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Being an adoption referee(7 Posts)
I have been asked by a close friend to be a referee for adoption. I feel very honoured indeed to be asked and filled out the form fully and honestly, giving details. I am now thinking ahead to the interview with the social worker, and, perhaps because I come from a severely disfunctional childhood home myself, I find I am keen to sit down with my friend and ask him my own searching questions before those questions are asked of me by the SW. I have realised that, close as we are, and trust each other as we do, it doesn’t mean I can guess at his perspective on parenting or his planning for the crucial life changes because the subject is new to our mutual radar. I feel guilt about wishing to grill him in this way, but also that my only real duty is to the as yet unknown child whose life might be about the change direction. Can anyone put my mind at rest that I am not being inappropriate in wanting to push him on what I see as the key points? Thanks so much for any advice to come.
Personally I feel you would be totally overstepping the boundaries.
You have been asked to provide a reference and no more. It'a not your job to grill your friend on his parenting perspectives, that's the social workers job as part of his assessment and training. Parenting an adopted child is very different and you have no idea what needs this future child will have. It'a not for you to determine what the key points are or how he is planning for parenthood.
This might sound harsh but if one of my referees had tried to do this with me I 'd have changed my mind about them being a referee. I think I might also have some concerns about how you would respond if thought your friend wasn't parenting their child in what you see as the right way.
I totally agree, all you’re being asked to do is give an honest account of your experience of your friend. Social workers won’t ask you about his parenting style, they’ll want to know about him as a person which you should be able to comment on.
I don’t think you have any right to “grill” him, of course if you feel uncomfortable about giving a reference you can always decline and suggest he uses someone else. You have no responsibility to any child that might be placed, that duty of care rests with social work.
Thank you both, that is genuinely helpful and has shifted my perspective. I appreciate it.
I also agree with PPs. To reassure you perhaps, our referees (BIL and SIL) were asked quite personal things about why we didn’t pursue having a birth child. They replied that they had never asked us and we hadn’t shared this. They felt that we are private people and it was inappropriate of them to ask us this. The SW was fine with this. As a referee you don’t need to know everything about the person, their reasons for adopting or how they’d parent (and in fact, until we start to do it, none of us really knows), but you can speak to their character, trustworthiness etc. It’s not your job to judge their suitability to adopt, that’s for the professionals to do.
Anything you don't know the answer to, just say you don't know.
We had a variety of referees, those who knew us individually, those who knew us as a couple, those who had seen us interact with children, those that hadn't. The SWs didn't interview them all, they took their pick.
Yes, I agree with PPs. Adoption referees can only speak from their own perspective - friend, relative, whatever. They’re not being asked to do the social worker’s job for them, in terms of deciding whether they’re being a fit parent.
One of my referees was asked if there was anything she thought I’d find difficult about parenting and she answered very honestly and insightfully. (She told me what she said!) That’s the sort of personal perceptive social workers are looking for.
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