15,000 Kids and Counting - Episode 2

(272 Posts)
Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 14:14:59

Tonight at 9.00 on Channel 4

The Search
This episode follows the search for adoptive parents for a two-year-old boy and a three and seven-year-old brother and sister

With the added challenges of having slightly older children, siblings and a child with possible health issues to place, the task for social workers Annette and Jackie is a massive one

With the future of these children in their hands and recently set government targets to meet, they struggle not to become emotionally involved as they strive to find adopters before time runs out

candycoatedwaterdrops Thu 10-Apr-14 14:18:37

Thank you for this thread, Lilka. I'm out tonight but will watch later (maybe tomorrow) and join in with you. I hope this one will be as balanced as last week's show.

Fusedog Thu 10-Apr-14 14:43:07

Really looking for ward to this

NanaNina Thu 10-Apr-14 14:52:02

I hope they don't try placing the 3 of them together, not because sibs shouldn't stay together - of course they should, but sibling groups of 3 or more are a real challenge to adopters as all the children will have difficulties of one kind or another, both because of their pre placement experiences and having to move from the foster carers.

SWs are meant to consider the bonding between the sibs and try to place the ones closest to each other, but age is an even more important issue - sad but true. On the face of it, the 2 and 3 year old could maybe be placed together. Sadly this means the 7 year old (especially if it's a boy and is the one with health problems) might not be able to be placed for adoption.

I think the other thing is that permanent foster carers for middle years aged children who haven't been matched with adopters, are as rare as hen's teeth, and so these children tend to be passed around short term foster carers. Sometimes a family who are short term carers for a child and the plan is for permanency via adoption, will consider adopting the child, or permanently fostering the child, and the outcomes for these children are very good for obvious reasons really.

The other thing is that LAs are always pushing people who might consider permanent fostering to apply for a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) because this is just one step away from adoption and gives the carers more or less full parental responsibility (PR) This can work well if the family don't want social workers involved, as with this Order the PR transfers to the carers and not the LA. The one big problem is funding because fostering allowances are mandatory whereas SGO allowances are discretionary, but I hear from others in this position that they insist that they could only care for the specific child with the equivalent of the fostering allowance and this can be written into the court papers and agreed by the Judge. There is still a saving for the LA as they are no longer involved.

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 15:16:19

They aren't a sibling group of 3, the 3 and 7 year old are a brother and sister group of 2, and the 2 year old is a different case entirely.

I just hope they are sensitive and do not do what I felt the "Finding Mum and Dad" program did, and make statements that kind of imply criticism on prospective parents for not feeling able to adopt older children. The difference between saying "the majority of prospective parents do not feel able to adopt an older child" and "the majority of prospective parents want young healthy babies" is actually quite a big difference IMHO

MyFeetAreCold Thu 10-Apr-14 16:59:16

Checking in. Won't be able to watch until tomorrow though...

MrsDeVere Thu 10-Apr-14 17:59:31

Marking place smile

Coconutty Thu 10-Apr-14 18:01:21

This programme was heartbreaking last week but I'm going to watch again tonight.

Devora Thu 10-Apr-14 18:43:31

I'll be here!

soontobeethree Thu 10-Apr-14 19:35:30

I'm watching tonight too.

redfishbluefish Thu 10-Apr-14 20:01:16

Me too

crazeekitty Thu 10-Apr-14 20:35:51

I'm interested to see how much they show behind the scenes.

'matching' was non-existent in my experience.

"I'm interested in adopting Ethel"
"we've got an adopter for Ethel after years and years. Ooh. They both like animals. Quick. Rubber stamp it".

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:03:15

I found it was like that with DD1 crazee

Long time ago now, but...she was 10, already a disrupted adoption, wanted a single mum, emotional and behavioural issues

There's Lilka, she's a single mum, wants an older girl, we have to have her. But what about this behaviour issue? And this one? This background information? It might put Lilka off. Answer = dont bother telling her

Luckily, despite the fact that DD2 had even more needs, they went slowly and gave me so much information. The difference was amazing

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:08:15

sad I'm near tears already

Treaclepot Thu 10-Apr-14 21:09:59

Me too.

Going to watch on C4+1 after iv dyed my hair! Marking place!

Velvet1973 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:10:47

Me too Lilka. Such lovely children and it is seriously making me think hard about the age range we will ask to be approved for.

Snargaluff Thu 10-Apr-14 21:11:35

This is sad

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:14:20

"can i go and knock on some doors"

sad sad

That's done it, I'm crying now

Velvet1973 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:15:43

I can't believe she discounted the couple that said siblings 0-6 surely they would at least be approached?

Karbea Thu 10-Apr-14 21:16:10

Yep the "can't I go and knock on some doors got me too"

I'd love to adopt a child sad

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 21:18:37

Wish she would knock on my door!

Mrs4561 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:18:50

Could anyone give a quick recap on last weeks episode?

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:19:11

Right I've calmed down now

Tommy is gorgeous

Mrs4561 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:19:13

Pressed send too soon ... I missed it and really wanted to see it

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:22:33

Mrs last episode was about the decision to place a child for adoption instead of return them to their birth parents, completely different children

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:23:06

You can watch it on 4OD smile

what is the beeping noise in background??

Velvet1973 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:27:36

Just going to say exactly the same giraffe, driving me nuts!

MrsDeVere Thu 10-Apr-14 21:28:15

I thought FAS as soon as I saw Tommy.
Little pixie face.
Bless him.

mineallmine Thu 10-Apr-14 21:28:57

It's really annoying, giraffes. I thought it was my new tumble dryer!

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:29:44

Same here MrsDV, I did think he might have a few facial features

Caroline and Michelle seem lovely people

Velvet1973 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:29:45

Me too MrsDeVere, a real cutie and seems as bright as a button.

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:30:00

I can't hear a beeping sound

Mrs4561 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:30:57

Many thanks smile
Will try catch it on 4od.

Velvet1973 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:31:39

Wonder if mr exec producer is reading the thread tonight to see we're less than impressed at their attempt at "dramatic music!" I thought it was the level crossing in the clip at the time but now it's carrying on, what is wrong with these tv producers?

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 21:32:45

I thought the same too.

How sad that she thinks a long term foster carer wouldn't let her sit on her/his knee! Who told her such rubbish! She sits on the social workers knee but wouldn't be able to sit on someone who is parenting her! Outrageous sad

Velvet1973 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:32:47

That beeping Lilka!

Mrs4561 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:33:11

Being completely honest, If you were to adopt, do you think you would be 'picky' about how the child looks?
Perhaps picky isn't the right word, rather, do you think how a child looks would have an impact?

FrankUnderwood Thu 10-Apr-14 21:33:51

Glad you've mentioned the beeping - I've muted the telly 4 times and even went out to the garden to listen for it. Why?!

Tommy is so adoptable, but the panel will have to be okay with the "no male role model" thing. I've heard of boys adoption matching falling at that point.

FelixFelix Thu 10-Apr-14 21:33:53

I was just looking for a thread about this to complain about the beeping! We just had the gas board round about an hour ago as the house which backs on to ours has had a carbon monoxide leak and I keep thinking it's an alarm going off shock

Devora Thu 10-Apr-14 21:36:23

I'm astonished that they're talking about adoption as a prospective adopter's market - it certainly didn't feel that way when I was desperately searching for a match. But then if the number of children up for adoption has doubled, and the number of adopters hasn't...

I do get peed off with this 'they only want babies' stuff, though. It's an incomplete discussion until you start adding in the immersion-in-fear that is adoption preparation, and the terrible state of post-adoption support.

2468Motorway Thu 10-Apr-14 21:37:11

The sib group seem lovely, perhaps if some of the 0-6 cut off families met Lauren (who's only a tiny bit older) they would still want her. She is lovely, it really breaks your heart.

Hoping really hard for a miracle for them.

Velvet1973 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:38:21

I'm sat here aghast at the fact she's scrawling out adopters because they're only approved to 6? Seriously they don't even get asked? Maybe that's why older children are hare to place!

Devora Thu 10-Apr-14 21:38:54

Mrs4561, I think it's very difficult not to be unduly affected by looks when you have so little else to go on. I definitely found my eye drawn to certain kids based on their looks - not just how attractive they were (though I'll admit to that), but whether they looked like my kind of kid.

Velvet it isn't that simple sadly, there will be reasons why they have 6.

MrsDeVere Thu 10-Apr-14 21:42:48

It's true Devora
It's a wonder anyone goes through with adoption at all.
We sat through the same as you did even though we already has DS and were only being assessed for him.

The prep seemed designed to put people off.
But then, what is the alternative?

We can't ave people jumping in without a clue.

I don't know what the answer is.

flightywoman Thu 10-Apr-14 21:45:35

I wouldn't have been bothered about ginger, the bloke that asked that really shocked me!

I think Devora has said it - it wasn't about whether she was pretty, it was about whether she looked like our kind of child.

And we never specified gender till she came along!

Velvet1973 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:47:32

I'm sure there are giraffe for many people but surely some of them will be because that's what they had discussed and not hard and fast rules? We're already finding it hard to narrow down the age range we would like to be approved for and couldn't bear the thought of a child not even being presented to us because they were 1 year older than we'd discussed.

MrsBW Thu 10-Apr-14 21:48:17

Anyone else less than impressed with this 'edition'...? Not because of the beeping, but because of the way 'Bad Picky Adopters' are being portrayed? Again?

redfishbluefish Thu 10-Apr-14 21:48:39

DH and I definitely found the prep pretty draining. There was a very strong focus on worst-case scenario in terms of how many challenges you might face.

I hope a family is found at the 11th hour for Lauren and Liam!

mrsballack Thu 10-Apr-14 21:49:43

We weren't bothered about looks.
In fact we didn't see a photo of out little terrors until very close to matching panel due to court proceedings still being ongoing. We were beginning to get attached without a photo.

mrsballack Thu 10-Apr-14 21:50:49

Oh god yes about prep.

I wanted to abandon it all after prep. I was totally convinced that it was all going to be misery and pain for the rest of our lives.

So glad I stuck with it

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:50:50


I am a bit annoyed

Ah bless Tommy

crazeekitty Thu 10-Apr-14 21:50:59

Two mummies ... God you're taking me back to that first meeting where a shy little face appeared round the door.

jonicomelately Thu 10-Apr-14 21:51:00

I love these two older foster carers. They don't give a shit what the social workers tell them. The man was kissing and cuddling Tommy which apparently is not allowed wink

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:51:25

Annoyed about the "bad picky adopters" i mean

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:52:35

Oh my life, the very last day and they have a potential adoptive family??

Karbea Thu 10-Apr-14 21:53:44

My husband was put off by the initial open day, it breaks my heart as I think we'd be amazing parents.

crazeekitty Thu 10-Apr-14 21:54:03

And how cool is Becky? Smashing kid!

redfishbluefish Thu 10-Apr-14 21:54:45

Hurray!!! 11th hour adopters. Ha.

Velvet1973 Thu 10-Apr-14 21:55:14

Now I'm really off!

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:55:34

Oh I feel like crying again now. Family for Lauren and Liam grin

roadwalker Thu 10-Apr-14 21:56:10

My DD looked truly terrible, very uncared for, permanent snot lines down her face, matted hair, chapped skin

I am the sort though that has taken 3 legged, ugly cats from the rspca because I was worried no-one else would take them

So looks would not put me off
My DD is gorgeous now, she only needed fruit & veg and a daily bath!

I didn't like the remark that 'these children are resilient'

Twighlightsparkle Thu 10-Apr-14 21:56:37

Those foster careers are amazing.

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 21:58:41

They are amazing sad

roadwalker Thu 10-Apr-14 21:59:17

FC are amazing

roadwalker Thu 10-Apr-14 21:59:38

x post

Twighlightsparkle Thu 10-Apr-14 21:59:48

Didn't like the way the social,worker said " just go folks "

Velvet1973 Thu 10-Apr-14 22:00:45

Ah so pleased we see Lauren and Liam again.

Fusedog Thu 10-Apr-14 22:03:27

Ahh lovely and I glad they showed a same sex couple let the haters eat poo

Just starting to watch

2468Motorway Thu 10-Apr-14 22:04:05

Really upseting seeing lovely Becky cry. What a great family.

Frozen baby sad

I couldn't do that job sad I'd cry all day!

I cried too.

crazeekitty Thu 10-Apr-14 22:14:47

Fusedog "let them eat poo"... F a f

Knock on doors sad

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 22:15:49

It was wonderful to hear about the difference foster carers do make in children's lives every day

Lauren went from only eating beans on toast and one other meal, with a spoon only, to a varied diet with a knife and fork

Liam was a frozen baby, but is now doing so much better

Of course, they may well have issues in the future relating to their first years/months of life, it's likely, but it is so heartening how much progress can be made with wonderful FC's

I'd love to be a foster carer when my children have grown up!

mineallmine Thu 10-Apr-14 22:18:25

What is a frozen baby? I missed the first part of the programme.

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 22:21:05

Frozen baby refers to a baby who has "frozen awareness" - they are very passive, not mobile hence the 'frozen' in place, but they are very watchful of their surroundings, very observant


MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 22:22:06

An emotionless baby sad

A baby living in fear who has learned not to cry sad

I couldn't imagine an emotionless baby sad

I'm in floods of tears now. It was like re-living every foster child leaving for adoption when I lived at home, and watching my parents have to say goodbye. Heartbreaking. Especially when you get them as babies straight from hospital and they're with you until they're toddlers, or you get the scrawny, shy toddlers that go through the bath 3 times before they come out clean, but leave as different children. It's so hard to let go and I'm glad they showed that side of it for the foster carers.

I do think it was a touch on the 'picky adopters' again though. So easy to judge when it's not you making that life changchanging decision.

MrsDeVere Thu 10-Apr-14 22:29:11

I work with children with delays and disabilities.
I have a particular interest in children in FC
The frozen babies are the ones that worry me the most.
Give me a 'hyperactive', attention span of a gnat 18 mth old over a 'he is such a good baby, he never cries and is happy sitting watching the world go by' one any day.

A lot of FC are brilliant and can spot the issues very quickly but new and/or inexperienced (or the minority who won't be told) don't always realise that a quiet, passive baby is not such a good thing ( in these circumstances)

DS was able to shut down and zone out at will. He could also sleep for England. All were survival techniques. He also had the weirdest muscle tone of any non-physically disabled child I have ever met.

Trauma does dreadful things to tiny babies.

