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Dropped like a hot brick

(37 Posts)
herbaceous Mon 07-Jul-08 15:14:09

We've just been dropped from the adoption process, after having a favourable initial interview in our house, three days of preparation course, and a feedback interview.

The SWs have totally misinterpreted things we said, and some manager - who has never met us - has decided we should 'put our adoption on hold', for an indefinite period.

It raises more questions than I can possibly articulate here, but has this happened to anyone else? Did they ever start the process again?

I have asked the SW to put all their objections, plus a timeframe for reapplying (if that's what they really mean) in a letter, but as none of them have ever answered a phonecall, voicemail message, or email in the past eight months, I'm not holding my breath.

I think the real reason is they don't have any young, white children, and this is one way of weeding us out, but if that's the case, why not say so at the very beginning? It's such a waste of their resources, and our time. And very distressing.

herbaceous Mon 07-Jul-08 15:58:47

And... We'd like to write a letter, explaining all the things they've misinterpreted, and putting our side, but would that just piss them off further?

It's so frustrating - like playing a game, but only they know the rules.

Saymyname Mon 07-Jul-08 16:01:21

Oh god, I don't know but I just wanted to say I'm sorry, that sounds awful.

I'm sure someone will be able to help soon.

thornrose Mon 07-Jul-08 16:02:59

Have a look at Adoption UK website if you haven't already, lots of really experienced adopters on there will be sure to help!

mummyBop Mon 07-Jul-08 17:57:04

I'm sorry you feel so disappointed.

The first thing I would do is write a letter asking for formal feedback and asking what the appeals process is. That way you will be better informed if you do decide to defend yourselves.


ladystardust Mon 07-Jul-08 18:29:13

How horribly disappointing for you.
It's always people you haven't met that make decisions without apparently any thought as to how those decisions may affect you.
It's the one thing that makes me angrier than anything else.

Have they given you the reasons? You are entitled to know.
And personally I wouldn't worry about pissing them off - they don't seem to care how you're feeling.
But don't listen to me I piss off more people than I should by getting angry with the way matters are handled and frequently make things worse.... blush

CristinaTheAstonishing Mon 07-Jul-08 18:36:21

I think it would be good to put in writing what you said but didn't come across as you'd intended. I think it would show you disagree with their assessment and that they have indeed misrepresented your words. I'm sorry you're having a tough time. Good luck with the adoption.

herbaceous Tue 08-Jul-08 10:59:48

Briefly, this is the situation. We had a visit from a SW in early March, when we went through our reasons for adopting (lots of miscarriages, time to move on, etc), suitability of the house, family background (DP is Irish, which ticked the 'ethnic' box), etc. We also spoke of how all the MCs over the past four years had been dreadful, but ultimately made us a stronger couple, etc

Invited on prep course. Tortuously bad course, with SWs being terrible speakers, stumbling through theoretical, but interesting, info. Constantly running out of time in each session. We sat and took it all in.

On the last day of course, told we'd have to attend a feedback meeting with the three SWs running the course.

Did so, and in the meeting they had no notes on us, nothing from first SW visit, nothing prepared, except to say that DP was 'reserved'. Well, he was listening to the stuff we were being taught. They also asked had we considered the effect adopting would have on our relationship. Like, DUH. DP said yes, of course, but as we'd had a rough few years (see above), even if it was hard we knew we'd get through it, had strong bond, etc. We were also asked which bit of the course we found most interesting. We said the session on attachment, (mainly because it was presented by a different, competent, speaker, so was therefore interesting). The SWs advised us to get some childcare experience, and read some relevant books. We have since done both.

Notes were written up from this meeting, and we were called back as a manager had looked over them, and had some 'issues'.

In this meeting, the SW said that DP had said we'd 'had a rocky relationship over the past year'. Er, NO. We tried to explain, but then he said that we hadn't seemed very 'together' in the course. What did he want? Rutting on the floor?

He also said that we didn't seem to know much about attachment. Er, NO. We said that was the most interesting session.

He said we didn't have much childcare experience, and hadn't done much reading. Er, we're doing that, as you suggested.

He said we were difficult to work with. Er, we're just trying to put the record straight!

He then said that the problem is we're going for a young child. If we went for an older child, or one with severe problems, we'd stand a better chance. So, all of a sudden the 'issues' above don't count? And don't matter, for a more difficult child? Absurd.

So, that's the situation. Stymied.

herbaceous Tue 08-Jul-08 11:01:37

Oh, and we'd also said in the initial interview that we'd be pleased to adopt siblings, which I believe are often hard to place. This seems to have been forgotten, also.

ladystardust Tue 08-Jul-08 15:04:27

It all sounds like a rather incompetent cock up .
It's so awful when such delicate issues are being treated in a not only cavalier but dehumanising manner.
There are real people involved here - you and your dh and your painful journey and children needing love.
<getting angry on your behalf>
I do genuinely believe that when intelligent people like you are at the mercy of incompetent people like the sws (clearly) they somehow sniff it out that their incompetence has been rumbled and will always act in ways that will make the situation worse.
Of course this may not be the appropriate place for my crazed theorising but there is nothing worse than knowing better wink than those on whose judgment we depend.

I do hope you manage to have your case heard.

Kewcumber Tue 08-Jul-08 15:06:07

I would aall the adoption manager and ask for a meeting with her. Keep a smile plastered on your face and tell her everything you've said here. Then follwoing it up in writing and ask for a second opinion.

Kewcumber Tue 08-Jul-08 15:07:01

Someone I know dropped out of adoption after the SW wrote in her report that she thought the DH (of 20 years) was gay shock

No-one ever found out on what basis she decided this.

