Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 95

Hello – it’s Weekly Adoption Shout Out time again…#WASO95

Welcome back to #WASO! We have a theme for you this week – don’t worry though, as always it’s optional. We want you to think about ‘At this time of year…’, share your difficulties, triumphs, practical tips, poems and opinions.

If you’d prefer to write about something else, then that’s fine – just add your link below as usual. Don’t forget we have a special #WASO live until the end of today (Friday) too, so if you’ve written about National Adoption Week or in response to Edward Timpson, add that post to this linky.

If you’re new to #WASO, you might not yet have our badge on your blog. If you’d like to show your readers that you take part, then here’s the code for the badge.

Prose for Thought
<div align="center"><a href="http://theadoptionsocial.com/category/weekly-adoption-shout-out/ " title="Weekly Adoption Shout Out"><img src="http://i1358.photobucket.com/albums/q775/puffindiaries/BADGE7_zps59df311c.jpg " alt="The Weekly Adoption Shout Out" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

 

You can either paste it into each blog you write or link, or you could create a badge that’s permanently on your site. If you need instructions on how to do that, then check out our ‘How to’ posts here (WordPress) and here (Blogger).

For now though, go forth and add your links, we’re looking forward to reading and sharing them.



Dear Mr Timpson

We currently have a special Weekly Adoption Shout Out Collective Response available here, to give an opportunity for feedback about National Adoption Week, and the recent letter to adopters from Mr Edward Timpson MP.

Today we bring you a post from the father in law of one of our favourite bloggers 3 Pink Diamonds, and we’ll be linking up his response in the #WASO special. The linky will be live until tomorrow, so you still have time to add your own responses – we’re happy to publish them on here if you don’t have your own blog to do so…

“These are thoughts that I have arrived at since my experience concerning my son and his wife’s adoption of their 3 daughters aged 2,4 and 6 about 18 months ago.
As a result of this experience, I am feeling angry and concerned about the very poor way in which the whole process has been handled by the relevant bodies involved and the overall lack of care and common sense from a service which is supposed to be concerned with the welfare of the children. Given a similar situation – on another day, I can imagine tragic newspaper headlines which express concern, public inquiries and ‘lessons to be learned’ (again!).

The following comments should not be dismissed as irrelevant because they are with the benefit of hindsight and therefore less meaningful – they are objective, plain common sense and are things that ought to have been obvious in general principle and certainly such considering that those responsible for adoptions must have encountered previously to varying degrees.

A brief internet search reveals a worryingly high percentage of failures in adoption cases and surely the practices currently employed need to be questioned and altered, especially with the current initiatives to promote adoptions. If our experience and thoughts were made public then it would not be helpful – especially if speculation was made as to possible realistic outcomes in such cases.

As the nominated main support for my son and his wife (and practically speaking, the only people living near to them), we have been vital in the process to date. Because we are sensible and caring, we have taken this role seriously and this has been at personal cost, much of it preventable!

Initially we filled out a form and were ‘interviewed’ by a Social Worker at our home – and also voluntarily attended a group meeting (that in reality served little purpose).
Other than that – apart from a desperate request from my wife to meet up with the main Social Worker in the case whilst I was abroad, we have been woefully neglected.
I would have expected as a matter of routine some visits to see how WE were coping, enquiries to see if WE had any concerns or needs, certainly some sort of general welfare concern for US!
I recently arrived at the family home whilst their Social Worker was there. I didn’t realise who she was but soon guessed. I said ‘Hello’ to her but didn’t want to interrupt anything – she only replied ‘Hello’ and said no more. As soon as I left, it occurred to me that she had never met me before, was fully appraised of the situations, concerns and problems and didn’t have the courtesy or initiative to actually introduce herself properly to me or even think to suggest a further visit to me and my wife. Was this just an oversight (not later realised?!), discourtesy, immaturity, or just plain ignorance?

Unfortunately the overall situation has played no small part in adversely affecting my wife’s health directly leading to an emergency situation and for which she is now receiving ongoing emergencymedical treatment.
In addition to this, the strain on my son and his wife has been immense and seems possibly to be the cause of a recent seizure (stress induced?) which has resulted in her having to surrender her driver’s licence and this will seriously adversely affect their income until she is able to reapply for it.

So, what in my opinion has been wrong?
What might be done better?
Will there be any changes as a result?

