Adopted in the UK

The life of a UK adoptee

Posts Tagged ‘ww7d

My heart’s desire

with one comment

In the thread from which https://twitter.com/martinnarey/statuses/375024235753639936 descends, there’s the usual bunch of us complaining that Sir @martinnarey isn’t listening to us and doesn’t want to help any of us get anywhere ’cause we don’t fit into his “helpable” category of #adoption stuff. The linked post is the first time he’s commented directly to me to do anything other than answer ‘easy’ stat’s/yes/no stuff since my 7rin respecting Narey? post, a point upon which my protestations have been based on.

I’m guessing from his response that Sir @martinnarey hasn’t been reading too many of the links I’ve been posting with his @ name attached. Then again, he may’ve just been confused by me pointing out that I actually wasn’t fighting for face-to-face time with him, unlike so many of the others within the thread. My fight is not personally for me, and so doesn’t need to be conducted behind closed doors in order to protect identities or ongoing cases nor any such things, which is why while I understand his request to take this to email, I’d actually rather not because I need *MY* comments open to others in order to make sure I’m not missing any fundamental points out from my reasonings during my arguments.

Thus, this post is answering what it is I’m hoping that Sir @martinnarey may be able to help current and future adoptees with.

For those who’re unaware of the extent of my ‘relationship’ with Sir @martinnarey, https://adoptedintheuk.wordpress.com/tag/martin-narey/ will give you a brief run-down. I don’t dislike the guy, and think that actually yeah, his heart is (generally) “in the right place”. However, I do think he is deeply misguided in his belief that the impact of adoption loss on adoptees is “minimal”. There is a massive collection of voices out in the adoptee blogosphere explaining quite how much simply the act of getting adopted hurts in ways that the unadopted usually fail to comprehend, and even those like Michael Gove who’re Adoption Poster Children(tm) demonstrate quite how much pain even the “happy” adoptees get. Adoptee socialisation is insidious, and unrecognised as trauma by far far far too many.

I summarised the two small changes that *I’m* wanting to be made to adoption practice in the UK (heck, in the whole world, actually) in https://adoptedintheuk.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/stop-trashing-adoption/ but for Sir @martinnarey and anyone else who might not’ve read the post, I’ll quote it here:

I’ll stop trashing adoption when just two very very simple things happen.

1. I’ll stop trashing adoption when http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38120 has been passed into law, thus giving the ADOPTEE the right to make THEIR OWN choice.

2. I’ll stop trashing adoption when https://adoptedintheuk.wordpress.com/tag/post-adoption-support/ is available to ALL ADOPTEES from professionals fully conversant with the devastating impact that the process of adoption can have upon the psyche of the adoptee.

That’s it.

Nothing more.

However, back in the 7rin respecting Narey? post, Sir @martinnarey conceded that despite his position as the incumbent UK Government’s Adoption Advisor (and not an Adoption Tsar as suggested by some press :p), he:

can’t help you with your wish to change the law so that an adult can annul adoption.

What I don’t understand, and what I’d like Sir @martinnarey to explain to me (and anyone else willing to read his words) why it is the UK Government’s Adoption Advisor *can’t* help with such a thing?

Of course, personally I believe that such moves should come with a whole other bunch of changes in legislation about how getting names added on/taken off BIRTH certificates, but that’s a whole ‘nother bunch of posts on their own.

I’ll also keep fighting until adoptee get access to specialised adoptee-comprehending psych mental health support from people who understand the true depth of issues that adoptees grow up experiencing. While I know budgets are being cut left, right, and centre, and that even juvenile adoptees are going short on the help needed, if you’re (generic Governmental Minister/Advisor etc.) going to be creating more of us faster – at least give us all the tools to be able to deal with it.

What I’d really really REALLY like from Sir Martin Narey is the support to get these two significant but minor changes through, even if only eventually (I know legislation can take years of pushing), but I don’t think I’m gonna get it. What I’d at least appreciate is an answer to the points I’ve raised in this post, taking into account the stuff said in the 7rin respecting Narey? post. Such an answer doesn’t need to be on here, it can be one his wonderfully crafted over at SlideShare or anything like that. My only requests are that such an answer is both publicly available, and a continuation not ending of discussion.

This post also being added to http://theadoptionsocial.com/weekly-adoption-shout-out/weekly-adoption-shout-out-waso-week-33/

Written by 7rin

Sun, 8 September, 2013 at 1:07 am

Stop trashing adoption

with 9 comments

Yet again I’m being accused of being all manner of awfulnesses for daring to be a voice against the sanctified glorification of adoption that is common in discourse around the subject. I’m not linking anything ’cause I don’t want to be reading such stuff tonight to find it, as I’m currently on hiatus from adoption for as much as I can manage because I have been sent over the metaphorical edge by some of the stuff I’ve encountered of late. In order to retain my sanity, I’ve been minimising my time around the subject, but I am the only admin. in some of the FB groups I run and so at least occasionally I have to go in to at least check for spam and such like.

I’m sick though, of being asked things like “when are you going to stop trashing adoption?”

This post then, is the answer to “when will 7rin stop trashing adoption?”

I’ll stop trashing adoption when just two very very simple things happen.

1. I’ll stop trashing adoption when http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/38120 has been passed into law, thus giving the ADOPTEE the right to make THEIR OWN choice.

2. I’ll stop trashing adoption when https://adoptedintheuk.wordpress.com/tag/post-adoption-support/ is available to ALL ADOPTEES from professionals fully conversant with the devastating impact that the process of adoption can have upon the psyche of the adoptee.

That’s it.

Nothing more.

That’s all that’s needed to be done to get me to stop trashing adoption.

And now I’m going to go to bed, and may be AFK for a while as I am still trying to get my head back together and stop myself collapsing massively, since I can’t get any post-adoption support, and can’t currently keep fighting to get it ’cause I’m utterly exhausted from so many years of it. There are so many of you out there who I miss ’cause of my self-imposed exile, but I really need to be strict with myself ’cause I’m >.< that close to a meltdown, which I don’t have time for.

Written by 7rin

Wed, 26 June, 2013 at 11:41 pm

I did it! I made a difference! Again!

with one comment

This post not only launched an awesome thread of its own, but also spawned a side-thread that yielded startling results too.

Part of the way down this second thread, I suddenly throw in…

Make A Show Of Yourselves was the page that had startled me with it’s adoption advocative language.

Immediately though, understanding entirely the point I was raising, Amanda was on to it …

And that, my friends, is another concrete achievement, because it’s the way we use the language that impacts adoptees far more than, for example, Sir Martin Narey appears to concede.

Written by 7rin

Mon, 18 March, 2013 at 12:08 pm

I did it! I made a difference!

with one comment

It takes time and luck to get things moving in the right direction, but today I had my first ever real tangible “success”.

One of the things I know helps adoptees is having other adoptees to talk to. It’s part of the reason I make so many “places” for us, or to direct us towards. When I saw Amanda’s post, I couldn’t not make the suggestion.

That the following Twit was posted very shortly after makes all the fighting I’ve done worthwile, because one of the hardest things about getting support groups together IRL is having an appropriate physical location to do it in, but I’ve managed to help make it available to at least some of us.

This IS a success.

Of course, now it’s up to the adoptees to take up the offer and get themselves there.

Still thrilled I managed to help make it happen though. Am incredibly chuffed. :D

But still we need more offers like this. More awareness of adoptees, and not just of adoption.