My poor, beautiful boy. What happened to him was just terrible.

I always said I would adopt again if I coud. Knowing the amount of care DS needs I don't think it would be possible for us to now.

Devora Thu 10-Apr-14 22:30:06

It's the most horrible thing to contemplate, that a tiny baby can be rigid with fear.

dp and I felt very emotional watching this, took us right back to our matching and introductions. I find it so distressing that our current systems means most babies taken into care at birth go into foster care and end up having to leave the only 'mum' they've ever known. I still look at photos of my poor dd2 after she was left with us, pre-verbal so nobody could explain to her what was going on, her little face all worried and sad, clutching onto me like an abandoned marmoset monkey. At the time I didn't appreciate what she was going through - I was so overwhelmed I was quite emotionally frozen myself, plus my elder child had been quite like that naturally. But dd2 isn't like that, and it was only as her personality emerged that I saw how deeply traumatised she had been by that move.

Great programme, though the little snipets of info we had left me with lots of questions.

I'm really interested in the division between foster care and adoption and whether more can be done to look at all the issues around both to make things better for the children as well as the carers/parents

We seem to have a really two tier system (with foster care/adoption) whereas all the child really wants is a Mum and/or Dad and a home.

That SW annoyed me a bit banging on about all the different possibilities with that wee girl of 7.

I feel if we had better systems in place and better resources/support we could make things better than they are at present for so many children.
Feel we need to take a fresh look at everything.

Sorry should have said two Mums or two Dads great too smile

Koothrapanties Thu 10-Apr-14 22:47:43

Could someone please explain the difference between long term foster care and adoption? If it is permanent, why do they not adopt?

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 22:47:44

But juggling I am a foster carer and adopter and that sw was a million times better than most and so interested in the siblings I would love to work with her!

missisboot Thu 10-Apr-14 22:51:12

Juggling - lots of local authorities are piloting concurrent planning to try and limit the impact that multiple placements has on young children.

The challenge with concurrency is that you need to find potential adopters with whom the child is placed on a foster basis, but whilst the local authority work with the birth family to try and overcome whatever issues meant that the child was placed in care in the first place.

You'd have to be a pretty special person to put yourself forward on that basis. It must be emotionally draining knowing that you're taking on a child on a foster basis with a view to adopt but the child may still go back to the birth parent.

There's no easy answer sad

Am in floods sad

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 22:52:29

Maybe some people need the allowance you get as a fc so couldn't afford to adopt. Also, when you adopt the child is as much yours as any birth child would be and an integral part of your family for ever. In fc the local authority has parental rights usually.

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 22:53:24


Long term foster care is what it says on the tin - a foster home until age 18. The birth parents are still the legal parents, with minimal parental rights and responsibilities, but the child can never go home to live with them.

Adoption is very different. An adoption order is a binding, irreversible legal order which completely replaces the childs legal parents. The birth parents become, in legal terms, totally unrelated to the child, strangers. The adoptive parents become the legal parents exactly as if they gave birth to the child. There is no difference. So the childs old birth certificate is legall voided, becoming worthless as a legal document, and is replaced by a new short birth certificate and an adoption certificate (sometimes also called a long birth certificate by the adoption community) naming the adoptive parents.

Legally, adoption is basically, the adoptive parents give birth to the child

Fostering, is a long term home with long term parents, but who your parents actually are, in law, does not change

That's a huge difference

I would love to adopt or foster. It's made me think about it a lot.

MyFeetAreCold Thu 10-Apr-14 22:54:28

kooth, often children in long term foster care still ave some kind of relationship with their birth families that would either rule out adoption or make it difficult.

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 22:55:40

You said it better than me lilka

Koothrapanties Thu 10-Apr-14 22:56:05

Sorry if I'm being dim, but if the foster parents are willing to take on the children on a permanent basis, why do they not adopt them? Why would they want to stay a foster parent, not an adoptive parent?

Koothrapanties Thu 10-Apr-14 22:57:18

In this case, the children were eligible for adoption so would it not make sense for the long term foster carers to just adopt them?

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 22:57:55

Some children need a foster home, not adoption. They may have a close relationship with their birth parents and need to see them quite often. Maybe the child does not want a new mummy/daddy (in any combination) and the child would feel like their birth mum was being replaced if that happened

When a child who really would benefit from adoption, is not adopted because a home cannot be found, and instead placed for long term fostering, to me that's so sad. LTFC is fantastic for the children who need it, but it's not the same as adoptive parents.

Koothrapanties Thu 10-Apr-14 22:58:53

Sorry merry I didn't see your post.

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 22:59:19

They weren't long term fc though kooth they were short term carers

Koothrapanties Thu 10-Apr-14 23:00:28

They were going to be moved to long term permanent foster care if they didn't find adopters though merry.

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 23:00:32

Short term can go on for years but it shouldn't

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 23:01:03

Yes sorry I mis understood you

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 23:01:20

There are some advantages to being a foster carer, not an adopter

You do remain in continuous contact with SS, with reviews etc. This, depending on local authority, can mean support is easier to access. It can be better that way for some children with emotional, mental health and behavioural difficulties

Not everyone wants to become a childs fully legal parent. Perhaps the emotional parent-child bond feels enough. Perhaps it's an issue of support. Or something else entirely, you'd need to ask a long term foster carer!

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 23:02:40

Kooth sadly if adoption doesn't work out, LTFC is the next best option, being a different kind of permanence

LTFC's don't primarily want to adopt, they want to be foster carers, for whatever reason. So they applied to be FC's, not adopters

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 23:04:40

Actually the relationship of a LTFC and child, and adoptive parents and child, is often very different. I know a lovely couple with 2 LTF children that came to them at an older age, and they don't see themselves as the children's parents in the way that i am my children's mum

It's not the same

And that was what they wanted

Koothrapanties Thu 10-Apr-14 23:06:04

I see. Sorry I know very little about it all but have found the programs fascinating. I just couldn't understand why if you were willing to take a child on until age 18, and as the social worker said, 'forever', why you wouldn't adopt. I didn't know the benefits of being a fc over an adoptive parent. Thanks for explaining.

It's so sad that many older children are overlooked. My cousins were adopted from horrific backgrounds at 18m and 9yo and although it has been very tough at times, they have a great relationship with their adoptive parents and are both doing so well now. They had huge potential and it is sad to think that the 9yo would have been so undesirable to many.

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 23:06:58

I think the allowance is a big thing, not everyone is financially able to adopt and also carers I know have access to respite (4weeks a year) but also when you adopt you want a child to complete your family and when you foster you want to support the child for as long as necessary without the commitment of 'forever' and issues of inheritance etc

Koothrapanties Thu 10-Apr-14 23:07:38

Sorry she is obviously not 9 now, she is 24 just to clarify.

I will 100% be a foster carer I think when my children are grown. Mind you my age would probably go against me then. I am still crying!

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 23:09:58

Nobody else commented on the sitting on the knee bit. What did you think about that? I was dismayed to hear her think that she couldn't sit on her fc knee sad

Koothrapanties Thu 10-Apr-14 23:10:26

Oh and that really isnt meant as a criticism of adoptive parents, I didn't mean that how it came out. I completely understand why parents choose a certain age range, but from the program tonight it is evident that most feel able to take on a younger child.

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 23:10:44


MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 23:13:06

sleepingbunnies I know several fc in their 60's. The fc's on the programme were not spring chicks either!

With absolute respect to all adoptive parents and foster carers who may be reading I do wonder how the financial differences of the two impact on children's and adults lives. It concerns me, as a PP has said, that some foster carers may not be able to afford to adopt a child if that would mean financial support was stopped?
Everything should be done to ensure this aspect does not limit the possibilities for children and their families.
Equally you mention that support can be easier to access within fostering Lilka whereas ideally all children and families should receive the help they need whether a child is fostered or adopted.
Very encouraging to hear that several areas are looking at concurrent planning (for fostering or adoption)
I just feel that is a fruitful area to explore.

Lilka Thu 10-Apr-14 23:27:54

Finances are always a consideration

I get an adoption allowance for DD2, which I know I am lucky to get. Even managed to persuade SS to extend it for another year because of our circumstances.

But I get a high amount for an adoptive parent with just the 1 child (with significant needs yes)

And it's not likely to get an allowance in the first place. It's also means tested so if you're adopting and you aren't on a lower income...

Makes a big difference to life though, it's so helpful

Yes Merry I certainly noticed the bit where it was mentioned that you couldn't sit on your FC knee, or call them Mum and Dad (Did we hear that from the little girl, I forget now?)

That seems ridiculous to me. When I've worked with young children we all had them sitting with us (or on us!) during story or singing time. How silly, and surely unrealistic - and harmful I would say, to say that this isn't allowed with the people a young child is living with.
Also not to call them Mum and Dad. Young children have called me this too when I was just their teacher or in other early years role.

MerryInthechelseahotel Thu 10-Apr-14 23:35:44

I know one child in long term fc who calls fc mum and dad (child's choice) and has changed name to their surname.

I certainly have used my knees frequently over the years to bounce and comfort various fc smile

crypes Thu 10-Apr-14 23:41:48

I think it was a brilliant programme tonight , really sensitively put together , especially little Tommy and two mummies, it had me in tears. The transition from the lovely foster parents to two mummies was inspiring.I think I would of liked two mummies as a little kid who wouldn't.

Yes I agree Crypes it was a pretty well put together programme wasn't it?

Velvet - When you say ""We're already finding it hard to narrow down the age range we would like to be approved for and couldn't bear the thought of a child not even being presented to us because they were 1 year older than we'd discussed.* Make sure your social worker or rather family finder knows that. We had said that we had a prefernce for a girl. Luckily for us our family finder didn't take much notice of that and suggested a boy. We were thrilled and are very pleased to be adopting him (we hope!)

Yes, not sure I like the bad picy vibe, or the bloody bleeping.

fasparent Thu 10-Apr-14 23:53:34

Spring chickens are declining sadly, be out too roost soon, seen over 50 children placed in our time also adopted 8. Very upsetting to say goodbye too all , remember them all, all have been successful a lot of happy children and family's out there some children now with family's of their own.
Wish Joe public were made aware like this years ago may be things would be different.
As for FAS mine are doing great lots of Tommy's out there with good parenting and understanding can lead a near normal life, both mine work full time, drive, have partner's , too much negativity around FAS. speaking from experience assure all.

Karbea I am so sorry to hear that you say My husband was put off by the initial open day, it breaks my heart as I think we'd be amazing parents. You do not need to answer but can you say what put him off? I have been to two open days for adoption, and one for fostering, and I just wodner if going to a different agency or council might be better for him, and also how long ago this was. Some things have changed. The process how takes about 6 months instead of the 12 it too us or the longer process that may have been the case in the past. (That is to arrpoval.)

Also in the past you did not get to meet the child before adoption but if you go to anactivity day now for harder to place children, which could mean older not necessary children who are going to be harder to adopt, you can meet the potential children. I know for me when I first consdiered adoption the fact we did nto get to meet te child seemed a big deal but now 18 months down the line it does not seem such a big deal at all. Also, I was told we would not see a photo and we did not initially but then we did so in a way we were told things would be 'stricter' than they were. I think the process is designed to put you off - 'it' really does want the people with a strong desire to adopt to get through (in my humble opinion).

roadwalker I totally did not like the comment that these children are resilient! I felt that the foster carer said three things which I found rather offensive. I would not say anyone (social worker, birth parent, adopter or foster carrer) could sperak on behalf of all kids in the looked after system. Plus I expect that some children who come through the care syste, do end up with behavioral problems etc (based on what I read and see not on my personal experience). So coming through a system doesn't necessarily mean you are truely resilient it means you have coped maybe or maybe not. Dear Auntie Wickie says Psychological resilience is defined as an individual's ability to properly adapt to stress and adversity. I am just not sure that should be applied to vunerable children!

I hate the bit at the begining where the social worker says "He's the age of a baby that somebody wants that hasn't got their own children." I understand it but I find it annoying.

I found the ginger comment very offensve too!

Bloody hell am just sitting here getting offended! Sad old me!

Sorry - *foster carer said three things which I found rather offensive." But I know they will have seen a side of things I will not have.

Foster carers are amazng. I love what they do. Am not sure I would ever be able to do that. I kind of feel I would like to, not sure DH would agree! We are aprpoved to adopt and that will take quite a lot of energy for next few years.

Don't think I am being negative about foster carers at all. I am just being a bit super sensitive.

I did really agree with the foster carer who said people were telling him they were to sensitive to be foster carers and he said What does that make me! It is easy to assume you could not do a role in life but once you start to say I could not do it because of XYZ it might sound you think the person who is doing it XYZ!!

Velvet1973 Fri 11-Apr-14 00:09:36

Thanks Italian, I will do. I would hate to think of us not at least having a sibling group shown to us because of just being outside the age range. We've already said no preference to sex although my mum would love a girl as they have 2 grandsons already but it's not important to us. I have 4 nephews and then friends who have all girls and don't mind either way.

Fasparent that's great to hear as well re fas as never anything but the negatives discussed in regards to it. Just about every thread you read of potential adopters it's an instant no to fas so definitely agree there needs to be more info. My mum has been saying about all the adoption programs on recently and said she wished she'd seen more about it as she would definitely have looked into adoption. So hopefully these programs will raise awareness and bring forward more foster carers and adopters.

foster care said three things, sorry I shoudl say foster carer said these things. I felt the foster cares got a good opportunity to say lots and sometimes it was totally in context and sometimes seemed not! I love the fact the older foster couple seemed to manage so well with such a little lad and they were older, it was truely inspirational! It was quite painful to see how sad it was for them but I do feel it was a good sign, imagine living with a little child for 2 years and not feeling sad. It was a sign they really cared for him.

fasparent it is so good to hear you have personal experience of children with FAS going on to great things. Maybe potential adopters need more preparation in this. We were given very little (read none) and it is only from reading on mumset that I know anything. Sadly, some stuff can make people think they cannot cope so it is essential for potential adopters to know the realities, to be prepared and to go into adoption with eyes open.

I am really not sure how I feel about them discussing foetal alchol syndrome in relation to a named child who we see and hear about and see the adoptive parents for. He will change and might not be recognisable but the women will not change physically that much. So it seemed quite identifying. I know they want to make the issues real but that feels a step too far, couldn't they say 'medical condition/problems' and then speak about FAS in relation to other unamed children who we do not see on camera?

