Sunday 13 March 2016

The Big Adoption Day

The Big Adoption Day finds itself arriving in the middle of a slightly confused or uncertain adoption landscape. At least it's confused and uncertain in my mind.

Talking to an experienced Social Work practitioner then noted that they've never know a time such as this in relation to adoption. I agree, the tranquil and steady backwater that used to be adoption policy and practice is either dried up to a trickling stream or raging torrent depending on the opinions that you listen to.

With the number of approved adopters at an all time high and the numbers of children lower than that the obvious question is why? I'm guessing that the needs of the children don't meet or alight with the capacity of the approved adopters. Also a consequence of additional funds to approve adopters and a reduction of supply of children. I know of local authorities with 40+ waiting adopters and voluntary agencies with 10+. I watch threads on social media with adoptive parents consoling waiting adopters, 'hang in there hun, we waited 2 years'. 2 years!
Do we need more adopters right now? Probably, but we need the right mix of adopters able to parent the children waiting.
Things are not what they were.

In this river  'easily matched' children bob quickly downstream to be collected by the abundance of adopters waiting for their blue eyed blond haired cherubs. It's the other children those caught in the doldrums and eddies, sibling groups those with uncertain physical, mental and emotional health needs that are struggling to get downstream. We need a different kind of adopter for those children, I'm trying to calibrate my thoughts to make adoption about children as for so long it's been about adopters. That sound obvious but not always so clear.
Things are not what they were.

The needs of the children are paramount and CAFCASS are reporting care applications increasing, that does not necessarily translate to more adoptions, the Judge's job is to judge not meet the needs of adopters or yield to the ideology of politicians.
Things are not what they were.

Regionalisation of adoption is marching ahead at a pace. How will that impact on Local Authorities or voluntary agencies? There's certainly a few rapids ahead for employees of the adoption industry, adoption used to be the safest job in Social Work.
Things are not what they were.

So in the midst of all of that we've got the Big Adoption Day. We need adopters as the river always flows but for those going to events and asking questions I'm not sure what answers can be given. I see the adverts for events but I see a limited or no reflection of where we're at and worry that we're forging ahead regardless in the hope that it all settles back to what it was in the good old days. The good old days are gone but I'm not sure the good old days were ever here for many in the adoption triangle.

The Big adoption day feels like a party that was arranged when every one was riding the crest of a wave of fun in the wake of the last kicking party.  But then as the party draws near the fun is forgotten and no one can  quite remember why the party was arranged. The invitations have been sent and the hats and decorations have been bought but the enthusiasm has waned and we reluctantly agree to continue.

We live in strange times.

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