Which was the question that was posed to me and others at our adoption support group. And I’m not entirely sure of the answer… because what support should look like to me, might not be what others want but after a few days reflection this is my answer…
I’d like someone I could just phone for support, and for someone to tell me what is normal and what isn’t… I have lost prospective on this, because I acknowledge that our normal life isn’t anyone else’s. And to be fair I have this, someone I can phone, because I live in an area with an amazing group of adopters who all support each other. But it would be nice to have a ‘professional’ to do this role.
I’d like there to be a space provided for adoptive families to get together and be supportive together. And yes, we have our adoption support group – but that is in an evening, where adults can talk. What about our children – pre-school we have a group, but now boyo is older, he can’t go to that group. We do meet up once a month in a local park, but at this time of year the weather is against us… it would be nice to have a space provided for this, especially as the children get older.
I’d like not to have to battle everyone, all the time. I’d like someone to provide training for the professionals I have to come into contact with, to explain why adopted children may be different. I’m lucky our social worker went into school and did a training, but this was because she is fantastic – it’s not her job. I had an incident at the GP’s where I was not listened to – he knew more than me… he probably does. But if I know my child has suffered/is suffering because of trauma, if I know he reacts to loud noises – and he has such an unusual reaction to screaming at school that they felt the need to tell me (and he had night terrors afterwards) – don’t tell me, it’s probably nothing, and not to worry.
I’d think there to be more research into effective therapy and a real willingness to allow adopters to access it. I’d like to think any therapy needed will be paid for. I’d like the opportunity to find out what is available, and have some guidance on it.
I’d like there to be someone who knows about life story work. Who is prepared to provide support for families, to work with children about their stories. I’d like there to be someone who everyone who has a poor quality life story book (or none) to go to action these things with other social workers.
I’d like there to be someone who could say – have you thought about this, applying for that grant, have you considered this? Rather than having to battle through things, and find out information ourselves. I was very grateful to a fellow adopter who asked me one very bad day how things were, and I told her. She responded, if it’s that bad look at x, y and z. So I did. I now have the ability to have some respite – in theory. The actual might not happen immediately.
There are many things about being an adoptive parent that are exactly like being a birth parent. There are ups and downs. But there are added complexities, and if someone could make the complexities simpler – show different paths forwards, that would be amazing support.
What are your thoughts? What would adoption support look like?