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Adoption Week Part 1. Not the Step Forward I’d Imagined

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.


16 thoughts on “Adoption Week Part 1. Not the Step Forward I’d Imagined

  1. I have a close friend who has just adopted. I was amazed at the lengthy process and as you say someone really needs to sort it out.

  2. Thank you for sharing this! I have 3 children with my eldest being on the Autistic Spectrum. I would love to adopt a child, but the criteria and process puts me off pursuing anything further.

    It breaks my heart when I hear about all the children that need homes bug the process you have to go through is long and difficult.

    1. It is not as bad as some say. It all depends on how good your worker is really. You sound as if you have your hands full already. I am sometimes tempted to go back for a girl though, but I know that is just wishful thinking.

  3. We opted out of state education and into the private sector, for my 9 year old adopted daughter, part way through year 1. It became clear from early on that the state school, with its overly large class sizes, would not be able to give our daughter the extra nurture and learning support that she would need. Her new school with it’s much smaller class size (14 pupils in her class), their willingness to understand the child and her background and the additional support (both learning and emotional) that they can give her is working well.
    Yes, it is a financial struggle, but we are determined for our daughter to have the best possible education that we can give her so that she can step out confidently in this world and make something of herself. We worry about being older parents and the fact that she will not have us to fall back on when she is older and so we feel it is our duty to give her the best chance that we can.
    The latest statistics for children who are looked after or have been looked after with early trauma in their lives are quite alarming. They show that the vast majority of children that leave school without qualifications are in this category. We also know that whilst these children may not have formally diagnosed learning disabilities, they do struggle to learn because of their early trauma. This may be difficulty in concentrating, taking longer to settle in a class whilst they make themselves feel safe, the need to keep to a familiar routine, low confidence levels, the need to repeat work several times before it sinks in etc. etc. Whilst we are only beginning to understand these differences, they are undoubtedly there and from our own experience these differences become more apparent as our daughter progresses through school life and so the extra support and nurturing that she so desperately needs will continue. If funding was made available to educate these children in the way that they absolutely need, then for sure we would have adopted another. I had this conversation with another adopted parent recently and she was of the same mind, they would have adopted another if the school funding was there ….
    For my 9 year old, we are at the stage where we need to think about her secondary education. It is unfortunate that the senior state schools, as a whole, in our area (Northamptonshire) perform below the National Average and so we are fearful that if our daughter went to state school there is a very high risk that she would fail. We desperately need help to fund her education at senior school as I know 100% that with the extra nurture and support she will get in the independent environment, she will succeed and not become one of the awful statistics and a drain on society.

    1. It is sad, especially as schools take not notice of the difficult early start that lots of looked after and adopted children have lived through. They are mostly expected to just be able to cope. It’s sad that people are not adopting more because of the schooling not being there, but it is a reason that I completely understand.

  4. And I thought I was the only one blogging about being slightly cross about National Adoption Week.

    You are spot on.

    1. I would bet there are many seething silently at how it’s gone. Off to your blog.

  5. As a social worker in child protection I have had the experience of removing children from their parents care and then going through the whole moving them on to be adopted. The hoops that those working in ‘the system’ have to jump through to even get to this point is astronomical – and rightly so! Its a life changing thing! I work in the same building with the social workers who then take over and move to ‘permanence’ for children. I know that the process is slow and whilst prospective adopters are undergoing comphrensive assessments, the children themselves, if they are old enough, are undergoing comprehensive therapeutic work to prepare them for their new lives! Its frustrating for all involved as the whole issue of ‘delay’ for the children involved seems lost and forgotten. I completely agree with you that children just can’t be handed out to nutters and I understand that the whole process is exhausting for adopters and does sometimes put people off. So glad that you have made such a difference to the lives of your children. It is very difficult and probably puts lots of people off even applying. The kids with FAS are even harder to find adoptive parents for and at times like this I want to shake their birth mothers and scream at them for giving their children such a start to life!

    The issue of money is a very real one. As a social worker THERE IS NOT ENOUGH MONEY!!! ARGHH! Its very frustrating for everyone who works to improve the lives of children. There are 6 social workers on my team and between us we look after approx 60-70 families. Most of these families have more than 1 child. Some have 8! We are lucky. Our caseload is considered quite small! The government needs to go into the real world and stop spending money on completely useless things! There are children out there who need loving and wonderful homes such as yours to find the love and care they might not otherwise have gotten. Sorry I have waffled on a bit lol.

    1. Its do frustrating all round isn’t it? The last straw for me was listening to a pampered suited millionaire make false promises that can’t be kept by spouting hot air about a subject he knows nowt about in depth. I’d be delighted to eat my words if he actually improves anything, but I won’t hold my breath over it.

      Most of what I have seen has been negative when the majority of social workers I have met have all been as much or more frustrated about the situation than adopters.

    2. Feel free to waffle anytime….

  6. I suspect Cameron is making a few more false promises to the people he considers as fools, just so he can swan off abroad again to try and fight for the rights of foreigners. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to our foreign shores, but there are so many pressing issues in this country that need sorting out and should be addressed as priority. Whichever way we look and whatever the subject, the excuse is always the same; there isn’t enough funding. Yet it is always possible to find enough money to build another useless sculpture and erect it in an unknown town center where no one will see it but the residents of said town. There is always money in the pot, it’s just a case of where our greedy government are willing to spend it.

    I am continuously learning about adoption from knowing you and even though I couldn’t go down that road myself, I strongly admire those who do for many reasons, not least because they are prepared and determined enough to put up with the bureaucracy and red tape, but also because they really want to give these children a good home where they will at least have a chance of a decent life.

    CJ xx

    1. It’s so easy to make sweeping statements that give people some false hope for resources, then forget they ever said anything. So frustrating.

  7. Thank you for saying this. I have two friends who have adopted. Both of them adopted 2 boys with autism. They have both had to fight for special schools and statements. One is taking the council to court so that one of the boys can get effective councilling! There is no point ‘speeding up’ the system if there is no money to support families deal with the issues these children continue to face. The emotional/financial cost of placements breaking down doesn’t bear thinking about.

    1. England is lucky to still have statements. We lost ours in Scotland so there is no legal route to right to help in school that I know of. What we have to do for our children is shocking and it shouldn’t happen. Thank you for commenting. Its always nice to see a new name on the blog.

  8. Thank you for giving me an insight in to a world I have no knowledge of

    1. Thanks for reading. It is a world that most people have no knowledge.

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