The unintentional conspiracy against adoptive parentsPosted by Francesca on Oct 29, 2012 in Blog | 0 comments
If you were wearing your cynical hat, you might think it was intentional. I’m talking about the way in which potential adoptive parents are left to fend for themselves once an adoption is imminent. This is in stark contrast to the unparalleled scrutiny their lives receive the moment they apply to be parents.
The fact that this is likely a result of ignorance and fractured processes rather than malice, is little comfort however, for the adoptive parent. Having already endured an emotional rollercoaster that has lasted years, they reach a point where they adopt only to find they have no support.
An article in the Guardian raises some pertinent issues about this, particularly in the light of falling placements.
In the piece, John Simmonds, director for the British Association for Adoption and Fostering makes an excellent point regarding the lack of support (link here) particularly with troubled children, groups of siblings, disabled children and those who are older.
And this I think is the crux of the problem.
“There needs to be a recognition that, for any adopter, this is a challenging thing that people are taking on.”
Nothing prepares you for adoption. The local councils and social workers would have you believe that the highly invasive and traumatic Home Study is part of that preparation. It’s not: it’s all about satisfying their requirements. And that doesn’t help when you are dealing with kids who have come from situations of real despair.
“Currently, 72% of adopted children were neglected, abused or both by their birth families. Alan Burnell, director of adoption agency Family Futures, says many children they see are scared and need help to adjust. “Even though they’re in safe, new environments, they need help to rewire their brain so that they can accept the love and the care that they’re getting in adoptive families,” he says.”
The requirements of an adoptive parent are complex. Where natural parents are led through the process by an army of doctors, midwives, friends, support groups, ante-natal classes and more, adoptive parents get to read a few books.
As you’ll see in the piece, there are those who do support parents and do it in the most caring, non-intrusive way. However this shouldn’t be a mere option. The one who stands to lose at the end is the foster child taken back into care because the parents need help in dealing with this brand new challenge. Remember a new baby is challenge. Think about a new baby arriving with a whole lot of baggage to a family who, having been through the disappointment of not being able to have kids and the tough adoption process, now find they are unprepared. Adoption is an end-to-end process. Support for families should be integral to the process.