Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Chapter 38 - Matching: Further investigations


We were finally considering a child. There was a fair amount of paperwork to look through. A huge number of documents to analyse and draw conclusions from. Hundreds of lines for read between. There was  a description of this little boy, a potted history of his short life to date, a description of his birth family and their circumstances, a family tree (which looked like several intoxicated spiders had crawled across the page, so fractured were the various familial connections). There were medical reports on the little man and his wider family. There were some headline psychological reports on his parents and feedback from his foster carers on his progress to date.

It was an awful lot of information to assimilate. And of course there were worries... What if we miss something? What if there is something important in there and we don't realise the significance of it? What if there is some vital element that is missing from the reports? What... If... They're... Hiding... Something...?

Monday, 14 April 2014

An Aside: REVIEW - listenable children’s CDs

A review of some listenable children’s CDs 

This review was first posted on the fabulous blog: The Adoption Social .  The Adoption Social is a great place to browse for invaluable information about adoption and fostering, to read other blogs about these issues, to enter discussions into topics which concern many adopters and to just hang out online. It publishes new content every day and is one of the websites I keep coming back to on a regular basis.

Run by two blogging adopters it really is a forum for adopters and by adopter. Check it out and participate in one of their Link Ups... This post is part of a Blog Hop at the Adoption Social (more details at the end to the review...). Anyway, here is the review. Hope you enjoy it and enjoy the music!

Megson – When I Was A Lad… (A Collection Of Children’s Folk Songs).
Jumping Through Hoops – Rockin’ To The Fiddle
Tim Hart And Friends -My Very Favourite Nursery Rhyme Record
Rain For Roots – Big Stories For Little Ones / The Kingdom Of Heaven Is Like This

Music has always been a huge thing for me. Growing up, all my hobbies and social activities seemed to revolve around music of one sort or other. So, it’s hardly surprising that one of many cherished memories of intros with our little boy is a musical one. On one of our first solo flights (out to do some shopping and then on to the play park) Thin Lizzy’s Waiting for an Alibi came on the car stereo. As the twin lead guitars faded out at the end of the song a tiny voice piped up from the back of the car “More! More!” accompanied by the sound of two tiny hands clapping enthusiastically. That’s my boy! Fast forward a couple of years and we have ensured that music is a central part of our little one’s life. And that includes listening to music around the home and the car.

So a couple of Christmas presents this year served to illustrate the variability of the kids’ music that’s available out there. In our munchkin’s Christmas stocking was a double CD from the Early Learning Centre called In The Car 2. A bizarre collection of tunes ranging from the expected like Hickory Dickory Dock or Three Blind Mice to rather left field selections like Ghostbusters and Bananas In Pyjamas. All of these were presented in a resolutely cheesy fashion with a smattering of out of tune kids from the local stage school singing along as the icing on the cake. Instrumentation seemed to be courtesy of the finest Casio keyboard that £19.99 could buy you at your local Argos. “In The Car”? I was pretty sure that a long journey down the motorway in the company of this CD would require me to gnaw my own arm off, just to maintain my own psychological well-being.

So is there a viable alternative? Can you listen to a nursery rhyme and retain both your rock’n’roll credibility and your sanity? It is at times like these where one is simply driven to utter the “F” word… Yes, FOLK!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Chapter 37 - Matching: A little more information


So we had both passed a weekend in a bemused cosmic, space-cadet mode. We were in possession simultaneously of far too much information and nowhere near enough. We knew we had been linked to a little boy. We suspected his name might begin with the letter "A". And that was it. What on earth were supposed to do with that? How could we process the meaning of those simple facts? Answer we couldn't. However, come two o'clock that afternoon we would know more. We would have in our possession a detailed report on this little boy, his background and his circumstances. 

All this was of scant comfort to me as I sat in the semi-darkness at 5:30 in the morning waiting for a taxi to arrive to take me to the railway station. In a perfect storm of bad planning I was due to head off that morning for an insane grand tour of the country. Sure, it had been in the diary for some months now. An insane three day road trip. But that was scant consolation now. There were more pressing matters on my mind.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Chapter 36 - Matching: Back On The Chain Gang


We had no idea how we would feel when, finally, our local authority's family finders suggested a child to us. Would we be prepared? Would we even know what we were supposed to be prepared for?

It had been a good seven months since the fateful day when we were approved at adoption panel. We had mentally promised the local authority a good six months to find us a match before we would start actively hassling them and start a more proactive search. Now just over half a year had passed. We were reluctant to go down a "Children Who Wait" route but that was part of our post-6 month game-plan and we were mentally preparing for it.

Yet, somehow, for the last few weeks other stuff and (frankly) procrastination had been getting in the way. "Yes, we will absolutely, definitely phone Denise today! Yes! Oh, what's the time? Quarter past five? Hmmmmm... I guess she's gone home now. Maybe tomorrow. Yes, absolutely, definitely tomorrow..." 

Saturday, 8 March 2014

An aside - Meet The Blogger at the Adoption Social


I am totally chuffed and honoured this week to be featured as the featured blogger on the Adoption Social's weekly "Meet The Blogger" page. The page takes the form of a quick questionnaire which looks to give a little (light-hearted) insight into the blogger contributors and Weekly Adoption Shout Out linkers. My entry can be found here: http://theadoptionsocial.com/meet-the-blogger/meet-the-blogger-adoption-journey-blog/

Monday, 24 February 2014

Chapter 35 - The great reformation, part 3


It is very easy to describe the adoption process as being for the benefit of the prospective adoptive parents. The opportunity for couples or individuals who cannot otherwise create a family "naturally" (or for that matter "unnaturally") to get the children they have always wanted. A chance for parents of existing families to expand those families in a manner which "gives back..." There is, of course, an element of this. However, it must be remembered that the adoption process is not driven by the needs of the parent (birth or adoptive) but by the needs of the children in the "looked-after" system for whom adoption has been identified as the best outcome.

The needs of the child drive every part of the system from the screening and approvals process through to matching, placement and any subsequent support. That's not how the press portrays it but, then again, that doesn't make for sensationalist headlines. Much has been made in the papers of the proposals which have been made for linking and matching under the revised adoption system - and a lot of it in prurient, innuendo filled terms. Having spent many months last year castigating adoption agencies and local authorities for letting too many children languish in care when there are dozens of prospective parents champing at the bit to give them homes (I exaggerate, but not much) they are now caricaturing greater access for parents to the details of children available for adoption and adoption as first come first served cattle markets and sordid baby catalogues (again I exaggerate; again but not much).

Monday, 17 February 2014

Chapter 34 - The great reformation, part 2


As of July last year a new, revised adoption process came into force. New? Well, newish. Many of the elements remain much the same as under the previous system but to a much compressed timescale which aims to get prospective adopters to panel and placed with children more quickly.

After an initial, informal part of the process where those interested in adoption are encouraged to find out more about what adoption entails (and are resourced to do so) the more formal part of the process begins. Compressed into about 6 months, rather than the previous 8-9, this is split into two distinct phases.