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15,000 Kids And Counting - On Channel 4, starting on 3rd April

(302 Posts)
OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Thu 27-Mar-14 22:10:11

Heads up folks, Channel 4 are doing a new adoption documentary "15,000 Kids and Counting"

Series Description - Child protection levels in Britain are at a record high. Over 15,000 children were waiting to be adopted in 2013 - twice as many as five years earlier

With unparalleled access to the entire adoption process, this series follows social workers, foster carers, birth parents and adopters as heart-wrenchingly difficult decisions are made about the future of some of Britain's most vulnerable children

Episode 1 is on 3rd April at 9.00PM, is called The Decision

The adoption process begins with the most difficult decision of all: the decision to remove a child from their birth family

The first episode in the series follows the social workers whose job it is to take children away from their parents and recommend whether they should ever return; and meets parents who are desperately fighting to keep their children

Episode 2 a week later - 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

I'll certainly be watching, looks interesting

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Fri 28-Mar-14 17:14:27

Actually make that "only wanting children aged 0-2""

I do completely agree bbery. I very much that the birth parents on the first program will not represent an extreme on the scale.

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Fri 28-Mar-14 17:14:56

I very much hope that...

namechangesforthehardstuff Fri 28-Mar-14 19:52:43

Loving the embarrassment of wine. grin Can there be a kerfuffle of cake to go with?

I know I should watch stuff like this. I feel like a bad prospective adopter but I'm not great at heart-wrenching hard-hitting documentaries about children. sad

And of course I'm holding out for a blonde, blue-eyed newborn girl named Clytemnestra so I'm fairly sure our baby won't be in there anyway...

64x32x24 Fri 28-Mar-14 22:15:24

Just been thinking, first it's 'the decision' then 'the search'. Just going by the titles, it kind of suggests that there is only one decision, i.e. removing a child from their birth family, and all else is an automatic consequence. And that right after the decision, the search starts - whereas in practice, I suspect SW usually wait for placement orders, and don't go looking for adopters for children who might yet go back to birth family. The blurb is more promising, but the titles by themselves are quite worrying from this perspective.
On the other hand, by focusing on the need to 'search' for adoptive parents (rather than for children suitable for given prospective adopters), it clearly contradicts conspiracy theories where children are taken into care because they are so very 'adoptable'.

KristinaM Fri 28-Mar-14 23:43:23

Can anyone make gluten free cake please?

I'm not fussy about the wine though

weregoingtothezoo Sat 29-Mar-14 11:25:31

It all sounds a bit oversimplified doesn't it - which by virtue of making watchable television it has to be, but still is frustrating to those who have had to live with the masses of delay in the system that is just due to the system.

I have to say that anything that makes birth parents seem like fallible human beings rather than monsters is a good thing - I don't see why (though of course I accept your collective observations that it happens every time) that any miniature steps in that direction automatically has the knock on effect of damaging the portrayal of the reality of adoptive parent's decisions.
In the meanwhile, as someone wiser than me (Kew) said last time we were so very under siege, I AM allowed to choose the less painful option, and so I will choose not to watch it, too painful.

Italiangreyhound Sat 29-Mar-14 12:33:11

I think it will be painful and I also wonder if it will be quite sensationalist. The programme may portray some people as good and nice and worthy of our sympathy and some as not. That seems to be the case. In reality they will all be fallible and human. I hope that those who watch it will see that (I mean general public). That they will watch with a growing realisation of the complexities of the problems involved. I don't want birth parents to vilified, that is my opinion as a human being not just as a soon to be mum to a child through adoption!

Zoo I don't personally think that anything that makes birth parents seem like fallible human beings rather than monsters ... has the knock on effect of damaging the portrayal of the reality of adoptive parent's decisions but I think TV tends to polarise, her good... therefore him bad, him sympathetic character therefore them nasty etc! Because it is quite hard to say I like all those people, and have sympathy for all of them, and maybe there but for the grace of God go I! At the end of the day that child can't live with them all. Yet as we have said before all those people will be that child's parents and that child will have to work all of it out in their head one day! The viewing public does not need to work it all out so it is easier to go with a gut feeling... I like that one, I don't like that one.

