Friday 30 May 2014

An Opinion

I watched a video clip today that argued, amongst other things, that adoption is about “finding families for children rather than children for families”. 

However, I consider it mistake to view contemporary adoption in these terms.

The primacy of children's wellbeing  runs through all adoption legislation and guidance. It is critical that the needs and desires of these adopters cannot be allowed to fade into the background while adoption agencies, and public opinion, are coerced into shifting the focus wholly to finding families for children.

There are a myriad of reasons that lead people to adopt which leaves me reluctant to generalise. However, a large majority are unable to conceive,  either alone or with their partner, and this leads them into the adoption process. 

To relegate their hopes, aspirations and needs to second place or a guilty desire is unjust and is potentially storing up trouble for the new families.

I believe that the six month timeframe for the assessment of prospective adopters reinforces this view that we are finding families for children. Swift approvals run the risk of focusing on approval and placing children rather than on a measured assessment of prospective adopters, of their strengths and weaknesses.
I agree that there should be no unnecessary delay but I also believe that there is a role for necessary delay.

Prospective adopters can bring a variety of experiences to the process, the loss of childlessness, pain of miscarriage or the torture of multiple unsuccessful rounds of IVF treatment to name the most common. 

A lot is asked of prospective adopters, the challenges of parenting children in modern society are numerous. Adding to this are the often complex needs of the children and the peripheral pressures that that adopters can face from birth families, their own families, schools and friends. 

To carry open wounds and unrealistic expectations into parenting is not going to help. Sometimes a little time is needed.

We are finding families for children and children for families. To see it in any other terms is a harmful mistake

I am aware that this is just my opinion. If you feel I'm off the mark then I'm more than happy to be persuaded otherwise. 
For the record, I am not a Adoption Social Worker and have no vested interest or axe to grind.


  1. Thanks for this. I know what you mean... I've been wondering about that myself..
    After all, if the parents aren't up (most of the time anyway) for the challenge then everyone is in deep trouble. All everyone wants are well functioning families, and that goes both ways.

    1. I agree. To view the process from only one perspective sets the whole thing up to fail.