7rinformation alert!

leave a comment »

I’ve just decided that I give up on “conventional” adoption bollocks speak, ‘n’ I’m going with me own. From now on, it’s genealogical ‘n’ sociological families, them being the logical choices. ;)

Posted from bed using the Android WP ap. Thank you technology. :}

Written by 7rin

Thu, 11 October, 2012 at 1:52 am

Posted in Explanations

Tagged with ,

7rin respecting Narey?

with 5 comments

The following’s a direct c’n’p of an email response from myself to “Adoption Czar” <vom> Martin Narey, which occurred as a result of me finally poking him often enough of Twitter to get him to respond. It’s on here because it explains so much of what I’m fighting for, and why.


At some space near in time to 02/10/2012 11:03, Martin Narey swore:

> Dear [7rin],

It’s Mx [surname], but please, feel free to call me 7rin[snippage].

> Thanks for this E mail which I saw for the first time yesterday (my
> guess is that the anonymity of your E mail address will be picked up
> by other Spam filters as well as mine).

Point accepted, however this email address is as old as Gmail (bar a few months), and so it’s not something likely to change in the near future.

> Also, I’m sorry if you thought I should have replied sooner but,
> contrary to popular belief, I have no staff, no assistance and am
> supposed to work on adoption issues for just one or two days a week.

I didn’t know you were so limited on the time you’re supposed to spend working on adoption issues, given your (sorry, but it’s appalling) title of Adoption Czar. I did also imagine you would have at least some staff aiding you in your task, however, the nudge on Twitter to reply was, as much as anything, to let you know the email had been sent. After all, there would be little point emailing you again to ask if you had received it, because if you hadn’t, then chances are you would also not receive the prompt asking such. I apologise, however, if it came across as demanding an immediate response (a “yes I’ve got it, I’m working on it” reply on Twitter would have sufficed – but of course, you weren’t to know that).

> I can’t help you with your wish to change the law so that an adult
> can annul adoption.

Your sentence following ^this aside, can you please enlighten me on why you – our famed Adoption Czar – can not help with such a thing? Only, it seems to me that such a thing could easily be integrated into any improvements you plan on making to the current adoption system, as it would simply be yet another improvement made. Thus if our famed Adoption Czar can not help change adoption for the better, then surely your role is essentially redundant?

> Others will have told you this but, essentially, at the age of 18 we
> are all adults and adoption has essentially expired. Your adoptive
> parents cannot restrain your behaviour in any way. You can change
> your name and, if you so wish, ignore the fact that you were ever
> adopted.

If that were true, then I would have no qualm with adoption – however, it is patently false that at the age 18, adoption has essentially expired. We remain adopted for the entirety of our lives, once adoption has occurred, and yes, even as adults, our adopters can – should they wish – restrain our behaviour. The following examples highlight instances of where the adopted remain – even as adults – perpetually infantilised by their adoptee status.

Example 1.

Contrary to popular belief, not all adopters are suitable parents, and some are overtly abusive to the children they adopt. Further, even those who are generally suitable as parents, may in fact be abusive in ways are not currently recognised as being abusive – such as attempting to prevent the adoptee from even contemplating reunion with their genealogical relatives by demonstrating that their feelings would be incredibly hurt by such. It is for this reason that many adoptees – including Michael Gove (who explained exactly this in his interview available at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/election/article-1268403/MICHAEL-GOVE-My-birth-mother-knows-I-Ill-try-track-down.html ) – suppress their own entirely natural desire to seek out the genetic reflection necessary for the healthy development of the personality that can be found from reuniting with their genealogical relatives. Even where adopters (nor the wider adoptive family) do not emphasise this, the adoptee remains pressured by socialisation to not reunite – with those doing so being described as “bad adoptees” or “ungrateful”. Again, Mr Gove’s interview gives an example of this, as he shares that his adoptive mom has previously informed him that “My mother has always said if I want to [trace her] I should”, yet he still says that “I know, though, that she would take it as an indication that I did not feel my life or upbringing was fulfilled”. Whilst it is understandable that there may be apprehension and wariness of the unknown (especially for those removed through Social Services’ interventions), being perpetually forced into the role of a child results in many adoptees negating their own needs in order to satisfy what they have been taught is the ‘right’ way to behave as a grateful adoptee.

Example 2.

Adoption is the legal severance of a child from one family, whilst grafting that child legally on to a different family, in the main for whom they are not I any other way related to. As adults, these adoptees remain legally severed from their own genealogical relatives, despite the fact that they may live with them. Indeed, I am aware of some older adult adoptees who were expelled from their adopters’ homes at 15 years old, and who have spent the intervening decades living with and amongst only their own genealogical relatives, having absolutely no contact what-so-ever with any of their sill-legally related adoptive families. Yet should anything happen to those adoptees, it is the still-legally related adoptive families whose preferences would be taken into account should any decisions need to be made regarding those adult adoptees, despite the fact that they abandoned the adoptee before adulthood *and* that the adoptee has spent the intervening years encompassed within their genealogical relatives. It is for these people that the ability for adoptees to be able to annul THEIR OWN adoptions is necessary.

Example 3.

This example stems from my own personal circumstances.

I lost my genealogical family connections at seven months old because Social Services wanted to put me into foster care (yet strangely, they didn’t want to remove my half-sister, who was 18 months older). In order to “save” me from “bouncing around” foster care (her words), my mom asked around friends and family to find out if there was anyone who would be willing to take me in for adoption. Thus, the Saturday before the Wednesday that Social Services were planning on removing me, the couple who eventually adopted me turned up following a telephone call to their next-door neighbour (the sister of a friend of my mom’s friend) to decide if they wanted to take me on “as if” I was “their own” (which is what adoption implies). As they had been unable to produce a child of their own they had already been seeking to adopt, and had recently been “scammed” by someone who eventually gave the boy they were planning on adopting to a different family. Thus, they decided that I would be a suitable replacement for both the child that they had been unable to produce between themselves and that the boy that they had hoped to adopt, and took me away immediately, and the adoption order was granted six months later. The day that I was taken away from my mom and my sister was the last time I saw anyone to whom I am genealogically related (other than my own daughter whom I bore at 18 years old), until I entered reunion at 37 years old.

Following reunion, I discovered that in addition to my maternal older sister (whose existence I was only informed of at the age of 17 whilst my adoptive mom was enraged at discovering I was pregnant with my daughter), I also have a younger maternal brother. Due to the appalling state of the bedsit in which my brother was living, at the beginning of this year, my brother moved in with us (again – he originally moved in within four months of reunion, but moved out to take on the bedsit that turned out to be in horrendous condition).

This brings me to my final point in this section.

Under the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA), Nearest Relative (NR) is a default designation that is applied to family. As my maternal half-brother is living with us, were he to be taken into (adult) care under this act, I would usually become his default NR due to our sibling relationship. However, because I am adopted, we are no longer legally related, thus any decisions that would need to be made would automatically default back to our mom, who abused both my siblings enough that either of them being detained under MHA is not beyond the realms of possibility (I am also suffering similarly, but from being adopted rather than from not being adopted). If I were able to annul my own adoption, this horrific state of affairs would no longer be true as my brother and I would share a legally recognised sibling relationship.

Information taken from: http://www.mind.org.uk/help/rights_and_legislation/nearest_relatives_under_the_mental_health_act_1983

In addition to this point, were ANY of my genealogical relatives admitted to hospital, because I am no longer legally related to ANY of them, it is entirely possible that the hospital could refuse me entry to see any relative, as I am unable to provide ANY proof of our relationship. Further, the converse would be true were I myself to be admitted to a hospital, with it being possible for my genealogical relatives to be barred from seeing me due to our lack of legal relationship.