CristinaTheAstonishing Tue 08-Jul-08 19:49:35

"we hadn't seemed very 'together' in the course." You know, this gave me the creeps, the fact you'd been under observation while apparently just attending a course.

As for someone being "reserved", people come in all kind of emotional make-ups. Was he supposed to have done a clowning & entertainers' course first?

I had no idea you had to go through such a process. As a first time parent I too wanted a baby with no health problems. Doesn't everyone? (Our DS is deaf and after him I knew that I could cope with deafness, but I didn't know that from the beginning, how many would?)

I wish you good luck and more honesty & understanding from the adoption authorities.

Blu Tue 08-Jul-08 20:01:53

I have absolutely no experience or advice, but just wanted to say what a v distresing experience, and i'm sorry.

And [anger] at children with problems being placed wih people they find unsuitable for non-problematic babies - grrrrr.

jimjamshaslefttheyurt Tue 08-Jul-08 20:12:38

How awful I have to deal with SS because one of my kids is disabled and I find social workers the most incompetent fuckwits hopeless people to have to try and work with. They're understaffed, usually have some sort of social agenda. The only way I've found to actually navigate through the system is to find the one or two competent people who work for them and then only deal with them.

They've drawn all sorts of erroneous conclusions about us as well.

Do you know people who have been through the process who can tell you the game you need to play (and from talking to a friend who has done it it does seem to be a game). Was there anyone you've come across who seemed to have some sense? Can someone local advise you who might be a sensible helpful person to talk to?

Good luck with it all.

The children with problems thing is always like that. My friend had a (biological) child with SN- wanted to adopt another child- was told she couldn't have a non-disabled child as the child would need too much care, that she wouldn't be able to provide because she had a child with SN. She had to adopt a child with a learning disability because apparently they didn't need as much attention as a non-disabled child hmm and woudn't notice that they were living in an entirely different city hmm. In fact the adoption has worked out very well indeed and the child she adopted has thrived, but what weird reasoning.

Heated Tue 08-Jul-08 20:38:32

Am so sorry for your experience. It seems so similar to this story

Kewcumber Tue 08-Jul-08 21:48:14

I know that couple through another forum. Sadly their story isn;t unique.

mummyBop Tue 08-Jul-08 21:54:43

Am sorry that you're having such a tough time. Big ((hugs))

I am absolutely gobsmacked that they deem you unsuitable for younger children, but fine for older ones, who in my experience usually need more support as they have more complex issues from their early lives. Without going into too much detail, we're living that one out! It almost sounds as though they've given up on "older" children.

As well as a foster carer/adoptive mum, I am also a social worker and am astounded by some of these stories - I hope I am more balanced and realistic in my assessments.


MakemineaGandT Tue 08-Jul-08 22:01:37

Oh my goodness herbaceous - I don't know much about the adoption process, but I just wanted to say I feel for you. A colleague of mine successfully adopted a baby after a long painful time - in the end they adopted a 6 week old baby out of the blue - it all happened really fast for them in the end.

You sound really nice and sensible and I hope you eventually get a good outcome to this horrible process. Good luck.

oldnewmummy Wed 09-Jul-08 03:40:18

That is truly awful, I hope you get somewhere soon.

Reading that Daily Mail story, I can understand where the ethinic bias comes from (although as the white parents of an Asian baby I disagree!) but what's wrong with being middle-class?

Kewcumber Wed 09-Jul-08 08:57:52

oldnewmummy - I don't think many/any transracial adopters have an issue with the ethnic bias (same position as you mayself!) if it resulted in a placement for the child reasonably quickly. The sad reality in the UK is that such a match often doesn't happen and the children end up in the fostercare system long term, often with white carers which most of us fail to see is any better.

There is an ingrained refusal to accept that a child has the right to a loving family (as enshrined by the Hague Convention we we signed) by vast numbers of social worker and managers despite the govt now issuing a policy that transracial adoptions must be considered if a more suitable match cannot be found.

Perdita Harris who is herself an adult transracial adoptee is very often often misquoted in the press as being anti-transracial adoptions. In fact she frequently states that she loves her paretns and had a wonderful family but campaigns for support for adult transracial adoptees whose adoptive paretns had little understanding of the need to keep the child rooted in their birth culture as much as possible and additional training and support for current adopters and their children.

OK rant over...

oldnewmummy Wed 09-Jul-08 09:11:08

Yeah, I was back in the UK a few weeks ago and there was a news report that non-white kids are in care an average of 6 months longer than non-white. Crazy!

But why the anti-middle class thing? Are they afraid we might read too many books on attachment etc and realise we know more than the social workers?

(I was talking a friend about the cultural link stuff recently, and she was commenting that kids of career expats ("third culture kids") face some of the same issues since they may nt have spent much time in their country of birth)

Kewcumber Wed 09-Jul-08 09:17:17

the anti-middle class thing is bizarre isn't it. One couple I know were turned down on the advice of theri social worker because they had too many books which showed they would not be abel to cope with a non-academic child. When they appealed their case they were criticised for being able to afford a lawyer...

Kewcumber Wed 09-Jul-08 09:18:34

"non-white kids are in care an average of 6 months longer than non-white" - I'm amazed (and suspcious) that the gap isn't bigger. Particualr for non-white boys, if they aren;t adopted when they're small and cute they too often become unadoptable.

MsDemeanor Wed 09-Jul-08 09:20:18

'Too many books' makes me absolutely despair for the state of our country. It really does.

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