Bless you Zoo it must be very hard to watch that kind of thing but please do join us for any discussion if you feel able because maybe, just maybe, we are all being harsh on the general viewing public who will be enabled to get a better view on things if they watch it.

excitedmamma Sat 29-Mar-14 21:53:35

during our approval process, we were approached by the tv makers via our agency.. they wanted to talk to people going through the approval process... we declined but after a brief chat with one of the production team, I did get an "OK" feeling about them...

they wanted to show the whole process/journey and try and de-mystify the whole process in an attempt to get more potential adoptors coming forward

huge disclaimer just in case this is anything differently than we were led to believe wink

namechangesforthehardstuff Sat 29-Mar-14 23:08:30

I think they're always quite charming at that stage. Then they get to the editing suite...

Jeffreyweffrey Sun 30-Mar-14 23:52:22

Thanks ExcitedMamma, glad to know we did a good job. I'm the Exec Producer, and it's been fascinating to see all the assumptions that are made about the series on the basis of as little as the individual programme names. I hope you all watch it than make up your minds, rather than vice versa. We have certainly tried to make birth parents out to be the fallible human beings they are, rather than monsters, but I don't believe that is at the expense of damaging the portrayal of the reality of adoptive parents' decisions. This is a very complex and layered process, and that's why needed three hours to follow it from before children are initially taken into care (in film 1) right up to adoption orders (granted at the end of film 3). I hope we tell the whole story as honestly and clearly as we can. And that has only been possible because of the trust of social workers, birth parents and adoptive parents, who have let us into their lives. Hope you all enjoy it! The trailed is on our website at

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Mon 31-Mar-14 00:22:48

If I'd known in advance this thread was going to be linked to on the trailer page, I might have joked a bit less... grin

But look Daffodil you're quoted! -

KristinaM Mon 31-Mar-14 01:00:41

Ha ha daffodil you are the voice of mumsnet

I wonder why they missed off the end of your sentence about the flying pigs . Nothing like selective editing, eh?

bberry Mon 31-Mar-14 09:14:12

Hi Brian (exec producer) - it's such a difficult, complex and emotional subject to cover in just 3 hours... But I look forward to watching it (with tissues in hand!)

DaffodilDandy Mon 31-Mar-14 11:12:20

Bloody hell! I am! shock

I wish they'd included the pig comment though. Pfft.

It's rather brave of them to link to this thread in advance of the programme - I wonder if the link will be removed if it follows the path these things usually do and this thread becomes a discussion about what they've done wrong and a safe haven from all the crap being thrown about by the judgey pants brigade? <cynical face>

After reading the blurb for the series it dawned on my why adopters always seem to come off badly in these things. Understandably the focus is on the children in care, but I have yet to see a single programme (that I remember!) where the process is shown from the adopters point of view. I know there was that thing about the American family adopting Russian children a while ago, but I mean a UK adoption that we would all recognise as the process you go through in this country. That way instead of it being shown as a social worker hunting for a family for a cute 3 year old and being met with a succession of rejections from lots of prospective adopters (which fuels the "adopters are too picky' fire), it would show adopters looking for a match and the reasons why profiles are rejected would be made more clear. It would show the intensive and intrusive approval process, the delays, the lack of information, the training about likely issues you'll be dealing with, and then the realities of raising a child with those issues. Having said all that though, I doubt a programme from that point of view would generate the kind of audience that the tv bods are looking for.

Wasn't that Finding Mum + Dad series supposed to be one episode about each side? I only ever saw one episode broadcast, but I am sure at the time it was said that it was a three parter or something?

I think basically the problem with programmes like this is that in order to get the general masses interested they have to be sensational in some way, and in order to do that the reality gets diluted.

Although, Mr TV Person, I am prepared to proved wrong.

