Friday, 5 February 2010

Preparation course (part 2)

A full day today, which was a little more over whelming, and I need some time to think and reflect! For the moment - what was talked about...

The Adoption Circle. We talked about how the birth parents, child and adoptive parents are interlinked. We talked about the losses and gains involved in adoption. We looked at those life-long losses for everybody involved. And the fact that there are few (if any) gains for the birth parents in adoption.

We had a chance to share our journey's to adoption with each other, without any social workers present. We broke into two small groups (male and female) and had about 30 mins talking. It was interesting to hear each other's stories - but I'm not going to share, because they are not my stories. Enough to say that no-one has come to adoption without some heartache and major decision making.

After a break we settled down to listen to one of the social workers tell us the story of a family that he was involved with for 10 years. He represented each person in the story with plastic figures - and there was a table full by the time he had finished.

The story was centred about 4 children, who were 6, 5, 3 and 1 when they were taken into care. There were concerns about the family for years before, but only when the youngest was born was it deemed necessary to move the children. The mum had been involved with 3 men, and no-one was particularly sure who had fathered which child. There were suspicions about abuse (both physical and sexual).

The children initially were moved to one foster family, but due to reasons they had to be moved on. At the point they were moved on it had been decided that the younger two could be freed for adoption, so they went to one foster family to be prepared for this. The older two were thought to be too affected by what had happened, so initially were moved together to one foster family, and then separated into two more families.

The younger two children were adopted by a couple with a large number of birth children. They have been supported and are now living independently, with no long term effects. They are a 'success story'.

The elder boy went into a family where education was highly regarded and he was doing really well at school and destined for university. But at 15 he was pushing to move back to his mum's who he had kept up direct contact with. He was allowed to move back, which lasted less than 6 months, he then moved in with a family friend. But his school attendance dropped off, and he left school with virtually no GCSE's.

The second boy was sent to one set of foster carers, then another. Eventually he ended up at a residential school because no one could cope with him. The adoptive parent's of the younger two heard of this and in the end adopted him at 17. Unfortunately he was damaged by what he had been through and isn't capable of living a 'normal' life functioning as an adult.

What was amazing was the number of people that were involved along the way. The social worker did admit that it was a complex case, but to see all those figures standing on the table brought home the people involved dramatically. It was such a powerful way of showing us the story. (there were obviously a lot more details!)

This afternoon we had a birth mother come and speak to us. She was amazing, her story was really emotionally, and she was honest and open.

We finished up the day by looking at letterbox contact letters. We broke into three groups and each group was assigned a person (birth parent, child, adoptive parent) and we had to think about what we would want to receive and what we would write. I was in the birth parent group - which was really hard, it was hard to think what to write, we knew what we wanted to hear, but what to actually write. I understand now how hard birth parents find the task!


Eva said...

Sounds like a very good day, emotional, but it seems as if they provide you with good preparation for what could happen and how to handle it. I'm glad you survived and that you are moving forward.

Lost in Space said...

Wow, that is a lot to cover in one course. Were you emotionally exhausted by the end of the day?

We attended an adoption seminar 1.5 years ago called "Lifelong Impacts of Adoption" and in the group were all members of the adoption triad from every stage you could imagine coming together to share our stories. I learned more from that day than I have from anywhere else, but it was so overwhelming. Our therapist (who adopted her first son and only counsels for infertility and alternate family building options) said the seminar we went to was probably not a good one for our first intro to adoption as it was like going from kindergarten to college...LOL. Now we get why we left feeling so lost. (-;

Can't wait to hear about your next session.

Dan said...

I'm writing this as you commented over on Xbox4NappyRashes site congratulating him on the birth of his daughter.

I am writing it here because this post is down the page a bit and i don't want him to see it :)

A while ago, before Martin's (xbox4nappyrash) wife got pregnant I promised I would post a youtube video of me singing "Yes" by Mcalomont & Butler whilst accompanying myself on the ukulele to celebrate the birth of their child.

This will not be a pretty sight as I can neither sing, nor really play the ukulele (this isn't false modesty - I really can't).

However what I thought might make it really cool would be instead of just a straight video I put together a montage of videos shot by readers of his blog all celebrating - i.e. dancing, sticking thumbs up, cheering, holding up signs, that sort of thing. It would have to be something that would work without sound as I would put my (awful) soundtrack over the top of it.

It would be great if you could participate. If you send me a short 5-15 second video clip (or at a push a photo, but a video would be much better) along with your name and blog then I'll put it together with other submissions and get something ready for the end of the week. I think it would be a really nice thing to do for martin to show him and E how pleased we are for him. and Martin has been incredibly supportive of me and my various projects in the past.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. My email address is

Thanks again.