Thus, as you see, adoption does NOT “essentially expire”, and continues to create problems for both adoptees and our genealogical kin far into adulthood – hence the necessity for it to become possible for adoptees to annul THEIR OWN adoptions *should THEY CHOOSE to*, because yes, our adopters can, should they wish, still control our lives.

> But, of course you should continue to campaign for what you believe
> in.

Oh, I will. Whilst I may feel like I am forever pounding my head upon a brick wall with not a soul listening except thousands of other adoptees who also experience these problems, I will continue to fight because if no-one fights for it, then those who remain unaffected by these issues may never learn that these issues exist for us.

> But you should, I suggest, look realistically at the fact that your E
> petition has only 37 supporters.

Early days yet.

;)

No, I don’t expect to get anywhere near the number of signatures necessary to get my petition heard in Parliament, but this is far more to do with the general public’s perception that adoption is all sunshine and rainbows. Whilst I already suspected such would be the case (due to interactions I’ve previously experienced around the Internet), this has been confirmed by some of the responses my posting the link to the petition has garnered, and so I do have a FAQ post under construction detailing some of my responses to the criticisms (and insults) that have been aimed at the petition itself, as well as at myself for daring to want such a change. Unfortunately, both living life and coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder due to adoption has hindered my writing skills somewhat – although constructing this response has aided in clarifying even more of some of my ideas, so hopefully the FAQ won’t take too much longer to produce (once I have completed cleaning up http://7rin-on-adoption.dreamwidth.org/ which has been created as a repository for adoption-related information).

> What I really wanted to say to you however (and because your tweets
> have sometimes been misleading but at least have been courteous)

Please do not presume that every comment I have made about you has been equally as courteous. I do not deny that I have made comments far more vindictive towards you than either Mr Hemming or Mr Lonsdale have shared on Twitter. I just don’t think somewhere ‘public’ like Twitter is the place for such displays, though obviously their opinion is otherwise.

> is that however much your experience of adoption has been painful for
> you it undermines you to suggest that is always the case.

I have never yet met an adoptee who wasn’t in pain. Some – many – disguise it by fitting into the image of a “good” adoptee, of which Michael Gove is a perfect example (e.g. previously mentioned article). Unfortunately, this results in those of us who do express the trauma we have experienced as being “bad” or “ungrateful” adoptees, whilst the truth is far more like Amanda explains in this post over at The Declassified Adoptee: http://www.declassifiedadoptee.com/2011/07/fallacies-of-angry-adoptee-and-happy.html

> Describing adoption as *n**ever right* as a *horror* or as *stealing*
> (as you have tweeted in the past few days) weakens any reasonable
> reservations about it which you may have.

That I may have? I understand that you’re saying my language goes too far in my expressions, but the latter half of your sentence has confused me. Feel free to rephrase if the following part fails to answer what you’re commenting on though.

Whilst I actually am aware that not every single adoption is unwanted (indeed, I actually assisted a friend who had been a long-term foster parent to two youths in his fight to adopt them because that is what the youths in question wanted), if no-one is seen to be complaining about nor suffering from $subject, then change is not deemed necessary. Unfortunately then, without extremists highlighting the worst case scenarios, it is extremely unlikely that necessary changes will occur within that subject. Thus, I speak in extremes in the majority of my Internet interactions in order to bring attention to the issues, but (as I’m hoping this email to you demonstrates), I am capable of rational discussion on an issue without being quite so extreme, as within a rational discussion, both sides *should* be able to listen to each other far more easily than in general interactions on social media.

> Because, of course, adoption isn’t always right. I believe (and say
> frequently) that it 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.

And therein lies the problem; the belief that adoption _does_ bring stability, *and* that it _does_ compensate. Again, it is part of the socialisation aspects popularising adoption, while negating the actual real everyday issues that adoptive families face, the same as every other family. Adopters – especially in the current economical situation – are as prone to job loss, and death, and divorce, and the myriad other issues that occur throughout life. Further, the very societal insistence that “adoption is good” adds even greater pressure to the adoptee, since it means that even those who are abused by their adopters (I know several adoptees who were physically, sexually, and mentally abused by their adoptive families) are still expected to proclaim the joys of adoption.

Adoption doesn’t make life better, it just makes it different. I was no better off growing up away from my genetic relatives than I would have been growing up with them, despite the fact that my kept maternal siblings suffered recognised abuse, while I was raised by a decent family. Closed adoption is ultimately destructive, and I have seen no indication that you desire to move away from as closed an adoption system as possible – however I am willing to be corrected upon this perception.

This also highlights how difficult talking about “adoption” is. Research into open adoption may show far different outcomes than research into closed adoption, yet it all categorised as “research supports the view that adoption is good”, while not delineating between which aspects are relative to what. I say adoption is abhorrent, you say adoption is great – nowhere in those sentences is enough information to tell if we are discussing remotely similar circumstances other than that the child involved can use an adoption certificate for identification purposes.

This is just another reason why I believe that adopted adults should be given the choice as to whether or not *they* want their adoption to be “forever”.

> Research around adoption is very clear about that.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of that research is funded by those with a vested interest in the continuation of the trade in children. In example, how many of the books on http://adoptionmania.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/recommended-reading/ have you read? My guess would be not a single one of them (though I am always happy to be proven wrong about such things), yet these are books that are strongly recommended by adoptees as these are books that deal with the traumas of adoption in a far more honest manner than a single article or book that I have seen from (for example) BAAF. Indeed, BAAF, Adoption UK, TACT, etc. not only produce adoptER centric material, the adoptEE material they produce do nothing more than reiterate the message that adoptees are “special” and “chosen” and “lucky” – even in the writings that directly state that these things are not the case, they still manage to make the adoptee seem to need to feel grateful for being “rescued” (regardless of circumstance).

Please, talk to people like Nancy Newton Verrier (see http://nancyverrier.com/about-the-author-nancy-verrier/ for more details) as the research from such as she is far more realistic than that put out by BAAF, Adoption UK, TACT, etc.

> My interest in it is an objective one, prompted by my experience in
> running Barnardo’s (who are involved these days in very few
> adoptions) and my anxiety about our tolerance of neglect and the need
> for us to intervene more promptly on neglect cases.

This is a conflation of issues though. Child protection can be done without the legal annihilation that is inflicted by adoption. This is why we have other measures such as Legal Guardianship. This is something I covered in my post over at https://adoptedintheuk.wordpress.com/2012/10/04/who-wants-to-take-bets-on-whether-i-presumed-correctly/ that was posted last night.

> There are some cases where the care decision may be wrong and of
> course not all children are taken into care because of neglect. You
> and others are right to expose such cases and the anger of some of
> your co-tweeters is understandable because sometimes they have lost
> their children. But my sincere advice to them is to concentrate on
> those cases rather than seek to suggest that adoption is *always*
> wrong. That is the stance often taken by John Hemming MP, and I’m
> afraid he may sometimes encourage others to take that approach. It
> does them no good at all (nor,might I add, does the abuse generated
> on Twitter, including some from someone who works for Mr Hemming).

Whilst I understand that you personally cannot look into each and every case – why not make it possible for cases to be presented to a TRULY independent body in order for their merit to be assessed? After all, with Social Workers under such pressures as they currently claim to be (a claim I am not denying may contain a vast amount of truth), then surely a system in which issues can be referred elsewhere will both free up time from those SWers who are having to try to repeatedly fight the same problems over and over, and give the public a far greater confidence in the work actually carried out?

I do sincerely detest the idea of children being removed for “at risk of future emotional harm” however, as removing children period inflicts emotional harm. This particular phrasing is something I will not fail to fight against, as it does NOT protect the very children it is claimed to be helping, but DOES inflict the emotional harm that is supposed to be being prevented in the first place.

