So I’m going to say something quite controversial. Why is it that adoptees who have experinced adoption itself as a negative experience are seen as the only legitimate voices on the internet at the moment? There seems a lot of silencing of adoptees like myself who know that adoption gave me a lot of positive opportunities I would not have had otherwise.
I am absolutely aware that adoption, results in trauma and that for lots of adult or young adult adoptees, they are coming to terms with their experiences and the losses that are built into the adoption system.
I think it’s absolutely right that we hear from other adults and current young people who have been adopted and they help to devise a better system for adoption to meet adoptees needs. However, it seems to me that the only voices that I see on line are those who see adoption as a total anathema. Damaging in and of its own self. Yet I know first hand of the trauma also inflicted by some birth families.
I’ve worked with children in care including children in foster and residential care all of my adult life since being a residential social worker prior to my 21st birthday, working with homeless teenagers who’d been abandoned by their birth families, up until now, as a children in care social worker.
I know the damage that some birth families can inadvertently wrought on their children. I think in adoption, there is a tendency to minimise or not talk about that and so all of the negativity, all of the criticism and the vitriol is targeted at adopters, sometimes, perhaps often unfairly.
Adopters did not create the situation when a child cannot live with their birth family. Adopters did not remove that child from their birth family. And my experience of working within the local authority system is that actually, the reality is often that children are left with birth families longer, than is safe or healthy for them.
Sadly, this government has decimated family support in all of its forms and that has to be reviewed and repaired. But this is not the fault of adopters. What I also believe is that adopters are sometimes put in an almost impossible situation.
They want to do best for their child. But they’re not always given the tools with which to do that. So I may be controversial. I may be a lone small voice as an adoptee, an adopter and a social worker, because I still believe in adoption.
It is the best option where children are not able to remain with their birth families. But birth families should first be offered support and that support must be offered, provided and purposeful, and children only removed if they still can’t remain with their families. Then adoption for younger children is by far the next best option.
Fostering has been a part of my life for a long time professionally and I will always support foster carers who do exemplary work with young people. This is a great option when adoption or becoming a part of a permanent family is not an option. But the research indicates that outcomes are not as effective for children who are are fostered and sometimes foster children can find themselves extremely isolated when they are leaving care.
So I will always try to be a part of building adoption to be better. Better for adoptees, better for adopters and better to the community.
If you are an adopter who agrees with me please do join my facebook group of adopters, links below, and tell me about your experience?
For All Adopters (Foster Carers Welcome)
For LGBTQ Adopters (Foster Carers Welcome)