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Writing a reference for potential adoptive parents

(19 Posts)
kaphc Tue 15-Apr-08 20:59:17


I'm shortly going to be asked to do a reference for friends of our who are starting out on the adoption process.

Has anyone else done this, I'm just wondering whether there will be a form to fill in and what sort of things I will be asked.

I'm really excited about being able to support my friends in this way, I really endorse them as potential parents.


blithedance Tue 15-Apr-08 21:17:36


you'll be asked to provide a written statement, addressing specific points, and later on interviewed in person. Your friends will not get to see their ref. unless you choose to show it (as one of ours did, causing us to both laugh and cry at what he'd put!!)

kaphc Tue 15-Apr-08 21:28:02

Wow, I didn't realise they would want to see me as well - it's all so thorough isn't it, and I think that must be for the best.

I am proud and pleased to be able to do something positive for my friends, but I'm also nervous in case I say or do something inadvertently that could scupper their chances.

I have two children (biological not adopted), and it makes me wonder as well if they will have a look at me as a parent and suss out what influence I will have on my friends (if any!!). Does anyone know if this is something that gets taken into account.

blithedance Tue 15-Apr-08 21:42:19

Hee hee

one of our referees was very blunt about his own child rearing style (the water pistol method of discipline!) and the social worker said with a worried frown to us "You won't be following all of X's parenting advice will you?" Of course we assured her not!

Seriously the best thing you could say is that you will really be there to support them, they are hot on support networks. And that (if you do) you think the friends are good with your children, lots of adopters struggle to convince the panel that they are experienced with children which is a bit difficult when you are childless.

I think as long as you have a reasonably functioning family you will not be seen as a bad influence, in fact exposure to difficulties or special needs might be seen as good "life experience". Don't worry you'll be fine.

Kewcumber Tue 15-Apr-08 22:39:20

I tink blithe as covered it. My refs were asked wat I was like as a person, ow I was with their children if they had any, how big my exposure was to their children.

I don;t think their paretning beliefs were discussed in any great depth - just make sure you don't say that they beleive in smacking! That probabaly just about the only complete no-no to most social workers.

I think they were also asked how I would cope with difficult placement and wheter I had talked to them about the possible issues involved.

If I recall correctly - the interviews were only about 30/40 mins.

april74 Wed 16-Apr-08 07:52:23

I think we had to put about 8 referees and 3 got interviewed.

They were with them for about an hour.

My friend was worried that she would do or say the wrong thing, but I said to her do you think that we are doing the right thing and would be good at it?, when she said yes I said what could you do or say wrong then.

kaphc Thu 17-Apr-08 20:11:30

Thanks everyone, this is really useful and helpful advice! One of the things my friend and I are trying to do is get her to spend time with our kids just doing normal things like bathtimes and bedtime or going to the park, so that it helps her to have more contact with children.

It's useful to know about the support networks thing as well as that is pretty much what my friend and I have already been discussing.

Fortunately I don't think I have any extreme views on parenting and don't advocate smacking or anything that social workers might be worried about. I have a "messy house, happy kids" policy which works for me.

I shall wait and see what happens next then!

LMAsMummy Sun 20-Apr-08 16:55:06

Hope it has all gone well. We have adopted (and had friends doing refs for us) and done 2 references for friends planning to adopt. Last time the SW was at our home for over 90 mins, which was a bit exhausting!!! Good luck!

halia Sun 06-Jul-08 11:36:15

slight hijack here, friends of ours are going through the adoption process and borrowing DS for childcare experience.

I'm just wondering about something, they were going to take him to the park this afternoon and just left a message for us saying that the house is a tip and one of them has a slight headache.

I really do sympathise, please don't think I'm having a go. But I also worry that they dont' quite understand yet that having children isn't a 'fair weather' only thing. That you can have two under 5's with D&V, a house thats a tip, a job to go to and D&V yourself and you STILL have to keep going, clean up the sick, take the kids to the park when they get better all on 2 hrs of sleep and a dodgy tummy.

I guess the other thing is that our DS is getting old enough that we have the be really careful - we daren't say X is taking you to the park this afternoon cos if they cancel he gets very upset.

Is there any good way I can say to them - kids don't turn themselves off just cos you'd prefer a quiet sit down and potter round tidying up on sunday?

