BAAF Blog

18 May 2015

Children and young people using social media is a growing worry for parents and this is especially so for adoptive parents and foster carers.  Here one mother shares her family's experience…..

‘Be honest,’ said Tom*, my sixteen-year-old son, as he was unpacking the shopping. ‘If you were me would you want to meet your birth father?’

‘Well, of course,’ I said. We’d had this conversation a few times and, unlike his younger brother, Jake*, Tom had always shown a real interest in connecting with his father, Michael*. We’d always said when he was 16 we’d help him make contact.

‘But it’s important we do it properly,’ I said, and suggested we wait until things had settled a little. The past few months had been difficult: he’d left school after GCSEs, had decided that two weeks of college was all he could take, and his days now consisted of watching A Place in the Sun and intermittently applying for apprenticeships. So far he hadn’t had much luck...


22 Apr 2015

Over the past few months we have been hearing from prospective adopters who, understandably, are feeling disheartened by their wait to be matched with a child.  One couple wrote an open letter to the Family Guardian.  BAAF’s John Simmonds has written a reply which the Guardian has kindly said they will pass on to the authors of the letter.  We thought we would share John's reply for others in a similar situation to see

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/apr/04/a-letter-to-the-social-worker-in-our-adoption-process

Dear Adopters,

Your letter is powerful and moving.  As a professional and as an adoptive father of two I recognise the intensity of your plea for your social worker to be honest about the current situation but at the same time I would urge you not to give up hope.

The adoption system...


13 Apr 2015

New adopter, Alison shares her experience of the first 9 months of being a mum…

 When I was little I always took for granted that I would meet someone, get married and have a family. It never occurred to me that things would look any different.

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realise that everyone has their own story – mine is just different.

Just at the point where my husband and I we were trying to start a family, I was diagnosed with a rare form of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. The treatment saved my life, but it also drew a very thick line under us having our own children naturally.

Whilst a rubbish hand of cards to be dealt, what it did give us was an opportunity to do something incredible for another child through adoption.

It’s now nine months since our daughter (now 4yrs) arrived - since we parked up on the foster family’s drive to be greeted by a little face jumping up and down with excitement in the bay window.

“...


08 Apr 2015

Sandie and her husband Gary have been foster carers for eight years. They live in south London. Sandie tells their story.

‘I love what I do because although all of the children have their difficulties, and some of them can be very challenging. I find that there’s always a chink in their armour. There’s always some way that you can get to know them and find something that works for them. In the early days when you meet a child you really have to get to know their likes and dislikes. What’s important to that child.

We originally thought we’d foster older boys – because we’ve brought up three sons of our own - but then we did think about girls as well. And once we were approved, our first call was about a girl, a sixteen-year-old girl. So we talked about it and decided, yes, we’d like to try to do it. So our first girl came to us on respite, two weekends a month to start with, and then three out of four weekends. Well, she was difficult – very, very challenging...


30 Mar 2015

Last weekend we were lucky enough to receive a weekend’s stay at a remote castle, well tower really but to the boys it was a castle, courtesy of the Landmark Trust who had given a number of properties for use across the country by various charities. BAAF was one of those charities and they offered this gift to us which we gratefully accepted.

 When I first told the boys they were non-plussed. “What do you mean there’s no TV?!” exclaimed KC to which TJ added, “And if there’s no internet then how can I play Minecraft?” – his current addiction.

 I told them we would be able to take our dog and we could go walking and exploring the countryside, as well as playing games together and reading. All of this fell on deaf ears and the boys decided there and then that they were not going to enjoy this.

 Papa came in through the door and I excitedly told him our news, that we had been selected to enjoy a stay in a Landmark Trust property. Papa was equally...


23 Mar 2015

 BAAF is well known for its work in fostering and adoption including family finding, advice and education. Another area which BAAF is perhaps less well known for is the well-respected “Adoption & Fostering” journal which we publish quarterly. As the latest edition is published, its Managing Editor, Miranda Davies explains more….

 “Adoption & Fostering” is BAAF’s flagship journal published quarterly in March, July, September and December every year. As the only peer-reviewed journal with a specific focus on adoption and fostering, it has been at the cutting edge of debate on child care issues for more than half a century. During this time it has evolved from a 20-page booklet called Child Adoption into a 100-page journal, produced and distributed in partnership with Sage, the world’s largest independent academic publisher committed to the global dissemination of research.

 Adoption &...


17 Mar 2015

To celebrate World Social Work Day 2015, we hear from a Child Placement Officer, who tells us about her experience attending an adoption activity day.

Sibling groups are some of the hardest to place children for adoption, often adopters can feel nervous about taking on more than one child.

I was tasked with placing two gorgeous little girls, Stephanie* and Caroline*, aged two and six, with forever families. The pair had always lived together, so we felt it was important not to separate them. I’d tried all the usual methods of family finding,  I’d had no success.

In all honesty, I’ve always been a little bit sceptical about adoption activity days, where children play alongside prospective adopters, in the hope of finding a match. It seemed wrong to allow adopters to play alongside children they don’t know, however, with matching rates now averaging 26 per cent, I thought we should give it a try.

On the day I was responsible for...


09 Mar 2015

The sibling bond is very important.  Adopted adult Anne* shares how her relationship with her birth sister has enriched her life….

 Throughout my schooling I was bullied. I never really had a friend that I could trust, or who did not turn against me because they were afraid they would be bullied too. This became evident more at high school. In primary school I would be the last to be picked in all the games, and not included at play times. Growing up all I wanted was a best friend. When I was younger, it was a friend I could ride my bike with and go on fun outings with. When I was older, someone I could trust and confide in, go shopping with, and share my clothes with. I was brought up in a Christian home, and I would pray for a sister - I always wanted a sister. 

 Growing up, my parents were (and are) wonderful.  They had always gone without to make sure my younger brother and I had what we needed and were always honest and happy to...


02 Mar 2015

I’m a primary school teacher and have taught a few children who have had horrendous home experiences and some who have been in care and always thought it would be nice to have children and give them a good home.

Our borough council placed advertisements on bus stops saying they were looking for gay and lesbian adoptive parents. They were obviously quite keen to attract gay couples and had children who needed parents.

It took about three years in total with an 18-month gap between approval and the children being placed. We had a really decent social worker. Although the process was slow, she stayed with our case the whole way through. Often they change jobs or move away, so it can be difficult.

 

We had some very probing and testing questions in the home study about our relationship, sex life and previous partners. They also asked how much we drink. Sometimes, it was more like a therapy session.  

The boys we eventually adopted were...


18 Feb 2015

Nowadays, adoptive parents are advised to talk about being adopted with their children, in an age appropriate way, from the beginning of their relationship.  This wasn’t always the case.  We hear from Jackie who was adopted in the late 1950s who explains why she wished her parents had been open from the start…..

When I was eight years old I was very badly bullied at school which culminated in the other children telling me that I was the milk man’s baby because I had red hair and my whole family had dark brown hair.

I eventually summoned up the courage to ask my Mum if I was the milk man’s baby and she informed me that I was adopted by her and my Father as a six month old baby. Before that moment I had no idea I was not their birth child. As you can imagine it came as a total shock and I decided that I shouldn’t be here and needed to find where I belonged. So I packed my teddy and an apple and ran away from home on a dark and rainy evening.

I...