JugglingFromHereToThere I am not a foste carer but I would be very surprised if any foster carers were told they could not have a young child sitting on their knee! I think it is more the feelings of the child that that is her fear or perception. It was very clear her foster cares really loved and cared for her, it was very inspirational. They were doing such a great job.

Also, there is a reason why foster carers are not meant to be called Mum and Dad, because children in care/looked after already have a mum or dad (birth parent) who they may return to, and if/when/once it is decided they will not return the plan for many is that they will be adopted so they will get a new mum/dad or wharever. When Tommy met his two new mummies it was a bit confusing that there was the 'mum' foster carer and the two new mummies! It must be very hard for a child especially in a home where there is anotehr child (birth or adopted) who is already calling the adults mum and dad to not be able to, but that is the reality for children who are not yet adopted and (in my IMHO) it would be better for them to be able to understand the situation otherwise it could be more heartache when they realise they are not staying with foster carers.

NanaNina Fri 11-Apr-14 00:18:29

My TV packed up about three quarters of the way through tonight, but I think I gather from posts that a match was found for Lauren and Liam, though no guarantee that this would proceed to adoption. Sometimes matches "on paper" don't always progress through to adoption, for a variety of reasons, but so hope it did for these 2 children. I did wonder if Liam had some physical disability (?) as he seemed to have difficulty walking at one stage.

I notice that there is a discussion about LTFC and Adoption. I did post right at the beginning of the thread about this issue, but just to say that it is extremely difficult to find long-term foster carers, and I think Lilka and MITCH have explained most of the differences and the reasons why people might opt for one or the other. Funding is a major issue as has already been mentioned. Fostering allowances are mandatory whereas adoption allowances are discretionary and can be decreased or stopped altogether. Also some carers want the support of the LA especially if the child has medical needs, and that's another reason why they want to LT foster.

I would just mention one issue though that hasn't been mentioned. When a child is placed on the basis of LTFC there has to be 6 monthly reviews and at each review there is a question about whether it is possible for the child to be returned to the birthparents. I'm sure in the vast majority of cases this does not happen, but when I was working in Children's Services (before my retirement) the LA budgets were constrained (and I retired in 2004 so nowhere near as bad as they are now, given the slashing of the budgets by this coalition) and social workers were being told by senior managers that they must identify a child or children in LTFC who could return home. And in some cases, children did actually return home albeit still with a Care Order in place, so there would be oversight of the child's safety at home.

There is though another route to permanency not mentioned on the programme which is Special Guardianship Order (SGO) and this is just one step away from Adoption. The govt brought in this legislation, believing that many older children in short term foster care and children's homes would find families under this Order. I don't think this has been the case (though I can't evidence that) because people who want to permanently care for a child usually want as young a child as possible.

The SGO transfers Parental Responsibility (PR) from the LA to the carers. It is often used in kinship placements (usually grandparents/aunts/uncles etc) where the kinship carers live in the same area as the birthparents and there may be fairly frequent contact, given that the birthmother/father is the son or daughter of the kinship carers. Care has to be taken to ensure that the kinship carers don't allow any unsupervised contact to take place, given that the children have been removed from the birthparents by order of the Court.

There is a possible problem with SGOs regarding funding, because it is not mandatory, but I understand that most kinship carers will make it clear that they cannot apply for this Order unless there is funding equivalent to fostering allowances and this is being written into the court papers and agreed by the Judge.

Juggling - I don't think anyone would disagree with what you say, but budgets are not finite as I'm sure you are aware and during the many years I practiced there were always problems with budget constraints. Now that the budgets of Social Care (and all other public services) have been cut to the bone, it is of course so much worse. In an ideal world of course foster carers and adopters should receive the funding and support that they need, but in reality this cannot be the case. The govt introduced a duty for adopters to receive post adoption support - absolutely necessary in my view, but no new money to pay for it, therefore I guess it's very thin on the ground. Likewise I think foster-carers (short and long term) don't get the support they need for the same reason - lack of resources. Nationally LA children's services are struggling to recruit and retain staff and the govt is demanding improved services for less money - can't be done.

MiscellaneousAssortment Fri 11-Apr-14 00:19:16

Gosh what a sad and thought provoking programme.

Having lurked on the adoption board alot I picked up on the comments made about adopters 'picking' children.

I wish they had spent some time exploring why potential adopters feel forced to say no to older children, as that was really left unsaid, and I don't think all people will be able to think why this might be and the system behind it as well.

I wish I was in a position to adopt. I know lots of people say that and mean they want to but don't, I mean, I actually can't (disabled single mother hanging on by a thread). I think I'd be emotionally able to cope in alot of ways. It's such a waste sad

NanaNina Fri 11-Apr-14 00:40:50

MAI think most prospective adopters want younger children because they feel that it is the next best thing to having your own child (many adopters are unable to have their own children) so they're thinking of a baby or toddler and so an "older" child doesn't really appeal and I can understand this. Also I think there is a feeling that the younger the child is, the more easily he/she will settle into the family (not always the case) and that they will not have experienced numerous moves as some older children have (usually true) and again that they will settle more easily. I can understand a childless couple or single parent desperately wanting a baby, to be offered an 8 year old is just not going to be right.

In fact I think I am right in saying that children over 5 are categorised as "hard to place" especially if they are part of a sibling group, or have medical needs, disabilities etc. It's sad but true I'm afraid, though of course that doesn't mean any child of 5+ will not be successfully adopted.

I think when the sw in tonight's programme dismissed a couple because they only wanted 0 -6 would be for another reason other than age. It is common practice to try to "push up the adopter's offer" - e.g. Would you consider a child slight older than your original offer, and I can't imagine anyone refusing a child because she was just 1 year older than the age range for which they were approved.

I know there has been some discussion about why foster children can't sit on carer's knees and I know it sounds stupid in a way. This is an issue about "safer caring" - some children will have been sexually abused and obviously when this is known, the foster carers or adopters will be given full information, and these children very often show sexualised behaviour, like wanting to sit on the laps of males in the house and that's why it is discouraged. Also some children will have been sexually abused and it isn't known about, so there tends to be a blanket "rule" about this issue. Personally I think "safer caring" is a good idea but that it has been taken to quite ridiculous lengths and a lot of my colleagues felt the same, but we had to toe the party line.

Incidentally I thought Tommy's foster parents were lovely but how on earth did they have the energy to care for a 2 year old. I think they were probably coming to the end of their long fostering career, but must have helped dozens of children over the years.

FAS Parent have you really adopted 8 children? Did I read that right!

I genuinely think social services need to recruit new adopters from new places. Lots of adopters I have met in real life have either no birth children or one birth child. I can only think of 2 real life couples who adoptered already havng more than one child. Compared to about 5 adopter couples and 10 potential adopters couples who did not have children before or had only one. When people come to adoption to have children, having not had the young stage, some do really want to have that baby stage or young child stage, and I think that is totally understandable.

If people who do already have one child look to adpoption (like me) then I think they may often have an age peraminter to work within. Adoption has a better success rate if there is a bigger age gap between the children.

So I think social services actually needs to target older people who either have not had children and do not want babies and young kids but do not want to miss out on parenting (e.g. they are in their 50s and had they had kids at a younger age those kids would not be 7 or 10 or 12 etc) or they have older children who have grown up.

Not sure if that is making sense. I guess I am saying it is more complicated than just pursuadng adopters to consdier older children, Because adopters do not generally adopt to be altruistic! They adopt because they want a child, yes, they want to help a child but ultimately they want to be parents and people who have children get to have that child from bump, scan photos and all, and so adopters miss that bump to birth bit automatically and usually the frist year. We were matched with a preschooler and I was a little sad (for about a minute!) that I was going to miss out on his early life, then I figured was it worth missing out on the rest of his life for! And I figured NO, it was not. I am so glad we said yes and so excited. And I must say that having already got a birth child and having been through the bump and scan stage it totally does not bother me that I won't be doing that again. Sadly, too, there are now a lot more younger babies and children in the system and the myth is out there that babies are easier and I feel frustrated when it seems to be perpetuated as I am just not sure it is the case.

Whoops massive essay! Sorry!

Cross posted with NinaNana who said some of the same things as me!

NinaNana, I had not realised it was true about the not sitting on a lap. Clearly some foster carers may not do that though. They said the older couple had fostered about 100 children!

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 01:09:56

Much as I dislike picking apart posts, I'm going to do it anyway blush because of the language issue

I think most prospective adopters want younger children because they feel that it is the next best thing to having your own child (many adopters are unable to have their own children)

I think I know what you mean Nana, about trying to have a baby leading later into a desire to adopt a baby...but I'm going to politely point out that "own child" is pretty loaded and potentially offensive language on this board, and our children are our own children. I have my own children, and I don't love them like my own (because that would imply that they weren't really mine), I love them because they are my own. Also, I really don't think any of us consider our children a next 'best' thing. Our kids are not consolation prizes. Do many people come to adoption as a second choice, yes of course, and there's nothing at all wrong with that, but second choice is not second best, and we don't consider it in that way.

I'm not trying to be rude, or patronising or anything, but "own child" and "second best" used like this does make me feel very uncomfortable

Disclaimer, before anyone reads the next part of my post, I have not struggled with fertility issues, and having no experience, there is a big limit to what I can say

But my (personal, humble) opinion as to why most parents would prefer to adopt a child aged about 0-3, is a combination of the following

- It's a natural desire to want to experience as much of your childs life as possible with them. The idea of missing out on many of your childs milestones and earlier experiences can be an upsetting idea

- And of course experiencing a baby or young toddler, baby cuddles and nappy changing and pram pushing and everything about looking after a younger child, many people do feel such a strong desire to do these things. Parenting an older child is very different to parenting a 0-2/3 year old, and it is a strong and natural desire to hold a baby in your arms IMHO.

- Preparation to adopt really does hammer home the fact that many older children do have emotional and behavioural difficulties, but it is true that the way it is discussed can make it sound as if 100% of older children have very significant difficulties, which isn't the case. People do want a family life which they enjoy (for the most part), they want to always be happy that they made the decision to adopt that they made

- As Devora always and rightly says, prospective adopters are worried about post adoption support and reluctant to committ to older children or special needs if they don't think the support is in place

MiscellaneousAssortment Fri 11-Apr-14 01:52:33

I guess one of the issues could be that someone like me (ignoring disability ruling me out), I would be open to adopting an older child, as I've had pregnancy birth and early years with my son now, and somehow those years don't seem as precious now because I've done it and loved every second... But loved my boy as himself more than the ages and stages IYSWIM? I wouldn't have thought like that before Ds though, baby & toddler years were imbued with more significance then.

So now I'm in that more appropriate mindset, but I have a child so they recommend a big gap, so it puts the onus on the adopted child being young... And by the time my birth son would be old enough to be able to adopt a 7,8,9,+ yr old, I'd be approaching the 'too old' limit (I think?).

In spite of all of that, I wish my health stabilized and I didn't need so much care for me to be able to parent. Currently some of the hours care awarded to me is to help me do parent-y things (like lifting child into bath), so it would be odd just financially for the council to be paying for a carer so I could care for an looked after child for example...

Anyway, if health stabilized then I maybe could still adopt or be a long term foster carer. I've always been drawn to the idea, maybe to try and understand my own flawed upbringing, but then beyond that, I used to spend work lunchtimes looking at foster care and adoption agency sites, from my first job onwards really (job had nothing to do with that area). It's just such an important thing to do, so needed by society and (most importantly) for the specific children themselves.

You all do such a valuable thing you know, I admire you - though it's hard to say that without coming across as an idiot glorifying in an unrealistic way! (but I do admire you still sorry!)

MiscellaneousAssortment Fri 11-Apr-14 01:55:36

Sorry if I'm sounding really ignorant or putting my foot in it in some way - i do alot of lurking on this board but don't post as its for people truly involved in the process.

MiscellaneousAssortment it sounds like you have a great love for children and I really hope one day you may be able to realise your dreams. The age limit where I live is 50 years difference between child and adiult, so at 55 you could adopt a 5 year old etc. Also you say I've always been drawn to the idea, maybe to try and understand my own flawed upbringing I am pretty sure you would need to have a handle on your own upbringing and understand it and have resolved any issues from it before you adopt. That may be something to work on now, in rleation to support or counselling (IMHO) so if your health was better and you ever did adopt then your past would not be an issue for you.

Yes Lilka second choice but not second best! Agree totally, I am so excited to be adopting. I think the feekling I have are just like the feelings I had in pregnancy, in fact in some ways it feels more intense as I know what is coming!

odyssey2001 Fri 11-Apr-14 07:33:53

At lot of people have been commenting on the individuals / couples who were dismissed for the sibling pair that included a 7 year old because they only put 0-6.

As far as I understand it, if you are approved for 0-6 then you cannot be considered for a 7 year old. We were approved for a very limited window and only one sex. Therefore, we would have had to have returned to panel if we changed our mind. You are approved for what you are approved for. Well, this is what we were told by our social worker.

I would be interested to know whether other people were told this.

Just to add a bit to the LTF and legal guardianship bit - they do tend to be in specific circumstances.

In my family's experience we had a long term foster child who has severe special needs (no speech, in a wheelchair etc) and would otherwise have spent his whole life in residential care. There is no way my (older) parents could commit for life to someone needing 24 hour care in a very physical way, but fostering him until the age of 18 gave him a life in a family home that he wouldn't have otherwise had. Another child that my family respite fostered went to long term foster carers. Again, there were special needs and also contact remained with birth family.

Another foster child came to us as a baby straight from hosptial but was difficult to place and 5 years later they had pretty much given up. They looked for long term foster carers but that didn't happen either. My parents are too old to adopt any more children but in the end my mum (who is younger and in better health than my dad) took legal guardianship.

All the other 40+ children went back to birth families or were adopted.

MrsBW Fri 11-Apr-14 07:48:50

Age is interesting. We're approved for 2 children aged 0-6 and one of the first profiles we were shown was for a 4 and 7 year old. We were told the age we were approved for absolutely wasn't set in stone.

I still think this programme was disappointing and really didn't paint adopters in a good light which is a shame. Although total disclaimer, I didn't see the last 20 mins and will watch it today.

Velvet1973 Fri 11-Apr-14 08:04:19

Odyssey I would hope that approval panel is the main guidance but if it were a year old then matching panel would be sufficient to agree it? It's a discussion we will definitely be having with our sw.

odyssey2001 Fri 11-Apr-14 08:26:02

Velvet I completely agree with your sentiment. Maybe we just got our wires crossed or it is just our LA.