We will be references for them as well and I'm worried that the SW would ask astuff like are they reliable / have they dealt with kids at all stages of the day etc. I dont' want to let them down but I know I'm a crap liar.

halia Wed 16-Jul-08 15:44:21

bump - any advice on how to raise this with our friends or should I leave it?

blithedance Wed 16-Jul-08 17:11:47

Bit hard. They will be as clueless as any not-yet parent, so probably are underestimating their capabilities. But they will be stressed and nervous and probably want to give it their best shot for the first time. They probably had an adventurous afternoon of activities planned, rather than a box of toy cars and Cbeebies (which is our house ATM).

I would give them a ring and make a bit of a joke of it - "OK you wimped out while you had the choice, but when are we booking the next time?" Give them another chance. And I would gently say what you said in the post, that your DS does look forward to seeing them and gets disappointed when they cancel, and would not have minded the mess at all.

They might be easily knocked back if they think their reference is in danger. It is such a soul-destroying thing feeling your ability to parent is being judged and on a knife edge all the time. When all you want to say is OF COURSE I will be able to look after children once I have them - everybody else seems to manage it without being assessed beforehand.

It's really great of you to help them out like this - a couple of friends did the same for us and we got a would-be adopter changing her first nappy at the weekend.

halia Wed 16-Jul-08 20:55:50

thanks for that blithedance. I relaly don't want to come across like i'm getting at them. Maybe if I have a chat about how having kids is like any relationship - you know sickness and health and at times you want ot kill them! its not always needing to be perfect, its often just about being a family, TV and messy sofa afternoons are fine!

I know when I had DS the thing I wasn't prepared for was that you really can't switch them off, and you no longer have any choice about when you do things. It doesn't matter if you feel like you are dying - if your 2 yr old needs you at 3am you can't 'ring in sick' to being a parent.

they have had him several times before but yes I think they are still nervous and thinking it has to be a afternoon 'out' rather than just doing the stuff I might do with him - finger painting or walk to feed the ducks.

Kewcumber Wed 16-Jul-08 22:28:18

but Halia - we all know thats how we feel about our children "It doesn't matter if you feel like you are dying - if your 2 yr old needs you at 3am you can't 'ring in sick' to being a parent" - but you don't feel like that with anyone else's children do you - they don't have children like that so they don't feel like that yet. I think that is completely the wrong tack to take with them if I'm honest. I would have found it exrenely offensive (and did) if people implied that I was somehow not ready for the responsibility of a child when other more feckless people didn't have to prove their worthiness.

The only thing IMVHO you need to discuss with them is that your DS was so disappointed to have the visit called off so could they be very sure that they can have him next time before agreeing.

halia Thu 17-Jul-08 12:26:07

no worries about being honest, that was what I needed to know. Was it something I could talk to them about or not. I guess they'll find out the hard way like I did!

I think I will have a quick word re DS though, he adores them and at 3 he is getting old enough to want to know when he will see them next etc.

itati Thu 17-Jul-08 12:32:12

We have recently done this and then had a face to face visit. It is a form with questions and you answer them on the page.

itati Thu 17-Jul-08 12:35:51

To be fair, halia, they are doing this as a sort of favour for all of you and I don't think they need to be told you have to carry on when you have kids even if you feel crap.

itati Thu 17-Jul-08 12:36:47

It is easy. Don't tell your son he is spending time with them unless it is 100% guaranteed.

halia Thu 17-Jul-08 19:24:11

Ok points taken, sorry I asked really! It honestly was concern for them - I know when DS was born I went round feeling really p*ssed with people who hadn't warned me about just how tiring it really is, and also wishing i'd had the chance at a trial run. I want to help them get the best experience and support they can whilst going through the process and I just wasn't sure whether it was something I could talk about with them - maybe I was stupid to think they might find it useful to talk over things like that with us before getting hit with hard questions from the social worker etc.

MingMingtheWonderPet Thu 17-Jul-08 19:40:44

Just last week I was interviewed by the social worker who is working on my two very dear friends' adoption case.
Since they are both white and are planning to adopt from China I was also asked how I thought they would deal with racism.
I was asked about their relationship, the underlying message being that Soc Svcs didn't want them to split up and also about how they dealt with stress (don't want them falling apart if something happens at home).
Overall I would say Soc Wrker was looking for the positives and was not trying to catch me out so there is no need to worry. It was not like Green Card!
He was here about 90 mins.

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