Friday 16 September 2016

Adoption Breakdown

I was brought over all funny by the Post Adoption Support Fund Survey that came through the post. I knew it was coming and I've answered enough of this type of Strengths and Difficulties forms over the years so I'm a dab hand at it all by now.

I have to take a deep breadth as I usually have an existential crisis over the nuances and philosophical differences between 'agree' and 'strongly agree'. I can get a little Fawlty Dad over the issue but I try to be a grown up.

Anyway, I was rattling through the form and passed the tricky bit and was into the final section.

On a scale of 1 to 10 

Do you find it difficult to care for you child then? 

Followed by........

Do you feel your child responds to you attempts to help them?


Do you feel there's a risk of your adoption breaking down?

That question just stopped me in my tracks, like a slap. All the others I had to think about and then give a considered answer, weighing up the evidence and analysing the facts.
All the others questions I was prepared to give some headspace too, not that one though.

I was really shocked, then I was surprised at being shocked. I know adoptions breakdown happens but it is a taboo and we're not meant to talk about taboos. It seemed odd to see it written down I felt a little offended that I'd even been asked.

'Adoption breaking down'

A simple phrase that encapsulates a cataclysmic and prolonged disaster in a families lives. I can't imagine the events, circumstances that lead to it. The stats say about 3% of adoptions breakdown but up to a third struggle. I'm not sure about what struggle means, we struggle but the leap from struggle to breakdown is a big one. Also, having I've had a daughter move out before 18. That was surrounded by difficult circumstances but in no way was it an adoption breakdown. I have unending empathy for those that have experienced a breakdown.

I'm not happy with the phrase it's a big blunt phrase that encapsulates a whole range of circumstance, systemic and personal failings, heartbreak and broken dreams. I'm really searching this week to make sense of what point I'm trying to make, I'm not even sure that I've got a point. I'm just dancing around this phrase and event that some families experience. The feeling that I got lingers and I'm not sure why.

Anyway, I just put a 'one', I have no idea what the future holds.


  1. I like what you've written here Al. I think you've captured the awful dilemma a lot of adopters feel regarding questions like this. How do you answer these types of questions realistically while also maintaining hope and loyalty? To answer anything more than '1' might feel like tempting fate. I wonder if it's rather similar to prenuptial agreements: no one wants to think about this while planning a wedding and yet, the statistics regarding divorce are there. I think best see these questions instead as catching the adopters who are moving towards despair, which happily it would seem you are not by your sheer ambivalence about wanting to answer. Hope this makes sense!

    1. Hi,sorry it took so long to reply! I do get what you're saying and agree. It's an question that is so loaded and fraught that to even contemplate and as you say disloyal that we just pass by. Some conversations emerged from the post and it was interesting to see people's perspectives on a sensitive issue.

  2. If only it were as simple as guessing on a scale of 1 to 10...

    1. Crikey, yes. They factors that come together to influence such things make it a truly difficult sum.