Posts Tagged ‘Media Portrayal’
Martin Narey answers some parents… but not the adoptees.
Embedded above, rewritten below by me (so any typos’re likely to be mine, and I apologise in advanced if I got any wrong – all corrections’ll be followable by any thread :p); originally pimped out on Twitter by Mr. Narey himself.
This is an open letter to some people who use Twitter to challenge my views about adoption. Some of those people have written or e mailed me and have received replies (albeit often necessarily brief replies). Others have preferred to stay anonymous and that’s fine. Some who tweet and blog have been abusive. I don’t much like that but I understand it because I believe it reflects an anger and sometimes a helplessness about their individual cases. I would, I am sure, feel the same way were our positions reversed.
I have never denied the reality that sometimes children are taken into care unnecessarily. It would be silly to believe otherwise when we have a workforce that is fallible. But I believe, and all I have read and seen supports this, that we have a far greater number of cases where we leave children at home when they should be removed. My interest is in children who are neglected (I know that children are taken into care for other reasons). I believe that, as a society, we tolerate neglect for too long. We do not, as many people believe, have record numbers of children in care. At the end of the eighties the care population was half as big again as it is now. And that was at a time when there were at least three times as many adoptions.
So I believe the case for care, for intervening earlier to stop neglect and then sourcing a new permanence for a neglected child is overwhelming and of course I shall continue to argue for that.
Incidentally, I do not – as many tweeters suggest – profit in any way from adoptions. And Barnardo’s, which I ran for six years never, in all that time, made any profit or surplus from the very small number of adoptions they dealt with. Nor do I have any power to intervene in cases. So I cannon, even if I wished, help to achieve the return of anyone’s child.
My role is simply to offer a view to Ministers about adoptions. That view is based on my experience at Barnardo’s and, since my resignation, many, many days spent visiting local authorities, voluntary adoption agencies and speaking to adopters and the adopted as well as children in care and charities which support families struggling to keep their children. Some people call me the Adoption Czar, evoking an image of a large salary and a retinue of staff. Those things, like the Adoption Czar title, are inventions of the press. I have no staff and last year my total earnings from the Department for Education were about £40,000.
So what advice can I offer those who feel their children have been wrongly removed? It is this. Fight your case of course. But do not seek to do so by attacking adoption in general. Whatever the circumstances of your case it is demonstrably true that thousands and thousands of adoptions are successful. The number which breakdown are much lower than commonly believed (new research from the University of Bristol is likely to confirm this) and there are thousands of adult adoptees willing to speak positively about their experience. I am very close personally to four such adoptees and have met hundreds of others.
Nevertheless, I believe (and say frequently) that adoption is only appropriate for a small minority of the children taken into care in England, largely those neglected by parents who are unlikely ever to be able to be successful parents. It is indisputably right that for those children adoption brings stability and compensates for that neglect.
So, continue to pursue that which you believe in. But don’t undermine the specifics of your argument by ignoring the reality of neglect and the need for us as a society, when parents cannot be supported to offer decent homes (often because of drink and addictions) and if good quality kinship carers cannot be found, to find an alternative stability through adoption. Those who might advise that the way to seek resolution of your own cases is by seeking to undermine adoption are – at best – misguided. Instead I offer this advice sincerely, concentrate on demonstrating that the authorities have made grave mistakes in _your_ case
It’s often suggested to me that I must have had a “bad” experience with adoption. People tell me often that “not every adoption’s like yours“, and they’re right – not every adoption IS like mine.
Unlike me, not every adoptee gets adopted into a healthy family, that has strong enough family dynamics that it can teach even someone who recognises nothing how much that family unit means to each other.
Unlike me, some adoptees are taken in by highly abusive families, in which alcoholism and other “acceptable” addictions run rampant, and narcissism is the genetic trait that shines through.
Unlike me, some adoptees are adopted into families that divorce, further compounding any issues already faced while living “as if born unto” both their adopters.
Unlike me, some adoptees are physically, emotionally and sexually abused by their adopting family.
Unlike me, some adoptees find out that their entire life has been a lie – discovering in their 50s that the reason they always felt so damn weird was because they were adopted. This is also risking that adoptees’ life by the perpetuation of invalid health ‘facts’.
I’m one of the lucky ones. I actually did get the good afam. in which there was solidity and safety and love and care and acceptance. It’s because I did get the good afam. that I am petitioning Parliament to help adoptees by revoking the irrevocability of adoption. If I was doing it for myself, it would be far ‘easier’ to use my own adoption in an attempt to establish Case Law, but I’m not doing it for me. I’m not doing it because “I had a bad experience”, I’m doing it because other people HAVE had that “bad experience”. I’m doing it because I know damn well how lucky I’ve been in my adoption. I’m doing it because I know not everyone else gets that.
And no, Mr. Narey, being adopted doesn’t “compensate”, not even when it’s a bloody awesome adoption like mine is. It just gives us fuck-ups that no-one wants to accept exists.
Thus, before I close, I reiterate the question I asked on Twitter; what’s the definition of a “successful adoption”?
Finally, I ask Mr. Narey to please continue to discuss that actualities of adoption itself, since that’s the part that impacts the adoptees, and it *should* be something that is within the remit of whatever you actually are. Note, I’m saying change it, ’cause I honestly don’t expect to be able to stop it. To change it though, it’s GOT TO BE recognised that it is adoption itself that does much damage. This is the part that you’re seeming to miss!