Firstly it is important to emphasise that, from this side of the adoption, this is not about money. If it were then they wouldn’t have chosen to adopt. That said, the skeptic in me asks ‘How much was it costing Social Services to keep the 3 girls in foster care each week/month – and did this play any part in the subsequent process to place them as soon as possible as adoptees with their new family who, for the right reasons wanted to give them a forever home?’.
This ‘subsequent process’ meant that the girls were told that they were going to their ‘forever home’ with their ‘forever Mummy and Daddy’ at the time of their move. What later horrified us was to learn that almost a year later, just prior to (and in fact it delayed the matter) the formalisation of the adoptions, we were all told that the natural father had lodged an appeal (within the timescale) and that there was a possibility that the girls might be returned to him (or his family)!!!
WHY WAS THIS?
The impact was devastating – and had the appeal gone through – what effect would this have had on the girls? It seems to me that there has been a gross error and mishandling by Social Services.
It begged the question as to why matters had not been handled differently in these circumstance and in my opinion I suspect that money played its part.

Given the situation of a young couple with no children of their own, seemingly well suited to the girls in question and with the best part of a year to go before they are officially ‘adoptable’ – it would have been more sensible and honest to not tell the girls anything about a ‘forever’ situation until the time had actually arrived (ie after the final appeal) and to have them foster them in the first instance with a view to their adoption. This way we would have all been kept fully in the picture, proper suitability and monitoring ought to have taken place for everyone’s benefit, and the girls would not have been in a possible false position in their minds.
This would have obviously been a further foster carer cost to Social Services – but what cost is the correct outcome?

Having the 3 girls has indeed had its difficulties (they are a delight) – but initially my son and his wife were canvassed to actually have 4 (there are other siblings) and indeed they felt almost as though they ought to(!!!). The irresponsibility of that staggered us at the time and even more so now.

So, the current situation is fragile but not irretrievable, and what might be done to assist it?
MoneyI can only think that financial input from Social Services is a large part towards the answer (this will not be anything like the thousands saved by them with the hasty removal of them from foster care). Further finance is something that certainly needs to be a matter for discussion – even if it is not normal procedure (‘normal procedure’ helped create this ‘un-normal’ situation) and a failure at this point would undoubtedly be very costly to them.

For the future – well right from the start, the ‘experts’ realised some mistakes and changed policy regarding certain practices concerning bonding, which amazed me – as a first-timer it seemed obviously wrong to me from the start. The whole adoption procedure needs to be thoroughly revisited and should be an ever-evolving thing so that even if it is with hindsight, real lessons are learned and applied and ‘policies’ are not prohibitive to Common Sense’. I am very angry – but it is also objective anger and therefore of some use and my thoughts from a practical perspective are on offer.”

A Photo Challenge from The Family of Five

Today we share with you a fun challenge from The Family of Five.

We always love an activity which as a community we can have a go at. So this list of photographic prompts from one of our favourite adoption blogs has caught our eye and we would like to share it with you.

It was actually started 6 days ago so today, 26th of November, the photographic theme is “Makes you Smile”. See the list of themes below.

To join in take your picture on your phone or with a camera and then share on your blog, on Facebook, on twitter or on Instagram with the #FO5Photo

It’s fun to try and join in each day but I think Mrs FO5 will be glad to see your pictures whenever you have a chance and so will we.

Over on The Family of Five you will find a daily post of pictures, here are some already posted, to give you some inspiration.

Breakfast

Something you Adore

Letterbox

So come on everyone, lets get snap happy.

photos

The Adoption Social Times

Hello and welcome to another edition of The Adoption Social Times…

BAAF National Adoption Week Awards 2014fortnums
You might remember that we were shortlisted for an award earlier on this month. Sadly we didn’t win, and neither did our friend Jenny from Inspired Foundations.
It was a little disappointing to go all that way for nothing, especially as it was difficult to network with the other people – but I took the opportunity for a little Christmas shopping and a quick trip to Fortnum and Mason, so it wasn’t all for nothing! And I got to meet Jenny’s children, who are a credit to her and her partner.
Having said all that, we don’t need an award to know how useful The Adoption Social is – you all tell us regularly, and we know from talking to you all that it’s part of a wonderful community.

#WASO
As always the Weekly Adoption Shout Out is popular, and this month is no different. Until the end of this week we also have a special ‘Collective Response’ #WASO live, where you can add your posts and feedback to the recently published letter by Edward Timpson MP, or feedback about National Adoption Week in general. You’ll find this linky here.