> A few final points. You recently tweeted that Martin Narey *p**oint
> blank refuses to talk to adult adoptees. *That isn’t so. I talk to
> adult adoptees frequently and I know some adult adoptees particularly
> well including some whose lives have been transformed for the better
> by their experience.

My apologies – however, it was incredibly frustrating to see you responding to John Hemming and co’s insults, whilst seeming to ignore my own very un-insulting request for support for my ePetition. Even had it only been a short reply to say “I’ll look into it” or “email me to discuss this as Twitter’s not a suitable place to be able to discuss this”, it would have been better than no reply at all.

In reference to the talking to other adult adoptees, I would question whether those adoptees are in denial of the problems created by adoption, such as Mr Gove (as covered elsewhere), or whether they accept that there are issues within adoption? An example of alternative perspective to those in denial of the issues can be found at http://yoonsblur.blogspot.co.uk/2010/07/sole-trauma-is-loss-that-occurs-before.html for comparison.

> I also talk to and exchange views frequently with some who disagree
> with me about adoption.

Which aspects though? There’s a difference between disagreeing about minor issues such as the time-scale that X should happen within, than about whether it should exist at all.

> The BBC radio documentary tomorrow night only includes John Hemming
> because I urged the BBC to speak to him and because i believe the
> system will sometimes get things wrong. We need to do more to
> identify those cases while accepting that care is right for the vast
> majority. You need to decide for yourself whether or not Mr Hemming
> serves the interests of those he claims to represent.

Oh, fret not. I’m well aware of whose interests Mr Hemming serves, however, up until I found the FFJ types at the start of this year, I felt like a bit of a lone voice in the UK. Previously, the only other people I had found interested in discussing the deep psychological impact that adoption has upon the person tended to be American adoptees. American adoptees, in the majority of states, have far less ‘rights’ than UK adoptees, and thus has engendered a far larger ‘movement’ towards fighting for adoption reform.

> 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 dug addictions) and if
> good quality kinship carers cannot be found, to find an alternative
> stability through adoption.

Please note, I’m in no way suggesting that children should be left within abusive situations – this is again a conflation of the issues of child protection with adoption, a common mistake that is encountered by many attempting to highlight the issues facing adoptees. I am only suggesting that the ADULT adoptee is given a choice as to whether or not they wish to remain adopted. Surely it is of little relevance whether the adoptee chooses to or not, since, as you yourself have said, “adoption essentially expires at 18 years of age” anyway? Thus, making it legal for an adoptee to annul their own adoption can only be beneficial to the system, as it means that it is not a permanent solution inflicted on someone who was in no position to give THEIR OWN consent to such legal annihilation.

Sincerest thanks for your considered reply, and I ask that we may please continue this dialogue? Whilst it may ultimately prove fruitless (from my perspective), I would far rather exhaust the discussion completely and retire knowing that at least we did try to find solutions, than to just have my very real and valid concerns dismissed as a one-off rarity. I am not a one-off, rare, special case. I didn’t have a “bad” adoption, nor did I suffer from an awful adoptive family – yet adoption still did not leave me (nor many others) any “better off” than any kept and abused siblings – it simply gave us different problems to deal with that are currently unrecognised by the majority of society. This results in us being further traumatised as – unlike our kept and abused siblings – our traumas are dismissed as nothing more than us “having a bad experience”.

After all… “Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.” – The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE

As a final note, I will be pasting this reply of mine to you into a post on my site, http://adoptedintheuk.co.uk/ – not in an attempt to discredit you, nor show you up, nor any such thing, but (a) because it demonstrates that I was wrong and that you actually do talk to adoptees, and (b) helps explain some of my own ideas, thoughts and suggestions without having to write separate posts out. Whilst I have no problems with putting completely new posts on the site, I find it redundant to re-write something already explained elsewhere.

Yours, with respect
7rin

Written by 7rin

Thu, 4 October, 2012 at 4:44 pm

Who wants to take bets on whether I presumed correctly? ;)

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I have been attempting to send a reply to the first response (by Mrs S Lucas) on the Thank you Mr Narey. We hope Michael Gove and David Cameron are listening article over at Grandparents Plus by Sarah Wellard (posted on August 13, 2012 by Sacha Shabbir). Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to work out whether my post is being repeatedly ‘eaten’ by both Chrome and IE (cba to open FF to try, here’s easier) whenever I try to post it, or whether it has gone through and is simply waiting in a moderation queue, to be posted once deemed acceptable by the moderators (if so, I apologise to those same moderators for my repeated attempts to post the comment, since it means they’re going to have multiple copies sat in said queue).

Thus, the following is the reply I was attempting to post – second version, since I thought about ctrl+a > ctrl+s about three nanoseconds after hitting send – just in case it doesn’t eventually show up over on the OP.


Mrs S Lucas, you are, I presume, either an adopter, or a wannabe adopter? Or perhaps you’re both – a wanna-be-adopting-again-adopter? However, whether my presumption is correct or otherwise, I would be deeply appreciative if you could explain why it is you believe that legally severing a child from its own genealogical heritage can in ANY way be “the best option”? However, when answering, please don’t mistake my question as being a suggestion that children should remain within dangerous environments. I am merely questioning why you assert that a child should suffer legal death in order to be legally ‘re-born’ under an assumed identity, simply because their genealogical relatives have been judged unfit to care for them. Surely that is nothing more than a punishment inflicted upon the child for the crime of being born into a ‘wrong’ family?

Yes, sadly, there are always going to be children who need to be raised by people other than their own kin, but I fail to see how inflicting legalised post-natal identity abortion upon a child can in ANY way be considered “the best option”? It is especially cruel to inflict such an irrevocable act upon a person these days, when there are other far less psychologically damaging options available. By far a “better” option than annihilating a child’s identity irrevocably is legal guardianship. After all, as even Martin Narey has said, adoption “essentially expires” at 18 years of age anyway, and since legal guardianship (which is far less destructive to the psychological development of a child than adoption has been repeatedly proven to be) can be granted to cover the same time period, adoption has now become an irrelevant act that does nothing more than causes unnecessary trauma and suffering.

Further to this, adult adoptees are now fighting for the right to have their original identity restored. Some UK Adoptees have expressed this wish by creating an ePetition on the HM Government website, whilst in America – and being similarly fought for across most of the rest of the globe in places that practice adoption in a similar way to the UK – adoptees are choosing to be Adopted Back into their original families.

Don’t forget that….

Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.” – The Reverend Keith C. Griffith, MBE

Written by 7rin

Thu, 4 October, 2012 at 12:31 am

Posted in Comment re-posts

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Contact Responding – Post #3

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This is a continuation of the string of posts started over at Contact Responding – Post #1, and more recently continued at Contact Responding – Post #2.


 
PLACING CHILDREN IN SIBLING GROUPS FOR ADOPTION

1. How can we find more adopters willing and able to take on sibling groups, particularly larger groups?

Comments:

It is not adopters willing and able to take on sibling groups needed, but instead people willing to help another family out by being there for the kids while the kids are growing up.

Increasing community capacity volunteer family mentors is a step in the right direction and an example of where the Government should be aiming.

Further, this is the wrong question to be asking at the out-set. The first question that needs asking – and answering by the Government – is why is adoption seen as such a panacea that the first question is not “how can we help families to keep their children within their own kin?” Another good starting question would be “how can we encourage more kinship carers to come forward?”

2. How can we better support those families willing to adopt sibling groups, particularly larger groups?

Comments:

In exactly the same way you could be better supporting children to stay amongst their own family.

