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Referees - advice, please?

(22 Posts)
Devora Mon 31-Dec-12 15:02:04

Ooh yes, Smudgerbabe, great point: don't choose anyone who's likely to be snotty with social workers!

Smudgerbabe Mon 31-Dec-12 13:24:26

I was quite worried about this - my SIL and 2 friends have filled in forms (not too taxing but questions are tricky because at the end of the day no-one knows what someone is going to be like as a parent unless they've already had children!). One friend and my SIL have both been visited - only an hour or so and both said it was totally fine and no problems. Neither felt the questions were too probing.

I was worried about my third ref as she too wasn't on the ball with adoption saying things like is it like adopting from the RSPCA and oh it's just like having a CRB check then? Er....NO!

Anyway luckily my SW couldn't be bothered didn't have time to travel to see her so asked if I had anyone local phew so I quickly chose another friend who works with children with special needs and had already offered and totally understood and had worked with adopted children.

As a single adopter she also wants to speak to my mum and dad and she said it would look good on my report at panel if she'd also spoken to my 6 yr old niece and nephew (!).

Choose carefully as whether they are meant to or not the SWs will be subconsciously influenced by your choice - my SW thought both my friend and SIL were lovely and I know that this was a big positive for me too.

Devora Mon 31-Dec-12 09:03:34

Is she at risk of saying something well-meaning but inappropriate? Like, "They're such a lovely family - do you think you could find a baby that looks just like Italiangreyhound?" or "I know IGH really wants a baby to dress up and play with"?

Italiangreyhound Mon 31-Dec-12 00:48:57

Thanks Devora my concern is one of the people I have asked is lovely but does not really seem to know what adoption is all about!

Devora Sun 30-Dec-12 21:48:38

I don't think it's about being lofty, IGH, so much as thinking about what the sw may be concerned about with you and trying to respond to that. In our case, we guessed the two questions at the back of her mind might be, "How will they handle the child's racial identity needs" and "Are they too middle class to comprehend or be able to handle what needs and issues an adopted child might bring".

In another person's case, the question might be, "How will they cope with parenting", in which case the priority would be at least one referee who could talk about how the person got on with their children, or "How will they cope with a child with additional needs", in which case it would be good to have a referee with personal or professional experience of SN.

Italiangreyhound Sun 30-Dec-12 21:28:08

Oh, and we asked another family if the husband or wife would like to be a refereee. How long should the people have known you???

Sorry to ask so many questions!


Italiangreyhound Sun 30-Dec-12 21:25:11

I don't know many people who are really on the ball about adoption. I do know one lady who was adopted but she is quite shy and would probably rather not be interviewed, which is a bummer because she is a lovely friend!

Italiangreyhound Sun 30-Dec-12 21:23:30

Oh Devora not sure we have any friends who would be quite up to that lofty level. The people have chosen are two family members, three friends whose kids play with ours and who have looked after our DD and I have looked after them and they are lovely people. I am just hopeful they will know what to say etc. I must admit one is a bit dopey about adoption so I am now begining to re-think that one!

Italiangreyhound Sun 30-Dec-12 21:20:06

morethanpotatoprints not at all condensending.

I am grateful for your help.

I think there questions might focus on how I will cope with two from having one and also how I will deal with any rivalries etc! Which are very valid questions.

Devora Sun 30-Dec-12 19:49:56

I think we only provided three referees - one was my SIL, and two friends. We picked them for quite specific qualities: they are all black mothers with white partners (so could talk confidently about those issues, as they mirrored our family); they work with social workers and understand what they want to hear (two are paediatricians and one a family law barrister); they all know us pretty well (though one is certainly not a very close friend); and they are all confident and articulate. We really thought through very carefully who would be likely to give the best account of us - not rave about our wonderfulness, but connect with the issues and describe how we would be up to the job.

The sw also interviewed my birth daughter's dad.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 30-Dec-12 14:24:08


Sincerest apologies for the pm, I presumed you didn't have any other dc. It will come across so condescending now, sorry.

HappySunflower Sun 30-Dec-12 11:41:43

All of my referees were contacted and asked to provide a written reference.
3 of them were visited and interviewed at home for about an hour and a half.

Italiangreyhound Sun 30-Dec-12 01:46:30

Sorry - your DS?

Italiangreyhound Sun 30-Dec-12 01:45:30

Thanks * morethanpotatoprints* that is excellent advice and help.

I am sure the decision made in the case of your friends as one which was made by many people and your reference was only a part of a very big picture.

We have a birth DD (now 8) and when she was a baby there is a barely a soul alive I would have left her with. So don;t feel bad about how you felt when your DD was a baby. it must be a hard thing to evaluate.

