Saturday, 18 November 2017

Adoption & Fostering Podcast - Episode 29 Jennifer Jones MBE & Suddenly Mummy

This week we spoke to Jenny Jones and Suddenly Mummy about moving from adopters to working in the adoption world. Actually, that was the plan and it kind of went a little askew and spiralled into other issues and topic including mountains, affecting change and representation.



Al made Scott talk about the Adoption UK conference and in a bizzare twist Al insulted Scott and he fell out of the podcast and was lost in the internet for a few minutes until he found himself again by sending a text to Al.
As always banter and thought turned into podcasting shenannegans.



You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here
or on the Podbean site here


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Core

It's the end of the busiest year that I've ever had and following National Adoption Week I put my brain in neutral to try to get some space while I crack on with life.

When my mind is idling I find ideas bubble up for blogs and posts but I've been resolute and steered clear of some of the big questions that surface.

However, I can't seem to get away from this idea that we need a universal adoption support service that really meets the needs of adopted children.

This is not a criticism of the Adoption Support Fund, if anything that is an attempt by government to provide for our children because some LAs are not. Of course, the good ones always have supported children and families and had a good core service. They have used the ASF wonderfully but there are other LAs that have never done so well and they have struggled to utilise or facilitate the ASF.

The ASF is not perfect and I could list the failings, I'm many things but I'm not an apologist for the Department for Education but on balance I'd argue that it's done much more good than harm.

My gripe is the core service offer of post adoption teams, I want local authorities and the Regional Adoption Agencies, when they come, to provide a good core service.

Recent reports have again highlighted the vulnerabilities and challenges of adoptees and adopters. It's like lots of research, bleeding obvious to anyone who's spent more than ten minutes looking at the issues.  It's beyond doubt that the cohort of adoptees within a UK context are amongst the most vulnerable in our society. In context of all UK children they're a small group but in relation to Adverse Childhood Experiences they punch way above their weight. The children who are adopted today have had to have had the worst of life to reach the threshold for adoption.

So, if you're going to have an adoption service then tool it up to do the job not just assess, match and out the door. Because we will come back and like it or loath it adopters can be pretty fearsome advocates and lobbyists.

Quietly I've been disgruntled, I see courses being offered in this and that giving support to families, interventions and programmes designed to take the ASF money but I can't help but feel they should be part of the core service of PAS teams. Child on Parent Violence affects up to 30% of adopters it's prevalence justifies support being part of the PAS core service. Challenges with school impact a huge proportion of adopted children they support needs to be part of the core service. Therapeutic parenting programmes, again should be build into the core services. Some families need ongoing professional supervision, a safe space not a stolen minute with the child's therapist on the way into a meeting. Supervision would be an excellent addition to this core service. I could go on, filial therapy, play therapy etc. All of them should be core services not money making schemes.

I read a tweet* from  @RealSWTutor this week that provoked me to stop and think a little differently. It was about something else but but paraphrased it turned to this in my head.

'Adoption isn't a hurdle that must be overcome but a trauma that must be supported'

Overstated? Yes, for some but not all.

I hope to see that one day we will move away from 'interventions' to support that's ongoing and enduring.  That the core services will be fit for purpose, a purpose that many of understand saves money and in a funding environment where we expect more for less this core service is an investment.


No punchlines I'm afraid just living in hope.




*'[S]ocial workers will struggle to gain trust within a system that sees domestic abuse as a hurdle that mothers must overcome, rather than a trauma through which they should be supported.' Highly recommended reading: https://academic.oup.com/bjsw/article-abstract/doi/10.1093/bjsw/bcx125/4616221?redirectedFrom=fulltext




Monday, 13 November 2017

A Guest Blog: Sibling Contact

By an anonymous adopter

I need to get this out of my system, but I am doing it anonymously, as there are so many risks involved with sharing this, but so much information that may help others in the community.

We have been a family brought together by adoption for over 10 years. There are a few of us in the family, however, it always struck me that given we read our children’s CPRs and all the other information we receive, if we are lucky enough to receive it all, there are extended family who naturally become our family.

My children’s siblings are always a part of my life, they are family too.
Over the weekend we were lucky enough, after three years of trying, to meet the now adult siblings of our children. A surprise message out of the blue 3 years ago instigated this meeting. It has taken us all this length of time to be able to feel able to do it. Our children were not involved. You may think that cruel, but right now they are not read for it, and they may never be.
We met in a train station coffee shop – we felt that it needed to be somewhere that we could all feel as comfortable as possible in – as we all knew that the anxiety for us all would be immense.
I hugged sister – I was not sure how it would go, but she hugged me back. I got emotional but kept it together.

