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Need to vent

(20 Posts)
Ihaveafeeling Thu 06-Aug-15 23:21:29

After having to deal with our adopted children’s cold and unhelpful sw we were relieved to get the AO granted and stop the sw’s visits. Then to our shock and the upset of our children the sw presented them with their life story books (which we had not had a chance to see or agree on) to our children at our celebration day in the court room which was upsetting, overshadowed our day and was not best practice. Even worse was that they were full or gaps inaccuracy’s.

Feeling unable to speak to the sw about it we raised the matter with a post adoption sw from the LA and requested new revised memory books be done and heard no more. Fast forward 3 months we suddenly heard from said the children's previous sw via email after requesting an update on a draft of the later in life letters to say that the a full sibling baby to our children had been adopted and the adopters would like contact.

Surprised that their sibling had been adopted we were happy that a placement had been found for the younger sibling. We received the draft later in life letters which are cold, missing information and incomplete. After responding to say we would go through them and revert back with our thoughts we received an email from the sw in question to say that we had to do it quickly as they were leaving the role in 2 days. A massive effort to go through while trying to entertain the kids we managed to email our thoughts to the sw for a further draft to be done then heard nothing. Now they have finished and frustrated to have heard no more I called the sw team to try and speak to someone. I explained there are various issues outstanding including the point that there is no explanation in the letters explaining why their younger sibling was not placed with them as this is bound to come up in future. I said that obviously we can explain we were not asked but they will likely want to know why to the surprise of the sw I spoke to, who was under the impression we had been asked about the baby and declined……. We were never asked!!!!

I’m waiting to hear back from manager’s but can imagine that if we had not picked this issue up, our children and their sibling discussing it in the future and thinking one set of parents was being dishonest if it really is on record that we were asked and declined. I feel really annoyed by the experience we have had and wish I had raised the issues I had with the conduct of the children sw much earlier but at the time we did not have the ao and you feel so powerless despite the fact in our incident this person made the whole placement process so much more stressful.

Vent over and hoping for a more positive outcome smile

GirlsWhoWearGlasses Fri 07-Aug-15 06:45:36

That is lousy.

I can relate on the life story books - our DD's focused on her SW at the expense of her birth family. We've had to detach the pictures and make our own. I worry about the later in life letter too as it lists all the families she was 'offered' to who turned her down sad . I would have been fuming to have the life story book presented to DD.

I know you're not looking for any advice, so just sending you sympathy. It sounds like you're doing a great job, batting for your kids.

Devora Fri 07-Aug-15 08:20:25

That is awful, I'm sorry. Our dd's sw left her post without doing the life story, or indeed getting birth photos from bm, which she had promised to do. A very thin life story 'book' (couple of pages stapled together) was eventually produced by a sw who has never met our dd. I can't get my head round this - even if I was sacked without notice I would see it as my moral duty to finish off life story work.

I have also experienced misleading information on the paperwork that our dd will one day see. And I have struggled without success to get proper information on why dd's younger sibling - who was offered to us - was eventually placed within the family, with a kinship carer who was assessed as inadequate to care for my dd.

It stinks, it really does. And as for GirlsWhoWearGlasses's experience of the SW making herself the star of her dd's life story book - words fail me!

Ihaveafeeling Fri 07-Aug-15 09:14:40

Thanks girlswhowearglasses and Devora sorry to hear you have both experienced poor quality social worker professionalism too. I could not imagine doing a job like that where I had venerable children relying on me and the work I was doing for them and leave without doing the required work on their behalf or doing such a shoddy job! I'm so angry and will be making a pest of myself!

The life story book for ours had stock baby photos in both of a random baby as the sw said they could not get baby pictures. I then shortly after had a one of meeting with BM and explained during the meeting I had no photos of them from before care. She was very clear they that she had brought them in and they had been copied. The day after I met her she returned to ss with them and we have copies now....... says it all really.

The later in life letter is so full of gaps and what is there give's no indication that this person was our children’s sw for 18 months. Its impersonal, has the dates wrong and age of one of our children wrong when in care. It gives no explanation as to why an older sibling was removed but our children were left for a further 6 weeks before they were removed etc etc.

Its very upsetting that this person was basically one of our children’s responsible adults for their time in care and clearly they did not give a flying .... about them. The sw used to come and coldly go through a list of questions once they were placed, not engage or if the kids forced them to engage to the very bare minimum with them and never ever had one nice thing to say about us, how we were doing or how the children had settled. I once said when they asked how the experience had been prior to the ao application and while meetings were on-going so could not be honest that it would be helpful to have more feedback/ feel supported to which the reply was that’s not what I'm here for that you sw's role. OK I get that but its clear they didn’t even do their own role well or to best practice. And I might add for any sw that might read this if you are the one going in and seeing children in care then when they are placed with a family then you will clearly see any positive differences first and it would be really nice to share the observed positive differences with the adoptive parents who might be having a tough time and hearing positive feedback from someone who really has known the child/ren would be very uplifting. The adopters own sw didn’t know the children before so to hear the positive changed feel supported from the children’s own sw too really should in my humble view be part of the job.

Tangerineandturquoise Fri 07-Aug-15 19:16:46

That sounds like a big fat mess! So scream away
Email email email is my advice- we had some issues around foster carers of DS, and I set out the facts and made our position clear deliberately in emails-which have to then be kept on the file, and so he can see it all later which should help to clear up ambiguity if it arises. x

Findtheoldme Fri 07-Aug-15 19:24:46

This makes me so sad. More than 30 years ago I didn't get a life story book as the foster carers couldn't be arsed. SW too enthralled by them to argue. Decades later seems social care is still shit sadangry.

