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Adoption on Television - Links to all available past programs

(104 Posts)
Lilka Sun 06-Apr-14 13:44:38

We need this I think - got information on various different threads about different tv programs but it's all scattered about.

So, Lilka's big list of adoption related documentaries and where to watch them!

1. Panorama: The Truth About Adoption

Filmed in Coventry, this documentary covers the search for an adoptive family for two sisters, decision making about the future of 3 children in care, and the story of a little boy whose foster parents want to adopt him but whose birth mother wants him back
Watch here -

2. A Home For Maisie

In her 8 years of life, Maisie has lived in 10 different homes and been through 2 adoption disruptions. She has significant emotional and behavioural needs. Social services have placed her for adoption one final time, with a couple who have already adopted 8 older children, but if this doesn't work out, Maisie will spend the rest of her childhood in care. This documentary follows the family and Maisie as they go through therapy at Family Futures, an organisation with a 95% success rate at keeping families together
Watch -

3. Love is Not Enough

This moving 8 part series followed 4 families in the late 1990's, as they went through an intensive home study process and adopted their children (both domestic and international adoption). The filmmakers then followed up to see what life was like several years after adoption. Very moving and in depth, this is still relevant and worth watching 14 years after it first aired
Watch all episodes -

4. Protecting our Children

This 3 part series followed social workers as they worked with vulnerable families in their area, and made decisions about when to take children into care
Watch -

More to follow when I find the links smile

OP’s posts: |
flowerpowerlondon Sun 06-Apr-14 14:51:16

Thanks Lilka- really helpful.

Although these children are not adopted Britain's broken families (BBC) gives a great insight showing where the SW's are involved and trying to help parents keep their children. As a soon to be approved adopter I found it very worthwhile to watch to.

bberry Sun 06-Apr-14 16:53:56

Great.... Will start watching next week..... X

candycoatedwaterdrops Sun 06-Apr-14 17:18:23

Finding Mum and Dad is a good one too.

Lilka Sun 06-Apr-14 17:28:30

Thanks candy I was looking for a link to that earlier, for some reason I couldn't find one smile

OP’s posts: |
candycoatedwaterdrops Sun 06-Apr-14 19:13:43

No problemo. I watched it again the other night. I thought it was a well balances programme.

Useful thread, maybe we could have one on key reading also?

NanaNina Sun 06-Apr-14 19:57:23

Oh wow Lilka - I've always been impressed by the wisdom in your posts but I am staggered at your ability to provide all these links. HOW do you do it - NO don't bother because I won't understand. My IT skills are very limited. I was just about to go on "Catch Up TV" to find the BBC 3 programme about social services and adoption etc that was on last Thursday I think, and is a series of 3 programmes I think.
Thanks so much for the links, and Candy thanks also.

flowerpowerlondon Sun 06-Apr-14 19:57:38

Another one I found interesting to watch about looked after children is below. Care Home Kids: Looking for Love

Lilka Sun 06-Apr-14 20:32:30

Fabulous smile

8. The Dark Matter of Love

Documentary following an American family through their first year of their Russian adoption. As the couple, who have a 14 year old birth daughter, adjust to having 11 year Masha, and 5 year old twins Marcel and Vadim in their family (all adopted at the same time, Masha and the boys are not biologically related), a scientist and an adoption therapist are on hand to give them support and pointers. Honest and emotional, this doesn't shy away from filming the lows, as well as the highs

Watch -

9. Adopt Me, I'm a Teenager

Teenagers Justine and Lakeisha really want to be adopted. But there are 120,000 children in foster care in the USA who are available for adotion, of whom 25,000 are teens like them...and there are few adoptive parents seeking this age group. This film follows the girls through the family finding process, and beyond. It explores the methods used by adoption agencies to find families, including adoption parties and television appearances. It is very moving to hear the two girls talk about their lives and hopes for the future, and interesting to hear about adoption, family finding and adoption parties from the childs perspective (as most children in British documentaries are too young to really express how they feel). Very worth watching for that reason

Watch -

OP’s posts: |
NanaNina Sun 06-Apr-14 21:17:43

Have just watched the first one - really interesting. How sad that the adoptive placement for Kieran and his sisters broke down after 3 years - obviously we couldn't be told why, but it could have been illness with one of the prospective adopters. I think the LA social workers should have been discussing with the prospective adopters why they were not ready to apply for an Adoption Order - this is usually done within months and when there are delays (as in this case) it should start to ring alarm bells and maybe move the children if there was a lack of commitment, to give them the chance of another match. Every day counts as the older the children get as you will know, the more difficult it is for them to find adoptive parents. Keiron was so distressed - poor kid. The chances of him getting adopted I think are remote and I don't think 3 children should ever be placed together because as the foster carers said, they are too much to handle together. This may have been why the adoptive placement broke down. There is more chance for the 2 girls I think, but again their chances getting less and less as time goes by. I did wonder if Keiron could be re-united with mother?

