So we have been ratified, we know what age range and how many children we should be matched with. A few facts and figures;
4,240 children had an adoption decision but were not yet placed at 31 December 2014, down from 5,600 at 30 June 2014.
2,960 children had a placement order for adoption but were not yet placed at 31 December 2014.
50% (1,490) of the children with a placement order waiting to be placed at 31 December 2014 were part of a sibling group. This is a percentage increase from 48% (1,670) at 30 September 2014.
72% (3,620) children were placed for adoption within 12 months of an agency decision that the child should be placed for adoption during the year ending 31st March 2014, compared to 69% (2,740) in 2013 and 71% (2,480) in 2012.
The average time between a child entering care and moving in with their adopted family, for those who have been adopted, was 534 days in Q1-Q3 2014-15. http://www.baaf.org.uk/res/statengland
So with these figures in mind, you would think we would be matched fairly quickly. Unfortuatly that’s not the case.
We were advised to register ourselves with some of the Internet sites that are set up to help place children from all over the country. There are many off them and there is very little guidance on how to use them. One site in particular really does remind me of ebay. You find a child or children you feel would be a match and then you send in an enquiry and a bit of background as to why you would be a good match.
You read the profile over and over again, trying to put into words what would make you a great parent and what you would offer. Whilst your doing this soul searching 10 other potential adopters across the country are doing the same. You press send and the profile updates, 1/2 an hour ago when you started there were no enquires outstanding now there’s more than 6!
It’s at this moment your now competing with several people who feel exactly as you do, who have also spent time trying to put into words why they should be considered.
With the Social Workers having the caseload they do you have to be realistic, it is quite likely that they will only have the opportunity to read a few of the enquiries. They will then have to shortlist very quickly to pursue any potential matches.
There is a chance your enquiry will never be read, that you will not be considered and due to time constraints you might hear nothing more at all.
So there in lies my dilemma, I can have 5 enquiries at a time, however I accept the majority of those won’t even make it to the family finders desk.
A, Put out your five enquires and hope for the best
B, Keep your fingers crossed and hope the match already identified progresses?
Ultimately in order to be matched via some of these sites you need to be a great sales person, you have a limited amount of words in which to make your profile one to read. I struggled with the concept and it seemed so wrong. But on reflection having had several knock backs, it’s effective even if it is a bit like ebay…its a way for the Social Workers to speed up the family finding process. Children should not be waiting 12 months for a forever family. Not when there are so many fantastic people with room in there hearts and their homes for these special little people.
So it’s day 2 of the holiday, the deep and contented sighs are coming from all 3 of us. The sun is out, the view of the sea is amazing and The Child is swimming with her new friend in the pool. The Husband and I are in the kitchen of the apartment right by the pool, we here The Child tell her new friends mummy “I’m adopted you know, and we are going to get another adopted child so I can have a brother or a sister” the friends mummy say ” that’s lovely, I’m adopted too, I was a baby when I was adopted”And there in lies the kick up the backside The Husband and I needed. This huge decision to stop was not just ours to make, we have a little girl who lives and breathes being a big sister. It’s with her all the time, it would be unfair to make this decision based on our own feelings.
With this rejuvenated enthusiasm I switch on my phone and check my emails. And there it is,a sign it must be, we have an email regarding a child we enquired about over a month ago.
I open the email and it advises us the child’s family finder has contacted ours with an update. We call ours straight away, Sod’s law! She’s left for the day..so we leave a message and wait until tomorrow.
It’s Thursday before we leave on our week away in the sun. It’s The Husband, The Child and I that are going. The Teenager has opted to stay at home with The Boyfriend. It’s been a tough week, we attended an Activity Day a few weeks ago. A sibling group seemed to quite like us, as we did them. We expressed an interest and now I’m in the staff room at work on the phone to our Social Worker being told, were great! We are fab! We have so much to offer!The childrens Family finder thought so too…however due to us having 4 bedrooms and not 5 we’ve not been successful as the other family did.
