It has been adoption week this week, and as someone with three adopted children, I thought I should add my tuppenyworth to the discussion and share some of my “ranty wisdom”. I will also do a jollier post later this week about more of the positives.
I felt like taking my remote control and throwing it at the TV when I began to see some of the coverage that adoption was getting this week. The Cameron man on the telly moaning on about the process just got my back up, but that’s not unusual for me.
And to top it off, my hackles rose when I watched the segment about the woman complaining about the process and how long it takes to be assessed here, but who had plenty of dosh and managed to find the readies to go abroad and adopt the youngster she wanted.
Now don’t get me wrong, I would have gone abroad if I hadn’t managed to find my forever children in the UK, but come on, complaining about the system you have to follow to get those children is just plain wrong if you don’t even adopt from here.
Let me tell you about how the adoption process was before they made it that little bit tougher. We went overnight from no children to 3 children who were not fully socialised. Foetal alcohol babies are hard work, I can tell ya. Imagine your trouble with a crying baby with colic who doesn’t sleep, and multiply that by a factor of 1000 x 1000 with knobs on and that could be the potential.
All those wannabe mums out there think that a little bit of love is going to make it all right – well it doesn’t. Those cute little bundles may very well end up as aggressive, troubled tots who don’t get the help they need to survive. Lots of families disrupt, even now when they can’t cope with the changes that children with high needs means.
Make no mistake, if you have a diagnosis of Autism, or an “acceptable” condition, the world will sympathise and help you with your children. If your children have a diagnosis of Foetal Alcohol Syndrome or your child is Drug affected, you are going to hit your head up against a brick wall to get help. And if you do say what the diagnosis is, people will think you are a raving alcoholic and start crossing the street and avoiding your kids party invites.
The bottom line is that most of the young children in care nowadays are disabled, alcohol or drug related births. There are some who are orphans or young mums not wanting the responsibility, but they are certainly not the norm, and potential parents HAVE to get it through their heads that love is NOT enough to bring up drug and alcohol affected children.
I HATED the adoption process. With an enormous passion. I thought it was too long and I thought it was ridiculously monotonous and repetitive, but the authorities HAVE to try to suss out as many of the nutters who try to adopt for other reasons as they can. If they handed over kids to a ring of child abusers, we would all be up in arms that the process wasn’t comprehensive enough.
Lets get down to the nitty gritty. Adoptions take so long because there is NOT ENOUGH MONEY in the pot to get the work done that needs to be done to keep everyone safe. Social workers have too many groups to assess, and to be frank, lots of approved adoptive parents sit waiting for the phone to ring rather than being pro-active and finding their future kids across the country. There are also some fabulous homes not being used because there are not enough staff to get the meetings set up, organised, pulled together and finalised.
I do think the inflated considerations about race and ethnic backgrounds are pretty crap to be honest. Lets just chuck kids into uncontrolled and often violent childrens homes eg just because they might be black and christian and a council only has white protestant adoptive parents on their books.
If I get the religions wrong, I apologise – as being a non-believer I just don’t care what religion anyone else is as long as they don’t try to sell me their faith. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t happily support a child who needed to learn more about their own faith and culture.
I’d like to see the kids put into homes that will stick with them through thick and thin, support their race and ethnic backgrounds, and to hell with the rules of what colour skin, race or nationality we should be before we can help a child escape from institutionalisation, temporary parents and abusive homes.
After care is rubbish. Yes, there are “supposed rights” but considering post adoptive care says there is no money in the pot to provide anything, then it really is an empty promise unless it is desperate in my experience.
I am afraid that the negativity far outweighed the positivity that it should have showed, and would put people off finding out more, or moving forward with a process that needs to be shored up.
Right down to basics, adoption is about being parents. In the same way that parents take on responsibility for children and have to fight for their needs, there is nothing different. There is no special treatment in being an adopter once you are there so think about it long and hard, and treasure the preparation process because it is there for a reason.
If Mr Cameron wants to make the system work, stop complaining and support the Councils who are mostly doing their best with the means they have at their disposal (money, people and imposed rules) and ringfence pots of money for adoption and disability.
Yes, there are problems and yes, there are always nasty people who don’t do their jobs right, or get in the way of things happening, but they are in the minority.
I saw those segments, and rather than feel good about what was being said, I was conscious that if I were a new potential adopter, that it would massively put me off if I thought that the system was as difficult to breach as it sounded.
Mr Cameron needs to put his money where his mouth is to find alternative methods of moving adopters through the system and helping approve positive matches for families with support to help families cope with the potential problems they will face.
I’ve said my piece and now I will settle back and sort out my three adopted boys photos for christmas cards. The whole process was worth every rotten moment it took to get through.