Now of course you’ll want to know in advance what the themes are for the next month, however, one of our theme weeks falls on Boxing Day so we won’t be having a theme that week. Instead, we’ll open up the usual #WASO on 19 December and this will stay active until 4 January. Normal #WASO service (and a theme) will return on 9 January.

Forthcoming themes for this month are:
28 November – At this time of year…
12 December – Gifts
9 January – Expectations
23 January – Next week…

Social Media and adoption
If you are a professional working in adoption and would like to find out more about using social  media to provide post adoption support then please contact us as we’re currently exploring ways of supporting organisations and professionals better so that in turn they can support adoptive families. We can’t guarantee direct help at the moment, but we’d like to get your views on whether you would want support, how you’d like it delivered, whether you would need training etc. Please email us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com

And finally, here are a few of the posts we’ve published on The Adoption Social this month:

We heard from blogger 5 go on an adventure in this meet the blogger post.

Amanda Boorman from The Open Nest shared news from the charity.

We ran 2 initiatives for National Adoption Week – one was to publish acrostic poems contributed by our readers and their families. We had such a great response we had to split them over two posts. Here and here.

The other initiative was an idea from 2 members of the wonderful Twitter community that exists. Read more about #HowAreYou here.

If you have any posts that you’d like to contribute, then please do send them into us at theadoptionsocial@gmail.com. We also love hearing your feedback, so do get in touch.

 

 

Life on the frontline – week 10


lotf

A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

As I’ve said before, it’s hard to know from one week to another what will happen in our lives.

I made a call to Small’s primary school on Monday to discuss a possible meeting and update of where we were up to. I somehow managed to instead organise for Small to go into school just for play time the following day and if we felt that went well, get him back into the classroom the day after that.

I thought the playtime would be a good place to start, see his friends, have a positive school experience, which we could build on. Also, I explained to his teacher, that seeing his friends had been quite overwhelming for him the last time we tried to get him back into school. Seeing them at playtime and being able to say he’d be back in the next day would work well for him. Unbeknown to me his teacher also did a discussion in circle time, with the class, about what Smalls feelings may be when returning to school.

The other important part of this return to school is that I remain in school, sat in reception, whilst he is there. This means that if there are any incidents, I’m on hand to remove him and therefore minimise any possible disruption which would lead to an exclusion. People seemed to think this was not such a good idea, I think the feeling is that Small would play up, knowing I was there to take him home. It was suggested I didn’t tell him I was staying however; I followed my own gut feeling and explained the situation to Small. For me the most important thing to be is honest with him, which I know he appreciates and I feel my being there offers him support.

So that was it suddenly back into school and so far it has all gone remarkably well. I feel that Small has started to miss the school environment and so has been happy to return. Everyone has been really upbeat and positive with him which means, he in turn seems upbeat and positive. We have had a bit of a reward system in place and he has very much risen to the occasion. It’s early days still but I’m feeling very hopeful.

For Tall, his week has included his second internal exclusion, half a day for throwing a stone and hitting another pupil. He was fed up about it all but got on with it and managed himself well. He is doing really well but unfortunately still makes poor choices on occasions when his emotions are aroused.  Although exclusions are not always recommended for children that have suffered early life trauma, I know Tall does have an understanding of cause and effect and does learn from clear boundaries. Hopefully he will be reminded of how little he likes to be excluded and the lesson will be learnt.

So fingers crossed, it has all in all been a good week. But then we know what crossing my fingers brought last week.

 

In Other News

Tall handed in a very splendid science project and received two merits for it, I might have given him a little help.

Small tidied his bedroom without being asked this weekend, and event previously unheard of. In fact he over seems in such a positive place this week, that my husband and I joked that he may have been possessed.

My husband and I also got a night out on Saturday, to a party. Small was quite upset wanting to know why we wanted to have fun without him.

 

 

Weekly Adoption Shout Out #WASO Week 94

WASO 94It’s time for the Weekly Adoption Shout Out, oh yes, it’s up and ready for you to add your links to.

This week you may have noticed that we also set up a Collective Response #WASO special, where you’re invited to add any posts you’ve written, or would like to write, in response to National Adoption Week, and/or Edward Timpson MP’s letter to all adopters. You are welcome of course to link up these posts to both this special #WASO and our regular usual #WASO. For more information, and to take part click here.

