This weeks WASO theme is ‘Support’.
Where to start??
Post Adoption Support in the UK:
Under fire due to budget cuts. Money, money, money
Not a legal right (an assessment of need is not good enough)
A post code lottery (eg. some areas have foster/adoption teams within CAMHS, others do not)
Consistency across services is seriously lacking
Communication from professionals to parents is poor
Expectations by professionals that simple methods can always fix things are unhelpful
Provided by professionals who still have poor understanding of trauma
Thinking in the short term, ignoring long term (eg. cost of therepy now vs cost of residential care later)
All about the money (did I mention money already?!)
Blaming adoptive parents for their children’s long term issues is still common
Lack of politicians willing to do anything that will actually help (why? Oh yeah, MONEY)
Efforts by parents to get support/referrals/therapy met with total refusal and denial there is a problem
I could go on and list far more. But my acrostic is just too awesome
Also, I don’t need to tell adoptive parents any of this. They all know. Good professionals also know.
By Politicians – Make some new laws which require parents to be given support, and match your new laws with the money that you actually do need to invest in our children
By the people resposible for setting up services – why don’t all CAMHS have an adoption/fostering/LAC team?
By schools and teachers. Get training on issues facing traumatised children who are in care/adopted. Treat parents with respect. Try reading stuff like this
By social workers. Understand that the effects of trauma are long term and not the parents fault. Accept that for lots of children, only specialist services and psychotherapy (not play therapies etc) will make a difference (I know you don’t control the money to do this, but fight for parents and childrens support needs)
By their managers, and their managers managers and so on….support the social workers. They can’t work against hostility, and refusal to help them help parents. Parents need money. Think about the long term costs of refusing help NOW because of money.
By other professionals (doctors etc). Also understand trauma and it’s effects
By the people who train professionals…teach them properly about trauma and it’s effects
From more specialist centres, which can give comprehensive help, psychotherapy, other therapies, and support to parents
Why is my family the way it is? Why is Kestrel a completely different girl now, than the person she was when she arrived? Why is Rhea a stable happy adult?
Take Kestrel. Whilst we have encountered one awful school, several terrible professionals, failures in communication and several other things, we have been enormously lucky and so succeeded.
Because for us:
SUPPORT IS A
Reasonable understanding of trauma
EBD specialist school with fantastic staff
Childs needs at the forefront, not money
Involving parent closely and believing, not blaming
Provision of specialist therapy (and medication, and support groups etc)
Emotional support for parent
Success doesn’t always mean healing. It doesn’t necessarily mean your problems are solved. Kess still has many issues (but had major improvements). I still count us as a successful adoption, because we are together, a family. Support can easily be the difference between keeping a family together and splitting them apart.
I want to end this post by changing tack slightly and saying
The Adoption Social is AMAZING
And is a great example of another kind of support, which I didn’t talk about in this post
The support adoptive parents can given each other
Which is PRICELESS
I’m very glad to be a small part of it by taking part in WASO, Memory Box etc