Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Chapter 22 – Out and about again: Home-study visits continued

A different journey

Our first day out at Denise's behest had gone well. Our report had been written, handed in and thoroughly discussed at one of our home study meetings. Now we were out and about again... This time we were off to see some parents who had adopted a little girl a few years previously. 

The drive from our suburban surroundings into the equivalent of our area's well heeled stockbroker belt saw the houses we drove past getting larger and larger. Eventually we pulled into a small, countrified cul de sac and knocked on one of the doors. We were ushered in and settled into the living room, admiring a large and well kept garden through the French windows. The obligatory cups of tea were made and we started our chat.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Chapter 21 – Out and about: Home-study visits continued...

Didn't we have a luvverly time...

Our home-study with Denise wasnt all Earl Grey tea and nice biscuits in the living room. No, we even got to go out on school trips! How exciting! Part of the process was to get out there and actually meet some people with first hand experience of what adoption was all about. An opportunity to quiz them on all the stuff that the manuals and the training materials dont tell you. Denise said that she had arranged three trips out for us. A visit to a foster carer, a visit to a pair of adoptive parents and a special mums and toddlers group for adopted children which was run by a local charity and which worked closely with the Children's Services team in our Local Authority.

It would give us an opportunity to chat to some people who had been through the process before and ask any questions we might have. Our side of the deal was that we would need to write up a report on each visit, setting out what happened and our thoughts about what we discussed. Of course, we also assumed that the flip side was that our hosts would also be writing their own little reports on us. So there was pressure to make a good impression. Some homework was clearly needed in advance of each visit and a long list of deeply insightful questions was drawn up.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Chapter 20 – Play up and play the game: Home-study visits continued

Jolly Hockey Sticks!

When it comes down it this adoption larks one great big game. Now dont get me wrong, Im not trivialising it in the slightest. Its a deadly serious and life-changing game. However, the process by which one enters into the world of adoption is a game. And like any game it has its own rules. It has its own skills and techniques. It has areas where you can you can cut corners and other areas where you just have to buckle down and play the game.

To say that there are a few hoops to jump through along the road to adopting would be the grossest of understatements. Sometimes the whole thing seemed like one great big, ever-changing hoop. I can understand it. For any organisation the personal and corporate responsibility for the outcome of decisions and actions is a heavy weight to bear. Thats heavy enough when the decisions are over some corporate investment portfolio or a business proposition. But social workers are literally playing with peoples lives. They have to get their decisions as right as possible because when they go wrong they can go disastrously wrong. The errors which social services make can literally be matters of life and death. Just look at the case of "Baby P".