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Has anyone got through Adoption Panel after their Social Worker didn't recommend them?(13 Posts)
I heard today -- after being prepped and assessed since last November -- that our Social Worker has decided not to recommend us to Panel. (We already have a Panel date.)
Throughout the assessment I felt we have suffered prejudice because we already have 3 children. However, the assessment seemed to go well and they talked to everyone -- neighbours, friends, relations, school etc.
However, the Local Authority adoption agency have now decided not to recommend us. They regard each of the children already with our family as a risk to successful adoption -- a risk to both the existing children and the child coming in. Our Social Worker said (I quote) 'no-one wanted to touch you when we read about you on paper'.
However, our children would really like one more sibling and we are keen too. Especially as we are constantly told what a lovely family, well behaved, happy, musical, academic, etc. All our referees have been incredibly positive. We have great support network.
The Social Worker has cited stress to our children's mental health by having an adopted sibling -- how an earth are we going to argue against that?
I have read that how you 'appeal' this decision is to go to panel anyway. That sounds daunting! I wonder if this ever works? Any help/moral support very much appreciated.
Children can't estimate the impact another child will have on them. Especially a child who has come from a disrupted background. Of course they want a sibling - they are imagining a wonderful new brother/sister. They can't possibly imagine a child with issues.
Are you sure that you are being unfairly judged? Could the SW be right?
Having been to Panel and having social worker on side I would have thought it would be very difficult to go if they don't agree with the decision to adopt. We were grilled at our panel and our social worker was able to step in and answer some of the questions when we were put on the spot. Have you had a second opinion visit~? Another social worker from LA can come out and give a second opinion, or you could approach another LA and get their views. It seems very unfair if you have got this far in your assessment with a panel date due for them to judge you as unsuitable have they expressed concerns all the way along? or has this come out of the blue? There are lots of big families out there yes a child who is adopted may come from a disrupted family but they also need love and support which i'm sure you could offer them. Hugs x
I think You need to get some advice on how to procede. Are you members of adoption uk?ifso I woudl contact them.
I'm not clear what you mean whenyou say that your children are a risk? A risk to each other? I'm bemused by the comment that "no one wanted to touch you". If the agency had serious concerns about you they should have been raised long before now. Have you met your SWs manager to discuss this?
This seems very odd to me. It can't just be a simple matter of they don't think you have the time and space to adopt as you have three already, as they knew this when they decided to assess you .
Thanks for replies -- very helpful. Why no-one wanted to touch us on paper is to do with how evaluation is made. Each existing member of the family is considered to be a risk. So, while placing a child with a single parent poses a risk factor of 1, placing them with a mum, dad, two brothers and sister, for eg., poses a risk factor of 5. (KristinaM sorry didn't express this very clearly earlier.) This is what has got in the way of our being recommended. What I find difficult is that the potential reward is not always given much weight. For some children in the care system a bigger family might be a good option? Also, the siblings support each other with stress as do the parents, as well as us supporting our children. Fostering is evaluated through slightly different criteria, so may be the way forward for us (though not what we thought we wanted.) If we proved ourselves skilled as Foster Carers -- and show our kids are okay with it -- they may reconsider us later on.
Not quite the same but we took on a child in our wider family with an SGO - which the LA didn't support as we already had 5 birth children. There was no 'panel' of course but at court the judg disagreed and we got the SGO. Eighteen months on was the best decision we ever made. LA also didn't like that we both work full time - i thought they were very biased and thankfully court also disagreed. Although a family member we had not met our 6th child more than twice before he came to live with us at less than 2 years of age.
Sassymay I would really question your LA further on this. I know a number of families with two, three and even four children who have been allowed to adopt. Some of the families had adopted before and some all the current children were birth children and the were adopting for the first time. This doesn't sound like an honest answer to me and it could be that they are saying it as a gental way of letting you down instead of giving the real reason.
Have you read you PAR yet? How does it read to you and is it an accurate reflection of your family? If not you can raise concerns and get them amended. If you are tough go to panel anyway, you will have a hard time but it might be the best way for them to see the people you are. Also panel don't have to say yes or no they can defer you to a later date for more work to be done with you (I.e. exploring how you would cope with your current children and the stresses of a new child etc).
Our SW supported us for one child but wouldn't support us for two. We went to panel, asked for two, panel agreed with us and disregarded our SWs opinion.
It could be worth going to panel to get more detailed feedback if nothing else?
Sassymay I am really sorry to hear your situation and really hope it will all work out for you and your family.
When you say "... our children would really like one more sibling and we are keen too." Do you mean the family all want another child or they all want to adopt a child? Is there a reason for choosing adoption instead of a birth child. Please excuse the question and feel free not to answer it or to pm me. I am not being nosy I am trying to see what the kids are very excited about. My birth dd wanted a new sibling too and originally she wanted a baby (and so did we) but over many years of trying this did not happen and for at least a few years we have been discussing adoption as an option.