I'm sure Connor will remain with the foster carers and how great that they are wanting to adopt him. I think the hold up is a mere technicality about procedures. It's a shame for his mom but I think the very fact that she doesn't understand what it would mean to move a child from the family he's been with more or less all his life and that she is a stranger to him, says it all really. Sad but true.

Hope all goes well for Katie and Chloe.

I agree with Di the foster carer I think there is too much talking to children about how they are looking for a family (and across a dining room table FGS...) at the very least the sw could be playing with them, drawing or playing with dolls houses and play people, to try to demonstrate how they were looking. The youngest child saying "are you asking everyone" or something like that, I think showed how confusing all this is for them, and children can't process this information. When I first started in social work it was the thing to get them to draw the family the house and family that they would like and of course the all drew the same house that all kids draw, square with 4 windows and a front door..........!! Often there was talk of pets but that's a red herring as far as I'm concerned. I never got kids drawing pictures or asking them "what sort of family would you like" - what a question to ask a child. Sad to see it still seems to be the norm, and I suppose it's done with good intent but I don't think it's the right way.

Italiangreyhound Mon 07-Apr-14 02:16:52

Protecting our children part 1. My goodness, gut wrenching. I wish that dear woman all the very best if life. So very sad.

Hels20 Mon 07-Apr-14 06:57:27

Lilka - you are amazing for searching for these. I had no idea the BBC ones were available still on daily motion. Thank you. Just watched episode 2 of Protecting our Children as when I watched it originally - I didn't see it all the way through. The poor SW, Annie. She put all that hope and effort and emotion into making it worth with the mother. I think it showed a really balanced approach. But it also showed how hard addiction is to break.

I also watched the BBC 3 programme on children in care - narrated by Ashley. What an amazing guy he was to have so much forgiveness and understanding for his birth Mum - and how wonderful he went to Cambridge and got a history degree - despite his tumultuous childhood.

So pleased now that children can stay with foster parents until they are 21. It makes me think when I am older maybe DH and I can also foster.

Hels20 Mon 07-Apr-14 07:00:44

italian - first episode of Protecting our Children. Made me feel that to be a SW is the hardest job - couldn't quite believe the toothless father's response to the request by SW to buy a toothbrush for his 4 year old son. "why? I don't have one". I couldn't quite believe that the children were not removed sooner...the dog excretement and filth of the flat. But, like in other programmes, I felt so sorry for the birth mum,

Greythorne Mon 07-Apr-14 07:34:02

Protecting our children, episode 1 was so moving. Not sure I can tackle episode 2, although the trailer makes it look like there's a better outcome for the birth parents.

I felt so much for Tiffany. Seemed so clear -to me- that she was lying to protect Mile when she said she had grabbed Toby to stop him running out into the road.

Tiffany looked like she had so many deep-rooted problems, she mentioned an abusive childhood.

She seemed to me to be a very clear case of a mum who does love her children but that parenting adequately was simply beyond her.

I also felt sorry to some extent for Mike. He was aggressive but it seemed to come from a place of fear and insecurity. He looked very affectionate with Toby at times and yet during the observed play session he was just shockingly disengaged. The scene when Mike suddenly rescinded consent for Toby to go to a foster carer for the night was heartbreaking. Who is the child, here? I kept thinking. Mike looked and acted like an 8 yo. A very frightened, angry 8 yo. My heart was in
My mouth when the SW asked the police to check on Toby that night.

In the end, it seems Tiffany made the right decision for her children.

I wonder if she has had more babies.

NanaNina Mon 07-Apr-14 13:15:10

I think you are right Greythorne about the father in the programme functioning at around 8 years and that fear was being masked with anger. I have (during the course of my social work career) met many fathers (and mothers) where there was a huge gap between their chronological age and their emotional age. These parents have almost always been ill treated/neglected themselves and only have one "model" of parenting - the one they had as kids. Add to that poverty, poor housing, no support from their own families, no hope of things ever changing and it is a very toxic mix. Yes they "love" their children, but we all know love is not enough. In essence you have children trying to raise children.

I must add here (before some comes and tells me that they had a difficult/abusive childhood that they didn't go on to treat their children in the same way) that I am not saying that all ill treated/neglected children will repeat that pattern of parenting. Indeed many such people make a determined effort I think to ensure that their own children get the love and care as a child that they never had.

I can honestly say in a career spanning some 30 years I have never seen abusive parents where there was no neglect/abuse in their own childhoods or they had learning difficulties, severe mental health problems etc. I saw many women who were controlled by the partner/boyfriend and "failed to protect" ill treatment of the children because of their own fear of the man.