If you just want to take part in this week’s usual #WASO, then you’ll find the linky below. It’ll remain open until late Sunday evening, and we’ll do our best to share as many posts as we can. It’s our theme free week, so please feel free to add any posts. Advance warning for next week’s theme: ‘At this time of year…’

That’s it for now. If you have any questions about joining in, then do ask, otherwise just paste your details in below…



My girls are being bullied

This week is Anti-Bullying Week, and so it’s appropriate that we bring you a problem about bullying from a mum of two…please share your own experiences to help this mum and her children…

My two girls are 10 and 13. Both are being bullied. PP

They go to different schools, and have just a couple of good friends each – and even those relationships are rocky, so it came as no surprise to find that both of them are being bullied, one because she wears glasses and the eldest because she is adopted.

I’ve talked to both schools and surprisingly it’s the youngest’s school that is most willing to help and support – they’ve offered a buddy, a safe supervised space at lunchtime so she can get away from the playground if she wants, they’ve offered a word with the offenders, and the playground staff are going to keep a slightly keener eye.

But eldest’s school are less keen to step in, and have suggested that she needs to learn how to encounter and deal with this herself to prepare for the future, when they think it will inevitably get worse. I’m disappointed in this approach, but short of going to the Governors, is there anything I can do? My daughter is an anxious person anyway and I worry about the ways she might begin to express her anxiety at this obvious bullying.

You can find out more about Anti-Bullying Week here.

Snap Happy – 1st Christmas

Today’s Snap Happy is from The Puffin Diaries.

1stxmas

I’ve been thinking about Christmas and this Christmas in particular, recently. This picture is of our very first Christmas together, such a special and exciting time for us.

For the last eight years we’ve spent Christmas at home, creating our seasonal traditions and all the little things we look forward to. This year we will be on a beach for Christmas day, the warm sunshine, soft sands and clear sea of the Caribbean will be our Christmas Day.

The boys keep asking me,

“What will Christmas be like this year?”

My honest response is “I don’t know”

I have been away at Christmas and to be truthful it didn’t really feel like Christmas day. That’s not saying I wasn’t having a glorious time, it’s just that it was different.

When I look at this picture it reminds me of the sheer delight we took in celebrating our first Christmas together.  The traditions we have, all started here. It has made me think that, although we are away some things must be continued.

Even though our tree will be small, we will still have one at home, if only to maintain the tradition of choosing a decoration to hang on the tree for birth mum and brother.

We will still be having the presents of pyjamas on Christmas Eve.

I will make sure that “Farmer Nismas” (Stigs name for the big man, started that first Christmas) will deliver his three presents to my boys for Christmas day.

And there will be the traditional beer left out for the Farmer and some magic reindeer food.

Other than that it will no doubt be fun in the pool and a bbq on the beach, it will be tough but I’ll try to get through it.

 

 

 

 

A #WASO special – Collective response to National Adoption Week and Edward Timpson

NAW-2014-logoNational Adoption Week took place earlier this month, and amongst a swathe of media stories about how amazing adoption is, how you could help a child in care, and how siblings should be kept together, an open letter to adopters quietly popped up.

Some of us spotted the letter. Others were directed to it by tweets and Facebook from those who had seen it, and soon via the power of social media, the letter became distributed between social media savvy adopters. It’s clear however that this letter is not going to be seen by all adopters, and I know my own local authority knew nothing of the letter until I mentioned it to them. As a result, they won’t be sharing it to other adopters local to me. Would have been nice if someone’s public relations department had emailed it to all local and voluntary agencies for some help with distributing it, unless of course that it’s irrelevant how many adopters actually see it – perhaps the purpose was just to be seen to be doing something?

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then please do look up the letter to adoptive parents that Edward Timpson MP has published.

Now, depending on how you feel about the letter, you might like to see a response – we like this one from Amanda Boorman at The Open Nest, we also support her petition which you’ll find here. We urge you to sign and share it.

All of this took place during National Adoption Week – something that appears to have evoked mixed feelings this year – much more so than years before. We have struggled to find out why National Adoption Week was actually established – back in 1997. Was it to raise awareness of adoption generally? Was it to recruit more adoptive parents? And whatever the reason…what is the reason for it now?
We know that each year the focus shifts slightly – this year it was on ‘Siblings’, and the importance of keeping them together. But generally what is it’s purpose?

As an adoptive parent, it all feels about recruitment these days to me. There is nothing about support – yes, Mr Timpson MP addressed it a little care of the new adoption support fund (and the few social workers and professionals that I’ve discussed it with seem nothing buy cynical about how it’s going to work anyway), but nothing from the main players about support now for those of us on the frontline of adoption, nothing about support for those adoptees that are in or have been through the system and are struggling and nothing about how support will improve for those adopters that are being sought to parent the siblings that so desperately need new families…
And it seems that I’m not the only one who feels this way – several blog posts and many tweets show that many feel the same.

