Prepare to be prepared!!

(34 Posts)

Hi guys

Am twiddling thumbs waiting for our training in January. What is the one best thing I can do to be prepared for training, please?

Please do not say read a book, am not a big book reader! Websites, magazines, food labels, that is the level of my reading (I have a degree in English lit and sociology - so go figure!).

Anyway, any tips for being at my peak for training!

Should I be doing push ups, should I be able to answer difficult questions about self, or even remember all the places I have ever lived!

Anything to stop thumb twiddling welcome.

Many thanks.

Smudgerbabe Sun 30-Sep-12 22:33:13

Hi - I have just finished my prep group which happened only about 3 or 4 weeks after my application went in so not much time to prepare. In fact I didn't really do anything other than read a lot of the forums, read articles on Adoption UK and other sites and just got an all round feel for the good, the bad and the traumatic sides of adoption.

Be prepared practically for long ish days, we had loads of Powerpoint and very uncomfortable chairs - take lunch/snacks (even if they supply it), keep the evenings clear, early nights etc keep yourself in tip top form. I'm used to all day work meetings but others found it more difficult.

They do paint the worse case scenario and this didn't phase me as I'd already read loads on the internet and didn't have rose coloured specs. I think it's to test your commitment as well as equip you with the knowledge you need. So be prepared for that.

We had lots of little games and exercises nothing difficult but things that make you think about what's important. Maybe think about some obstacles you've overcome in your life and how. Plus your 'childhood' is always bound to come up in adoption!

It's important to get involved, ask anything you like (we had adopters and foster carers come in), it's a 2 way thing - relax and all you need to do before hand really is think of all the things you'd like to know, think about what you'd like from adoption, what you're prepared to give and read the forums and possibly some internet articles on attachment.

I haven't read any books as I waited until the prep group to see what they recommended.

bran Sun 30-Sep-12 22:49:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Maryz Sun 30-Sep-12 23:11:06

Have some fun.

Have a holiday, read some books, make the most of your free time.

I know you will think I'm mad, but really this will be the only free time you have for 15-18 years. Enjoy it.

(and sort out your pension, your paperwork, make a will, all the boring fecking stuff - you won't do that again until they leave home).

Thanks Smudgerbabe, Bran and Maryz very helpful and thoughtful.

Bran we will be assessed for 0-5. We have a birth DD aged 8 so 5 is a bit close to that but if the whole process takes years then 5 would be OK. We are not expecting a baby as years of reading that 'there are no babies' has led us to believe just that! But news now seems to be there are young children so that may well mean nappies, which I've kind of forgotten about!

Looking forward to those 'getting to know you games'!

Did you guys all stay in touch with your prep groups and become friends? Hope we will make new friends through this, could be useful and enjoyable.

Devora Sun 30-Sep-12 23:47:35

Be aware that this is part of selection. Think through what may happen and how you want to react to it in front of social workers. For example, we had a talk from a birth mother, who was understandably very distressed (even 20-odd years after the adoption), after which all the group rushed to reassure her that she was an innocent victim, not one of those BAD bms...

The whole thing made me deeply uncomfortable. For a start she had an 'old' adoption story not really applicable to today, plus we were asked (very explicitly, by her) to judge her situation and I didn't want to do that, or to take her version of events as the only version, or to contrast her against 'bad' mothers. I don't know how I came across, but wish I had thought through that and other scenarios in advance.

I didn't keep in touch with my prep group. They were fine, but we didn't have much in common (we were the only lesbian couple, and indeed the only women there not in hijab).

I did really enjoy prep, though. And learned a lot from it.

Thanks Devora very wise words. I am quite a spontaneous person and I will need to remember that I am being watched and how I react may count.

Did anyone stay in touch with their group? I had kind of thought of it like an antenatal group where you would all become friends, but now I am thinking that might be nieave! I know you would all have different aged children.

HappySunflower Mon 01-Oct-12 00:03:17

Oooooh, how exciting.
These are my suggestions:

1. Read!
I know what you said about reading grin but seriously, your knowledge and understanding of attachment issues, particularly in relation to the effects of grief and separation, will be explored during the process.
So, you'd really be wise to start reading at an early opportunity.

2. Prepare your Life Chronology
Working from birth to the present day, each list (separately) on a year by year basis, where you were living, where you were at school/college/work, who your partners/boyfriends/girlfriends were, and any significant incidents, life events that occurred.
This will be essential information for the home study part of your assessment.