My friends are all people who have kids about the same age as mine and have all looked after DD at some time. I also look after their kids sometimes, pick up from school etc. So I am hopeful that we all know and trust each other. I guess the questions might be more focused on how we as a family will adjust and how our DD will cope etc. Only one pet to contend with, a hamster.

I will warn them that the questions might be probing.

Thanks for your help.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 30-Dec-12 01:24:10

I am working late tonight. {My own research into parenting issues} because I am obsessed with trying to be a good parent. Because mine were fantastic. I'm so sad. grin

The best advice I could give is make sure your referees are aware of where you stand with aspects of parenting. Your strengths and weaknesses or points you are not familiar with. Let them have your philosophy, all of them.

The sw is also looking to match you with certain children and imo it needs to be a good match and the above will possibly save resources and time. Which can't be a bad thing. They are not always referring to / considering your ability to parent in their questioning.

No referee should be better/ important in your eyes as each will offer different evidence? Be beneficial in different ways.

Also forgot but I had lots of phone calls (only as due with dd around initial home appointment and had to keep them posted etc)

A letter and form and of course the home visit, she was here for ages, through a full feed, change, and most of the nap.

I am just sorry I didn't get the gut instinct until too late. I never heard what happened to the children but fear they went back into care.

I know I always say this but ......Good luck to all of you on these threads and I mean it so sincerely. You are doing a wonderful thing and I for one know what it was like to have such wonderful adoptive parents.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 30-Dec-12 00:42:42

Sorry, more info.

How do I think they will cope both working? What type of parents would they be?

Did I think either would be prepared to give up work if necessary, scale down, go part time etc.

They have many animals - what relationship do I think they will have with their children as so many jobs to do when they get home from work?

I had just had dd - would I leave my dd with them?

I feel so awful as when it came down to it the couple refused to budge on all of the above and the last question I faltered on, as now I realise that I wouldn't have left dd with them. Not because of anything bad but because of their lack of experience with dc The sw and I thought I had faltered as she was a baby and bf.

The children were taken off them as they needed so much more than this couple could provide.

Now I live with guilt and really wouldn't want to do it again, I thought I was certain in support at the time.

Italiangreyhound Sun 30-Dec-12 00:38:56

Thanks morethanpotatoprints please could I ask what type of probing questions, if you are willing to tell me, please? Feel free to pm me if you prefer. Apologies for asking such a direct question. I don't feel too worried, I am very open person and would not want anyone to lie or anything. I am sorry the adoption did not work out, I guess ultimately so many people are involved in making the decision so although you feel sad - and you say guilty - ultimately it was so many people involved in it all.

Thanks for answering my question and feel free to PM me or not.

morethanpotatoprints Sun 30-Dec-12 00:24:46

I was a referee for a friend and had a visit from social worker and very direct questioning that whilst reasonable put me on the spot.
I'm not sure I would do it again though as the adoption didn't work and I felt so guilty for the kids . I'm sure it will be fine in your case but polite to inform your referees they may receive probing questions.
I must add all the questions were reasonable and as an adopted person myself I'm glad they were asked.

Italiangreyhound Sun 30-Dec-12 00:16:52

Thanks singstar and Cheltenhamgirl, have already asked a couple of people and one said she was very honoured to be asked. Bit worried if we need to provide 6 each!!!!!

Cheltenhamgirl Sun 30-Dec-12 00:10:25

Hi we are in the process of adopting and were asked to provide 6 referees each again 2 family members. All of them were contacted by letter and were given a form to complete about us. There will also be face to face interviews taking place but this has not happened yet. Hope this helps.

Singstar Sun 30-Dec-12 00:00:23

Hi, can only give you our specific experience but we were referees for our friends and we were contacted by phone, visited by their social worker and also had to provide a written reference answering specific questions that the social worker had devised although it was really just a rehash of the visit. Our friends said they'd chosen us as we'd known them for a really long time but also they know our kids really well so they felt we could give the social worker an insight into their relationship with our children and how they interact with kids generally. For what its worth we were absolutely honoured to be asked and saw it as a real privilege to be able to help our friends become a family. Best of luck with the adoption process hope it goes really well for you

Italiangreyhound Sat 29-Dec-12 23:47:08

Hi all

We have been asked to provide 6 referees. Maximum two family members. Advice, please?

Will all referees be contacted?
Will all be seen or called or written to, or is it different all the time?
Should we list them alphabetically or in terms of how long they have known us, or family first or ......???

Masses of questions, sorry, any advice, please, MANY Thanks.

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