We bought coffees and we began to chat. There were no awkward moments…. It flowed.


Our first lesson: We knew all about them…. They knew nothing about us – NOTHING. They lived for the first few years not knowing what had happened to their siblings. No one had told them they had been placed for adoption. Youngest was removed from a holiday he was on – and that was the last she saw of him.

Our second lesson: Appreciation that they had been adopted. Despite the first few years of their not knowing, they have learnt enough about our children to know that they have been well looked after, and cared for, attempting to repair the damage that they have all experienced. They acknowledged that the trauma will have been more intense for our children as they had differing placements and the worst experience of our care system you can imagine.

Our third lesson: If only we knew then what we knew now… Yes, contact is a scary thing…. And it would have needed careful planning, facilitating and reviewing… but had I known that these siblings sat not knowing, not knowing where they were, who they were with, were we monsters, were we cruel, did we love them – that could have been easily remedied.

Their first lesson: Their siblings have been loved and cared for… to see the relief on their faces was worth every single minute of over ten years.

Their second lesson: Their siblings have very similar issues with attachment, trust, anger to them.

Their third lesson: Never assume adoption is always a bad thing. Family and friends had been rather critical of adoption….. as you would expect, and that was the siblings impression as a result. They see the difference it has made.

I did cry… I felt so patronising and insulting to these two brave souls in front of me, who had been through just as much in their childhood as my children – and I was the one crying. To be told that they are grateful that their siblings have such fantastic parents blew me away. I sniffed, sister held my hand, and I gave myself a good talking to – this was not about me.

We spent three hours together, and we have so much in common. We will meet them again, and that was a mutual decision by us all. We feel they are more a part of our family now than ever.
Their decision to share what their message will be when they do all eventually meet was upsetting, and I leave you with some of it:
“If you are expecting to meet our parents and for them to be the parents you hope for, then don’t – you will be very very disappointed.”

Thank you for reading.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Skies

Writing blogs is sometimes really easy, I just splurge all my thinking into words and lay them all out on the page. I then pause read through and then edit them into something that makes sense. I try to find the thing that matters right then. There are other times I spend days and days trying to make sense of something before I chisel it into words, they are hard blogs to write and I'm sure they're the ones that are hard to read. I've been blogging for four years solid and I've still no idea what makes a good or bad blog. I try to go with honest, that seems to work.



Writing this week I thought I was heading in one direction just letting it all out. I was looking one way but my words were going another. I was trying to be clever and ponder some insight or some such nonsense when underneath there was this feeling that's been lurking in me. It's been tightening around my insides.

It's a remembered feeling hung on grey skies, cold nights and the growing darkness as we creep to the shortest day. It's echoes of sharp words new every day laid on top of a thousand days of sharp words.

It's November and every day we're drawing close to the anniversary of the day last November when we unravelled.

Today, I bumped into a friend of a friend who'd come to the police station with me on that cold November day. Today, it took my breath from me to see him again, my heart raced and I left quickly.

It's coming to the time I make a  Christmas Cake and decorated it with a cynical anti Christmas motto. Last year I baked it the day we fell apart and I never got to decorate it. I love Christmas cake I never want to taste one again.

I'm seeing the friend who broke the news to me last year soon. I don't want to see him.

The usual features of my Autumn landscape all seem infected with a nervous illogical tension pulling me back to those days last November. I'm straining to get beyond to the spring with memories of hope and change.

Trauma begets trauma and I wonder if my child feels like this every day with feelings and emotions linked to the mundane pillars of every day life. Unknowing she lives under these skies.
Trauma does beget Trauma and it seems I live under these dark skies this November.

I started this post in one place and ended in tears, now there's a metaphor.


Sunday, 5 November 2017

Adoption & Fostering Podcast Ep 28 - #NAAM, the Voices of Adoptees and an interview with Ms Coates

In this episode we talk about the voices of adoptees in the context of #NationalAdoptionAwarenessMonth. It's a subject that raises a raft of questions in relation to the differing cultures, systems and contexts that adoption inhabits and how we listen to each other. As adoptees we question if we can ever even know our children's perspectives.



To that end we also have a short interview with my Daughter and she shares a few thoughts and experiences.