Devora Mon 01-Oct-12 00:04:00

I think plenty of people do find mates in their prep group, IgH. I was just not so lucky that time.

HappySunflower Mon 01-Oct-12 00:22:08

My prep group was 3 years ago, and yes- I have stayed in touch with everyone from my group.
We are particularly close to 3 other families and we meet up at least once a month at the park, or round one another's houses for meals.
All our children are now good friends too which is lovely.

This is not always the case though, other people I know have never been in touch with anyone from their group!

KatieMorag Mon 01-Oct-12 09:28:39

Join any local adoption groups and meet real life adopters face to face. You are understandable focussed on getting through the home study and being approved. This is a bit like the bride thinking only about the wedding day and not the marriage

Lovesoftplay Mon 01-Oct-12 10:24:27

I often talk at prep groups and really enjoy it, I particularly enjoy the questions I get asked from prospective adopters about things they r nervous to say in front of social workers. I try and stay for lunch so people can talk to me in private.

My advice is ask away, I don't think I have had a question yet that has shocked me, even though the adopter is cringing sometimes!!

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 11:28:17

I found my prep course really useful and have used bits of it since. I really liked (mostly) the people on the course but haven't kept in touch in the long term (though did for a little while on a sporadic basis) but like Devora I didn't have a lot in common with most of them (the only other single adopter was a bit nuts!) and we were qquite geographically spread.

My advice would actually be to take up a hobby that consumes you mentally whiclst your waiting (I learnt Russian though obviously in my case that was adoption related). I found something which I had to concentrate on which wasn't directly related to the process was a relief. And if it isn't consuming then you don't concentrate on it instead spend hours imagining all the worst case adoption scenarios!

Devora Mon 01-Oct-12 13:19:01

It's a bit of a letdown when you come across a nutty adopter, isn't it? Kind of punctures your little glow that you have been assessed and passed the 'will be a fab parent' test with flying colours.

Ladyofthehouse Mon 01-Oct-12 14:25:43

We kept in touch with one couple and met up a few times since prep but it has kind of fizzled out already!

There were lots of group emails going round but we didn't really get involved too much. Our SW warned us that it can get quite competitive and we did see that - with some people only emailing to announce they had been approved and then that worried people who hadn't. We were also told to be aware that we could be 'up against' another couple we knew if both were matched for the same child.

We didn't no prep for prep! Just went along and tried to make the most of it with no expectations really. It was really useful but maybe dragged out a bit. And we did have one nutty adopter with some odd views that made it quite uncomfortable!!

DameKewcumber Mon 01-Oct-12 14:32:14

at least one nutty adopter keeps the course interesting!

We had one guy who insisted he wouldn't tell a child any of their story pre adoption (it was quite harrowing and we were discussing how much and when would be best to share the facts). Very firm indeed.

I heard rumours that they struggled to get approved though that might have been for any number of reasons (I could have come with a few reasons myself and that was only after meeting them fot three days!)

Moomoomie Mon 01-Oct-12 14:39:00

Italian...... Please don't take this the wrong way, I say it with the best of intentions.
Try not to allow this whole adoption process take over your whole life, it is good to be prepared, but remember the life and child you have at the moment. Spend lots of quality family time with your dd and enjoy the time you have before it is turned upside down by a new child.
I know you can't wait to start this journey and I'm sure all will go well and soon will be approved.
Best of luck.

Devora Mon 01-Oct-12 15:40:07

We had one man who was obsessed with women in prison. REALLY obsessed. His main interest in adoption was birth mothers in prison.

There was actually one couple there who were really nice and I could see us being mates with. But one of them clearly wasn't into it and they dropped out. I think prep course really hammered home the reality for them.

Wow so many kind comments. Thank you all.

KatieMorag thanks, I feel kind of nervous about joining an adoption group before I am an adopter (if that the PC title??). It's a good suggestion but I kind of feel nervous - am I being fair joining without an adopted child!

KatieMorag You are so right, I am like the bride who is thinking about the big white dress and forgetting the next big 40 years of married bliss/shackles! Of course I must make the training count in terms of actually equipping me for the future with a new child who needs extra support and help and for whom I may well feel unprepared no matter how much training I have!

