Thursday 25 September 2014

Sweaty palms & Social Workers

Not unusually we had a bit of a fracas, you know the usual stuff, pushy, shovey angry, kicky, shouty, pretendy call the policey and so on. But as it took a turn for the worse towards the end and new behaviours manifest we thought we'd better inform the powers that be.

So, we dutifully called the local Children's Services Duty Team and briefly let them know what had happened. Though we have ongoing and weekly access to a range of professionals they have a more therapeutic role than statutory protection so the Social Workers seemed to be the right people to tell.

I think they where a bit perplexed.

We asked the Duty Social Worker to record the incident and they offered to come out, well we said we weren't that bothered about seeing them but if they fancied a trip out they they were welcome. 

Lo and behold a letter arrived and they were going to pop out and have a chat. 

I then started to get a feeling of uncertainty, perhaps they thought we were hiding something. That us not being 'bothered' about seeing them was interpreted as something more sinister.

Perhaps we would get a Type A Social Worker. That wouldn't help.

Also, what the hell would Flossy say. An unceasing torrent of utter tosh normally pours out of her mouth, bless her,  and at best it's just irritating and at worst it's catastrophically dangerous.
(I must blog about the time when we were returning from holiday she threatened to tell airport security that I'd stolen Madeline McCann*). 

I rub shoulders with Children's Services Social Workers on a daily basis so they normally hold no threat or mystique for me. On the whole they're a good bunch, overworked yes, but malicious no. 

But to have one come to the house on a professional basis is quite a thing. What presumptions would they make, what conclusions would they draw.

Sometimes when I visit a home in my professional capacity I can feel the brittle anxiety experienced by a parent when a  Social Worker steps into their home. Now their feelings of loss of control and impotence where creeping around Mrs C and I and it wasn't nice.

As it turns out all was well and as suspected it was more a case of being thorough than of being suspicious.
For me it was a good lesson professionally and personally.
It made me consider my manner and actions as a Social Worker.
I made me think about my children's parents, yes very different circumstances. However, I know the system and my rights and I'm able to communicate effectively yet still I found the experience challenging. Being an average white man the system favours me but I thought of the challenges they faced and the failings they experienced.

All in all, an interesting experience. 

*I didn't

Friday 19 September 2014

Snakes & Ladders

We are walking away from trauma, loss and separation and some days we seem to have walked so far.
Some days we appear to be on a cosmic Snakes and Ladders board, just with very small, infrequent ladders and lots of snakes that take us back from where we came.
We make a baby step, then another in the right direction, we fall and we seem to be back where we started.

Our psychotherapist calls it regression.

  1.  A return to a former or less developed state.
  2.  The act of going back.

The usual suspects provoke its arrival, the new school term, birthdays, trips, the summer, memories, people, family, shampoo, and the word ‘no’, it is a long and unpredictable list. 
The inevitable onset of puberty, physical and emotional change, complicates the picture.
We look back to see where it came from to try and look forward to sidestep any potential provocations.

Sometimes the regression is fleeting, in the flicker in the eye or change in expression we see the frightened/angry/desperate infant for a second. Sometimes we go back to the chaos of thought and feeling for a day or a week.
It can be banished by a distraction, words or comfort, sometimes it can’t.
It is the testing of hope, like a shadow that looms and subdues the light.
Warned though we were of its inevitability it still comes as a shock, a disappointment.

Though I’m not sure what the goal is but sometimes it seems unreachable with the threat of regression underfoot

It’s not all bleak, we’ve had our ladders. We’ve expected the worst and seen the best. We’ve been left agog at self-awareness and insight.

A two-rung ladder outweighs a myriad of snakes.
Hope is a potent thing, so we roll the dice every morning.

Saturday 13 September 2014

What is understood need not be discussed

Before I start I apologise for the cryptic nature of this blog, feel free to be unimpressed

I appear to have three types of people in my life.

Type A - Those who don't understand, prefer not to understand and will never understand, sometimes they appear to understand but if you scratch around you discover that it is a facade.

Type B - Those who understand after it is explained it to them, though I may have to re explain it to them every time I meet them.

Type C - Those who understand.

Understand what? I guess is the immediate thought. Perhaps how you answer that question classifies you.

You could substitute the phrase "get it" for "understand", but that may not help.

Now I hope you don't find me disingenuous. There are a myriad of reasons for where you fall into my types and it is no judgement or reflection on you. It is just where I find you.

The profession or the experience of the person does not correlate to their Type. We've known post adoption workers and Social Workers who sat happily, disturbingly happy if I'm being honest, in Type A. But I've met people with no experience of adoption or children who instinctively fall into Type C.

So, what's my point.
Well, I think I'm trying to say thank you to good friends who just get it, the likes of @colourcarwen & @2outof3 and the rest of the twitter verse. Family, colleagues and friends, not a long list but a significant one. Often they just listen.

They get it, they don't have to ask, they don't need explanation. They just nod and don't feel the need to offer home spun "time is a great healer" fortune cookie wisdom. For that I'm grateful.

American surrealist Loren Adams said 'What is understood need not be discussed'.
I don't know what he's talking about but I know what I'm talking about.

If you do too then I'm sure all of this made sense.

Friday 5 September 2014

The 'F' word.

Recently I’ve noticed the increased used of the term ‘Forced’ adoption. I can’t tell if becoming more aware of it or it is a term that is sliding increasingly into popular use.
If I’m honest the term strikes a chill in my heart. In fact I’ve not been able to bring myself to read an article in this months Professional Social Work magazine with ‘forced adoption’ in the headline.

I have to ask myself what am I afraid of?

I guess the term conjures up the worst of images, children snatched from crying mothers by heartless autocratic Social Workers and given to adopters, oblivious and irrespective of the devastation left behind. Tragic historical cases that surface again and again, shaming the authorities responsible.
When the term is used for contemporary that's when my blood turns cold. 

Though I’m young in my Social Work career I’ve seen enough to know injustices happen, cases slip, Social Workers drop the ball, lies are told and courts are not always places of justice. It seems that the media would sometimes have us believe that there are more injustice than not. However, I know that is not the case but one unjust 'forced' adoption is enough. 

The voices of the adopters are never heard in the in the articles or programmes. But I can’t help but think of them.
As adopters the unwritten or unspoken contract that we enter into is that this is in the best interests of the child or children we call ours. 
That everything was done to ensure that the children could not remain with their family of origin. Every stone turned every door pushed and every corner looked into

We have to believe that.

For my children I know their story and journey and I rest assured that we were the best route possible for them but I can't help but feel a chill when I hear the F word.