Bam just like that the feeling of complete and utter failure. We intentionally played the chances are game so as to be prepared for the knock back but even still. It’s like you’ve accidentally put your car in reverse and not first. Boom the emotions are incredible irrespective of how prepare you think you are.
The Husband and I had talked endlessly about what we would do if we were not to be matched with these children. We agreed that we were nearly at the end of our adoption journey, and I’m now having that same converstation with our Social Worker. She is disappointed and asks us to take our holiday to really think about it. We agree we will catch up on our return.
It’s the 2nd week of the school holidays and The Child has chicken pox. Came out of nowhere! A bit of a strop on Sunday didn’t seem herself, a nice warm bath and whoo! Spots! Only a few but I swear the number just doubled before my eyes.
Thank goodness for annual leave as I’m now off for a week, thankfully because someone will be needing some TLC.
Thankfully being off has given me some time to have a look at some profiles we have been sent. We now have a couple of potential matches. The sad thing is we should be thrilled, however it’s difficult to get excited as the fear of even considering a match for fear of nothing coming of it.
Today’s a tough one, after campaigning for better processes and complaining about the inconsistencies through out the process we are met with a complete wall. A total defence, we did not question individuals, we questioned a system. A system that has recurring flaws. One that appears to thrive on negativity and one that despite the importance of time, actively chooses to delay decisions and to take the long way round at every opportunity.
My heart goes out to the child that goes to bed for another night in a place that is not home.
Why when systems are so closely analysed and audited, when poor performance is managed, why is one of the most important government services allowed to function at a inadequate standard? My experience as a Nurse plays into my questioning of the poor performance.
I have accountability, a responsibility, a code of conduct that says if I do not do my job properly then I will be face my peers and I will have to justify my actions.
I would say on a daily basis I affect someone’s life. I would say the same for a Social Worker, so who do they have to answer too?
We have great kids and we feel very blessed. So why adopt? One of many questions that we had to ask ourselves.
Well for a start we both want a big family, we come from relatively small families and we both quite like the idea of “The Waltons”, Christmas dinner in our 60’s with a dozen grandchildren sounds like heaven!
It also helps that The Husband adopted both the girls so we felt like we had an idea as to the process of Adoption and what it would entail.
So having given it a good go at doing things naturally and having spent 4 years with a calendar in hand and The Husband on speed dial so’s not to miss ‘That Window’ and a monthly depression that arrived when the period did. We decided to take control and throw away the thermometer and the ovulation kits and to look at other options.
Surprisingly this is when The Dog played a big part in our decision making.
The Dog was not ment to be our dog, we didn’t really want a dog.
It was a sunny day and The Teenager hadn’t been feeling well. We decided to go out for some fresh country air and see the horses.
We walked and we talked and we ended up in the Stables reception, and there she was…..skinny tall and crackers! As we walked in she jumped on the counter and stood looking down at us.
Next thing I know we’re walking around the ménage with said dog on a lead! The Teenager was smitten, smile plastered on her face. The boot was opened and in she jumped, she had picked us to be her family and now I just had to persuade The Husband….
The Husband arrived home and was greated by The Dog who ran to him with a bone as a gift for him. The Husbands face said it all, he was not taken by her and it was going to take more than a bone.
We carried on with getting the dinner on and The Childs bath time and then as a family we sat in the living room to talk Dog.
The Dog watched The Husband from her space on the floor. Then she got up and placed herself at his feet, head rested on his knee…..and that was it she was home.
It’s the week after Christmas and it’s decision time.
In our family we have myself, The Husband, The Teenager, The Child, and not forgetting The Dog.
I mum had The Teenager when I was too young to know better. We had a great time just the two of us for a long time. Then 10 years later came The Child, both girls.
Two years after The Child came The Husband and then the trying for The Baby began…….we waited and we waited…..
Then The Dog arrived and The Baby well, The Baby didn’t. We continued to try but….nope nothing.
So 4 years later we are about to make a decision after bouncing the idea about within our family for the last 3 months.