I think it was what 'Devora* said about the social workers watching you. In one sense I will be honest and open with the social workers but in another sense I would not want to make a silly mistake and give them a negative view of me if it was not real! Does that make sense? If they uncover anything about me that they are not happy about I hope it will be fixable, as in they can help me to be ready to parent an adopted child. Not making much sense but it does in my head!

Thanks DameKewcumber I will try and concentrate on other things. Am actually doing some courses so can put my attention on them and as they will finish by Christmas it will be before the training so good timing (accidental, but good).

Oh my goodness Ladyofthehouse I had kind of thought of the idea of being 'up against a friend' in terms of adoption! But thought it was just a crazy notion of mine. Now you have said it is a possibility! Something new to worry about! I am fascinated about the adopter's weird views - but too polite to ask!

Thanks Moomoomie I won't take it the wrong way; I've said the same thing (to people who are struggling with fertility issues and have a child already) myself. I must say that adoption has consumed me far less than the years of fertility treatment ever did. But thanks for your concern because it is quite easy to slip into manic mode! The truth is that I love talking to you guys and hearing all your stories. I am enjoying lots of special time with DD and making sure she feels as secure as possible before the world turns upside down. I was very sad she managed to make it to this age without a sibling but now I think being older will make it a bit easier, she is quite independent and I think that will help a bit.

Lovesoftplay, HappySunflower, Devora, thanks for sharing.

KatieMorag Tue 02-Oct-12 14:57:45

The main purpose of the " preparation days" is as a screening process. Lots of people will decide not to procede once they have found out more. For a few more, the agency will decide not to assess them.

Hopefully you will learn lots of useful information . But please don't assume that at the end of it you will be prepared to bring up an adopted child.if you are lucky you will have about 5% of the information you need. If you get a good social worker ,you might gain another 5% during the home study. But the rest of the information,skills,knowledge and understanding -you will need to get that yourselves.

So despite your dislike of reading I'm afiraid there is little alternative. Read books,journal articles,the net. Read stuff for adoptees and birth parenst as well as for adopters. Go on training courses,meet adopters and foster carers.

Oh Katiemorag those are quite depressing fractions! Wasn't expecting the preparation days would make me fully ready but was kind of hoping they would give me some knowledge, more than 5%. Is it all about learning things in a kind of head knowledge way? It's not that I can't read at all but I find reading books quite a 'dry' way of learning.

Moomoomie Tue 02-Oct-12 20:53:53

Our prep group was a long time go, but looking back it does give you the "head" knowledge.it was good to learn about why children were adopted, contact with birth family, how to deal with nosey peoples questions etc.
What it doesn't prepare you for and nothing really can is living life with an adopted child. For us that was the biggest shock when we adopted our eldest two.
As you have a child already, you know a lot more about raising a child than I did.
I enjoyed the course, more from the point of view that I knew we were on our journey. Fortunately for us it wasn't a long one.

DameKewcumber Tue 02-Oct-12 20:59:20

I learnt loads on the prep course so depending on who is doing it I think KatieMorag might be being a bit pessimistic. I still have my folder and 8 years later have been known to drag it out to look up some info occasionally. I agree the home study isn't really about you learning its a long interview for a position of adoptive parent.

If you find books hard, aim for articles/blogs/MN adoption section wink

Thanks all.

Kew feel free to pm me some blogs to read.

I am not sure why books so much turn me off but I do think that having remedial - what they called it back then wink - reading up to age 11 meant I viewed 'books' as the 'enemy'!

Devora Tue 02-Oct-12 22:40:24

I'm sure there's plenty of ways you can learn what you need to know without reading - talking to us, talking to other adopters, Youtube. DVDs... If a full book is offputting, subscribe to an adoption magazine and read articles instead.

Devora I didn't know there were adoption magazines. Can you tell me more! Please?

Devora Tue 02-Oct-12 23:07:25

e-magazine.adoption.com/

www.adoptinfo.net/

www.adoptivefamilies.com/

www.theadoptionmagazine.com/

www.adoptionuk.org/information/103162/aa_at_mag/

The first four are American, so be aware of the cultural and practice differences. The last is a link to the British Adoption UK magazine, which you have to subscribe to. I'm sure there's lots more out there too.