SorrelForbes Fri 11-Apr-14 09:35:33

I'm a Foster Carer and have never been told that our FC can't sit on our laps.

YouAreMyRain Fri 11-Apr-14 10:02:44

I'm going to disagree with some people here and say that the older FCs really should not have had Tommy calling them mummy and daddy. The female FC (Jean?) had been told that this was wrong, she even played it down when she told the SW that tommy called them "mamma" and "dadda" which we later saw was actually "mummy" and "daddy".

Wrong wrong wrong.

They were obviously doing it for their own reasons but claiming that that's what tommy had chosen to call them himself was ridiculous. A child will call you what they are told to call you, if they are wrong and get corrected they will stop. The FCs were using these terms when talking to tommy "give it to daddy" etc so basically reinforcing it.

I have seen this cause real distress and confusing when children are placed for adoption and it can contribute to longer lasting problems in the relationships and insecurity for the child.

If an older child in LTFC decides for themselves to use those labels then that is different but with a young child who is going to be adopted I think that using those terms is really damaging. It gives the children the impression that "mummy's" and "daddy's" can come and go when actually they should be believing that "mummy" and "daddy" relationships are very special and permanent.

On a separate issue, a lot of people who consider adopting are put off by thinking they are too old. Many people think that you can't adopt if you are over 40 even though it's the age gap between you and the child that is more important. Some publicity should be done around this.

fasparent Fri 11-Apr-14 10:08:02

Yes Nana Nina 8 children and 2 SGO's, crinkly's going strong and we all still love it . All our FC's called us Mum their choice natural thing as every one in the house calls us Mum and Dad, lots of hug's and love
promotes self esteemed and inclusion, contrary too the text book's, but have too use common scene on some occasions.

YouAreMyRain Fri 11-Apr-14 10:25:20

Love and hugs are great and essential but many FC families (and step families) do manage quite well with different children having different names for the adults, depending on their relationships. Not sure why some find it so hard or choose to encourage parental terms that are not appropriate tbh.

8 adopted dc and 2 SGO! Blimey that's a lot of laundry!

willitbe Fri 11-Apr-14 10:28:54

As a fostercarer we were told clearly that sitting on laps was forbidden for the male fostercarer. Females had to use common sense.

Our current placement has been with us 3 months and only this week made further disclosures. We have to be careful as this child could well have been sexually abused and we are working on the idea, that the child can say no to grown ups (as this is clearly an issue at the moment).

So whilst offering hugs, like we do for our own children, my husband cannot have the child sitting on his lap. However when the child has been upset I have comforted him sitting on my knee.

(Ps I don't like using the term the child but seemed weird saying he/she)

fasparent Fri 11-Apr-14 11:20:03

All our Adopted children are now Adults some with their own family's,
Still fostering though, with lots of positive out comes, more that 40 adopted into loving family's over the last 38 years,

Karbea Fri 11-Apr-14 11:52:05

italiangreyhound it was about 18months ago and south bucks council. My husband (although lovely) has a very senior job which means he works very long hours, you could say he is a bit of a workaholic. I am a sahm although we don't have any human children (4 cats, 1 dog).
The open day really focused on the face that the children would be VERY hard work, would bite or attack him, wouldn't want any male contact, we would be called to the school regarding problems etc. plus he would need to get some child experience (neither of us have any), so he'd need to find a scout group or something.
In reality, when he gets home from work (no earlier than 8pm) he wants his dinner, a glass of wine (we were told we'd probably not be allowed to have alcohol visible at home (we have very good friends who run gastro pubs in belgravia, so "sadly" alcohol is part of our lives) and to play with the animals and fall asleep. He wouldn't want a child kicking or biting him.
Plus, he wouldn't have time to join the scouts or anything.
I'm not saying he wouldn't prioritise adoption, but, being realistic, I would be putting in more effort than him (isn't this true of a lot of mothers?), but the council said it would need to be totally 50/50.

The council gave the impression that it would be a nightmare all of the time, the mum who came in to talk about her child, clearly was some kind of Saint, her poor boy was incredibly hard work, disabilities, behavioural issues, lots of contact with questionable birth relatives.

I guess he more than me came away with the feeling, that although we could offer a child (or sibling group) an amazing life (I know it's not all about money), we are both well educated (university), parents both still married, large house (all would have big bedrooms), I don't work and have the time and lots of love to give etc. we wouldn't really be right and best case scenario we'd end up with a child that we couldn't help and life would be a nightmare.

I'm fully aware life wouldn't be easy (I've read a lot, we've a friend with children who are now young adults that were adopted), but I think we've a lot to give, whereas dh really felt that they should have seen what a great option we would be and should have helped us work out how it could work rather than sort of throwing it in our faces.

I know you don't really see what those children are like or what they've gone through. But I watch all of these types of programmes and get really upset that they say that there are so many children and not enough adopters, as we really could be.

We did Ivf a few times (more than a year a go ) and I do think that someone should follow up and see if those people who didn't fall pregnant would like to adopt.

Sorry probably very garbled!

RabbitRabbit78 Fri 11-Apr-14 11:56:00

The - also older - foster carers of our DC had him calling them mummy and daddy, having already been calling his birth parents mummy and daddy before that. This caused issues for us and affected our bonding. Their story was that he started calling them that after contact with BPs stopped - nonsense IMO. He was 2 and when we referred to them by their first names he had no idea who we were talking about!

Karbea Fri 11-Apr-14 12:00:27

Oh and the other thing was we are white middle class, both 40 and we were told that there are very few white children without disabilities, we would be unlikely to have a child without disabilities.
We would be totally flexible on age and size if sibling group, but I don't think I could cope with a major disability. I don't need to have a baby.

Whereas the tv shows so far have only shown white children...

So the council people were far more interested in the minority people at the open day. Which (and I'm not racist or anti gay) was a bit frustrating!

My dh as we were leaving said, I've a 1st from uni, I earn £x, we live in a gorgeous house etc, but I'm not good enough to adopt.

It was really upsetting tbh!

2old2beamum Fri 11-Apr-14 12:10:33

Had a quiet smirk at the age for adoptive parentsgrin
1 was 63 DH 60 when our 8th adopted child was placed @ 3years old! The placing authority approached us as our LO had no responses to her profile, so sad but our good luck!

Although upsetting the programme is thought provoking. Do wonder if we were trying to adopt our first now would we have been accepted.

Lovely to see old fogeys like us still looking after young needy children!

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 12:33:30

I'm pretty sure that it used to be the case that you were only approved for the number of children and age range you specified, hence you needed to be reapproved if you changed your mind. But, the rules changed a few tears back and now your approval is a blanket approval for any number, any age, so if you go outside your stated preferences, it doesn't matter and you don't have to be reapproved. A then vs. now thing

NanaNina Fri 11-Apr-14 12:34:28

Some interesting posts here.....very disappointed Lilka that you appear to be splitting hairs unnecessarily and accusing me of being "potentially offensive" - for saying "people unable to have their own children. I have always enjoyed your posts so was surprised at your post.

I actually stand by what I said because adopting a child is not your own child until the Adoption Order is made, and then YES of course he/she is every bit your own child and it would be offensive to make any distinction. I was actually talking about people considering adoption and so the hypothetical child was certainly not their own child.

Many years ago there used to be "direct placements" - usually babies (when many were available for adoption in the 50s 60s and early 70s) when babies/children were placed with adopters and got the Adoption Order more or less straight away - you got a signature from the birthmother and then the social worker went to the County Court and the Adoption Order was made. I did it several times and looking back it was so unfair as the birthparents had no rights at all. Mostly they were young "unmarried mothers" who had been forced into giving up their child for adoption because they had no means of supporting the child.

Also the "assessments" that were done on prospective adopters were very scant and were done by "adoption officers and health visitors" and so long as the home was clean and tidy and the garden well kept (I am serious.....) and the applicants talked about "teaching a child right from wrong" and a reference from the local Vicar or GP and all that was left to do was to go and pick up your baby from the "Home for Unmarried Mothers" and on the same day the mothers were given the bus fare to get back to their home town.

Sorry I am digressing.......

These days of course where the care plan is for adoption the LA make application to the Court at the final hearing for a Placement Order which if granted by the Judge essentially "frees the child for adoption" (used to be called a Freeing order) and the child is placed with foster carers until a suitable match is made.

Re: safer caring - I think that different LAs interpret this issue differently. I was the manager of a Fostering & Adoption Team for many years and we worked collaboratively as they were all very experienced and committed. We used to try to steer a "middle course" as far as safer caring was concerned and advise carers to be careful about this, because of the sexual abuse problem, but also because children could make allegations against carers (though being careful sadly didn't always prevent this happening).

Someone mentioned "targeting" a certain age range of adopters and "targeting" is problematic in my view, because people need to be motivated in the first place, and "targeting" smacks of "encouraging" and this is simply not on. Having said that of course attempts need to be made through whatever medium possible to attract foster carers and adopters, and sorry if this sounds like I'm the one splitting hairs now!

Some posters have mentioned being "put off" at the Introductory meeting and maybe in the prep groups. I would make no apology for telling people that fostering and adoption is not for the feint hearted and giving them as much information as possible. Yes we did point out all the negatives at these groups, because we needed people who could stick with it in spite of hearing the negatives. There would be little use in telling people everything was going to be ok and all a child needed was love etc...... we did say that there were rewards, but if they came that was a bonus. We always talked of the process being a "two way street" and whilst we were assessing them, they should be considering whether in fact fostering/adoption was going to be right for them and their family.

Finally (sorry I know I do long posts) this issue of Tommy calling the carers "mum and dad" - obviously the carers were I'm sure coming to the end of their fostering career by virtue of their age and years ago it was quite common for fostered children to call the carers "mum and dad" and foster carers were known as "foster parents" - so they wouldn't have seen anything wrong in that - I smiled at the way they were encouraging Tommy to eat and again I think that is rather an old fashioned method......it didn't work with Tommy though! I suspect the LA were trying to encourage the carers to call an end to their fostering career. Also I agree with the poster (can't remember who) who was concerned about talking about Tommy potentially having FAS and clearly showing the identity of the child. I just think confidentiality is so important.

fasparent Fri 11-Apr-14 12:39:42

Do not be upset Karbea have experienced a cross section of all groups you mention being placed successfully . All with very positive outcomes
Its only a TV programme , also did an open day with LA prospective adopter's and Foster parents were of mainly minority groups. A very rewarding experience, I was there in an advisory role.

2old2beamum Fri 11-Apr-14 12:41:26

RE assessments years ago NanaNina I am not that old!!HA HA

DaffodilDandy Fri 11-Apr-14 12:41:38

Karbea, I could have written your post before we spoke to our agency. We're younger than you and your DH, but everything else is the same. He works hard - full-time job and runs a business too, I am a stay at home 'mum', we have a lovely house, we're well educated, white, middle class etc. Just ordinary people. I had heard all sorts of horror stories about how white professional couples weren't wanted to adopt, and having pets was a no-no (we have two large dogs) etc. However when I spoke to our agency none of that has even been mentioned, let alone a problem.

They love the fact that I am already at home full time - a lot of couples intend for one to give up work following placement of a child, but then find that financially they are unable to do so, or that they really dislike being at home full time. The fact that we are already living comfortably on one income means that I won't suddenly announce I am going back to work after all, and shows that I like being at home already and I'm not going to miss the things at work.

The stuff about it having to be 50/50 is total nonsense, and utterly unrealistic. It is in our PAR (the report that forms the basis of your assessment) that I will be main 'parent' as DH will be at work following his adoption leave. Our SW just needed to be sure that should DH need to take over childcare, he'd be able to. Which he would. Things happen, and people cope - they work from home for the day, or take a day off, or work late one night to make up etc. You work around it - which I am sure is the approach you would both take.

There are a lot of ethnic minority children waiting to be adopted, that's true, but there are also an awful lot of white children - they are the majority by far.

Our education has been a slight issue (issue is over egging it but I don't know how else to describe it). We had to write a short statement about how we wouldn't push our child/ren into following our paths, and would be able to support them through any problems at school and learning difficulties. Our SW said that we just need to prevent anyone assuming that we'd be pushing our child to pursue an educational route that they wouldn't be suited to.

Basically, what I am saying is the agency you spoke to were clearly nuts. I would find out which other agencies you could apply to and then ring and speak to them. Our SW has said that we are really desirable <big headed face wink > as prospective adopters for a lot of the reasons that the agency you spoke to said you weren't. We spoke to our local LA who dismissed us out of hand because we were too young for the age ranges of children they had waiting for homes, another was really dismissive and quite rude about lots of things, so we looked about a bit more and found the one we're with and we have had no problems at all.

I hope that helps, and good luck! smile

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 12:44:52

White children make up the vast majority of waiting children and over 80% of adoptions. Obviously it depends on area and some councils and boroughs have more ethnic minority children than others (whereas some rural councils will have almost no ethnic minority children at all)

So the idea that there are no white children who don't have significant physical disabilities is absolute rubbish

But some open evenings are clearly designed to present a skewed view of adoption which is not actually accurate. Of course many adopted children have emotional needs that other children do not have, maybe social and behavioural needs too, but you can tell people this in a much better way imho.

NanaNina Fri 11-Apr-14 13:12:05

This is going to look like "tit for tat" Lilka and I hope you know me well enough to know that is not what I'm about, but I have to comment on your post that "some open evenings are clearly designed to present a skewed view of adoption which is not totally accurate" - I would absolutely disagree. An awful lot of "behind the scenes" work goes into the planning of Open Evenings and Preparation Groups (and whilst social workers are still carrying their own caseload) so why would they be clearly designed to present a skewed view of adoption? I have spent many years in working together with others to plan these groups so that we ensure that prospective foster carers/adopters do realise that all of the children will have some problems to a greater or lesser extent, and acquainting people with what they could expect. We also got in experienced foster carers/adopters to talk to the prep groups about their own experiences with children who have been emotionally damaged by their pre-placement experiences. Just realised I mentioned all of this in a recent post, so will say no more.

I have known many people coming along to Introductory Evenings thinking that all a child needed was love and all would be well. We couldn't blame people for thinking this but we had to disabuse them of this for obvious reasons. Some people thought these children were orphans whose parents had been killed.........I could go on with many other examples but am trying to keep my posts shorter.

