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On to Stage 2 - what sorts of things do SW's want to know?

(47 Posts)
tsfp Sat 08-Mar-14 19:05:06

Hello! We had a call yesterday to say we are through to stage two (a month quicker than we thought so thats good!) but all day I have been thinking about what sorts of things the SW's want to talk about over the next 4 months. I often hear people say its intrustive but I can't think of anything about my life they could ask that would bother me... and I can't think what they might ask...

Any advice from Adopters/people in stage 2 would be appreciated - don't want to be thinking about it too much but can't help it! ha!

Italiangreyhound Sat 08-Mar-14 19:13:19

I guess they want to see you are able to cope bringing up a child who has a harder than average start in life. So for example if you have experienced problems/difficulties in your own life, how you coped with those.

I did not find the process at all intrusive but it is quite intensive.

bberry Sat 08-Mar-14 19:26:10

I would agree that it's quite intense but nit intrusive, if you go into it with an open mind and heart. I actually quite enjoyed it as it was like free therapy talking about your childhood, significant people in your life and your relationship.... Our sw was very skilled at the probing questions and empathy grin

tsfp Sat 08-Mar-14 19:26:15

Ok thats cool - I'm happy with that. And intensive is fine with me, a little hard work doesn't do any harm! We are doing a lot of research and have a volunteering placement at a nursery with a few foster kids so we are lucky to be getting a bit of a face to face experience of kids in the system. I think we will be ok, just interested in other peoples experiences!

Thanks for replying!

tsfp Sat 08-Mar-14 19:35:56

Thanks bberry too. I think I might enjoy it. I'm such a talker and I'm always mega open about everything anyway so maybe that's why I can't think it would be intrusive (for us anyway)

You've both made me feel loads better and maybe I'm looking forward to it a bit!

Italiangreyhound Sat 08-Mar-14 19:41:45

tsfp good luck. Hope it goes well. The worst bit for us was at the end when they tell you what in your house is not safe. As we moved into our house iwth an 18 month old dd and have managed to keep her safe here for the last 7 plus years it was a bit galling to be told what needed to change! But you can't fight about safety glass or a led for the sand pit or this or that! It all works out and for us it was good this came at the end as it was genuinely the most stressful bit.

We were not asked any really probing personal questions and actually our social worker was lovely. I do think you need to be aware that they are trying to work out though so sometimes they ask something and do have an answer they are expecting. For example our social worker asked us about the parenting course, which I had heard was required in our area. She asked if I wanted to go on it, I said I did (because I did) and she said good because it is a essential! So sometimes a question actually might be more like ... we want you to do this....!! I have struggled with my weight for half my life so when we talked about my weight I was open and honest and said I would try and lose some more weight, which I have done. That is the kind of practical side, they have things they would like you to do.

Other stuff was just questions, about your childhoods (if you are adopting as a couple of course she/he will meet you together and apart probably) plus your marriage, work, etc ect. They will also ask about your support network and how much you feel able to go and seek out help if you need it.

Italiangreyhound Sat 08-Mar-14 19:44:21

... lid for the sand pit!

and

...work you out...

tsfp Sat 08-Mar-14 19:53:41

Italiangreyhound - perfect. That's set me at ease. I am happy with them asking whatever they need and my husband and I have talked about adopting for over 8 years so we are prepared for those questions I think! Interesting about the safety side. We are arranging the fire service to do a fire check as they're free but hadn't thought about safety glass or anything! I'm hoping for a nice sw! Maybe I'll bake a cake for the first meeting. Sweeten the deal! Ha!

Italiangreyhound Sat 08-Mar-14 20:51:51

There is a whole thread on here about biscuits for social workers tsfp - ps what does tsfp mean?

tsfp Sat 08-Mar-14 22:04:55

I make good choc cherry cookies - sounds like a thread I'll look up!!! Tsfp is our initials (including mine my husbands and our two dogs) I couldn't think of a better username!

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Sat 08-Mar-14 22:32:54

My sex life was the worst it got in terms of probing. That was a bit awkward, I have to say grin I'm a single adopter so it would be different for you as a married couple, but it shouldn't be any worse than one or two questions about whether you are happy with your sex life, and maybe how you think children will change things (I think). Of course, they may have stopped asking that now, you may be in luck grin

Aside from that, I found nothing awkward about the process. It was most certainly intensive, but I'm not a very private person by nature, so I never found it intrusive. I'm not at all averse to discussing my childhood, previous relationships, family relationships etc in detail

excitedmamma Sat 08-Mar-14 23:02:54

Oh no.. they DO still want to know about your sex life... thankfully we gave her enough info that she didn't ask anything else grin

Religion, how you were parented, what you'd do differently, puberty, views on drugs/alcohol, family, holidays, how your life will change, will you access support, support network, education (yours and your views for your children - homework etc), hobbies, your relationship - what annoys you about your OH, how well integrated are you in the community...

Pretty much anything & everything.... we had homework EVERY week and had to email it in before our next visit for her to study and decide what she wanted to go into... Think we had 8 'topics'.. if u really want I can find out their titles as I've got our responses stored somewhere..

Not intrusive, certainly intensive and thought provoking and hard work.. we'd often crawl into bed after doing our individual 'homework' after midnight.. and that included me vetting and changing his to be more pc grin

Good luck

Italiangreyhound Sat 08-Mar-14 23:10:26

We must be very dull looking, no one asked about our sex life!

