To cut a long story short I was invited to be a part of the Department of Educations Adoption Support Expert Advisory Group at the end of last year. Clearly, I need more things to do in my life but this seemed like too good an opportunity to pass. So, with a little trepidation I got myself down to that London, cycled through the city and rocked up to the Department of Education's HQ.
It was a long meeting with some of the great and good of the adoption landscape, civil servants, experts and the like. I worked hard and managed to not shame myself or the person who nominated me though it's early days and my capacity for stupidity is bordering on world class. I confess to feeling like Mr Bean as I got slightly lost on my way to the toilet in the corridors of power I broke into a minor panic anticipating Hugh Thornbury morphing into Malcolm Tucker at my ineptitude. He did not.
I'm there for no other reason than I've adopted children and appear on first glance to be able to string a few words together. I'm conscious that there are many adopters with a range of experiences. Reflecting on my position I can't help but think of the scores of adopters that find themselves in a position that they did not necessarily anticipate as they set out on their road to adoption.
We anticipated living with our children within the realms of normality, perhaps not in a little house on a prairie bubble of loveliness but at least in the spectrum of normal. We love our children, as Mrs C says every child is a gift. Some of these gifts come with shadows cast across their short lives and in need of support that stretches our knowledge and abilities.
So, we find ourselves at the mercy of the state, perhaps financially, but certainly in relation to provision of therapeutic support. Too many of us have been told their are no funds available or wait months for emergency referrals only to be told that they don't meet the threshold for services.
The Adoption Support Fund is a finite resource with its long term future yet to be clarified but it is here now and those of us who need it should grab it while we can.
Of course there are questions, uncertainties and as a new service areas for clarification and improvement but my hope is that it is symbolic of a change in government perceptions from a romanticised happy ever after 1960's model of adoption. That this will help to transform adoption into a contemporary service that is formed to meet the needs of children and adults. Where not only our right to assessment is enshrined in law but the needs identified in that assessment are met.
So, if you feel you need help call your Post Adoption Social Worker and ask them for an assessment of your family's needs and at least begin a conversation.
If you have a thought, question, query or comment then get in touch through twitter, blog or Google+. I'm not an apologist for the fund nor am I responsible for it but I endeavour to represent adopters in all their incarnations.