Social workers are like anyone else, some highly competent and caring, and some who would be better off in a different job, but I was fortunate enough to have a team of highly competent and caring social workers who put an enormous amount of effort into these Introductory meetings and prep groups, attempting to recruit people who would in the end make good carers/parents for the children, whose needs are of course at the heart of the matter. And the "proof of the pudding" was when these people attending the courses, got approved and provided a safe and loving home for children desperately in need of this kind of home. The county I worked in (admittedly a Shire county) so none of the problems of the inner cities, had an excellent reputation for its Family Placement Service.

Sadly this is no longer the case, as I hear from my ex colleagues and friends of the demise of children's services (and most other services provided by the LA) since this coalition took an axe to the budgets of all public services, in the quest to privatise them. It's beyond shocking. I must stop before I go on a political rant...........

DaffodilDandy Fri 11-Apr-14 13:42:40

NanaNina, I have to agree with Lilka about your use of ‘own children’ in your earlier post. Whilst legally that may be the case, this board isn’t the place for such terms. You can’t ask people to parent children as their own, but then say that they’re not their own until the AO - it’s just not fair. If until that point the parents are foster carers (both legally and in the general understanding of the term) why are the children referring to the parents as Mum and Dad (or any combination) and being told they are in their forever family?

No one adopting would be unaware of the legal significance of the pre-AO period and so you don’t need to remind anyone. However for the general masses it is important that the children and adoptive parents are seen as a real family, and that they allowed to feel as such. For people looking into adoption this fact is important. Adoption is hard and people make unthinking, ignorant and hurtful comments enough as it is without social workers piling in too.

As for no one putting people off deliberately that’s just not true. We spoke to one LA that said that unless we were prepared to adopt children in sibling groups above the age of 8 with serious issues we weren’t wanted as potential adopters. We were told that that was the case nationwide. That LA clearly wanted to put us off, and did so. Many LA’s seem to forget that their ‘patch’ is not representative of the whole country, or even the neighbouring LA’s. Just because your LA wasn’t like that (or you don’t think it was - adopters might say it was), doesn’t mean no LA is.

NanaNina Fri 11-Apr-14 14:12:24

I don't feel the need to defend myself to you DD as I think your salient point is made in your phrase "without* social workers piling in and you will of course be anti social workers given your own experience, but just as LAs are different, so are social workers. I would also remind you that there will be posters on here who watched the TV programme and may stir their interest in adoption and they would be unaware of the "legal significance of the pre AO period."

Many LAs are only recruiting prospective adopters for older children, sibling groups and children with disabilities, as they have enough approved adopters already waiting for a match with younger children etc. LA budgets are heavily constrained and recruiting and putting on prep course is very costly in terms of social work time and therefore LAs can realistically only recruit carers for the "hard to place" children and whether this is "nationwide" is debateable but it is certainly the case for many LAs.

I don't think after a social work career spanning some 30 years that I need to be told "Adoption is hard............."

Do you mind if I ask if you have been approved by a neighbouring LA to your own and have a match or even a child placed. I understand if you don't want to answer.

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 14:28:31

I will respond more fully in a bit when I have the time, but I'm just going to say that - you know what would be very helpful for people to see on here, if they knew nothing about adoption? It would be helpful if they didn't see anybody perpetuating language like "own children" or "second best". Just saying

hackneylady Fri 11-Apr-14 14:35:05

Karbea It sounds like you were really unlucky. We've a couple of exploratory conversations (one with LA, one with small voluntary agency) and gone to an info evening and they couldn't have been more encouraging (while being realistic about some stuff we knew and are planning anyway, like we have to move house!). It felt like a really positive experience, actually. If you're new to thinking about it, you might not know that you don't have to go via your own council - you can go anywhere (I think?) or to a voluntary agency.

drspouse Fri 11-Apr-14 14:36:30

We rang round about 5 LAs, all within one of the larger national consortia, when investigating options for our 2nd adoption. We were asking about adopting a baby under 1. All of them said "there may be a wait, but we never stop recruiting for adopters of children of any age".

But this was radically different to five years ago when we were looking into our first adoption. Only our own LA would look at us for an under-2 and they were snooty about our ages.

Karbea Fri 11-Apr-14 14:37:51

nananina i totally understand that they might not need people like my dh and I In our local area, but they would have known this when I answered the question sheet that I did over the phone (and I think I filled something in a posted it too), so why didn't they at that stage say they didn't need us?
Also surely if there are so many children in care, why don't the la's say we don't need you but xxx needs people just like you.

Karbea Fri 11-Apr-14 14:41:19

I might sit my dh down this weekend and have a chat about it again.

Does anyone know of an agency or la that would be interested in talking to us? We live in South Bucks.

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 14:49:10

Karbea how long ago was the open evening you went to? If it was a few years ago, you may find the agencies attitude different now

However I always would recommend looking at several agencies. If you live relatively near a county border, absutely look at the LA over the border. There are a couple of sites online where you can find voluntary agencies near you. I'll find them for you smile

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 14:56:17

Karbea The website First4Adoption has a "find an agency" search feature. On the main page, find an agency is on the topmost bar, in purple. You can search for all agency types near you smile

BertieBotts Fri 11-Apr-14 15:12:58

The baby comment in the introduction is taken out of context from last week's episode, where they are talking about a little boy where the birth mother did not come to the final contact and they were saying what a shame, oh well, he'll be alright - he'll find an adoptive family easily. Obviously more heartfelt/emotional than that but as a comment on its own, no.

I think the comment about "You can't sit on a foster carer's knee" was a misunderstanding by the little girl wasn't it? I mean surely children can cuddle their foster parents!

prumarth Fri 11-Apr-14 15:14:13

Karbea, my initial evening information group was also quite off putting - I felt quite under attack on a couple of occasions about maternity leave etc. However there are a couple of things to bear in mind:-
- they often seem to give you worst case scenarios. Your adopted child won't have all the scary behaviours but may have some. It's not a given that you will be bitten every night!
- You work with your social worker on what behaviours or issues you could cope with. You can decide together what will be something you can both deal with and you won't be shown profiles that go beyond that.

However, the main thing that they try to get across to you is the importance of focusing on the child's needs. There will be change to your lives and so they want you to explore that.

After our scary session, my husband and I decided to play "what if.." over a bottle of wine and start thinking about what we might need to do and why. When you break it down into chunks and think about how you would deal with it, it becomes manageable. So for example, could your husband spend less time at work I. Early evening but work after the child had gone to bed from home.

MrsDeVere Fri 11-Apr-14 15:16:27

I think the need for an extra room is a huge issue for potential adopters and foster carers.
I agree it is necessary but I don't know any families (off the top of my head) who have spare rooms.
This cuts out so many people on financial grounds.
We will never have a spare room.
We can't afford an extension.

This must be the case for thousands of families, particularly those who live in cities.

Most of our LAC are shipped out to Kent and further. This is hugely disruptive for them.

mineallmine Fri 11-Apr-14 15:20:50

NanaNina, I don't want to gang up on you but really, you just can't use that language about our children. My daughter is my ownchild and is absolutely NOT my 'next best' thing to having my 'own' child. I absolutely understand where you were coming from in your post, but language is important and using those phrases is just not appropriate. My daughter has been 'my own' for over two years and I have (gently) corrected at least 15 people in that time who have used that phrase or the other one that's bandied about- 'real.' Using that language means that those of us who are adopters are offended on behalf of ourselves and our children, and those that are potential adopters or wander over here, having seen that programme and being interested enough to want further discussion and education on it, read that language and believe it's appropriate language for people to use. It's not. No matter whether you are speaking about children whose AO has not yet been made.

If you read my posting history (I was lettinggo, happyasapiginshite and holycowwhatnow in previous incarnations) you'll see that I have never confronted anyone on these boards about anything ever. I don't do confrontation. But you're wrong. No matter how many years of social work experience you have. I know because I am the mother of my own first-best adopted child (joint first-best with my birth son) who will never ever hear those words without hearing me immediately challenge them.

Yes MrsDeV, I know someone who has seriously considered fostering but would need support with getting suitable housing in place. Surely it would be worthwhile, even financially, for LA's to give this housing support to would be foster carers.
Her understanding is that she would have to get suitable (rented) housing in place, with a spare room or two, before she could start the process of applying to be a foster carer.
I just feel it would be so worthwhile looking afresh at these sort of barriers that people experience.

BertieBotts Fri 11-Apr-14 15:24:35

blush Sorry I see my second point was explained further up the thread.

Hels20 Fri 11-Apr-14 15:32:16

Karbea - just PMed you.

Karbea Fri 11-Apr-14 15:33:24

I had said to my husband that they would try and put us off (I'm pretty sure some one on this forum had said that to me before we went ;) ) but I guess he hadn't realised quite how much they would.

I'd hope that we wouldn't be given a child that we couldn't cope with, as that wouldn't be for the child or us. I expect to be stretched and challenged and to struggle, but not to be given a child where it would be clear from the start we would fail.
I'd love us to try and give a child an opportunity for a better future, but clearly if the child had issues we couldn't cope with we definitely wouldn't.

I'm sure we would cope with whatever challenges come up, having a puppy has meant he has had to work from home sometimes etc so if he can rejigged his diary for our pup he definitely would for any children we were blessed with.

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 16:28:59

I'm sorry for derailing and I'm not going to post anything else on this after this.

But, language IS very important

What you said in your first post, Nana, was (many adopters are unable to have their own children)

And that's really not an appropriate use of the words "own child". Many adopters are unable to have birth children. We all have our own children, by adoption. Or, in the case of prospective adopters, will have their own children soon

I don't know how the timing of an AO comes into it. Although, my children absolutely were my own before the AO went through, in every single way bar the legalities. I would never have let anyone tell me that they weren't my own children.

I also felt and feel that saying "I think most prospective adopters want younger children because they feel that it is the next best thing to having your own child" is unfair to prospective adopters and likely to offend and hurt the feelings of the prospective adopters on here. I would hope that social workers aren't knowingly accepting people onto homestudy stage if their attitude is that an adopted child is 'second best' to an 'own child'. By the time people committ to adoption properly, they are committing to having their own child, first best child, by adoption.

I am not splitting hairs. It does hurt people's feelings and offends them to hear this kind of language, whether it's intended to or not.

So rather than being disappointed, and defending language which not just me, but pretty much everybody here feels is inappropriate, I would politely suggest that a better response would be to re-read your post and try and see it from an adoptive or prospective adoptive parents point of view, and try and understand why we find this language inappropriate

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 16:36:14

Karbea I can only say that IMHO you don't appear to have unrealistic expectations of adoption at all. I think the open evening you went to was not the best one, if it gave the false impression that there are no white children who do not have significant physical disabilities etc

I hope if you have a chat with your husband, it goes well

First4Adoption is a good place to start for everything, not just the agency search

The demographics have changed. There are, sadly, more children waiting than ever before. This includes plenty of children aged 0-2, many children who do have some uncertainty or issues, but not extremely significant issues. I think if you are prepared to accept some level of additional issue, but are not capable of accepting very significant issues, this is a completely normal thing and should not hold you back

DaffodilDandy Fri 11-Apr-14 16:41:37

No, you don't need to defend yourself to me, but you can't expect to use terms like that and people not be insulted and offended by them, and to say so. Why not just apologise?

Given that you say you're now retired you should perhaps accept that things have clearly moved on (significantly) since you were a social worker, and you are insulting a great number of people with your choice of language.

I am in no way anti-social worker at all, and it's actually worrying that you take my offence at the terms 'own children' and 'second best' being used by a social worker to mean that I am an in any way anti social worker. We get along wonderfully with our social worker, and would bet my life savings on the fact she would never, ever use such terms. I am however, anti-ignorance. You can make of that what you will.

I'm not getting into the rest of your post because I have better things to do with my time.

Polkadotpatty Fri 11-Apr-14 19:10:03

I really can't say it better, but 100% back up Lilka, Daffodil and others - the wording was pretty offensive, and while I appreciate it's hard to convey nuance and tone on a forum, I definitely found the apparent attitude hurtful and patronising.

NanaNina Fri 11-Apr-14 19:52:45

OK this is my final post and if I have caused offence to some of the posters then I apologise. However I have never used the words "second best" - and of course I don't believe adopted children are not your own children. Presumably my choice of words upset you - had I said "unable to have a birth child" that would have been ok?

However I think whatever I say now is only going to bring further accusations, so I will not post again.

candycoatedwaterdrops Fri 11-Apr-14 20:04:57

Don't go NanaNina, your input is valued. We all occasionally type things that come out wrong and because it's the internet, you cannot convey tone and body language. You've apologised and I'm sure everyone will move on from this.

I still haven't got around to watching. I hope to later this evening.

crazeekitty Fri 11-Apr-14 20:37:23

Actually nananina I think bowing out graciously won't repair the offense and hurt you've caused from.your pomposity but I would certainly feel I could post more openly without being lectured. Perhaps a blog would be a better format to share your 30 years experience.

P.s. practise as a verb is an 's'.

Hels20 Fri 11-Apr-14 20:38:27

Oh no - Nana - please don't abandon the board. I am always fascinated by what you say and your input. I didn't take offence at what you said - though understand some did - but please don't abandon us. I have said things - incl on this board that, rightly or wrongly are misinterpreted.

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 20:50:56

Thank you for apologising Nana. But you don't need to leave. I've moved on already personally, it's over and done, and I do value your input

And for the record, I've said things in the past on other MN boards that were offensive enough to be deleted, so I'm hardly whiter than white

MerryInthechelseahotel Fri 11-Apr-14 20:59:59

No, don't go NanaNina you have helped me in the past on the fostering board and even my friend who never goes on mumsnet says things like "well Nana on the mums dot net (as she calls it!) warned you about this!"
Just take on board what people are saying and carry on smile

2old2beamum Fri 11-Apr-14 21:01:38

NanaNina please don't go your words of wisdom are so useful for probably the oldest mum here...I am not too old to learn.

This is a lovely topic let's be thoughtful to one another

kmarie100 Fri 11-Apr-14 21:09:41

I enjoyed the programme, having been though it all, pannel/matching/intos recently I found it almost therapeutic to reflect on it all again.
There were a couple of moments where someone said something and it made me cringe, but overall it wasn't that bad.
However I hate it when people judge potential adopters for being picky, at least we have said we are willing to adopt! I wasn't picky at all I just worked with the rules set out by sw they decided what age/sex etc and we agreed to our first match. It was about who needed us and not who we wanted.

scottishmummy Fri 11-Apr-14 21:15:05

Nananina is entitled to post,are all of us.im not happy at herd behaviour when posts disliked

MyFeetAreCold Fri 11-Apr-14 21:20:00

Good for you,Scottishmummy. It's not herd behaviour if more than one person is independently offended. But do carry on policing the boards.

crazeekitty Fri 11-Apr-14 21:22:36

It's not herd behaviour. It's a wide dislike of being patronised under the guise of experience. Just as she is entitled to her views so are we entitled to stick up for something we believe in.