BeaLola Tue 02-Oct-12 23:12:22

I agree with so much of above, read, get stuff sorted etc but still go away & have you time before they arrive. Also do stuff with your 8 year old that may be more difficult when age gap sibling arrives.

Prep group was intense even though days shorter than my normal working days, cheesy ice-breaker exercises plus presenters were at conflict with one another always. Me & DH made a pact that we could talk about it in car for 15 minutes & then we were having dinner out somewhere where Adoption talk was banned !

Got so much out of it though - have stayed in contact with some of group - those we haven't were perhaps never going to be friends with & one live geographically quite a trek away.

More than half our group already had birth children which I hadn't expected (not sure why I was surprised but I was ) . All our Adoptive Mums & Dads who came to speak I found the most helpful & honest about what to expect, how SW were , the reality of it all & a couple of them worried me with their comments about their adopted children eg if they had been our birth child x would have happened - to me my child is my child whether biologically mine or not.

Ladyofthehouse Wed 03-Oct-12 12:52:09

Bea Lola - ours was the same. We were definitely in the minority having no birth children on our prep course! It was awkward at times because the SW kept having to remind them that just because they have children already it is completely different with adopted children. A few did assume they knew everything already because they'd dealt with such and such issue at home already.

Our prep course did give us a lot of knowledge and to be honest we did no prep at all. Have read stuff online but little else. We made sure after each prep session to make a list of questions that came into our head which we could then discuss with our social worker which was really useful when we had our home study.

Also, if your SW's are anything like ours on the course were if you have any IT skills you'll soon be teachers pet! They could never work out how to turn the laptops/screens on!!

Devora Wed 03-Oct-12 22:45:35

One of the most valuable parts of prep course for me was having to think through how parenting an adopted child may differ from parenting my birth child.

We also did a valuable exercise where they got us to vote on how we would handle certain discipline situations. It was really helpful in getting us to consider what a child might be bringing from their previous experiences: for example, why you shouldn't force an unwilling child to kiss a visiting relative, because this might trigger memories of undisclosed sexual abuse. It was disturbing how some of the participants continued to insist that their social obligations, or their family's cultural traditions, should still take priority.

I think having experience of birth children is useful in the early days, because at least you're confident of the frontline tasks of feeding, bathing, entertaining etc. But these things don't take long to learn, do they? And overall, having birth children is more of a disadvantage in adoption terms.

It's really helpful to hear things like this. Can you give me more examples, please (feel free to pm me).

Thanks so much Devora.

'Luckily' I think in some ways I may be prepared for SOME aspects of the kind of things you mention. We do not force our DD to kiss any relatives or do anything like that. I am very sensitive about her space, her 'rights' etc. I am not sure why I have parented in this way, (there are other examples I could give but of course having not parented an adopted child I would not know exactly what other areas would be different - ifswim!). Possibly reading parenting books written from a child-centured focus has helped (yes have read a tiny bit!) and also my DD is quite independent and strong willed and I have found that the 'traditional' parenting methods of Mum being boss/dictating what she eats/wears etc have not always worked well! I have tried to tread a path of being sensitive to her needs but also aware of what would be helpful for her to be able to do. She's quite an emotional sensitive little girl. At times she gets quite cross and angry but actually she is very sensitive, and I think that has made me a lot more aware about what I say to her, it is hard to explain but I think I try and treat her with a lot of respect. I am hopeful these things will stand me in good stead! I expect all parents would say they respect their children! So maybe what I am saying is not ringing any bells. But I have seen parents force food into their kids mouth, etc, make them sit up and finish food they don't want to eat etc. I guess those are example of things that would make me uncomfortable. Things I would not do.

I just wanted to say that I feel like a baby bird! and all you wise people are the bigger birds (!) bringing me crumbs of wisdom.... so thank you.

I'd almost forgotten about the others on the prep course. In ours (5 couples) one couple dropped out, one couple was dropped. One couple were really nice, but really different from us, v little in common (not that we are not nice!!). The other couple were lovely, we stayed in touch a while, but they moved away. My dh still sees one of them occasionally via work, perhaps twice a year, which is nice (and purely coincidental) Two of dh's oldest friends are adoptive parents, and we see them a lot.

I missed the first of the 6 prep sessions. My dh went on his own, our dd1 was really ill. I thought that would probably put an end to us as potential adoptive parents, but the SWs were very understanding, and it was fine.

Thanks PP good to hear about your experiences.

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