Getting off the Rollercoaster - Going for Adoption

Thursday, April 19, 2007

It's started - so what?

We have finally started the home study, which involves regular, lengthy meetings with a social worker who will ultimately represent us as 'Prospective Substitute Parents' (sic) on the infamous F*rm F.

I hated our first meeting, and it left me wondering if we could get on with this (new) SW. Let's call her KT.

KT turned up at our house for the first time, and almost before introductions had been made she launched into a lengthy explanation of IF we were to have a child placed with us it would be the LEGAL OBLIGATION of the council not to allow it to be placed anywhere where it might be at risk of accident blah blah blah blah . . . and were we AWARE that we would have to make our garden SAFE?
Answers I wish I had given #1
no . . . what, you mean a 2ft deep brook running through the garden with a 4 ft high bank either side, and a bridge with no handrail isn't SAFE enough for a toddler? Heavens - this is going to be harder than I thought.

But things didn't get much better. KT looked askance when I responded in the negative to her question as to whether I had discussed our plans to adopt with my manager at work. No, why should I have? We are hardly so far down the line as to make me confident that we will actually adopt. Who knows what will happen. 4 years ago I thought that I would have a baby. You know, give birth, the old-fashioned option. But adopting is just so TRENDY these days . . .

There was much, much more. I was told in no uncertain terms that keeping my job would be out of the question (legally, even, she has the right to demand this of me, apparently). KT told us stories of how an adoptive mother she had known was so stressed by the whole experience of taking on siblings, that 'I honestly thought she was going to die - she just kept losing more and more weight - I thought she would DIE". We were lectured on how adopting won't solve our PROBLEMS (at this point I did recover my voice to mutter that I didn't feel we had PROBLEMS to solve - and certainly not problems that I would ever imagine could be solved by the addition of a troubled child to our household). And once again we were told how EVERY child coming through the adoption/looked-after system would be deeply disturbed by the severence and/or non-existence of a good attachment with their original mother. (An aside here - attachment theory is absolutely fascinating, if terrifying in its implications. I would recommend reading up on it, whatever kind of parent you are hoping to be - not just adopters).

But we have come on since then. We confronted her the next meeting, feeling there was really nothing to lose, and she really shifted her attitude. Hey - she even apologised, which was very important to me for some reason. We recently met and spent nearly 2 hours discussing my family background, and she made some very astute observations. I'm thinking we may be all right.

And now we have a f*rm F to look at. Just so you can have a clue as to what this is all about, here is an extract from one page. Each of these "options" is followed by three 'tick' boxes: Would accept / Would not accept / Would discuss. That's it. It's that easy: (sorry - have encoded a little to avoid popping up on g**gle searches for any of these things!)

Ch*ld's relevant f@milyhistory:
  • Parental schiz*phrenia
  • Parent/s with severe le@rningdifficulties
  • Parent/s with history of dr*g / alc*h*l abuse
  • Parent/s with specific m*dical c*ndition
  • Other identified str*ngths or exp*rience

Ch*ld's existing m*dical c*ndition

  • D*wn's syndrome
  • AI*DS or HI*V
  • Auti$tic $pectrum Di$order
  • Cere8ral Pal$y
  • F*etal Alc*hol $yndrome
  • H*patiti$ B or C
  • Other . . .

Child's rel*vant p*st exp*rience

  • Experience of n*glect
  • Exp. of phy$ical ab*se
  • Exp. of $echsual abu$e
  • $evere em*tional difficulties
  • Other . . .

Ch*ld's curr*nt and @nticipatedfuncti*ning

Doesn't look so bad, does it?

Then you read about the effects and case studies of children who have been victims of mere neglect or just observed physical abuse, and I wonder how I would feel really about a child who poked out the eyes of my cat before strangling it, as in one case study (OK - in the case study it was the family's pet rabbit, but I don't have a rabbit). I would know, of course, that it isn't the child's fault, but would that be enough? Would that be enough if the same child were also unable to show me any affection?

Am I getting beyond myself yet? Am I just synical and unworthy?

In the words of dear Dino - are we having fun yet?







4 Comments:

  • I'm glad KT was slightly more sane during the second meeting.
    I don't know what to say with respect to all the possible things you might encounter with an adopted child. It must be incredibly daunting.
    If it helps at all, we're having another scare with the one I'm currently carrying which has brought up the prospect of possible genetic problems and/or developmental problems. Even if you give birth to a child, there aren't any guarantees (damn it).
    Well, no fun yet but possibly eventually???
    DinoD

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:49 pm  

  • Good grief, can you ask for a different social worker?? Or a different agency? (perhaps the LA over the border, the one you said would probably be placing kids with you anyway)?

    We suggested that between us we'd take two years off work (first one probably me full time, second one both of us part time) and the agency director was really pleased by that.

    On attachment I'd recommend:
    "Understanding attachment : parenting, child care, and emotional development" by Jean Mercer
    "Understanding attachment and attachment disorders : theory, evidence and practice" by Vivien Prior and Danya Glaser
    (not sure I have the author right on the 2nd one). Both actually give you what's really what in terms of research and tell you why so-called "attachment therapy" is actually based on fiction...

    By Blogger DrSpouse, at 9:59 am  

  • It's confirming all my fears about UK adoption processes, although I do think you did the opposite of lucking out with KT. Let's hope the improvement trajectory continues.

    It must be so difficult to know what you are prepared to handle. How can you really know until you're in it?

    By Blogger Thalia, at 3:23 pm  

  • Dear Vivien, that first visit sounds horrendous. What what she trying to do, anyway? Good thing that you called her on her behavior, and even better that she apologized.

    The questions in that form had my mind reeling. As Thalia asks, how could anyone possibly know in advance? I hope the case studies are at least slightly helpful in letting you determine your boundaries.

    By Anonymous Kath, at 8:58 am  

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