BAAF Blog

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...


09 Feb 2015

Many of you will have heard of BAAF’s family finding service Be My Parent – here’s an insight into what goes on behind the scenes from the editor Isabelle Rameau.....

The first stage is checking and “booking in” the referral. We might need to enter the child details in our database if it’s a new referral and our online system hasn’t been used. We check that the right consent to feature the child has been obtained and that we have been given all the information we need. We might need to scan photographs that have sent to us, use special software to remove school logos or other identifying information, or crop the image so we have a closer shot of the child. If the photo isn’t of sufficient quality, we will ask for a new or better one. We then need to enter all the details of the referral in our system: is it newspaper only, or web, or both? Is it a standard profile, enhanced, half or full page? One, two or three months? Which areas of the website have been chosen?...


01 Feb 2015

Long term fostering is another option which can give a child a secure and loving family life. One couple share their experience of becoming long term foster carers…..

We kind of stumbled into fostering really, my wife and I had been trying for children with no success for a while and one night were holding a conversation with a family therapist friend of ours and we said we were going to look at adoption as an alternative. She asked us why not Long Term Fostering to which neither one of us had a valid reason why not. It was her next statement that cemented the idea of fostering to us both “once children get to age 4 or 5 they are considered too old for adoption and remain in care, this is especially true in the case of siblings”. This statement broke my heart to think that the system and people have already started to give up on children of that age.

The very next day we rang our local council and set the ball rolling on a future in fostering, from the onset...


28 Jan 2015

Sharon Figgens was born in 1965 in Lambeth Hospital, London, to a 14-year-old girl who had to give her up for adoption. She named her baby Christine, after her best friend who had stuck by her when everyone else turned their back. Christine was given to her new parents when she was six weeks old and was legally adopted and renamed Sharon nine months later.

You never know what’s going to happen in your life. I always thought everything was best left alone. ‘What you don’t know can’t hurt you’ as some would say. Yet, everything did change when an envelope arrived out of the blue on my parents’ doorstep, franked by Tower Hamlets social services. I was 35 and I will never forget the day my mum came round and handed it to me. She hadn’t opened it but she knew what it was about. She gave me the envelope and said, ‘It’s about your mum. It’s up to you what you do with it.’

She left almost immediately, leaving me on my own to digest what she had just given me....


12 Jan 2015

This week BAAF is holding a conference “Aiming higher – Improving educational outcomes for children and young people in care”.  One of the speakers, a young person whose life was turned around by the family she went to live with and is now a Doctor, shares her story” 

 

A jolly chap with a waistcoat and elegant prose led the ward-round that morning. As I introduced myself as his new “junior” (doctor), he glanced fleetingly down at my identity badge. Then I saw his woolly, eccentric eyebrows bounce…”Collette”? He rolled the name around his tongue, playing with its sound…”Collette”? “Now then, with a name like that, Collette, tell me, in which of the Home Counties were you raised?” It was the double jig of those eyebrows rather than his intonation that was most rhetorical. I stood…taken somewhat aback by the hugely presumptive nature of his comments (and also slightly panicked, thinking: “can I...


05 Jan 2015

Today, we hear from Erica who reflects on her experience as both an adopter and a teacher…

My partner and I are both teachers at the same secondary school. We already have a birth child, but wanted a brother or sister for our son.  Adoption felt the right road for us and just before Christmas our adopted daughter joined us, completing our family.

We found the adoption process a very positive experience.  Our social worker was brilliant.  We were impressed by how transparent, honest and informative the process was.  It took a year to become approved, and then we waited a further six months to be matched with our daughter.  Although this seems like a long time, we felt that it was the right length.  It gave our social worker enough time to get to know us thoroughly so that she could match us with the right child.

Both of us being teachers also gave us a great foundation to build on during the adoption preparation and...


22 Dec 2014

I love singing. There is no better way to get those endorphins flowing than by belting out a good tune. The only minor problem is that I really can’t sing, just ask my husband.

My singing should really be confined to those solitary moments in the shower or car, when I am completely out of ear shot.

One day earlier this year I went to a fostering training course on educational attainment and supporting looked after children at school. Whilst there the local Schools Music Service gave a brief talk on the benefits singing can bring to looked after children. And they mentioned about the local foster carers choir. This was a great way of meeting other foster carers socially, which I didn’t have. Did it matter that I couldn’t sing, I tentatively asked. Can I still join? Yes! Woohoo! So I became a fully committed member, and I love every minute.  Our small group, led by the wonderful Becky from Bullfrog Arts, a fabulous singer, meet every week term time and sing a range...


16 Dec 2014

Sarah Lucas is the mother of three boys – her eldest is severely disabled with cerebral palsy. As her children grew older she began to think about what she would do once they were all at school. Having rejected the idea of returning to the workplace due to the lack of out-of-school care for her oldest son, she decided to become a foster carer, with a particular interest in pre-adoption placements for children with disabilities.

Following a casual remark at a fostering review about fostering a child with Down’s syndrome, a tiny, floppy and very poorly baby came into our lives. Jenny had been rejected within hours of her birth because she had Down syndrome, and many initial problems caused by a serious congenital heart condition, Fallots’ tetralogy, which would mean major surgery in early childhood. As we talked with her paediatrician, we realised that this was a very serious condition and that without surgery Jenny would die. The hoped-for plan was that Jenny would grow and...


27 Nov 2014

Hands holding

We all know how important it is to give children the right support as they are growing up.  This is especially true for children who have a difficult start in life. Research is one of the ways in which we come to understand how best to support children and their families.  

Professor Brigid Daniel from Stirling University, explains about an important new research project called Permanently Progressing?  which she will lead with Professor Nina Biehal from University of York. The study has been funded by a bequest given to BAAF Scotland.

Nina  and I feel privileged to be collaborating on leading this new research project for BAAF. We have brought together a team of people from Stirling and York Universities who are united in their commitment to improving the lives of children and young people who have had a difficult start...