3. Please give your views on why this is difficult to achieve at present:

Comments:

The dominant ideological perspective on adoption is one of positivity and joy. Unfortunately for the adoptee – the very person this being done to – positivity and joy are far from regular experiences. Instead the adoptee faces the loss of all that is familiar while being expected to assume a whole new personality. Further, through socialisation (media, fiction) the adoptee learns that they are not to mourn this loss, but rather they are to be “grateful” for “being saved”; this theme is a constituent of the adoptee being “second best” or “an inferior product”. Until the societal perspective towards adoption changes, adoption is always going to be nothing more than a lifetime of child abuse, inflicted by agreement when the adoptee was too young to have a voice. Giving adoptees the option to legally annul, divorce, or otherwise abort THEIR OWN adoptions would herald the beginning of the new era, resulting in the Government introducing such measures potentially portrayed as humanitarians.

3a. What are the barriers to children in sibling groups being placed together for adoption?

Comments:

£££

3b. What elements of social work practice support the placement of children in sibling groups with adopters?

Comments:

£££

3c. What elements of social work practice inhibit the placement of children in sibling groups with adopters?

Comments:

£££

4. We think that placing siblings together should be considered on the merits of the case for each individual child.
Should the law be made more explicit so that placing siblings together is considered on a case by case basis for each individual child?
Yes No

Absolutely placing siblings together should be considered on the merits of the case for each individual child, however, the Government and those responsible for the trafficking of children both need to be educated on the true impact that loss of contact has on the person who is lost.

4a. How should legislation and guidance be revised to achieve this?

Comments:

It is imperative that the Government and professionals involved within the child procurement and distribution industry are educated in the true impact of adoption loss. Social workers and family justice professionals need to demonstrate comprehension of the impacts of adoption upon the adoptee, as explained in the following referenced books, before they can accurately educate others.

Brodzinsky, D.M. and Schechter, M.D. (1990) The Psychology of Adoption. New York: Oxford Press.

Lifton, B.J. (1988) Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.

Lifton, B.J. (1994) Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. New York: Basic Books.

Verrier, N.N.(1993) Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. Baltimore; Gateway Press, Inc.

Verrier, N.N.(2003) The Adopted Child Grows Up: Coming Home to Self. Baltimore; Gateway Press, Inc.

As explained by Verrier (2003, pp. 162-3):
“Sometimes, terrible things happen to little children. Perhaps more often than we realize. Things that aren’t always recognized as terrible, such as being put in an incubator to save a life or placed with foster parents to avoid abuse, feel terrible to little children. We know that leaving children with abusive parents is a bad thing, but we don’t often recognize that children also suffer when placed with other people, even if those people are good. I am quite sure that many CPS (Child Protective Services) case workers don’t recognize the harm in taking children away from their real parents. Yet in the life of the child it is a huge transgression. These actions, although perhaps necessary, create attitudes in children that are sometimes harmful to them. … Sometimes social workers have to make these decisions, but they need to understand the pain for the children when they do. … Children may be harmed by keeping them in their abusive homes and by placing them with foster parents. … I am referring to the harm that comes from being separated from everything familiar – from family, even a bad family.”

4b. In what other ways could a case by case basis be promoted for each individual child when considering the adoption of children separately?

Comments:

If Child Protection professionals are not already basing their decisions on what is best for each individual they assess, then their job role has been wrong all along. This is further evidence that the Government and Child Protection professionals both need to stop looking at the fallacies espoused by those within the child distribution industry, and start listening to the adults who have lived through it. The Government needs to investigate the evidence amassing that categorically portrays adoption as anything but “for the best”.

5. Should we revise legislation and guidance to set out the features of good arrangements for contact with siblings when children are adopted separately?
Yes No

Yes, legislation and guidance should be revised to set out the features of good arrangements for contact with siblings when children are adopted separately. Again though, this necessarily entails the professionals following the guidance to be aware of the impact of ALL the decisions they make – hence the previously referenced books should become required reading for ALL who are dealing with such issues.

5a. How should legislation and guidance be revised to achieve this?

Comments:

Legislation and guidance should be revised to set out the features of good arrangements for contact with siblings when children are adopted separately by making it compulsory for all adopters to keep siblings’ lives as integrated on a day-to-day basis as humanly possible (keeping them within the same school, for example). “Contact” should not be set arrangements in contact centres and other such child-unfriendly places, but sharing times such as swimming lessons/sessions, playing on parks, and other such child-friendly activities. The main theme should not be “we must spend X hours a day/week/month locked away in a small room together so we can say we have seen each other”. The main theme should be “we are spending time together doing fun-filled, productive activities so that we can learn to work together and grow together whilst having a fun time and living our lives sharing experiences.”

Legislation should be enacted that compels adopters to ensure that siblings are not traumatised by each other’s loss, but instead enforces a high degree of time spent together with siblings. For this reason, future legislation needs to ensure that siblings adopted separately are not made to live more than a few easily travelable miles from each other.

There should also be a way for those adoptees to later annul, divorce, or otherwise abort THEIR OWN adoptions. This prevents legal contracts signed before the adoptee was of an age to give consent from perpetuating their loss into adulthood. It is imperative that the Government enacts legislation that enables the adoptee to no longer languish under the adoptee status inflicted upon them whilst they were below legal ages for submitting to such contracts (e.g. marriage – for which divorce can be filed).

Until such a law is enacted, it should be considered child abuse to legally sever any more children from their own families, and should cease immediately – at least until the ramifications of adoption as it currently exists are truly explored.

5b. In what other ways could good contact arrangements be promoted when children are adopted separately?

Comments:

Make adoption more like a marriage – not a severance from one family while sticky-taping on to a new one, but a merging or blending or extending of all families involved. Attempting to restrict a child’s access to their own kin is inherently harmful to that child, as described by Verrier, Lifton, Brodzinsky, etc.

6. Please use the space below for any other comments you would like to make on placing children in sibling groups for adoption

Comments:

The Government is approaching adoption from the wrong perspective. Instead of perceiving adoption as a panacea for the problems of children with parents who can/t or won’t parent adequately, and people who would like to have children of their own but can’t; adoption should be seen as a last resort. Adoption should be reserved for those wanting to be adopted by the people who have raised them, with full and accurate knowledge of all the sociological and psychological implications that are inherent in being adopted.

Adoption does not “save children”, instead it destroys their lives in ways that are not recognised as causing trauma.

“Adoption Loss is the only trauma in the world where the victims are expected by the whole of society to be grateful.” (Griffith, K.C., no date)

The whole premise that adoption is a ‘golden option'[ ] is wrong.

Adoption is the legal severance of a person from their ENTIRE heritage, FOREVER! Irrevocably!

That’s not child protection; it’s legalised post-natal identity abortion, after which the child is expected to grow up as entirely different person to who they really are.

The tools are already in place to both establish and revoke parental responsibility, so why does the person growing up as Somebody Else’s Child need to have their entire identity obliterated, irrevocably and forever?

If adoption is about child protection, why have I had to spend twice as long as an adult suffering from the repercussions of what was done to me as a child? If adoption is about child protection, then once I am no longer a child, but am instead an adult, I should be legally in some way be permitted to annul that adoption, yes?

I was fortunate in that I grew up within an awesome adoptive family, with whom I still have strong bonds and relatively close contact. Others have been less fortunate however, with several adopted friends having last seen their adopters around the time they were thrown out of the adoptive home – usually around 15 years old. Yet even decades later, with often many of those intervening years spent living amongst biological relatives, the adoptive family would still hold all the legal ties to that person. That this cannot be in some way undone, or revoked, or annulled, or divorced, is a human rights abuse, given that it is inflicted upon a person below any legal age of consent. More when it is possible to acquire a newly issued birth certificate showing the person is living as the binary-opposite gender.

