Being so very aware how often adoption seems to appear in the press these days, I have been careful not too believe too much of what I read, deciding instead to find out about the process by experience. The government seems determined to speed up the adoption process surely a good thing especially when they talk about how few numbers of babies were adopted a couple of years ago. I am a huge supporter of this, as long, as it is the child that is placed at the centre of the decisions.
I am glad that it took us what will be 18 months from initial enquiry meeting to fingers crossed actual placement. I know that that sounds like a long time, but to adopt is a huge decision and for us involved a large family. If I decided to have a baby even with immediate conception I would still have 9 months to prepare ourselves. We needed the time to learn about why children are removed from their birth families and the impact this can have on their behaviours. We needed to prepare our children, extended family and friends. Then there is the house, the financials, leave from work and so on. Our social worker has been amazing, always available and always calm. She knows us really well, sometimes she s able to predict my reaction or fears to certain situations. She always knows what to say and is honest with her answers. We have not been so lucky with child 4's social worker, she has not turned up to meetings, given incorrect or out of date info, finds it difficult to work to timescales (really really important) in the lead up to panel dates. She seems to have no understanding of the impact of her behaviour on us at all. But, this must be weighed up against the fact that she probably has a massive caseload which will definitely include children on the at risk register who are seriously at risk. Her priority will always be the children at risk, our child 4 although with foster carers and desperate for a forever family is not at immediate physical or worse risk. However the emotional issues created the longer any child is in care will impact their psychological developement as they become adults. Hence why so many studies indicate that children in care frequently end up with drug or alcohol dependencies, teenage pregnancy, in prison, uneducated, suffering mental health issues and so on.
I don't know how to resolve this, in probability the whole system requires a complete over haul and maybe asking actual adopters what they think would be a step in the right direction.
If this reform is rushed then there is the potential for adoptions to break down and can you imagine the impact on adopted children if their forever families could not keep them? I can't!
For me I really want to make a complaint or maybe, raise a concern would be better,about child 4's social worker but how will that affect our placement? We will have to have contact with her over the up and coming months whilst child 4 settles with us and until we formally adopt him. I wonder how many other adopters feel the same way and feel unable to voice their concerns because it may impact on their placements.
I guess I will go with the flow and maybe when child 4 is ours, then I will share my feelings with the relevant social services department in the hope that for someone else the process will be more organised.