You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here
or on the Podbean site here
If you're feeling kind a cheeky review would always be appreciated on either site. 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Voices

Last week I put out a tweet inviting adoptees onto the Podcast, I was surprised by the response, lots of adopters retweeted it. That made me think.

I'd put the tweet out after no. 2 daughter told told me a story, I thought it was interesting and in a moment of calm I asked if she'd let me record her telling the incident for the podcast. She was up for that so we did. I've always been nervous of using my children as currency for what I do but she knows that and we talked it through.

Other than the fake trial we had in 2003 over a contested misdemeanour I'd never formally interviewed my children. Clearly, it's not normal to do so. As I sat with my daughter and recorded a mini interview something strange happened. A window into her world was opened in a way like never before. She talked freely about her some of her inner thoughts. It was only a brief chat and she told her story and I turned the recorder off. But once it was off we kept talking. It was an open and easy conversation, it was a window into a world, to my shame, I'd not been party to.


Of course we can wonder how well any parent knows their child, adoption adds complexity to the complicated in spades. What filters do our children negotiate and introduce to make sense of their world and stories and to help others make sense of their world and stories? Lots to ponder and sift.

So, I thought I'd send out the tweet an offer to adoptees to share their thoughts and their stories if they wanted.

A few adoptees contacted me curious about my request and thoughtful about sharing. Its a big step and I see that.

I'm mindful that as an adopter, like all adopters, I have always had choice. To adopt or not. To take those children or not. To tell my story or not. We are the only participants in this process that have ever had a choice*.

Adoptees had no choice they had no voice.

What would my children have really chosen, what did they really think, what do they really think now. Experience, loyalty, history, duty, sensitivity, love and a myriad of other influences impact on adoptees stories. They don't have to tell their stories or share their thoughts but if they want to then I want to listen if they want me to. Stories, thoughts and opinions regardless of how palatable they may or may not be I want to listen. They may speak of different cultures, practice and times but there's value in it all.

I was surprised by the times my request was retweeted but encouraged that I wasn't alone that many others want to hear the voices of those that had no voice.








*In the UK relinquished babies make up less than 1% of adoptions.










Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Podcast Special - Adoption Sunday (Home for Good)

On this special episode Al talks to Phil Green from Home for Good about the work that they do in the UK with local churches supporting and promoting adoption and fostering. It's Adoption Sunday on the 5th November and many UK churches will be highlighting the work that many families and individuals do to support some of the most vulnerable children in our society.

Of course it may not be your cup of tea so feel free to skip it as the next podcast episode is due on Saturday the 4th.



We discuss a range of issues including the challenges that many foster carers and adoters feel within church communities, motiviations to foster and adopt, social work perceptions, future plans and lots of other stuff. 
If you would like to know more about the work that they do and how to access the support that they offer you can head to their website at 


You can also find them on twitter 

@home4Gd

As always your comments and thoughts are welcome.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Noise

There continues to be so much to say about so many things. I'm caught in this murky ground between national debate and lived life. Pondering the impacts of culture on contemporary perceptions of adoption, or some such twaddle while trying to find dinner money while negotiating fraught children out of the door to get to school on time to avoid the walk of shame. Some days I feel I could write and write just to try and make sense of it all. The big thoughts are refusing to be caught this week and I'm caught in the small moments of our lives. After National Adoption Week I need a break from the big thoughts away from the noise. We have a lot of noise around here.



The silence was enveloping. We sat and carried on as normal Flossy listening to some mind rot Capital FW music on headphones, Peanut was felt tipping,  is that even a verb, The GoodMrsC was pottering and I was Tweeting. 

There was a new presence in the kitchen. I confess it took me a while to notice, I looked up and saw that the GoodMrsC was coming to the same revelation of this new thing. Even the dogs seemed unsure. 

'Quiet isn't it' we said together. 

Lotty wasn't here. Lotty, the human wall of sound was away for the weekend at some activity centre or some such, being fired from a cannon no doubt. 

Since she left eery and unfamiliar silence had descended onto Coates Acres.

Lotty came into our lives in January of 2006 and it's never been quiet since. She wailed quite a lot. Her first word was dad and she's used it at full volume ever since. When she was little I was known to wear ear defenders around the house, if I didn't my internal monologue had to shout to be heard. 

Her talking is like shouting. If you're holding a conversation in the same room as her you slip into shouting so that you can be heard. We all start shouting and we're not even angry yet. 