If I can divorce my husband, why can I not in some way undo my adoption in a likewise fashion?

There are many legal ramifications to adoption – especially taking into account the high degree of emotional trauma experienced by the adoptee and any unadopted children.

Both this response form and the response form for the contact with parents starts wrong. In order for children to achieve their fullest potential, it is important for them to experience a high degree of genealogical reflection, upon which they can then establish their own identity. It is necessary to see the mistakes the people you come from make to learn to understand how to see the world.

Additionally, I would like to invite whomever reads my Sibling Contact Response to read my Parental Contact Response too, as this describes much that is relevant to the issues surrounding sibling contact.

Written by 7rin

Fri, 31 August, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Contact Responding – Post #2

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This is a continuation of the string of posts started over at Contact Responding – Post #1.

This is my critique of the the Family (fucked-up) Futures Top 20 Wishlist for annihilating even more people through adoption, as included in my parental Contact Response form.


 
1. National campaigns to raise awareness of looked-after children’s needs
State funded and professional media advertising campaigns designed to raise public awareness of the plight of looked-after children and their need for permanent adoptive families.

Even from this outset, there is the emphasis on adoption being necessary, and that more adopters are needed. This is categorically false because adoption is unnecessary to “save” a child from a situation deemed harmful. “Saving” a child from harm involves removing them from the situation – removing that child’s identity through adoption and replacing it with a false identity is not a necessary part of that. Indeed, removing that child’s identity and replacing it with another is not only inherently harmful to the child, but is nothing more than a punishment of the child for the sins (real or imagined) of their parents.

Brodzinsky and Schechter (1990, pp. 95-104)[ ] describe a Swedish study where results of “Adjustment in School at 11 Years” (pg. 99) shows that adopted children fare worse than even fostered children, with 56% of adoptees demonstrating symptoms that in some cases resulted in the child being labelled a “problem child”, while only 45% of fosterees demonstrated similar behaviour.

A far better solution for long-term care is the use of Special Guardianship.

“The 2002 Act introduced Special Guardianship as a new legal permanence option for children who cannot live with their birth families, but for whom adoption is not suitable.”[ ]

Special Guardianship provides the stability needed during childhood, while not annihilating the child’s own identity and superimposing a false one upon the child. Nor does Special Guardianship result in the child being legally severed from their own kin, meaning that they do not need to spend their adult life legally attached to complete strangers that they may not have been in contact with for decades. Thus, Special Guardianship contributes to the healthy development of an adult with minimal identity conflicts, unlike adoption.

Further, adoption is not something done to just the child. Adoption is not something that ends at 18 years old. Adoption is something inflicted upon that person for the rest of their life. Adoption is – currently at least – irrevocable.

“Adoption orders are made by the High Court, county courts and Magistrates’ Courts. … The order is the only document which contains details of a child’s birth identity and his or her identity after adoption.”[ ]

ONS data[ ] reports more than one hundred and eighty thousand adoptees created since 1974. Yet reunion statistics[ ] show that even the vastly under-advertised Adoption Contact Register contained almost twenty thousand adoptees within its first ten years of existence, while by the end of 2011, NORCAP’s contact register held details of more than sixty-eight thousand people[ ]. This demonstrates that despite legal severance from their kin, a massive proportion of adoptees return to their families of origin – with many adoptees having no further contact with their adopters. However, contrary to all sanity, adoptees who have lived with biological relatives for several decades, can still have all their preferences over-turned by genetic strangers simply because they were raised by those people for child protection issues.

Adoption should be revocable!

2. Earlier removal of children
Earlier removal of children from traumatising family environments would enhance their capacity to thrive in adoptive families.

Whilst it cannot be denied that it is better to remove children swiftly from dangerously abusive environments, too many children are being deprived of contact on too nebulous reasons. A relevant example is of removing children deemed “at risk of future emotional harm”. Children removed from their own families simply because they might be “at risk of future emotional harm” are having actual and real harm inflicted upon them by the very services supposedly in place to protect them.

“many children … would be far better off if they remained with their own families even if those families got only the typical help (which tends to be little help, wrong help, or no help) commonly offered by child welfare agencies.”[ ]

Losing your family as a child results in genealogical bewilderment, stress and anxiety, and genuine terror. This is not something child protection specialists should be inflicting upon children in anything other than the most extreme circumstances. Instead of removing children from their own homes at the earliest possible opportunity, the Government needs to look at and learn from the Australian model where there are very very few adoption or removals of children unless absolutely dire circumstances are encountered.

3. Post-placement support/therapy for adopted children and their families
Every child who is adopted having access to post-placement support for their adoptive parents and therapeutic intervention to heal the scars of trauma.

This is very necessary, and – as with the current legislation in place – needs to be extended so that adults who have suffered adoption can also get the right help in dealing with being adopted.

4. Committed funding for therapeutic/educational input for each adoptive child/family
Adoption saves society a huge amount of money in comparison to a lifetime in the care system. Given that adoptive parents have full parental rights, it is appropriate that they are expected to pay for the day to day living expenses of their children. However, there is growing recognition that the majority of children placed for adoption will have or do have the need of additional educational and therapeutic input. I believe that this should be paid for out of a grant or a pot of money that goes with each child into the future which could be a proportion of the expense that that child would have been to the state had they remained in care (say, 25%).
If the state facilitates adoption, this investment would represent a win-win situation for state, the child and their family. Currently we have a lose-lose situation; adoptive parents feel under-resourced in terms of service provision and the state continues to pay the high cost of children remaining in the public care system and beyond, in terms of involvement in the criminal justice and adult mental health systems.

This feeds back into all of the answers already given, and is a part of the paradigm change that MUST occur if adoption is continuing to be used.

5. Adoption leave equivalent to maternity leave for both parents
Adoption leave to be equal to maternity leave for both fathers and mothers as it is vital for children with a poor attachment history to spend time with their new adoptive parents in order to ‘build the bonds of attachment’.

Yes.

6. Prioritising early intervention in adoption, whilst supporting members of ethnic minorities to adopt
Adoption and fostering need to embrace the fact that Britain is the most multicultural country in the world. We need therefore to be more realistic about matching children ethnically, culturally and with respect to religion, bearing in mind that time is of the essence and early permanent placement should be the priority above all other considerations.
However, so this does not become a justification for some form of subtle institutional racism or social imperialism, financial and other incentives should be offered to members of ethnic minorities in order to facilitate them becoming adoptive parents or permanent carers of children from within their own communities. We need to do both: it is not either/or. Easier access and more generous adoption allowances would enable potential adopters to have income supplements to enable them to take on the financial demands of parenting an adopted child.

The biggest problem with this is it means the adopters are getting the help that the child’s original family should have in order to help keep the family together. It is pointless to pay complete strangers substantial amounts to raise someone else’s child in a system of lies that causes great psychological harm to the child when that child could stay within their own family with such substantive support.

