Saturday, 29 February 2020

The Adoption and Fostering Podcast: Conversations - Andrew

In this episode Andrew shares his experience as an adoptive parent of a child with complex medical needs, with his wife they chose to adopt rather than becoming parents through traditional routes. Andrew discusses a long preparation and approval process and some of the specific challenges that they have all faced.

If you'd like to share your story then please get in touch through the Adoption & Fostering Podcast's facebook page here, or our twitter feed here.

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Friday, 28 February 2020

Where to start

Friend: 'Hi, I know we've not spoke in a while but we're thinking of adopting and thought we'd speak to you............what do you think?'

Me: 'Oh, well where to start'

It's a question that I don't get asked every day but it comes around not too infrequently. I try to offer balance, I try to find out why, I try to present the big picture and the small picture, I try to wrap it up in language that makes sense. I try to summarise my last 20 years in an honest and meaningful reply.

I think it sounds like a scattergun gallop through a thousand thoughts tumbling our of my mouth at a hundred miles an hour, I'm not sure I'm the right person to answer this question.

#YouCanAdopt, yes you can but.......... My days of being an apologist for adoption are over.

I think my answer is laced with a huge dollop of pragmatism, adoption has worked for me, adoption has kind of worked for some of my children. I say kind of because it's offered them something that the other forms of permanency could not and can not offer. It's a sliding scale and it also comes with a knowledge that their views may change but they don't get to re write history or have a say.

I've the nonsensical twitter argument over if adoption is trauma fizzing around trauma still rattling around my head and that's not helping at all. I try to reflect that.
The answer to my friend is complicated and ends up with me asking them to visit specific websites, read this book, listen to this story, think differently. More like a stress test on how serious they are and how this is a landscape in transition. You don't want to be on the wrong bus when it leaves town so to say.

When I record the podcast's with adopters I often ask 'would you adopt again' and all bar one said yes. Maybe that's the wrong question to the wrong person.

The question seems more complicated now. As well as 'would' there's a 'should' and the best I seem to have now's complicated.

Again more questions than answers.

Saturday, 22 February 2020

The A&F Podcast - Episode 81 - Scott & Al talk #YouCanAdopt, Marketing and #InfoBanter

This week we take a moment in the busy schedule to reflect on the #YouCanAdopt marketing campaign and air a few thoughts on that. We also chat through a few thought on some upcoming stuff that we're up too. We don't want to slip into infomercials so we'll not mention it again but we're busy doing lots starting with the Adoption East Midlands Regional Adoption Agency's first annual conference. From the 1st March it's open to all adopters from beyond the RAA catchment so check it out here and come if you can.

As always your views and thoughts are appreciated, you can contact the podcast through the usual routes and if you'd like to find out a little more the Adoption & Fostering Podcast's Facebook page is here, or our twitter feed here.

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Saturday, 15 February 2020

A&F Podcast Ep 80 - #LGBTHistoryMonth Satwinder Sandhu on Social Work Process

In this episode Scott has a chat with Satwinder on his experience and perspective of a range of interesting and important issues that social care has faces with the change in legislation in the mid 2000's. It is a really interesting discussion in relation to the challenges faced by the LGBT community as they navigated what was a process built around the assessment of heterosexual couples and the questions that this posed for social workers. Sat raises bigger questions in relation to applicants showing authentic selves and asking what is an acceptable lifestyle for any adoption applicant.

As always your views and thoughts are appreciated, you can contact the podcast through the usual routes and if you'd like to find out a little more the Adoption & Fostering Podcast's Facebook page is here, or our twitter feed here.

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Saturday, 8 February 2020

The Adoption & Fostering Podcast Conversations - Bea #LGBTHistoryMonth

In what is #LGBTHistoryMonth we continue to focus on LGBT adoption and fostering. This week we talk with gay foster carer, Bea.

Bea, along with her partner, have been fostering for 2 years, and now have a longer term placement. Bea explains some of the process to becoming a foster carer in recent times, and it felt rather a standard assessment process, that anyone can relate to. Bea also shares some useful thoughts about selecting an agency, whether you are a same sex female couple or not.

If you’ve a story of care or adoption 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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Saturday, 1 February 2020

Policing Childhood Challenging Violent and Aggressive Behaviour April 2020

Back in 2015 in a fit of pique in blurted out a snippy frustrated blog about our experience of trying to get some real world practical help from our local post adoption support team for us as a family as we tried to parent a child that sometimes struggled to contain their inner world. It would spill in to challenging behaviour and sometimes violence.

We were lost, we wanted help, we didn't get it.

The blog snowballed (You can read it here) and within minutes messages and comments from families poured in and kept coming for the days the followed.  People sharing their experiences, their fears and more often than not their frustration at the lack of help and awareness from professionals. It was humbling and shocking in equal measure and I just kept talking, to the DfE, to social workers and to other adoptive parents. As I've talked I see that his is not an 'adoption' issue but an issue that impact on all families of all type and variety but there are themes and patterns.

From the early days of me seeing it as an adoption issue the scale and nature of the challenges faced beyond this community dwarf my initial concerns. Special guardians, kinship care, domestic violence (in all it's connotations) early adversity and trauma, ASD, ADHD, LD all play into children's perceptions of themselves, the world they live in and the people in it and consequently their capacity and ability to regulate and control their behaviour. The need is often hidden behind adult shame and fear of blame, isolation, anxiety and fear of professional's views.

Our family story has inevitably moved on but I never thought an angry blog would set me on a journey that has led me to meet some amazing professionals and parents/carers as well as opportunities not only in the UK but beyond. More importantly it connected me with Dr Wendy Thorley who helped me release a survey then wrote up the findings in an array of places (see here) I may be boring you now so I'll cut to it.

A few years ago I spoke at a thing and that led to the Dr and I chatting to a few police officers who wanted to do more and help. We made some plans and in April this year we're looking to share the findings of almost a years police call outs to homes where adults have called 999 because they're frightened of their children's behaviour and need help. It feels like a step change for me and we're looking at a range of issues with those that work at the sharp end as well as looking at the experience of those living this life.

Things are changing, I see more light being shone on this issue than ever before and the shame and isolation are being driven back, options and support for families is more available than ever. You may not be able to come to this event but perhaps you could share the flyer and get the right people there. If you want to come you can book here there are also plans afoot to hold a similar conference in North London in the early summer.

Many thanks.

Adoption & Fostering Podcast - LGBT History Month with Scott & Tris

It’s LGBT history months so we thought we’d add our bit and Al has a chat with Scott and his husband Tris about their perspectives and experience of being amongst the cohort of adoptive same sex couples in the mid 2000s. They straddle a time before that was a possibility and we discuss their journey as well as some of their positive as well as less positive experiences being adoptive parents. We also chat about the implications for them as a family as they encounter and visit other cultures and countries and precautions they take to keep the children and themselves safe.

We start with a chat about the BT Halo advert, the language used and the following twitter storm and response from different parts of the adoption community.

Finally, we reveal that we’re chairing a RAA’s first year anniversary conference on the 4th April for Adoption East Midlands, until the end of Feb its open to families from that area, after that anyone can attend if there’s space. BOOK HERE The conference is going to cover a range of issues that are ever present including contact, developing children’s resilience and adopter resilience. There will also be discussion in relation to school support and peer mentors within the adoption community. Take a look here and if you’re free then we’d love to see you  as well as the night before when we’re having the Adoption and Fostering Podcast Pub Quiz (details to follow).

If you'd like to find out a little more the Adoption & Fostering Podcast's Facebook page is here, or our twitter feed here.

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