She doesn't have to be talking, she is noise. Like a human amplifier, she's stick thin but bangs an clatters around the house like she's wearing diving boots, she doesn't shut doors she slams them like every one of them has given her a personal insult. If she's nervous she wails, kind of musically, but wailing none the less. She turns the telly up so loud so she can hear it above the sound of her own noise. 

If she's happy she shouts. When she's cross she she's very very loud. She talks in her sleep. She never shuts up.

It's exhausting and debilitating, it sets your nerves on edge and creates anxiety in your heart. A friend and his partner came to visit us, they were thinking of adopting. When the children had finally gone to bed he looked at me like a man who'd been assaulted and all he could say was 'the noise, the noise'. Yeah, welcome to my world. 

I'd like to say that we grew bored of the peace this weekend and how we missed Lotty. Not likely, it was lovely and we talked and savoured the glorious silence between our words. 

She returned and shouted her exploits at us,  I do love her. 


Friday, 20 October 2017

Episode 27 - The First Year Anniversary Edition

Its a year since we started the podcast and look how far we've come, or fallen, depending on your perspective. It seems like an opportune moment to reflect on the last years but we were mainly distracted by bickering. 


Al tells a dull, and irrelevent,  story about annual appraisals. We ponder our year, the unexpected outcomes and who a dream guest would be for the future. We disagree over #NationalAdoptionWeek and unpick some past activites and future hopes in relation to #CPV. 


A veritble all you can eat buffet of banter, prattle, incisive thought and insight.
Thanks for the year and all the listening.  

You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here
or on the Podbean site here
If you're feeling kind a cheeky review would always be appreciated on either site. 

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Social Work and Adoption Pt:1

I’ve always felt that social work is like housework, when it’s being done well and someone’s on top of it you don’t really see it, when it’s less than adequate and not kept on top of it quickly becomes apparent.

An over simplistic metaphor perhaps but I’ve had 19 social workers enter into our lives and carry out work during the last 19 years. I feel I can speak with authority on what is good, what is less so and what are the impacts on my family and children. 

On the whole we've had very good experiences of social workers.  It's been suggested that I don't like social workers, it's not true. I've had social workers go to bat for me in some of the most challenging circumstances possible and I owe them my family. We've also had less than ideal and, in an air of honesty, some pretty shocking experiences. The overwhelming majority has been good,  I've wept with social workers who cast aside stuffy professionalism and wept too. They were human, reachable, bothered and caring. I do like social workers.



This post is about adoption and social work but I won't attempt to synthesis the experience and voice of all adopters into one post so I'll just speak for me.

My experience of interacting with social workers has been one of constant transition. As I've moved from interested to prospective to applicant to approved to placed to post order to struggling my relationship with social workers has altered. It went from a very cordial and warm interaction where with hindsight I see that I was a commodity to a being a 'service user', a term that I personally dislike. I dislike for a whole host of reasons, when I hear it I want to shout;

'I'm a man, not a number', at the top of my voice while shaking my fist at the sky.

Anyway, I'm off point,  I think that adopters can present as a unique challenge, without drawing on stereotypes we're predominantly well educated, white, empowered and able, we're in control of our lives. We're willing participants in the adoption process so we give control to social workers, the gate keepers,  as a trade off for the promise of children. We tolerate the process, and if that process goes wrong we speak to our MPs, engage the complaints procedure and the ombudsman, we know what to do and of course we can always walk away. However, I do think that some adopters can be uniquely vulnerable in their focus to adopt. Perhaps thats not wholly true but I'm aware that this drive can blind  to the challenges or realities, did it for me? I think it did in the first instance if I'm being honest.

I'm trying to keep on track, so then there's a shift in that relationship with our social worker again, we get approved and sooner or later we get what we asked for, usually, children.

A whole new challenge befalls us, for a good percentage this fine and manageable but judging by the anticipated 10,0000 applications to the adoption support fund this year challenges manifest. By adopting some of us have placed ourselves in a position that we are not used to and we're no longer willing participants in the world of social care and social workers. We need help, access to services, assessments and support. We may have great relationships with our social workers, or less so, but we have no choice and that is the kicker. Our autonomy and control are taken and we are reliant on a professional perhaps in a way that we've never been before. It's a unique and scary position to be in. The power dynamic shift and in another world at a different time we'd feel able and empowered to complain and stand up for what is right or wrong we now may or may not feel able to. That perhaps in complaining we will jeopardise the support that we'll receive. Now that's a tricky position to be in it's a little scary.

