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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.

If it's ok, can I give my perspective as SW

(15 Posts)
wherethewildthingis Tue 03-Oct-17 07:45:32

Hi- posting on another thread got me thinking about why I lurk on this board and whether I should contribute/have anything worthwhile to add. I thought it may be interesting to give my perspective as a social worker- sorry if people feel this is inappropriate! I worked for several years as a child protection social worker, working with children from when they first were referred in, right to the end of care proceedings. So I've been involved with adoption up to the point that was agreed as a care plan by the court, before handing over to the adoption social worker.
What I wanted to say was about the children. Each one who went through care proceedings, I think about very often. Some I think about every day.
By the time we got to final hearing, I had known them all for at least a year, most around two years. I spent hours with them, bonded with them and worked so hard to provide the right outcome for them. It becomes the whole focus of your life for a while, the hard work to successfully remove children from abusive situations, then to assess and evidence what's best for them in future. I always made sure I visited my looked after children often and took them out to eat, play centres etc. It's no exaggeration to say I loved those children and I think often about where they are , how they are and if what I did for them was the right thing. In the background of that is a shedload of guilt about birth family.

So I just wanted to say that really. I think at times I've come across as a bit officious on threads on here. I've also seen stuff here that has upset me- specifically on threads where people are discussing wanting to adopt young healthy children "without problems". That's hard for me to read because I see the other side.
I hope by posting this people will understand a bit about the Sw perspective and why a few of us come on this board and I hope sometimes we do make helpful contributions .

Herechickychicky Tue 03-Oct-17 07:47:39

I love this post.
Thank you for what you do.

Kewcumber Tue 03-Oct-17 08:26:22

I have very often found the social worker comments helpful and in real life I have always had social workers I respected albeit occasionally slightly bonkers ones!

I don;t know if you've name changed but under this name I think your posts have been fair and helpful.

I don;t think we all need to agree all of the time for our contributions to be helpful.

And I agree with you - I think most adopters find people wanting to adopt a young baby with no problems difficult. How they're replied in my experience is usually dependent on the tone of their posts - the normal naive "Oh god I've heard LAC are all horribly damaged and I will never have a normal life again" panic tends to be treated more gently than the "I've come to save a baby because I have a spare room (but only a tiny perfect one)".

Bitchfromhell Tue 03-Oct-17 09:13:55

In my view there have, in the past, been some unhelpful views posted here from social workers. I think that has coloured some posters perspectives with regard to social workers posts on this board.

Also, a lot of the parents on here have a social worker, as do their children. If not hugely involved in family life, still available for their views on things if necessary.

What a lot of adoptive families don't have, unless they come somewhere like this or attend rl adoption groups, is a support network of other adoptive families. The views, advice and experiences of whom are different to the views of professionals involved in adoption. With reference to this point, you speak of loving the children you have become professionally involved with. This is nice, but with the greatest of respect, it is different to parenting them and loving them as Mummy or Daddy.

In my opinion this board should be open to all, from the professionals to the parents to the birth families to the grown up adopted children. I just think we should all be accountable for what we write here (I rarely post myself) and choose the threads we engage in with great care.

There are some threads that the perspective of a social worker, for example, would be absolutely valid on. There are other threads where it might be more appropriate for certain parties to not pass judgement comment.

Adoption is such a sensitive subject, often born from grief and loss in all parties. I think it's wise to let posters on here vent and moan and agonise and not feel like we have to all put in our two pennorth in at every opportunity.

Btw op, I'm not aiming any criticism here directly at you. Just using your thread to air my views on the adoption boards here smile

bellasuewow Tue 03-Oct-17 09:35:50

Thank you for your lovely post op. My sw and our child's sw have been very caring and excellent during the whole assessment and matching process so from my perspective sw have been great. It means a lot to me and dh that our child's sw so obviously care so much about her.

fatberg Tue 03-Oct-17 09:49:51

That's a very lovely OP, op.

I can't write anymore ATM without making this a TAAT, so I'll just say I'm mostly happy to have SWs here and think that mostly they have a valuable contribution to make.

Kewcumber Tue 03-Oct-17 11:57:38

Whilst I don't disagree that we should all be accountable for what we post, the problem is that this is a very "flat" board as part of a much bigger general parenting site so crammed into "adoption" is a pile of threads from people looking for all sorts of different things... general information for people considering adoption, parents wanting to vent about problems, parents looking for advice about specific issues, advice on getting through the process, letterbox advice.