Meita Sat 08-Mar-14 23:16:37

Part of stage 2 (we're there right now) will also be going through the matching criteria - which backgrounds and issues you feel you would be able and willing to deal with. I find this to be probably the hardest part.

If difficult things have happened in your life (losses, separations, episodes of major illness, ...) then the SW will probably be keen on exploring them, in order to be able to evidence your strengths. As in, this awful thing happened and you/your relationship came through it ok, that shows that you are resilient and crisis-proof. As it happens, our SW ended up saying 'oh that is good' (or to that effect) to quite a few very difficult things, that weren't in the least bit 'good' when they happened, and that was a bit odd. Those were the only times when it felt a bit intrusive - our lives being dissected, not in order to gain a full understanding of us, but in order to put together a good case.

NanaNina Sat 08-Mar-14 23:59:00

I think the reason the sws were saying "good" when you talked of difficult issues in your life Meita is because it is good to know that potential adopters have faced difficult things in their life and have managed to come through relatively unscathed. They are not looking for Mr/Mrs/Ms Perfect (if there are such people with I doubt) because they would not make good adoptive parents. Most of us by the time we are adults will have suffered difficult times and adoption may well be another of those times, and social workers want to know you have the resilience to see you through the process and of course in caring for a child who will almost certainly have suffered some abuse or neglect in the past and will almost always have some kind of behavioural problems as a result.

tsfp Mon 10-Mar-14 14:39:54

Awesome this is all so helpful!

Pretty sure my husband will find it really hard to find something annoying about me...! HA!

The thing about loss/seperation does concern me a little. I have had a few deaths/changes in my life but nothing that really affected me - I don't think I have the personality of someone who dwells on things... my husband definitely doesn't. But having said that we cope with anything thrown at us with a level head in that sense!

One last question - roughly how long will each session be?

Thanks guys!

MrsM2509 Mon 10-Mar-14 16:32:46

How do you know which stage your at? Just wondering coz no one has ever mentioned stages to us.

We have done our prep group, have met with our social worker every week since end of jan, she has visited our references and starting to visit our parents this week. We have a panel date for July but she called yesterday saying she's applying or an earlier date as she doesn't think she will need the next four months to finish our form f. We've never been asked ( so far) about our sex life

Meita Mon 10-Mar-14 17:23:24

tsfp our sessions were around 3h each. Some together, but when we were talking about my childhood for instance, she didn't make DP hang around and listen to everything I had to say. She did warn us (and I found that to be true) that the sessions may be quite intense and thus exhausting, and that we shouldn't plan to 'do' much immediately afterwards, but rather should plan some 'downtime'.

MrsM sounds like stage 2 to me. Though the new 2-stage process has only been in force since July 2013 and perhaps your LA hasn't fully implemented it yet? You can find what the different stages are supposed to entail, online, for example at first4adoption. First stage is mostly background checks, medicals, and prep group, whereas second stage is 'home study'.

NanaNina Mon 10-Mar-14 19:59:14

Tfsp I think there is a concentration on looking at loss and separation and how you have dealt with these issues (might not be a good idea to say you weren't affected) because you probably were, because all children will be experiencing loss and separation from their birthparents or siblings/foster carers and the children in that household. And of course for children it is so much worse than adults as they are unable to "process" the loss and can be very distressed and confused at the losses they have sustained.

NanaNina Mon 10-Mar-14 20:02:09

Someone asked about the length of the sessions. To some extent this does depend on how much people talk. I never let sessions go beyond 2 hours as I think that is the maximum time assessor and applicants can be expected to concentrate on the assessment.

Italiangreyhound Mon 10-Mar-14 21:51:47

tsfp you say about how you cope with loss, in a certain way.

It just strikes me that it may be helpful to read up on the Internet or elsewhere how children or others cope with loss as your new little one may deal with things differently to you. You will need to help them deal with the loss of their birth parents/foster family and all they have known up to that point. They may deal with it differently to you. You will need to help them in their way.

Actually, I am talking to myself as this is what i will need to do! So if you do find anything helpful in books or on the web, please tell me!

tsfp Tue 11-Mar-14 12:12:52

Hi all. Thanks again.

Italiangreyhound - that's a really good idea, I have loads of books about attachment but the loss isn't always covered. I'll look into it.

2/3 hours is fine - I wondered if it would be an all day thing. Not that we would make plans - just nice to know!

NanaNina - I can see what you're saying about loss but I was and am still very resilient. When I was nine my parents divorced I was a bit sad but not really phased. And when I was 15 I found out I was infertile - again a bit sad at first but after a few hours I was ok. Maybe I need to read into loss a bit more (as italiangreyhound suggested) to see if I am more affected by it than I think!

Just waiting for the call to arrange the first meeting now. They said on Friday it would be soon!

MrsM2509 Tue 11-Mar-14 12:28:19

Our meetings have been two hours at most. Our sw said they will take as long as they need, they set a target of what they want To go over per visit so it just depends on how much info you give them. If you don't give enough it will take longer. They fly in though x

MrsBW Tue 11-Mar-14 12:33:22

tsfp have PM'd you.

MrsBW Tue 11-Mar-14 12:34:32

Oh and our sessions varied between 2 and 6 hours - that's because our social worker was travelling a long way though so we'd do a morning session, break for lunch then an afternoon in order to make the best use of her time.

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