The "own children" comment is ignorant at best and inflammatory and potentially damaging at worse. Would it be called herd mentality if someone used similarly clumsy / rude / downright offensive language in another context?

fasparent Fri 11-Apr-14 21:23:48

Whoop's!!! Respect all please , Every one expresses opinion's and emotion's in different way's, This enables folks too take things on board and contribute too social changes which will benefit all in the long term, sure lots will pick up on things said and expressed on these boards, this is how things work, Seen and experienced many changes on our journey had too adapt, also contribute by the way of submissions partnerships with NICE,NHS, Research in SEN Education etc., strange but all can only be achieved by reading and listening, too opinions such as these.

scottishmummy Fri 11-Apr-14 21:24:07

If you're online you need the ability to tolerate pov you dislike.goes without saying

MyFeetAreCold Fri 11-Apr-14 21:28:35

Sm, do you tell the people on the special needs boards that the r word is okay too?

RCTreats Fri 11-Apr-14 21:28:46

this NanaNina person has apologised for her inappropriate choice of words so can we move on and ignore her flounce not allow thread to be derailed further.

MerryInthechelseahotel Fri 11-Apr-14 21:33:16

Are you saying this nananina person because she referred to you as this iPhone person ?

scottishmummy Fri 11-Apr-14 21:33:43

Online forums are wonderful,they're also rambunctious and polarised
One needs to be able to tolerate that,and challenge the post not the poster

MyFeetAreCold Fri 11-Apr-14 21:35:23

karbea, if you're still around I definitely second calling some other agencies. In the bad old days (a year or so back), we had to wait 4 months to go to an info evening and another 8 for Prep and then they laid it on with a trowel. I'm sure it is at least in part designed to put you off. (Of course, our LA told us it was because they only recruit/train the parents they need and they only place 30 kids/year... They weren't looking at/interested in the bigger picture.)

MyFeetAreCold Fri 11-Apr-14 21:39:41

All true, sm, and if someone, who regularly posts here citing her 30 years professional experience in this field, she shouldbe able to use non-offensive language.

She can't support and help us (as she is clearly hoping to do) whilst using inappropriate language and expect not to get called up on it.

She said our children were 'next best' FFS.

RCTreats Fri 11-Apr-14 21:47:52

Merry - yes.

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 21:51:33

To be fair, MyFeet, Nana didn't say that, she said that she thought prospective adopters saw adopted babies as next best to birth children. Which I thought was unfair to prospective adopters, but it's not the same thing as believing it yourself

And I hope it was always obvious that I was challenging the post language, not the poster. And I will challenge certain language, no matter who says it or when.

But moving on.

I'm glad to see Lauren and Liam will on next week's program. I'm quite excited to see them moving in! smile Big thing though, to agree to being filmed at that time in your life

SorrelForbes Fri 11-Apr-14 21:53:50

I'm very interested in next week's episode as Lauren and Liam are very similar in age to our FC. Unfortunately, the adoption planned for May fell through today sad. I think I'm hoping that a positive outcome for L & L will raise our spirits!

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 21:55:19

I'm sorry to hear that Sorrel sad

I knew already how hard it is to find families for older children, but it was still very difficult to see it on screen, and then see Lauren so hopeful

MerryInthechelseahotel Fri 11-Apr-14 21:57:13

sorrel thanks sad

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 21:58:18

I just got to thinking about the children I turned down before I adopted my daughters. Don't think about it often and I know I made the right decisions at the time

But I hope things turned out well for them. It's hard to know that for some of them, things probably haven't turned out well sad

crazeekitty Fri 11-Apr-14 22:00:46

I hope it helped people consider older adoptees. My dd has a big bundle of muddles to work through and will be 18 before she's been in our family as long as she was in care but, despite all her troubles, she has really opted in to our family. She chose us as much as we chose her.

If people have concerns about adopting an older child I think this would be a good place to air them and ask questions so some of us can share our experiences as much as a public forum allows.

Devora Fri 11-Apr-14 22:01:29

karbea, when we were ringing round prospective agencies we were treated very rudely by one, who basically slagged me off for daring to presume I could parent a mixed heritage child (this was the NCH Black Families Project, which presumably deals with quite a lot of interracial couples, which is what we are). I was also rejected by my home LA who don't place in borough. And by another agency because we weren't white enough - and they only had white children on their books. However, the last did give me loads of really useful advice, especially that I needed to understand adoption as a marketplace. Agencies know, pretty much, the children they have coming up and recruit against that. They don't want to waste money approving adopters who they won't use. But that doesn't mean there won't be an agency who won't want you.

Now, I was lucky enough to be in London, which has a huge choice of agencies. In the end I went with the one where the ethnic demographic mirrored us, where the social workers were keen on us and the staff were friendly and efficient. And they were fantastic. (STill couldn't find us a match, though - in the end we found our dd via the National Adoption Register.)

So you basically need to ring every agency within an hour's travel of your home. And see if talking to them helps you and your dh to move forward in deciding what you want to do.

I completely recognise what you're saying about the offputting information evening. I remember ours with a bit of a shudder: we got eaten alive by the social workers, who were very very keen to have us (or rather my Caribbean dp!) but as we walked out we passed a white woman who was in tears, saying, "I just want a child to love and care for, and you're telling me I can't because I'm white". I really felt for her, but since then the requirement for ethnic matching has been relaxed and in addition there are many more children needing adoption, I expect this immediate ruling out of white people shouldn't be happening any more. (Besides which: South Bucks?? Surely most of the children there are white?)

I don't know the answer to this issue about frightening adopters off by giving them the worst case scenario. I kind of can't make sense of it in my own head. On the one hand, people do need to know that this isn't just like having a birth child, that love is not always enough, and that pretty much all adopted children will have extra issues and challenges. ON the other hand, it's simply not true that most adopters are enduring a living hell. My daughter is certainly challenging and has extra issues, and some days I feel down about that, but she's also lovely and loving and we have a great family life. I truly don't know what would be an accurate way of conveying the range and complexity of experience on this, though.

I agree with others who have said that it is an advantage to have a SAHP going into adoption. I'm really surprised that you were told it should be 50:50 - when we went to matching panel, they were quite perturbed that we were both going to be around (me on adoption leave, dp working from home) and questioned who would be the primary carer - they worried that the child shouldn't have to attach to two people at the same time, easier to have one primary attachment. I do wonder if they might have been concerned that adoption was basically your project, and wanted to ensure your dh was 50:50 involved for the assessment process and equally emotionally committed? Rather than implying that he should be doing childcare 50:50?

Devora Fri 11-Apr-14 22:01:55

Erk, that was a long post, even by my standards. Apologies.

SorrelForbes Fri 11-Apr-14 22:02:04

Thanks all. Sitting here on my own this eve as DH is away. The kids are in bed and I just want to scream! The panel date etc. was only booked last week (after months of meetings, planning, assessments). But if it's not right, it's not right.

Lauren was absolutely lovely, I'm keeping everything crossed for her and her brother.

willitbe Fri 11-Apr-14 22:36:20

I want to thank NanaNina for helping me to find out what to avoid saying.

I was totally ignorant to "own children" being such a problem and an upsetting word for prospective adopters. I knew that any adopted child is completely their own children, and are not in any way second best. When I attended a meeting many years ago, to get information about adoption, I did not think of any 'potential' child as being my own at that point, but was considering the possibility that I could adopt a child to become my own. But I attended the meeting, at that time following a time of infertility and would have been exactly as NanaNina said that: I wanted a younger children because I felt that it was the next best thing to having another birth child (is this terminology ok?). I don't think I am alone in this? Because of living in a different country, I was told I cannot adopt due to my age, and took a long time of working out my feelings regarding not having another child of my own (by this I mean adopted).

I always thought that the legal finalisation of the adoption was the point at which parents could say with great happiness that the child/children are/were finally theirs completely and fully. So I apologise for my mistaken belief. Can people please explain to me at what point your children became yours 100%? Was it from the point at which you were given the initial information on the potential match or after this, when you met them? or some other point like when they finally move into your house? Sorry I just don't want to upset anyone at any point if the time comes for me to hand over a child from fostering to adoption. It will be hard enough emotionally for me to do, without making any big mistakes of referring to permanency too late, and upsetting/offending the adoptive parents.

From this TV program, I would assume that once a match is made and the children being prepared to move would be the point, definitely once I would be talking to the child referring to their new forever family, but I want to check with people here who have experienced it for themselves, if you don't mind? Thank you.

HappySunflower Fri 11-Apr-14 22:42:14

An adopted child becomes 100% yours in the legal sense, when the final adoption order is granted.
However, in my heart, I considered my daughter mine the day she was placed into my arms. And actually before that if I'm honest.
Which is probably why I winced at the 'own children' reference.

Devora Fri 11-Apr-14 22:50:50

Aside from the legal definition, I think what we're talking about is a subjective definition that needs to be respected by others, willitbe. With my adopted child, I felt a strong sense as soon as she moved in that she was now my responsibility, that our futures were bound together and she was in my tribe. Same as I felt with my birth child from the point of her birth. With both, it took several months to feel that full blossoming of love. But the AO really wasn't the point - I became a mum (both times) at the point at which I assumed responsibility.

willitbe Fri 11-Apr-14 22:51:57

HappySunflower - thank you that really helps.

mineallmine Fri 11-Apr-14 22:57:59

Same for me willitbe, it was the day we walked out of the baby home with dd. Legally she was ours 12 days before then but we weren't allowed to take her then. She became my own the day we left the baby home.

Lilka Fri 11-Apr-14 23:09:12

I viewed my children as my own very soon after they came home

Did I love them at that point? No. BUT, I felt the responsibility, and soon after, a protective feeling over them, and I realy felt absolutely that they were my children and my responsibility

In some ways the finalisation was very significant. But not in terms of my emotions towards my children

willitbe Fri 11-Apr-14 23:22:49

Devora - x-post, I hope you don't mind me clarifying, but for you it was when your child moved into your home, rather than on first meeting/panel day? Because it is a subjective definition, it is not possible to generalise for everyone I think? But from what I am reading, it is definitely way before the legal bit, and for some people it is even before first meeting.

I think my experience of being a fostercarer is making it hard for me to really grasp a full understanding of the concept. For children come to be with me, and they are my responsibility on a day to day basis, and I grow to love them, and care deeply about their futures, but they can never be my own children. It is what is stopping me currently taking up the offer of taking a baby straight from hospital into long-term foster care. It is hard because you become attached to these children, but I am not sure I could cope if I had a newborn baby, supposedly coming to be with me longterm, only for them to be taken away at some point years later, for whatever reason (more likely to happen where I live, than in England I think). Earlier on in this thread there was discussion about the difference between Adoption and LTFC, I think the biggest difference is that they never become your own children, yet you live on a day to day basis as if they were. It is hard. I can only guess at how hard it is for the longterm fosterchild themselves, the insecurity of it all.

Devora Fri 11-Apr-14 23:31:12

Yes, when she moved in willitbe. But she was under 1 and I'd only met her 7 days before. She didn't feel mine when she was in her fc's home, but she did as soon as I had responsibility for her.

fasparent Sat 12-Apr-14 00:23:20

Willitbe yes preparation for the child is important, we have experienced this many , many times. Important too get all in process as soon as possible some LA's and agency's are a bit slow, find we have too prompt them frequently, some don't have a clue sadly, We like direct contact with parents, so they can send or pass on Information, Photo's, (A4 for younger children can stick them on the wall in their room as a poster say night, night etc. personal too them) Video's , children's app book ( tommy do a good one can include photo's , video's lots of things in the book plays music too, we leave them around accessible for child too see and play with in their own time., We do not go over the top talks and discussions have too be at child's pace, gradual , But has worked well for all our children over the years, Very warming when a child meets parents for the 1st time and recognises them as Mum and Dad, some even greet them as Mummy and Daddy. We also give a complete diary
for parents too read and photo copy from the 1st day of child's FCare placement with us, photo's, memory, box, and large photo PowerPoint
of Life Story. We try too do this on 1st day of introduction's find helps
fill in a few gaps and parents can pick up some useful past fun things,
likes , and dislikes not discussed during intro's, also can relax and read
at their leisure. Intro's are always exhausting for parents. nice too have something too relax and relate too during process.

Karbea I am sorry the experience at the local adoption agency was not good. We were not painted such a grim picture but they do paint it quite grim to see if you will stay in it! That is my belief anyway! You said plus he would need to get some child experience (neither of us have any), so he'd need to find a scout group or something. Did your DH find the idea of this a problem? I don’t think it is unreasonable for social services to expect adopters to be who are able to be around children and have had experience of children. I know it can be hard when you work fulltime. The most innovative thing I heard was a woman who went into the school close to where she worked for a lunchtime (not sure how often, maybe once a week) and offered to run a gardening club with the kids. I thought that was a great idea as it was close to work and so she could go it in a lunch break (kids get quite short lunch breaks so if the school is close enough it can fit into a working day).

You said I know you don't really see what those children are like or what they've gone through. That's not strictly true, you do not meet them but you do read a long report on their life and even the lives of their birth parents, you see a photo, sometimes a video and you meet the foster carers. You can also sometimes meet the child at an activity day.

I think if life really were as bad as the local council described for you then pretty much hardly anyone would adopt! I think the bleak picture is for a purpose, there are hurdles and there will be problems etc and maybe they do not always know which kids will be the hardest so they want to prepare all. But it would be mad to say it is 50/50 when one parent works full time and the other is stay at home mum!

I am sorry you were so put off, the fact you are reading here suggests you are still hankering for it. One option, and this is total idea so please feel free to ignore it, is that you could foster. That way it is not a permanent commitment. It really depends how much each of you feels drawn to parenting this way.

Karbea I can't see how social services could 'chase' people who have had unsuccessful IVF as that is all private. We were told when we first had problems having a second baby that we should adopt (by the fertility specialist). I think everyone knows that there are children out there who are looking for families, at least these documentaries are getting the word out!

I think part of the unofficial ‘ test’ of being an adopter is can you navigate the minefield of adoption (IMHO) so they really don’t want to make it too easy for people. BUT as you go along it gets easier and when you reach the end of the road it is a very different picture. Can I just ask others who are adopters or have been through training/prep, is that your opinion too?