7. Swifter and more inclusive assessment and selection of prospective adopters
Currently there are many more childless individuals and couples who would consider adoption as a route to parenthood than there are children needing adoption. However this imbalance is not reflected in the adoption system in terms of placement outcomes. I believe there are a number of reasons for this.
i Poor public perception and understanding of adoption today
ii Media and internet savvy potential applicants who are aware of the complexities of need that children have and the paucity of resources currently available to support them through the process
iii The constraints of ethnic matching
iv The lack of financial support for the poorer sections of the community who, if assisted, could become part of the resource pool of parents.
The selection process currently and routinely followed suffers from the following drawbacks:
i Group information days and training sessions for prospective adopters delay and depersonalise the process
ii As the complexity of needs of children in the care system appears to increase, so does professionals’ and panels’ anxiety levels when it comes to selection and matching. This leads to procrastination and indecision. BAAF Assessment reports typically contain volumes of information but no tools for analysing the information in order to develop a psychological profile of the potential parent. More SMART tools need to be used as part of a more concise, focussed and shorter selection process (eg Adult Attachment Interview/Attachment Style Interview).
iii The Family Futures’ 20:80 principle. We believe that 20% of an agency’s resources should be front-loaded into the preparation and assessment programme of potential adoptive parents and 80% into post- placement support where parents ‘learn on the job’ how to be parents.
Adoption agencies that do not adequately resource their post-placement support packages become too reliant on assessment leading to a tendency to look for ‘ideal’ candidates and matches which will be able to stand alone in the future. In our experience, this is unrealistic, and we need to move away from a model of adoptive parenthood that is recruiting parents knowing that in the future they will have to go it alone. This model is theoretically flawed and morally wrong.
Swifter and more inclusive assessments could be made possible if there was a guarantee of post-adoption support. Post-adoption support is not just about resolving post-placement difficulties. It is also about providing a safety net for any shortcomings and the inherent difficulties there are in predicting parenting capacity.

There does not need to be swifter assessment, instead, the method of assessment needs to change dramatically in order to ensure that the adults who are acquiring someone else’s child to pretend to raise as their own are fully conversant with the harsh realities of being adopted.

8. Use of special guardian ship to be limited
The use of ‘special guardianship’ should be confined to the role it was originally intended, which was to be more the exception than the rule as a route to permanence

No! No! No! No! No! Special Guardianship should be used far far more widely than it is now as it does not result in the person being severed legally from their own heritage – at least until the laws around adoption change to allow the adoptee to annul or otherwise overturn their own adoption in order to regain their rightful place back within their own family.

9. Short term foster carer role to be professionalised
Adoption is only as good as the short term foster care that the child has received.
The status of foster carers should be raised to that of ‘barefoot therapists’ who are dignified with the role of primary agents of change for children.
In order to achieve this they need to be treated as colleagues, trained to a professional level, and supported through the emotional tsunami that will inevitably follow if they endeavour to truly engage psychologically and emotionally with the children in their care.
Without such engagement, the child’s early traumas can become fossilised in their mind and in their bodies. This makes the prospective adoptive parents’ ‘job’ far harder and longer as they endeavour to form a more secure attachment relationship with the child. Foster carers need the emotional and psychological support to go with the child, at the earliest opportunity, to the dark and dirty places that the child has just left, whilst the child’s fears and memories remain vivid and plastic.

ALL Foster Care roles should be professionalised, not just short-term!
Foster Caring should be considered a full-time job, and Foster Carers should receive adequate training in order to deal with the children they are looking after.

Further, this question demonstrates yet again the incongruity between being an adoptee, and the perceptions held by the industry involved in their creation. Adoption also ‘fossilises’ within the adoptee, leading to a variety of seemingly maladaptive symptoms (which are very normal coping mechanisms), and these need to be understood by the professionals involved in the creation of adoption loss.

10. Extension and enhancement of social work training
Training for social workers in general to be on a par with that of psychologists in terms of duration, to ensure that for career grade social workers, they are equipped with the knowledge base and skills to carry out the highly complex task of assessing children and families.

Absolutely the training of Social Workers needs extending and enhancing, and not only because current wisdom is contributing to the inherently harmful practices already in place within adoption.

11. Attachment theory and understanding of developmental trauma to underpin social work practice in adoption and fostering
Social work training needs to come out of the closet of political correctness, social policy and politics and focus on assessing and meeting the holistic needs of children, adults and the elderly in a way that is based on neurological, psychological, physiological and developmental research and theory. Attachment theory and the science of interpersonal relationships need to be at the heart of all areas of social work practice. For those social workers working in the field of adoption and fostering, there should be a specialist module on the effect of developmental trauma on child development and recovery.

Yes, however attachment theory as it is currently understood is deeply flawed as it does not reflect the true traumas faced by adoptees growing up within the closed adoption system. Again, this is all part of the paradigm change that needs to occur in order to return “child protection” back to protecting children rather than traumatising them further.

12. Neuro-scientific evidence-base to inform decisions on children’s welfare
Because of inadequate training and limited staff resources, children are remaining in neglectful and traumatising birth family environments for too long. The double-bind for social workers is that they are criticised for either being ‘pathologically optimistic’ (about a parent’s capacity to improve their parenting style) or ‘child-stealers’, in the public view.

The resolution of this double-bind is for social workers to be fully conversant with the latest neuro-scientific research and theory and its implications for child development, so that their assessment and decision-making can be more evidence based and robust during the child’s early formative years. We need social workers to get out of the stocks of tabloid prejudice and into a more respected role of safe-guarders of children’s welfare.

Absolutely Social Workers need to be fully conversant with the latest neuro-scientific research available as this would all-but eliminate the current horrific practice of snatching babies from their mother’s breast when there is no immediate threat to the health or safety of the newly born baby.

13. Multi-disciplinary adoption services
Adoption services becoming multi-disciplinary as part of integrated health and children’s service provision, and that the multi-disciplinary team takes case responsibility from the moment that adoption as a care-plan is agreed.

Of course, expanding a business is only possible with integration, and so of course a company dealing in the procurement and distribution of children would want to expand into other areas in order to be able to earn more funding.

14. Birth family contact with looked after children to be re-defined as a responsibility
Contact pre permanent placement and post permanent placement should be seen more as a responsibility of the birth relative towards the child rather than as the exercising of a human right. Too often in the court domain, contacts between birth relatives and looked after children are seen as a negotiation, as a right, as continuity for the child.
We need to see contact in the light of what we know about the impact of trauma on childhood development and attachment behaviour. The questions regarding contact that need to be asked are
i Can the birth parent behave responsibly and conduct contact in a way that is in the ‘best interests of the child’ as defined by the developmental and therapeutic needs of that child?
ii Does the contact help the child to feel good about themselves, to absolve them of responsibility for what has happened in the past, and reassure them that it is OK to feel safe and form attachments to current carers?
iii What is the purpose of the contact? Does the decision-making process about contact take on board the fact that the child will be having contact with someone who has caused them ‘significant harm’ whilst remaining a significant figure to them?
iv What support and facilitation and reassurance will be offered to the child in order for them to feel safe, in order for them to make sense of what is happening, in order for them not to be re-traumatised?

The language used within this ‘wish’ epitomises the disparity between the child procurement industry and the experiences of those children that industry has trafficked.

Contact is a human right – it is continuity essential for healthy personality development. To deny a child contact with their own genealogical kin is yet another method of punishing the child for the sins (real or imagined) of the parents.

The question conspicuous by its absence from this list is “how harmful to the person is removal from all genealogical reflection?” Removing contact will not remove the abuser as a “significant figure”, but removing contact may exacerbate any trauma already caused on a grand scale.