I'm glad that this programme on Channel 4 about social workers and child protection is showing the difficulties that social workers face each and every day. I hope they will show that the volume of work, the ridiculously high case loads, mean that social workers and managers are always "swimming against the tide" and of course they "they are damned if they do and damned if they don't" - I also hope that the programme will ensure that people understand that social workers do not have the authority to remove a child from their *parents and this can only be done by a Court. In the Channel 4 programme we see a parent going to court because the LA are applying for an EPO (emergency protection order) and if this is not granted the child cannot be removed. I think there are people out there who think social workers can just swoop on a family and remove their children and nothing is further from the truth. Social workers have to present evidence to the court in order to be granted an EPO and further court orders - and parents are always legally represented.

Sorry that turned out longer than I meant........and I went on a bit of a rant.

Italiangreyhound Mon 07-Apr-14 23:33:16

Watching Protecting our children episode 2, expecting trouble.

This looks terrible, the social worker needs to arrive with 2 security officers. It all looks pretty hard.

Italiangreyhound Mon 07-Apr-14 23:41:37

This is utterly heartbreaking, these people have such a terrible life and I can't imagine how they would be able to care for a child. I feel sorry for them, but also angry and just the whole situation is so awful. Such a very broken situation. At what point could have a difference and a change have been made?

Italiangreyhound Tue 08-Apr-14 00:27:52

OK, last one! It's a marathon. I am just so sad by these programmes but it is good to know and understand, or try to.

Italiangreyhound Tue 08-Apr-14 01:39:39

Watch number 3 to the end for a final kick in the teeth! Just very sad.

lovehopejoy Tue 08-Apr-14 12:29:51

This is just brilliant lilka - thank you so much for taking the time to do this for us all to benefit from.
This is officially my first post, but I have been reading the boards for a while, but I just had to say thank you for such a valuable posts!

MooseyMouse Tue 08-Apr-14 13:05:01

Lilka - do you mind if I reproduce this on another adoption website? I'll credit you and Mumsnet.

Pawprint Tue 08-Apr-14 17:21:06

An adoptee, not adopter but have watched these programmes. I remember a really disturbing film, some years back, about Social Services. There was a guy - quite old - who had had a baby with his SN step daughter.

They were watched by social workers through a double sided mirror as they attempted to play with the baby. It was clear that neither parent had any ability to care for the child. SS were worried that the dad might move onto the baby girl when she was older, just as he had moved onto his step daughter.

It was very upsetting. The way it was filmed was also disturbing - just filmed close ups of the guy's eyes, mouth etc. Obviously, the face of the baby was blurred out. At the end, it said that SS were letting the parents keep the child for now but were keeping a very close eye on them.

Lilka Tue 08-Apr-14 18:13:26

Moosey of course you can smile

Hang on, I'll just write up the links others gave to complete the list so far. It's now a list of 'The Care System and Adoption on Television' rather than solely adoption, and obviously I've also included internationally based docos as long as I think they will be interesting and worth watching to british adopters:

5. Finding Mum and Dad

Adotion Parties, where waiting children and hopeful adoptive parents are brought together for a few hours of fun and games, are being trialed by several adoption agencies. These agencies hope that the parties will be a more successful way of finding families for their most hard to place children. We hear from an adoptive family who found their son at such a party, and some of the prospective adopters who are about to attend them. However the main focus of this moving documentary, are brothers Connor and Daniel, as well as 8 year old Scott. All hard to place older children, their foster carers and social workers hope that the right adoptive families will find them at an adoption party - if not, all three boys face spending the rest of their childhoods in care.

Watch -

6. Care Home Kids - Looking For Love

Ashley John-Baptiste, known for his time in the boyband Risk, was taken into care at the age of 2, and never returned home. Despite the instability of his childhood, he did well in school and went on to study at Cambridge. In this program, he revisits his time in care, and meets some of the children who live in care homes now. Very moving

Watch -

7. Britain's Broken Families

I haven't watched this, but this is the synopsis on the BBC site:

Documentary following the around the clock work of Newcastle's Family Intervention Project, whose job is to help improve the lives of the area's most challenging and disruptive families. Every day, FIP work intensively with the most disadvantaged, challenging and disruptive families in the UK who other authorities (social workers, police, education, housing) have tried - and failed - to help. If the families don't change, they will lose their homes or children

FIP worker Claire Stewart is trying to help Sharon, whose 14-year-old-daughter is refusing to go to school. Gangs of youths frequent her house, and have been terrorising the estate

FIP worker Vicki McKeown has been brought in to transform a mother whose two boys are being neglected and risk of being taken into care

Watch -

OP’s posts: |
MooseyMouse Tue 08-Apr-14 19:00:23

That's brilliant. Thanks very much. X

justgotaniPhone Wed 09-Apr-14 01:21:28

Lilka - a challenge for you! I'm trying to find a documentary, possibly Channel 4, with the awful title of Baby Shopping shown about 12 years ago. It followed a British couple adopting from China. Despite the title it was very good - honest!

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