Karbea as others have said most children in the care system in this country are white. There are a number of children of Black or Asian or mixed heritage and fewer Black or Asian or mixed heritage adopters so they are always keen to find adopters who are non-white but there are a lot of white children. If you look on the Be my parent website you will see most are white. (I am not making any value statement at all here just saying that lots of white children are looking for families).

It also depends what you mean by a disability, not all children in the looked after system will have a physical disability but many will have had difficult experiences, neglect, exposure to drug or alcohol in vetro etc which may have affected them adversely. I now know a few children (who were adopted), not one of them has what I would call a 'disability' (to my knowledge).

NanaNina I agree we do not want to target set people but I wonder if older people have maybe not thought of adopting and might think they were not wanted/not needed as years ago age limits were stricter. So perhaps less targeting and more educating. All marketing has a sort of target in that it is aimed at people who fit the criteria.

Karbea , you said "My dh as we were leaving said, I've a 1st from uni, I earn £x, we live in a gorgeous house etc, but I'm not good enough to adopt."

IMHO that’s totally the wrong thing to take from the open day. I think it would be more realistic to say, social services don't care if you have a first at degree level(and it could go against you If they worried you would expect a child who would also be able to get a first – not saying you would, so you would need to reassure social services that you would not have such high expectations for your little one in education. Not because they might not be able to achieve that, I am sure some do, but because it may be less likely given the shakier start and the limitations that some children will have through no fault of their own. So if they got a first that would be great but they may be more likely to turn their hand to something different and whatever they do you need to be comfortable that they are falling their own path. It’s pretty much the same with birth ids but generally birth kids may well have inherited your brains (or in my case my dyslexia!).

Social services don’t care if you are rich (although you must have enough money to support a family), and you do not need a gorgeous house. You need to want to parent a child, love them and care for them, do all you can for them as any parent would, and I would add you need to fight for the right to adopt because later down the line you may well be fighting to get services for them one way of the other. My birth DD has dyslexia and it has been a struggle to get her help. fighting is (IMHO) to some extent part of parenting a child who has more needs, whether they have joined the family by birth, adoption, fostering or other.

Just so you know, Karbea, it is my desire to help you and not badger you! (Sorry blush) I rang social services once a year for three years and was turned down each time (as my birth child was too young). They really do not make it easy for anyone but it doesn't mean it is not worth pursuing IMHO!

CloserThanYesterday Sat 12-Apr-14 08:27:37

italian - in answer to your question earlier, we haven't felt that the LA we chose have tried to put us off or test our commitment. We did go to a couple of info evenings when we started out though, and I remember coming out if the first one totally deflated - they had emphasised 'no children under 3' 'they'll all have terrible problems' and had a weary, eye-rolly attitude to the assembled bright-eyed newbies. When we went to the info evening of the LA we eventually applied through the difference was amazing. An open, friendly attitude. Talked us through the process honestly but emphasising how they supported adoptees/adopters/bps etc to ensure the best outcomes for children. We went for a drink after and couldn't believe how differently we felt. We applied and so far have nothing but good things to say (we're halfway through stage 2). Our SW has guided us through any weaknesses we thought we had, rather than make it difficult for us. So karbea do persevere, different LA/VAs have very different approaches.

CloserThanYesterday thanks, I think our LA when we first approached them were a bit negative and again when we came back two years ago but as the process has gone on t has felt better.

We are starting introductions on Monday, and "Just go" seems to be the general advice. As it has been explained to us, once the day of the final transfer arrives, the children will be thoroughly ready to move (a fortnight of introductions being a pretty long time in their world), and spinning out the final visit to FCs' home just makes everyone start crying and the children pick up on that and get distressed too.

The way I see it is that this isn't the absolute end. Assuming the children settle in well, there's no reason not to remain in contact with the FCs and even occasionally meet up with them. I'm told that this can be a good thing for the children, so they understand that the FCs didn't abandon them and still exist. YMMV of course.

Lilka: "It was wonderful to hear about the difference foster carers do make in children's lives every day."

What you said. The FCs for our children have basically turned their (the children's! grin ) lives around, to the extent that the eldest (6), who only a a year ago was the one that her classmates' parents complained about and kept their children away from, is now described by all the staff at her school as a different girl, sociable, enthusiastic and studious in class.

I am somewhat ashamed to admit that, had I met the FCs in other circumstances, I might have prematurely formed an unflattering opinion of them based on nothing but my own preconceptions. As it is, the more I hear, the more I am in awe of what they have achieved. (And they are lovely people to boot.) Yet another learning moment for me on the road to adoption!

Itsfab Sat 12-Apr-14 12:44:47

I have just watched this episode and read part of the thread before realising I was reading about parts I hadn't watched yet so stopped. I knew that the older children were getting parents from this thread but when Tommy was moved I could barely breathe. I cried.

I was fostered numerous times. I was meant to be adopted but when my mother saw that they really wanted me she said no. I was moved every time I was happy with foster carers as she didn't like that. Where I was unhappy she didn't bother with me.

I get so frustrated as there often comes announcements and recommendations of things that need to be changed, implemented or improved when the same mistakes were being made 30+ years ago when I was in care. How can it not have already been learnt? Probably because a lot of social workers, etc have degrees and qualifications but no actual experience of being a child in care and any understanding of what a child feels, needs, fears and wants.

It just breaks my heart as it seems all wrong. All about targets and paperwork and not about feelings, well being, future happiness and security. IMO and IME.

NanaNina Sat 12-Apr-14 13:36:23

I'm glad I popped back on the thread - thank you to everyone who has supported me, and for the PMs that I will respond to - but thank you - you know who you are. I don't usually get upset by MN but I was upset that I had caused offence to so many on you adopters. For many years I championed the rights of foster carers and adopters and this was acknowledged at my leaving do in 2004. I still remember my line manager saying in her speech "woe betide anyone beneath her or above her who she perceived as riding rough-shod over a foster carer or adopter...." and the entire room burst into spontaneous applause and I shed tears. I loved my job and retired at 60 because I wanted to spend more time with my grandchildren. I did however work independently for 5 years after my retirement, doing assessments for foster carers and adopters for a neighbouring authority, and some training together with a colleague on attachment.

I thought a lot last night about things and I am pretty sure I know why I used those particular words but I don't think it would be wise to say anything more.

Thank you Lilka for your honesty and generous spirit. I'm so glad the thread has moved on and I've particularly enjoyed Devora's posts (always the voice of reason) and Italiangreyhound - you talk such sense - have you been matched yet, or has a child been placed) I am going to be a tad paranoid about my use of language now but I will have to take a chance on that one.

Willitbe thank you for your support. I think the question you ask about when does the child feel like your own is "it all depends" as has been demonstrated by posters on the thread. I think all of the posters on the thread have positive experiences of adoption once the child is placed, even though it may have taken a while for them to really feel the child was their own. I have however known cases where the prospective adopters have pulled out during the introductory period, and worse still when the child has been placed. Sometimes one of the couple has bonded with the child and not the other and I've seen marriages break down and people suffer mental health problems due to adoption related issues. I'm really not trying to put people off so I won't elaborate any more.

Typically we often found that adopters only told us about their fears when the child/ren were initially placed with them, once that stage had passed and they were feeling that the child was their own......even though we did always say to prospective adopters that there would almost always be a period of adjustment, but the fear was we would remove the child if they told us of their doubts and uncertainties in those early weeks and sometimes months.

The other issue I wanted to raise was the working relationship between the child's social worker and the fostering/adoption social worker, and the team managers involved. It is the child's social worker who has the "right" to decide on a particular placement for a child, and if there is mutual trust and respect between the social workers then there is usually a good outcome. However that isn't always the case, and then the team managers become involved and sometimes this can resolve matters but not always - I think it was often the young inexperienced social workers for the child who would have unrealistic expectations of prospective adopters, and expect them to be perfect, and this I found particularly frustrating.

I can see that there is a great deal of difference in the way LAs respond to applicants about adoption, or indeed individual social workers. Our system was to advertise initially and when people responded (1st acceptors) we sent out an information pack on adoption with a reply slip to return if they were still interested and approx. 50% would return the slip (2nd acceptors) and then we would do a home visit and invite people to the prep course (unless they were entirely unsuitable) and of there would be a small drop out rate at this stage, with approx. 25% of first acceptors carrying on to approval. It was only towards the end of my career that Information evenings began to become the norm.

NanaNina Sat 12-Apr-14 13:46:09

Oh just wanted to say I watched the last part of the 2nd episode last night and had a very good feeling about Tommy's parents but felt sorry for the foster carers and their daughter as Tommy was like her little brother as he had been placed when a few days old I think.

I got a bit mixed up at the end (it was very late...) as Lauren & Liam's social worker seemed to be saying she had found foster carers and then it turned out she had found adopters. I have a hearing problem and so don't always catch everything that is said - I was a bit puzzled as to why the sw was telling the children about the adopters before they had even met the children. Is this what happened or did I miss something? Then of course I realised that the programme wasn't live and so I'm sure next week will deal with L and L being placed with adopters.

The sw seemed genuine enough but I'm really not sure about all this talking to a 7 year old about a hypothetical family - I never really liked it when I was a sw myself - though it was standard procedure to ask children "what sort of family they wanted" - children are concrete thinkers and I don't think they can or should be expected to cope with such an abstract concept. If L & Ls sw was going to draw something to try to explain to Lauren, then she could have used coloured paper and felt tip pens, rather than a biro and a lined pad!

NanaNina Sat 12-Apr-14 13:57:30

Just seen your post itsfab - you are so right that neither social workers, foster carers and adopters will probably never had the first hand experience of being a child in care. Were you moved between your own mother and foster carers or between different carers. I say this because sometimes parents would want their child back, only to return them to foster care at some later stage, and I've known cases in the past when this was allowed to happen.

I honestly don't think a child would be moved between foster carers these days because the mother didn't like the child being settled, and it's so sad that was allowed to happen to you. If a child is taken into care with the parents permission then legally the child has to be returned home at the parent's request, but if the LA social workers think this is not right for the child, they can go to court to request an Emergency Protection Order and if this is granted it means the child does not have to be returned to the parent and then legal proceedings begin.

Can I ask how you feel watching the children on the programme (like Lauren and Liam) do you see yourself in the 7 year old Lauren, maybe putting a brave face on things, but inside being scared of what was going to happen to you...........it seems your mom had too much of a say in your care and the social workers were putting her wishes before your own needs, which is so very wrong.

TairHoganFach yes, I ahve heard that and am looking forward to continuing relationship with foster carers on behalf of new son, if all goes well! Good luck with introductions. (lovely name, what does it mean?).

Itsfab I am so sorry you had the expereicens you had. I wonder if you can input into the system in any way, we do (society, I mean) so much need to hear the voices of people who have been in the system. I hope the future will be much kinder to you.

Thanks NanNina for asking, we have been matched and we go to panel soon. He will hopefully move in soon!

Itsfab Sat 12-Apr-14 18:26:23

NanaNina - I can't remember the exact term but the local authority were my legal guardians yet you wouldn't have known it as they let my mother call the tune. I was very happy in one foster family but they asked that I be moved as they couldn't deal with the problems my mother was causing any longer. I was there for over 3 years and still have very happy memories of being there. My mother decided she wanted me back so I had my stuff packed. She then said, changed my mind so my stuff was taken and I remember putting my doll on the step and ringing the bell of the children's home.

Lots of store was set by the fact I seemed fond of my mother. TBH I was fond of anyone who even said hello to me as I was desperate for someone to care about me.

I was happy at the FH and at the next CH and then had a really horrible placement for years where I was abused. My mother rang me once, I say her maybe 5 times a year and my social worker once a year. My next FH was better but broke down so now I feel really alone in the world most of the time. But I also feel I could be really useful on an advisory panel as I am pretty together when it comes to everyone else.

2old2beamum Sat 12-Apr-14 19:11:38

In response toItaliangreyhound I would like to endorse her comment on older adopters.
Please do not think you are too old, I am 70 and have an eight year old and a 15 year old.
However the door is now locked and have lost key!!
Good luck to all you lovely Mums and go for it!

MyFeetAreCold Sat 12-Apr-14 19:34:36

<tips hat to 2old >

That's incredible. You're officially amazing.

2old2beamum Sat 12-Apr-14 21:12:28

Itsfab I am afraid I cannot ignore your posts. My track record is not dissimilar to yours. My "DM" dumped me on a railway station when 6 my DF picked me up "sometime" later and then married a toxic woman when I was 11....She loathed me. I escaped as soon as I was 18 and did paediatric nursing then midwifery I survived despite of her. DF was so besotted/scared to see the emotional abuse. No contact with BM since station.
I really hope you survive but it still hurts and is probably why I need to help my wonderful abandoned children.
Good luck XX

God this is cathartic I could go on & on. It has made me far more caring!

NanaNina Sat 12-Apr-14 21:16:42

That is SO sad abfab - and you were badly let down by social workers who let your mother "call the tune" as you say and then neglected to visit you to make sure you were safe. I imagine you were still quite young when you went to the Children's Home as you still have a doll - oh that image of a little lost girl putting her doll on the step is so sad.

Your mom sounds like the sort of mom who didn't really care about you but she didn't want anyone else to care about you either. I've met a few such moms in my time, and yes they can cause all sorts of problems for foster carers.

Were you able to tell anyone about the abuse you suffered - not sure whether this was a foster home or children's home. I can remember working in children's homes in the 1970s before I did my training for social work, and in both of the homes children were routinely smacked and sent to bed without tea and humiliated in ways that were dreadful. Some of the carers were kind but others weren't and one or two seemed to take pleasure in punishing children for minor things. I was totally powerless to do anything or that's the way it felt as I was the youngest person there, and none of the staff took much notice of me. I am ashamed to say it now, but I was too scared of some of the staff myself to comfort an upset child, but over time I found ways of doing this when the nasty staff members weren't about.

I can definitely say that Children's Homes are no longer like they used to be though they are often chaotic places because it's only teenagers placed in them now as all younger children are fostered.

So sorry you feel alone in the world but you certainly could be helpful on a LA Fostering Panel as it is in the Regulations that the Panel is meant to have a young person who has been in care on the Panel. If you can bear to be amongst social workers again, why don't you contact the LAs near to you to about this. They don't pay much (about £50 for a day I think but that is for reading all the papers and that can be very time consuming and attending the panel for a day. Panels are usually held once or twice a month at most.