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty Fri 07-Aug-15 19:28:59

Scream away - sounds completely warranted angry

JaneDonne Fri 07-Aug-15 20:25:56

Tangerine have you checked that those emails are in his file? We had a similar experience but I know it is all recorded in OUR file not dd's...

JaneDonne Fri 07-Aug-15 20:29:34

And yes it's utterly shit. Social care is broken IMO. I have met one professional sw during this process. The others have been varying degrees of lazy, stupid and dishonest. I never thought I would feel this way. I always thought sws were good people doing a hard job.

So sorry for your experience but really not surprised. sad You could complain.

StaceyAndTracey Fri 07-Aug-15 21:55:17

I've had exactly the same experience as jane. One excellent SW and a lot of shockingly bad ones. Deceitful, dishonest , lazy, disorganised , partial , I could go on . Sadly adoption seems to attract the worse possible sort.

And before anyone feels the need to post with details of their auntie who was a SW and a lovely person - I know , NASWALT

NewLife4Me Fri 07-Aug-15 22:09:30

I am so sorry that you have all experienced such heartache, it's unbelievable that some sw can be so cold and uncaring.

I was adopted many years ago when things were very different and I hope you all don't mind me saying but as a grown up it slightly bothers me that I have so many questions that will have to remain unanswered.

However, these feelings are nothing compared to what it feels like to have been raised and loved by fantastic parents who loved me very much.

You are their parents and the love you give along with the support and encouragement through their lives will mean far more to them than a book.
You can tell them and educate them about their birth families and tell them in ways you want to, not what a sw deems fitting.

I really hope I haven't offended anyone, but you all have enough to cope with without worrying about this.
thanks to you all.

JaneDonne Fri 07-Aug-15 22:39:38

Lovely post newlife. Really great.

thanks right back atcha smile

MyPreciousRing Sat 08-Aug-15 00:14:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kewcumber Sat 08-Aug-15 11:22:58

as a grown up it slightly bothers me that I have so many questions that will have to remain unanswered

Yes I imagine it does, it bothers me on behalf of DS and even if you have the perfect social worker who documents everything they can think of, who knows what questions that child will have in later years, it's one of the unfixable issues of adoption.

Thank you for your post Newlife, like Precious I can only hope that one day DS feels the same.

Kewcumber Sat 08-Aug-15 11:24:24

ihaveafeeling getting it so carelessly wrong sounds worse than doing nothing. DS was adopted overseas so we have no life book and I really am coming to the conclusion that if this is the alternative, better the one I made myself!

Tangerineandturquoise Sat 08-Aug-15 12:20:18

Jane yes I have checked that the emails went on the file- SW gave some handy hints about what to put in them regarding DS so that they went on his file.
Kewcumber- lots of CAHMs workers do Life Story work for kids that doesn't follow the fairy tale life story book that we get given-ours was returned 4 times before we were happy

Ihaveafeeling Sat 08-Aug-15 13:50:50

Newlife thanks for your lovely post flowers. It's really helpful to be reminded that the most important thing we can do is focus on giving our children the best present/ future memories and not to get too hung up on this. Mind you it’s hard to know what question our children will be hoping for answers to in future when they read the letters but I will keep pushing for the most comprehensive explanation I can and hope they will be helpful. Tangerine it sounds like you worked with what you had and found the best option under the circumstances.

It’s sad to hear so many have has poor experiences and I do wonder if the children’s sw who is often very jaded by the nature of their role in child protection/ has become hardened and detached is really the best person to be compiling the life story books. Perhaps a fresher approach from someone who enjoyed doing them would be better while collaborating with the adoptive parents and children’s social worker might produce a better and useable resource for the adoptive parents to use. On a positive note it’s probably for the best that the sw who was our children’s sw has left and cannot inflict further on other adoptive families their brand of jaded indifference/ shoddy practice’s. Thankfully our own sw who sadly has also moved on was absolutely incredible, a credit to her profession and a big loss to her LA. I wish there were more like her as she would have been furious and horrified and what we have experienced since she left but gives me hope that there are still some good ones in the professional.

Thanks for the replies and holding my hand while I get this off my chest. A few glasses of wine also helped wink

Kewcumber Sat 08-Aug-15 13:58:42

I was lucky the worst I experienced in social workers was either brisk efficiency with very little emotion (which to be fair was fine for a home study) or slightly batty hippyish with plenty of ideas but not many grounded in reality (sweet though)

Chicklette Sat 08-Aug-15 16:51:57

It's awful that these situations happen. We had a great social worker but it irritates me the way that histories, dates, facts etc are treated so flippantly by Social Work in general. Our son was in respite care during his foster placement but in his paperwork it always states that he was with the same carers since birth. It doesn't really matter as such but if someone left their baby birth child with a stranger for 2 weeks, it would be considered unusual and worthy of note. I just hate the inconsistency and flippancy. On the plus side, I am an adoptive parent and my mum is adopted and -like Newlife- she can't really relate to any of the traumas I have surrounding all things attachment/adoption! She tends to say "you're their mum and that's all that counts for anything". It's both annoying and reassuring at the same time!!

SBRMum Sat 08-Aug-15 19:19:42

I can empathise here without sharing my SW story and that's before we have the life story book. Promised 2 weeks ago.....placement was over 3 months ago.
Yes they have a busy hectic stressful job but it's a vocation not just a job. I have a busy hectic stressful job too. In the private sector where tardy work would not be tolerated.

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