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Mon 31-Mar-14 13:37:47

There was a 3 part series a few years ago now, which was following prospective adopters only - it was called "Find Me a Family". Even that resulted in judgeyness though, people analysing everything the adopters said and their tones of voice...

64x32x24 Mon 31-Mar-14 14:44:02

Yes Lilka, we watched that, it could have been 2009, Channel Four. Wasn't on MN yet then, so didn't notice any levels of judgeyness... am quite surprised about this actually!

This documentary followed three prospective adopters (i.e. one couple who have a birth child, one gay couple, and one single woman) who had signed up to a pioneering project aimed at getting prospective adopters to consider children who are 'hard to place', such as sibling groups, older children, and children with health needs or disabilities. The prospective adopters were given tons of information, but most importantly, opportunities to get real life experience of things, such as looking after a child with Downs syndrome for a day and a night IIRC. The idea was that you tend to be scared of things you don't know. So getting real life experience may lead people to consider children they wouldn't otherwise have considered.

FWIW, it worked, at least on us! This programme first got us really thinking about adoption; until then it hadn’t really come up as a topic, as we had assumed that there were only babies to adopt, and that there were long waiting lists. (We both grew up abroad, where this was actually true, and hadn't realised that things were different here). This programme made us realize that there were in fact children out there who need a family as much as any other, but for whatever reason, they struggle to find one (rather than having lots of prospective adopters on waiting lists, fighting to have them). It was not then the right time for us to pursue this further, but from then on the topic of adoption remained firmly on our radar and we started reading, watching, and discussing everything related to adoption that we came across.

I remember being slightly disappointed that the family with the BC went on to adopt a child with few issues, but understanding their decision. IIRC, then the family's SW was a key 'voice of reason' whereas the family were finding it very hard to say 'no' to particular children, particularly sibling groups (though I could well be remembering wrongly). What really frustrated me, was that the gay couple were not linked to any children, even after a long time (2 years?) - they had become incredibly open and expressed interest in children they never would have considered before, but were always turned down by the children's SWs.
That programme really stuck with me, I remember bits such as the 'learning process' the gay couple went through, regarding their dogs - at first their dogs were very precious to them and it seemed they were a bit unrealistic about how a child would have to fit around the dogs, but they learned and grew throughout the programme and I was impressed at how they developed.

I hope this new programme is as interesting as that one was! I still remember so much of it, and it must have been nearly 5 years ago. And I'd love to be able to do such a course as was covered by that programme, where prospective adopters are able to explore in depth and with proper experiences, what they may (or may not) feel able to tick 'yes' on the 'issues' list.
So even if judgeyness on MN and places, can't totally be avoided, it may be that a good programme can reach some people, correct some pre-conceptions, educate... it may lead to someone picking up the phone to make that call, even if years down the line.
In fact I think the degree of judgeyness evoked on MN is not really a good way to judge such programmes. The people who write judgey comments on MN are probably those whose opinions are entrenched anyway. All those who are positively affected by such programmes, won't be posting here!

MyFeetAreCold Mon 31-Mar-14 14:55:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KristinaM Mon 31-Mar-14 15:54:36

I agree my feet. But then I wouldn't let the meeja into my garden to film my plants, let alone into my home to film my children. Don't trust 'em as far as I can throw 'em

namechangesforthehardstuff Mon 31-Mar-14 18:39:13

It's good that Mr Very Important Media Man has been in here to tell us silly women to stop judging his lovely programme though isn't it?

I, for one, feel patronised and slightly used reassured by both his humility and his ability to paragraph.

MrsDeVere Mon 31-Mar-14 18:44:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MrsDeVere Mon 31-Mar-14 18:47:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Devora Mon 31-Mar-14 19:11:52

I'm already planning me snacks...

MyFeetAreCold Mon 31-Mar-14 19:30:52

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MyFeetAreCold Mon 31-Mar-14 19:38:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Italiangreyhound Mon 31-Mar-14 19:51:25

Yes, MrsDeVere I watched that too.

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