MerryInthechelseahotel Sat 12-Apr-14 21:30:33

itsfab thanks I wish it had been different for you. angry on your behalf

Itsfab Sat 12-Apr-14 21:31:37

I was really happy in the children's home. I was a bit of a favourite and was allowed in to the kitchen to help dry up. No other child was allowed. I remember once the fire alarm went off when I was drying a white plate.

I would love to help but would be useless as I would get too emotional. I once applied to be a Samaritan but they turned me down as I told them I had been abused.

NanaNina Sat 12-Apr-14 21:53:52

I don't think you would be useless abfab unless you had a problem being among social workers, although there would only be a couple on the fostering panel. The panel is to approve (or not) people who have applied to become foster carers, and so there isn't anything that would upset you I don't think. Think about it - there aren't many young people (or indeed older people) who come forward to be part of Fostering Panels and your experience would be invaluable.

Samaritans may not be right because I think you need to be very emotionally tough to cope with the sorts of problems they get. A close friend is a Samaritan and she has told me a bit about some of the distressing situations that come their way.

2old2beaMum oh god how sad is your story - and how amazing that you managed to get yourself together and get the qualifications that you did. Was there anyone in your life who cared about you, because often children can get by, if there is someone, maybe a granny or aunt or friend's parents who can offer them so love and care despite their parents not caring about them.

I'm sure you must be one hell of a wonderful foster carer and I think I saw on one of your posts you were 70 and still caring for young children - I salute you!! I too am 70 and no way could I care for young children on a full time basis. I love my grandchildren but as the old saying goes "it's lovely to see them come and it's lovely to see them go!!" but they are all growing up far too fast for my liking..........

2old2beamum Sat 12-Apr-14 22:21:12

Oh NanaNina in our time who cared about emotional abuse. School just thought you were lazy not sad. Relatives (hers) just believed I was very quiet and just wanted to please! But did try to latch on to friends parents but this was soon curtailed. Thankgoodness for my lovely nursing friends!!
So glad I am not too old to be here on MN and am not alone. BTW I really enjoy your posts.

NanaNina Sun 13-Apr-14 00:13:32

Oh 2old (and you're clearly not.....) it seems there wasn't anyone who offered you even the basic love and care that a child needs, so it is all the more credit to you that you managed to get away from "home" and not only qualify as a nurse but also to make good friends and go on to offer the love and care that you never got to other children.

Course we're not too old to be on MN - I did have a look on "Gransnet" but it didn't really appeal to me. Thing is I don't feel 70 - in my head I still feel 25 (or sometimes 15!) but a look in the mirror soon pulls me up sharp from such notions!

Am just wondering - I was assuming you are a foster carer, but you may have adopted - not sure. Be nice to hear a bit more about your experiences of growing up in the 50s - reading your post set me thinking about a family that lived very near to me when I was a child. I was the youngest of 3 girls and in this family there were 3 girls, roughly the same age as us. They had a stepmother who they called "auntie Ethel" and I used to be puzzled when they used to get their dress dirty by rolling on the grass or something and were frightened to go home, and I have vivid memories of trying to wipe the grass strains off the dress with spit and a hankie, which of course made matters much worse!!

There were other things too that puzzled me, like the way they looked at this "auntie" as though they were scared (and probably were) but I couldn't understand why. Their dad was horrible and used to shout them in from play with a very sharp voice. Looking back I'm sure they were not being treated well by their father and step mother, but they moved house eventually and so we lost touch of course.

Sorry I am lost in a reverie.......it was just your posts made me think about these girls, though they never said anything about their home life. We were always out playing in those days weren't we and even though my parents were quite protective, we had an enormous amount of freedom, and used to go home when we were hungry, and in the light nights we were out till quite late (or that's my memory) anyway.

Maybe you could write your story - I don't mean on here (!) it's just you said it was cathartic to write a few lines about it.

Karbea Sun 13-Apr-14 11:01:51

italiangreyhound I know you aren't badgering me smile

I will reply properly tomorrow when I've a little more time.

Dh and I have started to talk about it again, but I don't think we will progress things much for awhile as he is the middle of a job change.

Karbea The process used to take a long time so I would have said to start even though you are not ready yet but to be honest now I think it is much quicker so maybe better for your DH to settle into his new job and of course he has to feel it is right.

If it is all new at work it may be a good time to change exactly how he works, some more from home working or later starts or earlier finishes etc. I know in a new job one wants to look keen but if he starts off with a really heavy work load or rather a heavy 'presence' at work (being the person who leaves the office last etc!) it is harder to slow up later (IMHO) Being able to work form home or be flexible is great as a parent, I don't think it means we work less, in fact I think we try and give more to make up for it!

2old2beamum Sun 13-Apr-14 13:57:59

Thanks NanaNina Your story of your friends rings true and many other cruel things that I really hope would get picked up today. Emotional abuse was ignored I used to plead with her to love mesad

No I have never fostered I was at our eldest adopted son's delivery (how cool was that?) and when I found out his parents were unable to take him home he was going to be mine forever!! And like Topsy it grew.

One of the best things ever.

Like you am shocked when I glance in a mirror

shoebedo434 Sun 13-Apr-14 23:35:07

could really relate to this as got our son in November and go to court next month. the foster dad of tommy was giving off vibes he wasn't happy with the placement with same sex couple. we had a few problems with the foster father too but it is not down to them if you are the right people for the child, it is down to the social workers. they just need to make the transition easy for everyone involved. looking forward to next weeks episode

Tommy2013 Mon 14-Apr-14 00:21:09

Thank you nananina for your lovely comment about having a good feeling over Tommy's new mummies. Tommy is a beautiful boy we love him dearly and he's thriving very well. In answer to one comment on here about male role models in Tommy's life I assure he has got plenty of male support. We are also in close contact with Tommy's FC and hope they will always be a part of their life when the time is right.

MerryInthechelseahotel Mon 14-Apr-14 11:03:21

Aww that is lovely to hear tommy2013 wishing you happy lives together thanks

NanaNina Mon 14-Apr-14 12:44:16

Oh wow - didn't know you two were on MN!! Lovely to hear Tommy is thriving, but I think it was obvious from the beginning that the match was a good one. Loved the book you did and the way you have prepared his bedroom with all age appropriate toys etc. I smiled a bit when Tommy almost waved the FCs away when he saw his bedroom! Glad you are keeping in contact with the FCs as they had cared for him since a tiny baby and so the move to adopters is always going to be a wrench for FCs in this position. I have always thought we ask so much of foster carers "love and care for them, nurture them but give them up when the times is right....."

I just loved it when Tommy's sw opened the book you had prepared and asked him "whose that" and he said "2 mummies......." priceless!

Very best wishes to you 2 special mummies and so glad Tommy will get the unconditional love, permanence and stability that all children need to grown into well adjusted adults.

I'm hoping theses programmes will start people thinking about adoption. We found that sometimes people came along months after seeing this sort of programme, and had been thinking about adoption "on and off" ever since, and "took the plunge" when they felt ready.

Lilka Mon 14-Apr-14 13:02:17

That's lovely to hear Tommy2013 smile thanks I hope you all continue to have a wonderful life together

Itsfab Mon 14-Apr-14 13:38:07

I also want to echo the importance of foster carers. A few years ago I found my foster mum and then soon after a lady who I used to spend time with who wanted to foster me as well and I am so grateful they want to bother with me and hadn't forgotten me. I have no family of my own so without these two ladies I would feel even more alone.

Devora Mon 14-Apr-14 14:54:14

Hiya Tommy2013! Another lesbian adopter here - thought you came across really well and Tommy is lovely.

We were very dutiful with setting up godfathers etc to be male role models then found that the role models just kind of emerged. dd2 rarely sees her godparents , but she is very close to dd1's dad, and her best friend is a boy, and she spent most of yesterday with our neighbour, who is teaching her how to ride her bike.

Tommy2013 Mon 14-Apr-14 15:26:36

Thank you Devora, I know some people are biased about same sex couples adopting and to me it's only the same situation whether your a single mum or single dad on the role model situation. That's where family and friends play a vital role...social workers are very thorough in their job of matching children...and like many people we hadn't seen a photo of our son, but the minute we read his profile there was an instant attachment. It didn't matter about the uncertainty of FAS developing. He has had the best start in life through nurture. He is very intelligent, beautiful and were absolutely in love with him like the rest of our family and friends are.

fasparent Mon 14-Apr-14 15:40:23

Nice too here from you and how Tommy is doing. Do not worry too much
regards too development of FAS. Our Adopted DD has FULL FAS is now 24 lead's a normal life, just bought a car and is enjoying life. Sure with your love and understanding, life for Tommy will be as good as our daughter's has been .

NanaNina Mon 14-Apr-14 15:41:07

To be honest I couldn't really understand why they were flagging up FAS. He doesn't appear to have any of the facial characteristics associated with FAS but then not all children do. They tend to be "small for dates" obviously with a BM who abused alcohol, and like any other syndrome you can be anywhere between completely normal and have severe behavioural and emotional issues. I think one of the problems is that it tends to go undiagnosed and because FAS children don't have learning difficulties as such, they are often blamed for bad behaviour.

FAS parent may be along soon, and she is very optimistic about her FAS children who have done very well through all the ages and stages. However I have seen FAS children who have turned out to exhibit quite bizarre behaviour (in one case) and a couple of others where there have been emotional and behavioural problems. However you don't need to dwell on this and I'm sure the two of you will be very well equipped to cope with whatever comes along.

You are so right that he has had the best start in life with foster carers who loved him right from the beginning of his life really and this together with the love and care he will receive with you will be a protective factor for him in terms of secure attachments throughout his life span.

sensitiveinfo Mon 14-Apr-14 17:47:14

I've namechanged to protect my relative's identity.

I found it hard to watch Tommy, because he was about the same age as my nephew would have been when he was adopted. He has FAS and is twelve now. I find it hard to watch his parents - they knew about his FAS when they adopted him but they don't seem to have been given much training on it and although they love him and are trying their best, they just don't seem to have a lot of support with it. He's really struggling to settle into secondary school and they are struggling with him becoming a teenager in general. I just think it's sad and wish they'd had more support earlier on. They adopted their children 10-20 years ago and things sound very different now.

Devora Mon 14-Apr-14 20:16:49

NN, I suspect they flag up FAS if there is any chance of it, to prevent them from being criticised later for not disclosing. My understanding of FAS is that its affects vary hugely depending on at what point in pregnancy the damage was done - so if the heavy drinking occurs at one stage of the pregnancy, rather than throughout, you might well have an affected child who doesn't have FAS facial characteristics.

My dd came to us as ?FAS and has no distinctive facial characteristics, but I still believe she was probably affected - though we may never know for sure. (What's the drink, what's the drugs, what's the in utero experiences, what's the early life experiences, what's the adoption?)

fasparent, I'm really glad your dd is doing so well, but I think I'm right in saying there's a whole continuum of experience, and some children really suffer greatly.

sensitiveinfo, my sympathies on your nephew. Sadly I don't think things are necessarily much better now. I had FAS flagged up four years ago, but we were given no information on it, and when I asked questions at our appointment with the medical advisor she got very cross and told the social worker she thought we were after a 'perfect blonde baby' and probably not suitable to adopt. I felt very, very punished for daring to even ask questions - and as this was the week before matching panel I felt I couldn't rock the boat further by pushing for more. Since then: nothing, no support whatsoever.

fasparent Mon 14-Apr-14 23:25:44

Devora agree FAS FASD is a problem we had too fight every inch of the way for our DD and DS, Things are changing be it slow thanks mainly too Adoptive parents and their FAS FASD Support groups, Teachers are now being trained, as are health professional's, Many parents and their children's schools took part in a recent FASD Teaching research project with The Department of Education and Professor Barry Carpenter SSAT is now being taught too teachers available too all schools (children were mostly adoptee's). see www.complexneeds.com also the pupil premium of £1900 pa will also help buy in services for adopted children who may need extra special support in school and early years education.
There is a lot going on around FAS and FASD at the moment Midwifery funded £4m 4year FAS/D Training for example.
Agree still not good enough and will take time for training too take effect . see list of all UK FAS/D Support groups at www.fasaware.co.uk
Strength in numbers

fasparent Mon 14-Apr-14 23:50:25

Do apologise FAS/D Teacher training Special Schools Academy Trust www.complexld.ssatrust.org.uk
Department of Education FAS/D Training www.complexneeds.org.uk.
hope these are of use also have other syndromes and needs. We used too refer schools and professional's too appropriate tool's.

Devora Tue 15-Apr-14 14:38:57

Wow, what a lot of helpful information in those posts, fasparent. Thanks so much.

fasparent Wed 16-Apr-14 00:14:47

Glad your pleased, their are many Adoptive Parent working hard too obtain support and understanding for all our Tommy's , have done for years, lots of support groups too join too share knowledge and experience. all linked national so any big project's all can join in, and take part in training, even training teachers, or start your own support group if none in your area.

adoptmama Wed 16-Apr-14 05:53:26

Fasparent - thanks for the link. Can you tell me if the modules on the complexneeds sites are free or if you need to pay to complete? Thanks

fasparent Wed 16-Apr-14 10:47:06

Sorry would have too enquire via site, Raw deal really as the actual initiation of instrumentation was as a result of Adoptive parents Conferencing for Professional's, and inviting them, presenting them too the educational situation of FAS/D Children , rest is history. www.fasaware.co.uk. do HE level 3 Accredited FAS/D Training not sure of the cost, know some professionals take these course's. is out sourced
too E Learning Gov. Approved training provider's.

fasparent Wed 16-Apr-14 11:15:43

Also believe www.NOFAS.UK do a free FASD basic Training module but have too pay for your own accreditation points on completion.

fromparistoberlin73 Fri 18-Apr-14 22:22:17

aww the 2 mummies are here, bless you and bless Tommy> wishing you all the very best

Aww, thanks for coming on the thread Tommy2013 smile
Best of luck to you all thanks

Tommy2013 every time I hear the phrase 'It's the two mummies' I will think of you!

I said up thread that I didn’t like the foster dad saying these children are resilient! I think he said it because he wanted to show that despite the kids going through a lot they can weather those storms, as in they can still be very much able to be adopted and adapt. So I think I was a bit unfair on him!

I think these programs are aimed at getting people interested in adoption! Which is great. So sorry to the foster dad if I jumped the gun and was mean!

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