The problems I think have mainly come where posters have not accepted that sometimes you just want to vent about something with people who know what you're talking about - it isn't a reflection on what you'd say (or do) in real life. I think as long as posters can distinguish between the types of threads and not lecture when someone is upset then things rub along OK.

The tendency when you are a professional or the "expert" is to lecture about best practice regardless of the situation - I say this as a professional (in a much less contentious field!) looking at myself.

I think it can be really tricky as a professional to decide at what point your professional opinion will add something and when it's just going to sound unempathetic. Like Bitch I'm talking in generalities not about you specifically OP.

I also find that social workers have been hugely helpful during the process of adopting but have not been helpful in parenting an adopted child. I've heard lots of theory and very little that translates into useful practice. I'm sure there must be experts in post adoption support - but they aren't easy to access or at least not in our area.

wherethewildthingis Tue 03-Oct-17 19:42:30

Thanks for the responses everyone - I wasn't looking for positive comments but they are appreciated. I also appreciate the feedback on how SW can usefully contribute here, I would like to be part of this dialogue if possible as I'm sure others would too.

donquixotedelamancha Tue 03-Oct-17 21:00:22

To quote a yank phrase- thankyou for your service OP.

SWs get some serious shit. It is, IME, an underpaid, under resourced, often under trained and under appreciated job. It is also incredibly important. The overwhelming majority of SWs deserve praise and respect for what they do, even when things aren't perfect.

I think this site is an important place to vent when things go wrong. I don't see any contradiction between a thread I posted a year ago mocking SW screw-ups and the sentiment expressed above. I think most posters understand the different points of view and we get respectful and valuable discussion.

I think an 'officious' point of view is useful and SW input is very appropriate. I would want to see more advice from a SW point of view on many threads- just as I will sometimes suggest how to 'manage' SWs.

Finally I would encourage the OP to be OK about people wanting easy to place kids. In deciding on matching criteria you have to be a bit selfish and do what is right for your family. Many people change their minds as they go through the adoption process. Ultimately, the more adopters of every type the better. I think we all still feel heartbreakingly sad for the kids still in care.

Sunshinelollipopsandheavyrain Tue 03-Oct-17 21:27:03

Your post is lovely, I'm glad you worked hard to look after the children entrusted to your care. I have to say though that I don't understand why someone wanting to adopt a healthy child without 'problems' upsets you. Having seen the other side, may I ask how many you've adopted? I say this as an adopter with kids with quite serious medical and behavioural needs. I don't begrudge anyone else wanting a child who won't blacken their eye each day. It's easy to preach from the back of the choir, just to defend those who may feel guilty about their desire for 'easier' children.

Italiangreyhound Tue 03-Oct-17 22:47:39

Thank you, all our social workers were lovely too. thanks

OlennasWimple Tue 03-Oct-17 22:57:42

I value contributions from (most) SW on here too. We had mostly positive experiences with ours, though one frankly should not have been in the job - though I say that whilst acknowledging that you couldn't pay me enough to be a SW either

Queenofthedrivensnow Sat 07-Oct-17 00:26:55

Op I could have written your post. I'm a sw too though I'm not sure I've posted much in this board. I know exactly how you feel when you say how much you love the children and think about them every day. I am exactly the same. I miss my children too who have moved on. The time alone I've had with my children I work with is cherished. I am very protective and want only the best for them.

Slightlydizzydaily Sun 08-Oct-17 19:35:46

You sound like you were a very committed and caring sw, op.

I don't have adc myself but I do have bc with sn. My db has a bdd with complex medical needs and PMLD. I wish all people would see the value in people whatever their cognitive abilities and neurological issues. My dc are a great gift but it isn't easy for me or db and sil. I can entirely understand people wanting a dc without significant sn.

I also think it is very important to remember as a professional that not everyone is as good at the job as it sounds like you are. So you may have been in a very good team and worked hard and competently. But people posting from another perspective may also have valid experiences.

wherethewildthingis Sun 08-Oct-17 21:13:58

Thank you for the comments , I think it's interesting that we all share some different aspects of this experience. I'm not suggesting any kind of equivalence between my experience and that of the children, parents and birth parents , I know it doesn't compare. But you cannot help but make a bond with a child and I'm acutely aware of the impact my assessments have had on other lives. Not just the children, I often dream about birth parents too and carry the guilt and worry about them with me.
I'm not daft though - I know unfortunately not all of my colleagues work to the same standards. I wouldn't underestimate that.

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