Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Thank you Britmums!

I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to Marianne Whooley at the Britmums Blog for featuring my open letter to David Cameron in this week's The Britmums Blog.  I am delighted to receive this support from the UK's premier Blogging Network.  Thank you also to everyone who has supported my letter by retweeting it on Twitter and for commenting here on my blog.

I am fully aware that calling for additional funding for the adoption service, at a time when the UK is deep into austerity measures, is a big ask, and possibly unrealistic.  There are a million worthy causes out there also asking for funding and very little cash to go around.  The primary reason for my frustration is not that the government is actively promoting adoption and is making reforms to speed up the process for children placed in authority care to be freed for adoption as quickly as possible..... 

My frustration lies in the fact that those reforms are not including the process for prospective adopters.  There are no set timescales for local authorities to complete the adoption process.  Many adopters are waiting years to be approved, let alone matched.  I don't really blame the local authorities for this because they are already strapped for cash and working under huge pressure with reduced funding due to cuts in public funding.  Many authorities are struggling to organise the staff they do have into a comprehensive and effective and organised service.  Many are using agency Social Workers to assess prospective adopters, as is the case for us.  The benefit to us in this measure is that we have a Social Worker assessing us who isn't distracted by an additional caseload. She is able to focus on getting our PAR completed (and doesn't get paid until we have gone to panel so she has a very clear incentive).  The downside is that this Social Worker will not be responsible for matching us with our child.  We will have another Social Worker employed by the local authority for that purpose.  This may mean that we will have a Social Worker who does not know us well and understand our family set up as well as an assessing Social Worker. What has frustrated me the most in our process is that we were unable to have the Social Worker who assessed us the first time around for our second assessment. Some might say it would make sense to have the same assessing Social Worker again (if at all possible) to ensure continuity.  That person would be best placed to see the changes that have occurred in our family since we adopted Katie and quickly understand how the dynamics are now working within our family unit.  That person knows our family history so we don't need to go over our past again.  Why do we need to go over old ground as second time adopters?  Many local authorities and agencies do seek to use the same Social Worker, ours does not have this policy.

Within all these issues lies the biggest issue of all.  I am a grown up. I can understand the reasons why I have to wait to be a parent.  I have a greater concept of time.  Children don't understand time in the way that we, as adults, do.  They just want someone to be their mummy or daddy and all the time they are waiting and possibly losing hope of that happening, damage is being done in their hearts and in their minds.

To any prospective adopters reading my blog I would ask that you don't let this lengthy and intrusive process put you off putting yourselves forward.  I understand why local authorities and agencies need to undertake thorough assessments of adopters.  I understand that more now, 2 and a half years as an adopter and having faced many challenges already, than I did when I went to panel. Adopting Katie has been the best thing that ever happened to us.  Yes, I felt so frustrated going through the process the first time (and do again this time, although have many more distractions these days to deflect the frustration) but it was worth every single moment of it.  All the angst and anxiety that I felt during our assessment the first time (and blogged about in my diary) has gone.  I won't lie and say that I haven't felt some anxieties during this assessment but I have far more perspective this time round.  Yes, you will feel judged.  Social Workers have a great responsibility in placing children with us, they need to think of everything that might happen.  It's worth it though.

National Adoption Week 2012 run by the BAAF takes place from 5th to 11th November 2012.  The link will take you to events happening in your area during that time.  BAAF are also running their adoption awards again this year so you will have the opportunity to watch short films by other adopters and vote for your favourite agency or Social Worker.  I hope that many more prospective adopters will come forward.  Don't assume that you won't be accepted as an adopter.  Do contact your local authority or BAAF for more details.

Once again, on behalf of all adopters I want to say 




for supporting my letter and for supporting adoption!

And also a Thank You goes to Clare Horton for featuring my letter in
The Guardian's Society Daily on 3rd September 2012



1 comment:

  1. Glad this is getting more publicity - but I think you should use it as a springboard for more and keep up the momentum. Best of luck XXX

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