As a result, we’ve decided to set up this #WASO special – a place for you to link your blog posts with your thoughts on National Adoption Week and your thoughts on Edward Timpson’s letter to you. And once you’ve added your posts, we’ll forward this all onto Edward Timpson’s office, and to BAAF (as the organisation who runs National Adoption Week) and invite them to respond.

So please, if you’ve been thrilled, moved, felt supported, rejected, forgotten, annoyed or pleased by the recent happenings, do come and share your blog posts on our #WASO special. If you haven’t got a blog but have something to say, then please write about it (and send it to theadoptionsocial@gmail.com) and we can publish your post either here or on The Boy’s Behaviour or The Puffin Diaries and link that up.
To give everyone a fair chance to take part, this linky will remain open until NEXT FRIDAY – 28th November.


Life on the Frontline – week 9

lotf

A weekly blog from a family made by adoption, warmed by the laughter, broken by the sadness, held together by love with a big dollop of hope, oh, and often soaked in mummy tears.

If there is one thing that is for certain in our family, it is that there is no certainty. No conclusions can be drawn of how one day from the next may go, based on certain behaviour you have previously seen. No certainty that you will be able to be in a certain place at a certain time, based on certain behaviour which has previously been displayed. There is therefore no certainty, ever, of what a week in the life lived on the frontline may hold.

I attended a meeting this week, at the high school, to appraise Tall’s progress so far in year seven.  It was the type of meeting I don’t often attend; it was full of good news. I was pleased that the measure of my boy seemed to have been taken accurately and whilst they are really willing and able to support him, they are also encouraging a level of self responsibility.

He has taken to spending the majority of time, away from his lessons, in learning support. This is a separate section of the school with a whole corridor of classrooms and resources for those children who struggle in the mainstream. Whilst he is eating breakfast at home, he is also going straight into this facility when he arrives, to eat his second breakfast and is then there break time and lunch time.

The staff have gotten to know him well and seem genuinely delighted by his convivial personality.

“He was one of our biggest concerns with this year sevens but the progress he has made is wonderful”

I beamed and agreed a lot throughout and was please to hear of the way they are planning to continue his support. He’s been coached in self organisation skills and will to be expected to spend one break time a week away from them. Withdrawing their support is to happen slowly and will never be a completely gone.

I came away feeling, for once, that he was being understood and managed appropriately. It was therefore with a bit of a blow, I received a phone call, two days later, detailing an incident which would lead to his second half day internal exclusion.

The day I went to school for Tall’s meeting, Small refused, point blank,to attend his afternoon centre. He had not done well on the Monday and by Tuesday his heels were dug firmly in, there was no way he was going.

By Wednesday, I nervously dropped him off and walked away, no looking back, fingers crossed. Relying on superstitious finger crossing is never a good thing. At home time I was called in and informed that Small’s rudeness towards students and staff would result in a two day exclusion.

From what I can ascertain, a series of event have lead to him feel distrustful of the staff, again. Distrust means defensive behaviour, defensive behaviour, for Small, is a level of rudeness that most adults around him find it hard to see beyond.

I suggested on one of the days he struggled to go in, confronting the T.A. with,

“Keep your nose out of my business”

“I sometimes find he reacts better when I recognise how upset he is rather than telling him off for his rudeness. Maybe you could say “you must be very upset to speak to me like that””

In reply “I can’t say that in front of the other students, that’s not our policy”

Head and brick wall came to mind.

Whilst Small has done better at the centre it brought to my attention, again, that this micro school environment is containing the problem, not solving it.

I feel again back at square one with Smalls education, swaying even more so, than ever, to home schooling but desperate to see if a new EHC (Educational Health Care plan) can make the difference. Can we last the distance to find out? I don’t know.

So that was the week that was uncertain and here we go again with another uncertain week.

In Other News

I’m finding yoga helps with the stress, no really it does seem to help.

I went to the cinema with Tall and his friend.  A 12A,it was the scariest film I’ve seen in a long time and I’m glad they will be old enough to go it alone next time. Plus I had to sit two rows away so I didn’t cramp their Eleven year old style.

Whilst excluded, Small did all the work sent home without an argument. I bribed him with sweets but you know what it was worth it.