I wanted this post to be about adopters within the UK adoption arena and our mindset once we have our children placed with us.
Adoption in the UK has been under much scrutiny in recent years, and pressure is increasingly growing for local authorities and agencies to not only recruit the right people, but also to prepare them for adoption as quickly as possible.
This, in theory, will generally result in serving looked after children well (though I can think of a few arguments against), but is it in the best interests of the adopters?
Sermon on the local authority mound
Throughout the adoption process, we were preached to about understanding the difficulties of raising adoptive children. In no uncertain terms, it is communicated that adoptive children need to be parented differently than children who have avoided the care system.
Whilst I have whole-heartedly subscribed to this notion, and continue to practise fatherhood under this premise, it does raise a little red flag for me.
Saying adoptive children need different parenting would indicate that there are ‘types’ of children. To put this in non-pc, and derogatory terminology: ‘adoptees’, and ‘norms’.
As we all know however, each child is different; all unique, and as such require very specific parenting. Also, by segmenting adoptive children, does this not go against previous teachings to ensure that our society is inclusive, as opposed to exclusive?
So, does the theory of adoptive children needing different parenting actually fall down?
The perpetual social worker monologue of being sensitive to the child’s needs has effectively taken its toll on us as parents. Maybe, as we hope, in a positive way – many of you will know my stance on social services, and that I vehemently defend them – but (and the point of this post is such) how do we know that this approach to parenting adoptive children is always correct; one size cannot fit all?
Thin skin and brain washed
Every facet of parenting that my wife and I experience we now put under the microscope to see if we need to ‘adjust our settings’ and apply an adoptive approach.
The boy is two and half or thereabouts, still experiences teething difficulties, is still learning to speak, right in the midst of his terrible two’s and seemingly powered by a nuclear reactor. He bites, scratches, hits, cries, moans and the rest, and each time he does it, my wife and I start compiling the agenda for the impending behavioural summit that takes place.
It feels like we have been brain washed into treating our lad as a tarnished, grief stricken soul each time he acts out, and that discipline should always come second after care.
Now, I don’t really think that I am being brain-washed but I just wanted to demonstrate how we sometimes feel. I wonder if we have inadvertently become overly sensitive, and possibly reading too much into ‘the adoption thing’; like we have walked the adoption line so tightly, that we dare not stray from it, even to the potential detriment of the wee man. I would hate for adoption to become an excuse for certain behaviour. Perhaps our expectations of the boy should be higher?
This problem is ours to solve, and we will continue to do what we can for him, but I am curious if any other adopters feel the same? UK adoption is heading in the right direction – I firmly believe that. I also know that the job of a social worker is incredibly difficult, so I certainly don’t intend to offend, rather, to discuss. I am also very aware that I don’t have the answers, yes I have theories, but that is all they are, so I would welcome any feedback or comments in the normal form – If you can add anything to this, then by all means share.