Can I just comment on one more thing that stood out for me from what you wrote, which also rings bells with me etc.
You said "Especially as we are constantly told what a lovely family, well behaved, happy, musical, academic, etc. All our referees have been incredibly positive. We have great support network."
We have one birth DD and she is very much in favour of us adopting and my social work was very keen to stress the fact that although she is excited and wants this to happen there will be problems, stresses etc when it happens and also that there may be worries and fears she is not telling me etc.
Also, our referees all gave us very glowing reports and stressed how involved we are in our local community and church and how much we do for others etc. All this sounds very good but also made me wince a bit because I know that when the child comes (if we are approved) I will need to make the child a priority and all the other stuff we do etc will need to take a step back! For how long? I don't know, as long as it needs to be that way. I am the kind of person who likes to volunteer for stuff and thankfully my church knows all about the adoption and won't let me volunteer for anything new in case I take on too much!
When I read about your family well behaved, happy, musical, academic I thought I wonder how the new child will fit in. Will they be those things, possibly, but unlikely. How will you deal with a child whose behaviour is so different from your birth children? Will you cope if they do not turn out to be academic or musical as well. Will they be able to fit into your family and feel fully valued if they do not turn out being similar to the other children. Just asking this as, in my humble opinion, this is relevant. I am sure that you have considered all this and maybe said that it is OK however they turn out. Have you talked to the social worker about this aspect of the new child and considered that impact on family life? I am sure you have but I wanted ask about it.
Our birth DD is not at all academic, in fact she is almost certainly dyslexic and her behaviour went very difficult and problematic for about 2 years (possibly as a result of the problems with school work). Thankfully we are seeing a massive improvement in behaviour and we are working hard to try and get help for the dyslexia. When we first met the social worker she assumed our DD was perhaps your bog standard birth child, no behaviour problems and doing well at school etc and asked us how we would handle the opposite. I said we had the opposite and had dealt with it and so in short I was able to think through and provide some evidence for how we would cope with a child who is not the 'standard child'.
I am quite sure as you sound a lovely, caring person, that you too could cope with a child who is not the 'standard child'. Does the social worker know about that? Will you be willing to make time and space for the new child which might impact on the time and space you will have for your three children already? There is really no might about it! They will impact on family dynamics.
Referees probably know you as a 'normal family' and seeing you do very well with your birth kids, it may be that you need to fill in the gaps and say how you will cope with things that are out of the ordinary.
I would take all the advice you can from any organisation that can help and I would (personally) go to the panel to defend your opportunity to adopt unless the organisations give you advice not to.
Anyway, I really wish you all the very best and think the others have provided excellent suggestions.
At the risk of sounding unkind, perhaps you really need to consider again what is being said to you. I'm not saying that SS are right but adoption is such a massive, emotional process. Maybe it isn't right for your family right now.
The last thing you would want is an adoption that breaks down.
Thanks for all the replies. Very useful. I've come to same conclusion YouAreMyRain that it's worth going to Panel to give our case another hearing and get more detailed feedback. I also spoke with appeal people -- IRM-- and felt encouraged that this process can be useful for all concerned. The issues which prevent us adopting according to SWs seem to keep changing -- my weight was raised as problematic until yesterday the NHS realised the doctor had recorded my height wrong and had come up with an obese BMI 36, where as my BMI is 26. I may have being a bit defensive Italiangreyhound in description of my children. My older two have had a some struggles -- my husband is their stepdad -- and we have been told they are the main reason not to adopt. My point to SWs is that I have had experience coping with children experiencing difficulties and that could be seen as a strength. Thanks calpolene for a positive tale about a larger family.
I haven't got my hands on the PAR yet JammieMummy but I'll keep on asking. One of the biggest challenges is arguing against all the SWs' maybes: 'this may happen'; 'that may happen'. The happy, ordinary, imperfectness of our family now seems hard for SWs to appreciate as a good place for an adoptive child to join. Perhaps SWs are under too much pressure to predict any possible breakdown that may occur -- placement breakdowns are not always predictable and sometimes occur in unlikely situation. There doesn't seem much room for autonomy -- to assess and make this decision ourselves about what our families can cope with.
Thanks for the company on journey to Panel and probably beyond...
Well *Sassymay that is a huge mistake for them to make a BMI of 26 recorded as 36, but even if it were 36 that still seems harsh for it to be an issue.
I certainly think struggling with issues with birth children in the past can be a huge help in terms of knowing how to deal with stuff. Do social workers know those problems are in he past, resolved etc.
Whatever happens wishing you all the best.
"There doesn't seem much room for autonomy -- to assess and make this decision ourselves about what our families can cope with."
They're not just considering you and your family, though. They're considering the impact of your family on an already damaged child, also.
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