Saturday 8 February 2014

Back across the coffee table

The expression poacher turned gamekeeper seems rather inappropriate in the context of adoption and fostering. However, I use it guardedly to describe how it sometimes feels to have qualified as a Social Worker after having adopted and worked as a foster carer.

I crossed the metaphoric coffee table and sit now on the other side.

The view from here is very interesting but that is a different post for a different blog.

However, events of late have dragged me kicking and screaming back across the table and put me back on the 'service user' side.

I will be vague to protect the innocent.

Suffice to say child X no longer wishes to live with us and we acknowledge that option seems appropriate.

Right now we feel delicate, bruised, angry, sad, a whole spectrum of emotions that are confused and raw.

Long story short, to add to this we now have a new type of Social Worker. Well, actually Child X has the new Social Worker as well as a foster carer.

We appear to be on the periphery, with life choices being made without us. Choices that we don't necessarily agree with.

Social Workers and foster carers hold no fear or mystique for us but I'd rather that this situation hadn't arisen.

The experience has made me painfully aware of the influence that social workers have both in what they do and what they say.

How a comment from the Social Worker, however innocent, can be interpreted several ways, mulled over and generally misconstrued. I don't worry, well not too much, but Mrs C ruminates on these little comments.

They get under our skin and they eat away at our confidence. Seeds of doubt.

The questions that Social Workers ask can be like arrows straight to our hearts.

"Why was that question asked?"

"Do they think I'm a bad parent?"

"Am I a bad parent?........... Am I?"

I'm sure our reaction is influenced by how we feel and clearly, right now, were not at the top of our game. Sitting on this side of the coffee table we feel raw and vulnerable.

As a reminder the inherent power and responsibility in my chosen profession, this seems like extreme Professional Development.

And Child X?  Well, in 6 weeks she'll be adult X and no doubt the story will continue.


  1. So sorry to read that you're all going through such a painful time. Don't know what to say really.

  2. There's nothing to say, we both appreciate the support and goodwill that is being expressed.