Monday, 31 October 2011

Adoption in the news...

So adoption is in the headlines again today.... which is possibly as it should be as it's national adoption week. However, yet again, it's not positives but negatives and criticisms. Adoption is too slow... children are waiting too long, league tables, naming and shaming. But no solutions offered.

Cameron has decided that it's awful for children to be waiting for so long in the care system. And has published a league table of % of children placed within a year. However, the way to improve this according to the government is to Name and Shame those councils who are worst performing.... which will probably not improve the system at all! And as one of the so called worst performing councils stated - most of their adoptions are successful... slow but when made they stick!

I haven't got the answers - and yes perhaps it should be a little faster - rather than the average being over 2 and half years in care, perhaps the aim should be to get the average down to less than 2 years. But, more money, more training, would surely be an improvement rather than 'naming and shaming'.

Adoption should be the last the resort for children. Therefore surely it is important that social workers carefully consider plans for children. It would be better for my son, not to be my son. It would be better if he was been brought up by his birth mother if it was at all possible. It isn't, but he would have an easier life in some respects if it was. Adoption should not be plan A, or even plan B. It is not a magic answer, which removes all issues.

Many, many children (in the UK) in the care system are damaged by their birth parents. Adoption doesn't remove that damage - it's their for good. Even my precious boy-o, is damaged as at aged 2 he lost his foster carers, the only parents he really knows.

Spending up adoption, without appropriate checks would possibly lead to more newsworthy stories. To have more adoptions, you need to have more adoptive parents - our agency has about 80 children waiting at the moment....and the parents aren't necessarily there to adopt those children. And yes, there are adoptive parents waiting, but they are waiting for different children.

Our agency did okay in the tables - apparently between 80 & 90% of children are adopted within a year of coming into care. Boy-o is in the other 10-20% - he waited 2 years.

Speeding up adoptions is not easy, or fast, or cheap! And there are no quick fixes - and perhaps David Cameron should recognise this!

Friday, 21 October 2011

look how far we've come...

I wasn't going to post tonight, but I felt a need to. Please look at my previous post for a quick ICLW intro and questions about pushchairs!

This time last year we'd just been approved to adopt. I'm presently typing one handed as our son is curled up on me. He is asleep but if I try to move him, he'll wake up and start crying. He's been to bed but coughed himself awake, and got into a real state. 'Mummy, mummy, mummy' all he would say until he fell asleep on my lap. Dreams do come true!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Sibling Meeting

I know I posted about boy-o's siblings a few weeks ago. At the time Emily commented about the fact that she was surprised that the him and his siblings have been split up so much. I think because the children have been removed at different times they have been placed separately... the two oldest children have sadly been removed and put into care, and then returned more than once. The next two girls were put into care at the same time as the older two, but have never been placed back with the birth family. The twins and boy-o were removed at birth.

The twins were adopted by a couple who have an older adopted daughter. The younger of the twins have some complicated issues which means that they felt unable to adopt boy-o.

I met the twins and their mum a couple of weeks ago. It was an interesting experience - in a good way.

Boy-o shares characteristics with both of the boys. Physically he is more like the younger of the two; when J (boy3) smiled at me, it was like looking at boy-o. Their mum said that boy-o very much reminded her of boy3.

J has mild cerebral palsy; and walked on his tiptoes and tripped and is clumsy - much like boy-o. However, their Mum commented that boy-o is a much better walker than J was at the same age. J also has delayed speech; and is still delayed, he doesn't talk much more than boy-o. He had a small head at birth, and although an MRI didn't show anything, he has off days, where he really can't focus. He also chews everything - which boy-o also does!

S is not at all physically like boy-o. But character wise you can see the similarities. S loves water; as does boy-o. They are both extremely active and happy souls.

I did enjoy meeting the twins and their mum. It was fascinating to chat to their mum about them, and also talk about the birth family - we both know the story and don't need to protect our children by hiding information. I'm looking forward to seeing them again sometime soon.

The last part of Emily's question was:
'I wanted to ask you if you are allowed another adoption of kids in care, and if so if you would consider it.'
Absolutely, if it's the right thing for our family. There is a lot of discussion about it in our house - maybe, maybe not. The only thing I can say right now - is not yet!

Monday, 3 October 2011


Our local village pre-school takes children at 2 1/2 years, which seems ridiculously early especially as boy-o has only been with us 6 months. But back in April I put his name down on the waiting list and he started in the middle of September.

He attends 3 mornings a week - which if it seems too many I fully intend to cut back on. But he seems to be loving it - it gives him freedom to run about and mix and socialise with other children. He comes home from pre-school talking about what he's done and who he's played with. This is really positive to me - 7 months ago he was barely talking and really only playing alongside other children - he actually interacts with them now.

There is a secondary bonus - it's getting him used to not been with me 24/7... and as I am going back to work in just over 2 months (ugh!) he's got to get used to this.

He comes home with paintings and stickings and activities that he's done. I can tell that he's not entirely settled because he's obviously flitting from one thing to another - but he's getting there. The staff are lovely and have listened when I have spoken about his anxiousness and separation anxiety... they are spending time with him, getting to know him. I wrote what felt like an essay in his second week, explaining that he will sometimes have unusual reactions to what should be common events - flashbacks!

The first week I left him, he was fine. The second week he wanted me to stay and play with him - he likes it there, but would like it more if I could play with him as well! This morning there were tears again - we'll see, we will see...

I've spoken to our SW about it - she is happy that he is settled enough to go. She knows that I will pull him out if there is any problems. I'm seeing the fact that he is upset when I leave him as a positive - he has a good attachment and likes me to be there with him! We send him with a sticker of him plus me, or him plus M or him plus the dog, so he can see us. I've got a photo laminated and put in his bag which the staff know if he gets unsettled they can pull out.

I hope we've made the right decision... sometimes it feels so mean to leave him there!

Sunday, 2 October 2011


We'd talked about it for a few weeks, but last weekend we put boy-o into a 'big boy's bed', it's been both positive and negative.

When boy-o moved in back in March, he went into a cot as that was what he had slept in at his foster carers. He settled into sleeping into his new room, in his cot. He isn't necessarily the best of sleepers, but once he is asleep he stays asleep (mostly, we are over the nightly night terrors!). However, he is a tall and well built young man, and lifting him in and out of a cot isn't good for our backs!

Last Saturday we took day his cot, and put a very low bed in it's place. Boy-o was present when M was doing this, we were talking about it for the whole day, we got him excited about his new bed. We went for a long walk in the afternoon, and by bedtime he was knackered... we put him to bed and he pretty much went straight to sleep. The same on Sunday.

During the week it's been a bit more hit and miss. Sometimes he's gone straight off, sometimes he hasn't. But we will get there.

We were told he was a good sleeper, but it's come out over the past 8 months that he's not good at getting to sleep. This is something that we have now acknowledged, and we are dealing with. Once asleep he does mostly stay asleep - until 7.30 in the morning. This morning when I went in to him about 8.00 he'd obviously been awake for a bit and got out of bed to get a book - which he proudly showed me on his bed! 'book, book'

The moral - we were worried about it - no need to be, his sleeping is no better and no worse than it was previously. And the report selling him as a good sleeper - wasn't necessarily correct!