Also,  for a significant number of families there's a dawning reality that our lives will be like open books long after the adoption order. We'll be telling and retelling our stories, struggles and challenges to professionals for the years to come. That is in of itself a challenge. How do organisations hold the knowledge of our stories beyond dry case notes, how is that passed between social workers. Gaps in case notes can be critical. Adopters need to be prepared to accept the reality of this new life, adoption social workers need to consider how to build long term enduring and positive relationships with families. The adoption model is based the model of fixing problems and moving on, perhaps they need to learn something from children's disability teams of ongoing partnership and open doors. Some of my children have now had social care involvement for over a decade, in reality that's my involvement. It's altered our world view, our politics, our engagement with national policy development. I'm not the 26 year old draughtsman who sat and spoke politely to a social worker who came to chat to us about adoption and what that really means and if we'd be interested. I don't buy special biscuits for social workers now, they get offered whatever biscuits I can find after the kids have pillaged the budget family pack I was hiding.

All of that feels like a preamble, undeveloped and bitty so I apologise. Lets call it Part 1.






Thursday, 12 October 2017

Too Tight

We're on the cusp of National Adoption Week and, as usual, it is a flashpoint for a whole range of views from gushing joy to seething anger. All justified, all right, all appropriate responses to the complexity, injustice, loss, wonder, beauty,  marvellous and magical thing that adoption is and can be.
Lots of my adopter and social worker friends feel the same, basically it's complicated and #NAW17 brings that into focus.

I want to write it all out but it would be a mind vomit of the worst order, I don't want to be a neigh sayer or a cheerleader but here's some meandering through the middle.

Lately I've been getting a total rush when Peanut puts her hand in mine, it seems like that simple action sums up everything I wanted from parenting. These are the few years where my hand is a safe place, not inhibited by self aware coolness, worries about who will see or a developing self confidence and independence. We hold hands and run pretending that the wind is blowing us to school, she giggles and I laugh. We do it again and again. It's always fun. 
It passes, I've seen it come and go five times before with the older kids, so I'm savouring it this time. 
A little girl and her daddy being silly and adoption is working.


My social work has let me see behind the adoption curtain. I've witnessed enough to understand that it's not about right or wrong, it's often complex interactions between systems, budgets, mental health, circumstance, right and wrong. I don't work in adoption for good reason but sometimes it comes into my peripheral vision. When it does I don't always like what I see, sometimes I do. Sometimes I get angry. Sometimes I feel sick.

I met an adoption social worker recently who described how at the end of some hard days she goes home and holds her son tight and won't let go until he eventually asks 'have you had a hard day mum?'. She laughed as we spoke. It's not really funny her son's twenty five.

So, there's the two positions the unabashed good and the shameful bad. I can't see one without the other and I try to hold them both in balance. I'm conscious that I'm the winner in this adoption game.

Some days I go home and I hug Peanut. 

'Too tight, too tight', she says. 

I am holding Peanut tight,  I let go when she says 'too tight'.

'Do it again' she says. So I do. 

We both like this game.
Sometimes I remember that she was and is someone else daughter sometimes I don't.

As I say it's complicated but I can live with that. 









Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Adoption Leadership Board - Up to the Big House

Just a quick post to update on the Adoption Leadership Board(ALB) meeting that I was privileged to attend today. It's the culmination of a little tinkering of the consultation process that the DfE has undertaken following consultation with interested parties.

An Adopter Reference Group (ARG) has been formed out of what was the Adoption Service User Group all facilitated by Adopter Voice. The ARG has been asked to have a more informed input into the ALB and to facilitate that they get pre warning of the upcoming agenda and asked to comment and reflect on it. That is then taken to the next ALB by one of the adopters on the ARG. Today that was me.

Of course the contents of the meeting is tricky to report back, some of it is all ideas and tinkering with the machinery of reporting, accountability and systems. Much of which is complex and a work in progress, it's hard to comment on due to the nature of the discussions and confidentiality.

Adopters views were expressed in relation to the Fair Access limit on the Adoption Support Fund, (there are a lot of views). Thoughts on recruitment and wider issues were shared and the ongoing challenges that many families face with education were raised. That's all well and good and a little bit vague and sycophantic, sorry.


Here's what I can tell you. Adopters have a seat at the top table.

Sitting in that room with a range of professionals, heads of this and leaders of that was the genuine sense of passionate individuals that wanted to see the needs of children best served. How we do that is debatable and there are often varying opinions as to how to achieve that but wasn't it ever so. I was also aware that among those professionals there were adults with intimate connections to adoption and fostering from different sides, this may be their job but it's also their passion. No names.

