Saturday, 30 November 2019

Adoption & Fostering Podcast Episode 76 - Adopter Preparation

In this episode we were prompted to discuss the initial adoption preparation that is a statutory requirement in England and Wales. Its a course run over a few days normally undertaken prior to prospective adopters making an application or at the beginning of the process. We pulled together the results from a Twitter poll that we'd put up as well as some thoughts and reflections that the kind people of Twitter had posted. We draw on our experience of attending and delivering training as well as looking at the Regs.

There's the usual infobanter from Scott and Al and we hope you find it interesting and would like to get in touch with comments or suggestions then please do direct message us at our twitter feed here or on our facebook page here.

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Sunday, 24 November 2019

New Podcast: Let's Talk About.............

Hello and welcome to 'Let's Talk About' we want it to be a place for professionals, parents, carers and anyone who lives or works with children can find practical and useful advice and information. The podcast will discuss a broad range of topics that impact direct on children or those adults that have contact with them.

In these episodes we consider emotional intelligence in professional the and in the second episode build on that and consider how to begin developing emotionally resilient children in the classroom. With teachers increasingly driven by pressure to deliver curriculum, meet learning requirements and prepare for inspections and tests how do they put children's welfare at the centre of the classroom.

Thank you for listening and we hope you enjoyed it, if so please share with friends, colleagues and family. If you've got any questions or ideas for topics please DM us on our Twitter feed here or email

You can subscribe on iTunes here

Saturday, 23 November 2019

The Adoption & Fostering Podcast - Conversations: Paul Special Guardian

In this Episode we speak to Paul, with his, wife they became special guardians to two of their grandchildren. Paul shares the challenges that they've experienced coming to a point of taking the grandchildren into their care, working with professionals with limited understanding and the lack of ongoing support that they've found lacking.

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Saturday, 16 November 2019

The A&F Podcast Episode 75 - An Interview with Joanne Alper

In this episode we speak to Joanne Alper from Adoption Plus about her new book 'Supporting Birth Parents whose Children have been Adopted'. It includes a range of contributions from different professionals and considers a range of issues that are present in many adopted parents minds as they as the care for their children and young people. It reflects on some of the challenges that families faces and some effective models of intervention.

As always it's a engaging and interesting conversation on a subject that Joanne is passionate about. There's plenty to consider for professionals, parents and adopted adults.
There's the usual infobanter from Scott and Al and some thoughts on upcoming episodes.

We hope you find it interesting and would like to get in touch with comments or suggestions then please do direct message us at our twitter feed here or on our facebook page here.

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Saturday, 9 November 2019

The A&F Podcast - Adoptee Conversations - Tanya

This week we speak to Tanya, an adopted adult and adoption social worker. She shares parts of her story and her views and perspectives on different aspects of adoption and the current system.
You can read more of Tanya's story on the PAC UK website here and follow her on Twitter here.
The usual warning if you’ve any doubts get a friend to listen first.

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.

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Music by
Together, We Can Make It by Neutrin05 |
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Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Friday, 8 November 2019

Adoption: A Nettle we Should Grasp?

I’ve been seeing the  Adoption is a permanent solution to a temporary problem’ phrase a lot recently and I.........well I'm not sure it's that simple. I really would love it to be. 

It is succinct and to the point and encapsulates a position fantastically well and I get exactly what is being said but it really doesn’t reflect the complexity of almost all situations. For clarity I'm not talking about historic adoption, or necessarily other models and cultures of adoption, that is a truly complicated picture and way above my pay grade. I'm thinking about contemporary UK adoption. *

Anyway. that phrase reduces a lot of things down to what are murky and complicated issues in a way that does the adoption conversion no favours at all. I see lots of perspectives in the online debate, one position that wants it to be simple and one that wants it to be complicated and never the twain shall meet. Both reluctant to engage in meaningful conversation and I find myself pulled between the two positions and often agreeing and disagreeing with both, again I'm a total cop out. 

Like surgery, adoption is traumatic, painful, messy, dangerous and sometimes planned, sometimes carried out in less than ideal situations, often a judgement call based on best evidence. Never the less, it is a trauma, carries inherent risks and is rarely a guarantee of anything. That all said, we can all agree that sometimes surgery is needed and we weigh the cost, balance the risk and make that decision. Only with hindsight we know if it was the right thing. 

Through my work I read the stories of children in families every day and it is mostly really complex. Act or don't act, intervene or not, remove or support. The answers are judgements made on available information, no crystal balls available, 10 years down the line we may see clearly but right then we can only go with what is shown. Should we support families more, with no caveat yes. However, for some families that isn't good enough for children for a raft of reasons. We can all play a hypothetical game on twitter but that isn't an option for those with the actual decisions. 

A few years ago I attended one of the consultation days of the adoption enquiry and it was a challenging day to say the least. Talking with parents of children removed then adopted as a ‘user’ of the adoption system is to say the least is a complicated conversation. It was tense at times, it was emotive at times and I questioned myself, my children’s story and the system that managed that process. However, we could all agree that some children should not and could not be cared for by their parents and that their families cannot and should not have physical contact with those children. In that case we need to find permanent homes for those children. We know that long term foster care is often an illusive thing with inherent challenges and SGOs not always possible. So why not adoption? Why not? The key arguments against are hydra but identity, contact and access to information are primary issues. If we resolve those issues then does that change the conversation? does that alter how we view adoption? 

I'm not sure. This year I've thought harder than ever about the ethics and values in relation to adoption, questioned my motives and parenting, listened to adopted adults and stretched myself out. 

I don't want to stretch the surgery metaphor too far, though why not? Medicine changes, practice develops, surgery becomes more precise, sometimes redundant but for now it remains a necessary tool in some situations. I think that is where I stand that in balance for a small number of children** adoption remains necessary trauma that may be the best bet. 

In writing all of this I'm conscious that I'm presuming that it's a service solely for children, it's not and may never be. Perhaps that changes everything. 

*You say it's all the same, I say 'nope' it really isn't but I'm more than willing to publish your guest blog. 

** I'm talking UK and we clearly need to talk about the number and we clearly need to make practice better. The conversation around international and pay for babies is clearly a different one. 

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Podcast Special - Adoption Sunday with Emily Christou from Home for Good

This week we speak to Emily Christou in relation to the Church's 'Adoption Sunday'. Emily works for the national charity Home for Good in relation to influencing policy change and raising awareness of specific issues.

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We discuss issues of faith, how they are perceived outside of the faith community as well as the legacy of some of the scandals that the church has been part of. Though we talk about the awareness raising function of the charity we do focus on some of the additional work that they have undertaken to develop national policy. Specifically the work on the All Party Parliamentary Group on Adoption and Permanency in relation to the value of the Adoption Support Fund as well as work on developing system knowledge of children of colour in the system and the specific challenges they face in looking for permanency and adoption.
We hope you enjoy it and we'll be back on track with episodes and conversations next week.