look for a grown up.

So, it came to pass. Duty was called and though it was a long story it came down to one phrase uttered with a hint of embarrassment by a duty social worker at 5 to 5 on a Monday evening.

'Sorry, it's up to you, you'll have to sort it out as there's nothing we can do'

Ok, let's unpack that a little.........How far past normal do you think we'd travelled to get to the point of calling you? This is the culmination of 10 years of therapeutic parenting, social work and psychologist training, I commissioned two reports on violent and aggressive behaviour, I co authored four reports on it. I train social workers, LSCBs, teachers and police on it. I even got sent on my own course by a social worker.

When I call duty I bloody I mean it.

So, we did 'sort it out', it was scary seat of our pants stuff with some excellent support from school staff who went above and beyond.

Set against this I've been thinking about 'adopter sufficiency' an seemingly ugly phrase that reveals the business of it all. Anyhow, lots of people are worried that the numbers of prospective adopters are falling again. Heads are being scratched.

When I asked people a few weeks ago 'what would put you off adopting?' except one answer the resounding response was:

'nothing, but it would have been nice to know more about our children and therapeutic parenting'

I genuinely believe that this is one of the the two defining issues for the future of adoption, the other  contact and links to birth families.

Prospective adopters take 10 minutes online and see the dearth of support that many face, and even if it's not universally bad there are enough complaining online to define the narrative. Adoption is a buyers market and if there is no after sale support then you walk away, look for a different seller or seriously consider the transaction in the first place (sorry to use ugly language*).


As for contact, new adopters fear it and old adopters are open to having it.**
To that end the irony of getting the news this week that the adoptive parents of my childrens' youngest sibling don't want contact with us feels like a kick in the guts for all of us including the sibling. No reason given just an email saying we'll get letterbox contact, and that feels like a joke from this side of the news. Frankly, sat in the position of many birth families I can't help but feel as real sense of absolute catastrophe, this stuff will echo in my children's and their child's life long after all the adults dead. I sent the social worker Professor Beth Neil's research on contact in a fit of pique. I know that all the power sits with the new adopters and frankly it stinks.


So, all this also impacts on sufficiency. Support is hidden because it acknowledged the likely truth of you needing it, but adopters arn't stupid they know they'll need it and prefer honesty. Then contact, if we have to open the doors wider to prospective adopters that are, and always have been, reluctant to incorporate safe and meaningful contact with first families then what does the future of adoption look like? We may keep it on life support but it will be built on the injustices that caused it.

Granted, I'm a little tetchy at the moment, I could pull the whole damn adoption house down.



* not really

** generally