What do I take away from this meeting? 
Adopters are the primary advocates for our children and we've been given the opportunity to influence and speak into policy and practice at the highest level. Challenges remain but the work of getting adopters into that room has been completed. 

We now face our own challenges as we now consider how we synthesise our spectrum of views to inform those that are listening. Not easy and of course we will never please everyone. 


Friday, 6 October 2017

Adoption & Fostering Podcast Ep 26 - Delyth Evans

This week we've an interview with Delyth Evans the Service Manager at the Centre for Adoption Support based in the North West. Delyth won the National Adoption Awards Adoption Support Worker of the year in 2016 and talks abou the approach that The Centre for Adoption Support have in relaiton to supporting families that live with challenging and violent behaviour. 

Here's the link to Centre for Adoption Support 

As always Scott and Al intro the podcast.

 


I hope you find it useful and if anything has helped or you'd like to know more then please get in touch through 
twitter or leave a comment. 




You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here
or on the Podbean site here


If you're feeling kind a cheeky review would always be appreciated on either site. 

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Questions & Answers #NAW17

In raising our concerns, highlighting our struggles, developing our knowledge of the impacts of trauma, loss and separation to better serve our adopted children are we in fact killing adoption one convert to our message at a time.

October rolls around again and National Adoption Week creeps into my calendar, faces of happy adopters and lovable ragamuffins looking for a mum and dad appear in the media.
I’m pausing as I write, the temptation is to fall words about truth and lies in recruitment but that’s an easy cynicism that has no nuance. I don’t believe that there’s a conspiracy or a covering of the realities but how I feel about the push to recruit adopters is complicated. Adoption is the best thing I’ve ever done, of course I’d do it differently, that’s hindsight for you, but would I recommend it? Erm……….. it’s complicated.



Of course, I understand that National Adoption Week is a recruitment drive. I don’t think that it’s being duplicitous when it shows the pictures and tells the good news stories. I don’t think that it’s a sinister plot marketing plot. #NAW17 is the same as it’s always been it’s about supply and demand. Yes, that is perhaps a crude phrase to use in relation to children. However, it’s the reality and an ever constant concern for many policy makers and those charged with keeping the system running. Too many children that are in need of permanent homes and too few prospective adopters.

With the figures of children waiting for adoption remaining static and the number of prospective adopters falling then questions are being asked how do we arrest this trend. A lot of money has been thrown at the problem but the trend is set in. What are the underlying causes? I’m no sociologist but I’m sure the answers are complicated.

As a community of adoptive parents we’ve had a frenetic year raising the profile of some of the difficulties that many of us face as we seek support for our children. The list of challenges makes for dire reading; school systems, family understanding, health services, mental health services, challenging behaviour, aggression and violence, challenges with access to service and poor understanding. This year I feel we’ve seen a tide change, my perspective may not be right and I know that many, if not all, still face significant challenges. I feel people are starting to listen but I’m under no illusion that there’s a long way to go.   Adoption is not all bad, far from it, AUK’s survey highlighted that most adopters would do it again, as I said it’s the best, and most difficult, thing I’ve ever done. I love them.
However, I’m not sure what prospective adopters are hearing or reading, perhaps prospective is to strong a word. People don’t see an advert and make a U turn in their life, run to the nearest prep group and sign on the dotted line. The idea grows over years, is influenced by experience, knowledge,  culture, media and circumstance and then is perhaps realised in National Adoption Week when all the moments up to then align.

However, the narrative is changing. Is adoption, once held so dear, not seen as the gold standard any longer? Media raises the spectre of misuses, abuses and injustice through the likes of Long Lost Families and revelatory documentaries. If you search the internet the adoption community has filled it to overflowing with blogs, twitter threads and Facebook pages brimming with the ‘reality’ of adopted life. Adoptees tell their stories, adopters tell theirs and birth families theirs. By the very nature of people, we rarely rush to our phones and laptops to tell our good stories or our normal days but we share our worries and struggles. Even our #Glomos are small and sometimes only reflect a lack of challenge and conflict rather than achievement as measured by the wider parenting world.

Can #NAW17 compete with this tide of information, freely available, at the fingertips of the curious and the potential? I don’t know. Are we, adopters, unintentionally casting a fatal shadow over adoption as we know it? Is that a bad thing?


As always National Adoption Week leaves me with more questions than answers.