Saturday, 24 August 2019

The A&F Podcast Episode 69 - An Interview with Brigid Featherstone

In what is a summer episode we speak to Professor Brigid Featherstone regarding her recent co authored academic paper in the Journal of Child and Family Social Work, On hope, loss, anger and the spaces in between: Reflections on living with/in adoption and the role of the social workerThis builds on the earlier enquiry commissioned by BASW The role of the social worker in adoption – ethics and human rights: An Enquiry. 

We discuss a range of issues including safe spaces for discussion, information sharing, lives at risk, the negative impact of timescales and the voice of children. If you'd like to connect to Brigid through twitter and follow her you can here and she may be able to give access to the new report.
There's limited infobanter as we're enjoying our hols.

Saturday, 17 August 2019

The A&F Podcast: Adoptee Conversations - Black Sheep

In this episode Black Sheep (a name that will be explained) describes her uncommon experience of being an adoptee who goes on to adopt. Black sheep, as a black child was a adopted into a white family and she discussed a wide range of issues that she faced growing up as well as she went on to reunion with many of her immediate birth family members. The conversation then moves on to her decision to adopt and the challenges thereafter.

We hope you find it interesting and if you’re an adoptee and would like to share your perspective or experience then please do direct message us at our twitter feed hereor on our facebook page here.

Saturday, 10 August 2019

The A&F Podcast Episode 68 - An Interview with Andrew Christie

In this episode Al has an interview with Andrew Christie the Chair of the Adoption & Special Guardian Leadership Board.

We ask some listener's questions in relation to the measuring of the number of children returning to care from adoptive homes, international concerns, social worker retention, RAAs and more. He also considers collating data on children returning to care from adoptive homes and also transracial adoption placements, with the UK having no data on either of theses issues currently.  During the interview Andrew explains his hopes for involvement of UK adoptees in consulting and contributing to the Leadership Board's work.

To that end here is the email address that he's provided for those that would be interested in participating in that speciific consultation to let the board know through the email address below.

As always there's a little infobanter from them lads and Scott becomes quite animated.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

The A&F Podcast: Adoptee Conversations - Dawn

Hello & welcome to Adoptee Conversations from the adoption and fostering podcast.
In this episode, Al chats to Dawn an adult adoptee and she shares her experience of being adopted in the late 1960s.

Dawn describes her strength of feeling about adoption from a young age, her decision to seek out her brith parents and how adoption had impacted her and her family throughout her life.

We hope you find it interesting and if you’re an adoptee and would like to share your perspective or experience then please do direct message us at our twitter feed here or on our facebook page here.

Friday, 2 August 2019


Have you ever held your breath?

There's a moment when your mind and body come into conflict. Your body starts to demand action and only your willpower keeps you on your designated course. The tension between the two becomes more acute with every passing second, how long can you go on knowing that you're not yet in danger but every passing second brings you closer and it's will power that keeps you fighting the inevitable.

It's a very odd feeling.  

Perhaps that's all overstatement to then compare it to parenting or caring for children who are at times violent of aggressive. Anyway, I read a twitter thread recently, an adopter spoke in the briefest of terms about an incident that led to a child re entering the care system. The voices that replied ranged from the empathic emoji to the self righteous indignation that they would never do such a thing. I didn't comment as I'm not sure that helps anymore. I wondered what the story was, likely too complex to ever tweet about or condense into a blog.  I wondered about the beginning and middle and end of that journey from hopeful adopter to desperate parent. What happened at that moment when a call is made that starts that process of re entering care.

The heartbreak of all concerned and the complicated murky 'grey' emotions and impacts on the children, families and communities.

It's a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the social care system. Regardless of the quality of the professionals, the smooth running of the bureaucratic machine or the outcome, positive or negative,  it's an awful awful thing. Of this I think everyone can agree, for years we've danced with the system actually at times it's been less of a dance and more of a shin kicking competition. 

Increasingly I meet families that are caught in that place, holding their breath and 'dancing' with the system. They keep going knowing that inevitable harm is coming and occurring but employing steely willpower to keep going regardless. Some go longer than others and endure more harm than they should, other's make pragmatic decisions to keep other children and themselves safe  act earlier and live in the 'what ifs'.

I watch on and think through our story, my story, the bigger story.

This is not an isolated one off or an exception it's becoming increasingly part of the adoption narrative.  Adoption UK's latest survey highlighted 65% of families living with violence and aggression. For some it comes and goes, that's a complicated picture around support and intervention, what helps and what doesn't. For some families it comes and stays until there are no options left, til they can hold their will against the challenges and protect households no more.

Like in the tweet, sometimes children can't live in their homes.

Children returning to care is talked of but the numbers remain unclear, councils are meant to complete returns that would include it but they don't or it's not reported. Is it 1% of adoptions or 5%? we don't know, regardless, bringing it into the light only highlights more challenges that adoption faces as a model of permanence.

If we bring it into the light do we put more people off choosing adoption? If that's the case, so be it.

The Disneyesque adoption narrative needs killing off once and for all.