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DP is joining an adoption panel. What advice would you give?(7 Posts)
DP is joining a local authority adoption panel so she'll be doing approvals and matching.
What advice would you give her? What should panel members know? What would have made it easier?
I have absolutely no experience of making adoption decisions, but know a number of children who have benefited. My advice would be to think about the child, and overwhelmingly, pay far less attention to the needs of the parents and wider family. I hear far too often of children in the purgatory of fostering, because the state wants to make sure the parents and family are ok with the idea.
I think it'd be great if he could really focus on the child's background and identify possible areas where the child and adoptive family might need future support. Getting this written in early would be really helpful. Good luck to him, I bet it'll be very rewarding.
Hi MooseyMouse great news.
yes and Yes to Sodasyphon and dibly. Great points.
I really think anticipating future needs, be it identity related or possible areas that will be an 'issue' and making sure help can be supplied or at least the needs recorded early on is something that those involved in adoption should be doing or pushing to enable it to be done.
If adoption panels could have this input, right at the start of an adoption, that would be helpful. This is for matching panel.
For approval panel and matching panel I think it is very important for prospective adopters to understand what exactly they are 'signing up' for. I have met people, going through the process, who did not really seem to understand. Of course as a prospective adopter you want to hold on to the idea that 'if the social worker sends you to panel they must have faith you will get through' but if the panel is not a genuine checking device then it loses its power!
I have not heard of
many people who were told they needed to make a change before being approved at panel.
People might have been scared about issues, with weight for example, or possible attitude to the process and yet they still get through. Better for panels to say 'yes, but there is this issue you need to deal with before approval' 'or before going forward', 'or yes, to matching but this is something you need to be aware of.' And get it in writing!
i was lucky I got through everything and like most prospective adopters I was so bloody pleased to get through but there can be a feeling, well you will all get through!
I am lucky that I am pretty tenacious and if they had said go away and do this, that or the other I hope - I would have done it!
But if I had not been willing to do stuff, that would show up my lack of enthusiasm!
I do know people who were told to do something and did not and never adopted (I do not think they even got to panel). At the time I felt sad about that and what a shame but later, when dealing with the really heavier issues of adoption or rather reading about them from others here, I realised, actually, you need to be tenacious and strong willed and willing to do what it takes. So better for those people who were not able or willing to move forward to stay where they were. They wanted it, but they could not do what was needed.
Sorry this is getting very long! I thought at first I had nothing to add! I guess the longer I am involved in the world of adoption and looked after children the more I realise that it is hard work and you need to be aware of it, but it is so rewarding and these children/all children deserve our very best!
Give you dp a big hug for being willing to put themselves out on behalf of others, MooseyMouse.
ok in our panels there were about 12 people, and all but one had these incredibly serious faces. Mouths downturned, hard eyes, they were making no pretence - this was serious. It was quite intimidating.
Except one of the independent panel members. Every time I looked at him, he gave me an encouraging, wide smile; twinkling eyes and all.
I can tell you, this guy really saved my sanity!
I think that in many cases, most if not all panel members will have pretty much made up their minds based on the written info before panel. Panel then just serves to reaffirm what they have been thinking anyway (either way). So I'd say if your DP finds herself in that position, where everyone is unsmiling; AND she figures that this is probably going to go well; then she could consider being that one smiley face for the prospectives to cling on to. Obviously if other panel members are putting on friendly faces, this is less important! I just think it's a bit cruel for the prospectives if there isn't one friendly face.
Regarding actual content, I don't know, I wouldn't want to be the one making those kinds of decisions. How can anyone predict the future? How can you know if someone is going to be a good parent? A match going to work out? So one thing I think I personally would focus on, is not so much the past (what experience with children/a certain condition do they have and such) but their willingness and ability to learn. So that if and when problems do arise, they will be open to finding new ways of approaching things. Keeping in mind however that people learn in very different ways. But they do need to be open-minded and ready to accept that they don't already know it all.
Don't ask questions that have only one "right" answer because unless its the "stupid" question (ie the question that if you answer wrong then you really are too stupid to adopt!) then its a big waste of air.
"Will you think if you get a child of a different race that they are second best?"
Me: "Ummm...... no"
Asked by an asian member of my panel.
"What do you think the challenges of raising a child of a different race might be?" might have been a better question!
Even "Are you racist?" would have had more point!
This advice is great and I'll pass it on.
I don't know how much say panels have about written support plans but I agree that it's crucial so I'll suggest she looks it up/asks.
I love the idea of a question that determines if you're too stupid to adopt I get your point that some of the questions are utterly pointless; "Are you families supportive?" "No, they think it's a terrible idea" etc. more than that, at our panels I just wanted to say "It's in the PAR!" Since everything they asked was right there.
I agree about smiling too. It must be terrifying for anyone who isn't used to talking to big groups.
Anyway, thanks everyone. I glad it's not me making life-changing decisions.
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