15. Automatic joint or collective placement of siblings to be challenged
Conventional practice and our natural instincts are to endeavour to keep sibling groups together in permanent placement. Indeed this consideration is enshrined in children’s legislation.
This presumption needs to be questioned for two reasons.
i Firstly, is it possible for foster carers or adoptive parents to deliver the intensity and quality of developmental re-parenting that each individual child needs to recover from the ‘significant harm’ they have experienced in their birth family (and sometimes within the care system), when siblings with
similar needs are placed together?
ii Have sibling attachment relationships been so distorted and pathologised by living in an adverse domestic environment that their ‘trauma bond’ will only perpetuate past patterns in their new family, leaving foster carers and adopters managing the matrix rather than parenting the child?
We need to change custom and practice from a presumption that siblings should be kept together at all costs to prioritising the potential for children to form a secure attachment to adoptive parents which may require them to be parented as ‘onlys’ rather than siblings.

There is a vast difference between siblings being raised apart from each other, but still in frequent and regular contact, and the legal and physical severing inflicted upon families by the closed-adoption system. Having to try to build a relationship with a sibling who didn’t even know you existed for over three decades is exceedingly traumatic, difficult, and unnecessary. Siblings may fare better raised in separate households, but that should not negate the relationship they already have with each other. Further, being parented as an ‘only’ when part of a sibling group is additional trauma inflicted upon the child, forcing the child deeper into a world of fantasy and deceit, rather than acceptance for who they are.

16. Longer placement transitions
Commonly, regardless of the age of the child, placement transitions are made over a two to three week period. For older children (4+) this time frame is too short. Children from the care system who have often lost their trust in adults to care for them and protect them approach a change of placement with fear and trepidation.
They have ‘internal working models’ (personal schema) of parents which are based on a template of their biological parent(s)’ parenting of them.
We need therefore to revise our time-scales for introductions and make them age appropriate and developmentally attuned. This may force us to change our expectations of foster carers and adopters during this complex and emotionally charged process. In recognition of this, higher levels of professional involvement both to support participants and to mentor them into the new and uncharted territory of adoptive parenthood will be necessary.

Yes! However, as previously described, the ‘educating’ that occurs necessarily requires a significant revolution to bring the incongruous picture painted by the child traffickers in line with the realities of the people who suffer this for the ENTIRETY of their life.

17. Health screening/Paediatric monitoring of all looked after children
For children who may have been conceived in a foetal environment contaminated by drugs, alcohol, cortisol (as a result of intense maternal stress) and are then born into a neglectful and traumatising environment, the developmental and ill health sequalae are short, medium and long-term. We would advocate more rigorous paediatric monitoring of all looked after children. This should continue for adopted children post-adoption, as some of the implications and manifestations of developmental trauma on the health of the child are sometimes subtle and problems that children grow into and not out of. Family Futures’ paediatrician’s research on the children screened through our service reflects this* (available on request).

Absolutely – and this deeply necessary help should also extend into adulthood, as it is not until adulthood that many adoptees find the language necessary to be able to describe their truths.

Being adopted brings a whole slew of problems to the person that are not encountered by the rest of society. Predominant in these are the archetypes of ‘second-best’ or ‘inferior product’, but it has been widely acknowledged (Lifton, Brodzinsky, Verrier, etc.) that the sociological impact of adoption upon the adoptee is tremendous. Unfortunately, these problems are currently either abstruse to the majority of the industry traffickers, ignored by them, and in many cases scorned by them.

18. Assessment of adopted children’s need for ‘catch up’ educational provision
Every adopted child of school age should be assessed for appropriate supplementary and complementary educational provision. This will enable them to catch up developmentally and achieve their full potential in mainstream school.

Yes.

19. Attachment theory and the damaging effects of developmental trauma on the capacity to learn to be integral to all teacher training programmes
It would be advantageous for all children at all ages and stages that their teachers had a good working knowledge of attachment theory, child development and the effect of relational trauma on the capacity to learn, delivered through their primary teacher training.
The child’s capacity and potential to learn takes place in a social and emotional context which needs to be understood by teachers in a holistic way if we are genuinely to be ‘inclusive’ in our approach to education. Though this is of specific relevance to children in the care system or those who have been adopted, there are many children living in the community whose lives are on the threshold of state intervention whom such understanding would benefit.

Yes, however as already discussed, the Government is obligated to revise the ‘education’ being delivered to professionals to incorporate knowledge of the traumas faced by adoptees.

20. Dedicated support for birth parents
Birth parents should have dedicated workers as part of the multi-disciplinary adoption team who continue to work with them to help them resolve their deep sense of loss, their own early personal traumas, and facilitate meaningful contact with their children who are adopted or in the care system.

Yes.

Unfortunately, Narey’s rush to maximise adoptions fails to take into account that adoptees represent “disproportionately large referral rates” to mental health services.

“Although adopted children raised by non-biological relatives account for only 1 to 2% of the population of children in the United States (Zill, 1985), mental health clinics report disproportionately large referral rates for this group of individuals.” (Smith & Brodzinsky, 1994) [ ]

In another instance, Narey gives an example of “where the separation of siblings is probably wise”. Unfortunately for the children involved within the example, Narey appears oblivious to the idea that whilst it may not always be in the siblings’ “best interests” to remain living in the same physical space, that in no way negates the fact that contact should NOT be lost on a permanent basis.

Yes, regulations and guidance should be strengthened so that contact arrangements are purposeful and reflect the needs of the child, but children need the genealogical reflection provided by their biological relatives in order to fully assimilate their own inherent personality and identity.

“For the adoptee every day is a challenge of trying to figure out how to be, although he probably doesn’t understand the difficulty this presents for him. It has been true his whole life and, therefore, feels normal. However, it takes a great deal of energy and concentration. And it never feels quite right. He never quite fits. Therefore he feels as if he is never quite right.” (Verrier, pg. 50) [ ]

Continue reading Part #3.

Written by 7rin

Fri, 31 August, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Contact Responding – Post #1

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Contrary to personal expectation, I did manage to get my email off in time to send both of my responses in to the DfE’s Consultation Review on contact arrangements for children in care. Given that I’m not sure what the word count is for WordPress posts yet (and cba to gliu), I’m expecting to have to split my two responses across three posts: Post one, this one, will be my response to the parental contact response form, excluding my critique of the Family Futures (fucked-up) Top 20 Wishlist; post two will be said critique; post three will be my sibling contact response.

Admittedly, these responses do prove that my head is not writing anywhere near well enough to go back to uni., which added on to a couple of other things, has kinda made my decision about uni. for me, for now.


 
CONTACT ARRANGEMENTS FOR CHILDREN IN CARE

1. We want to ensure that all professionals involved in making contact arrangements give careful and critical consideration to the length and frequency of contact, particularly for infants. Should we strengthen regulations and guidance so that contact arrangements are purposeful and reflect the needs of the child?
Yes No
Please comment further, including any suggestions for alternative proposals:

Yes, regulations and guidance need strengthening to ensure that all professionals involved in making contact arrangements give careful and critical consideration to the length and frequency of contact. However, the Government first needs to ensure that both it and all professionals involved in making contact arrangements are educated in the reality of being adopted – a reality contradictory to established conventional wisdom or common sense purported as being “for the best” by the large majority of those involved in the industry of the procurement and distribution of children.

Martin Narey’s interview transcript[ ] aptly demonstrates the tremendous disparity between the reality of being adopted, and the parody the purveyors of children expound.

First is the compounding of Mackaskill’s[ ] statistics (pg. 71), resulting in Narey fallaciously exhorting contact as being proven to be more often harmful than not. Further, Mackaskill’s research is necessarily invalidated as an explicit authority on the cessation of contact as all the subjects experienced face-to-face contact (pg. 7) – contrary to the experience of those confined within the closed adoption system. Narey’s approbation of Mackaskill’s study evinces his lack of comprehension of – or regard for – the devastating impact that the loss of genealogical reflection has upon a developing personality.

Another example is Narey’s comment of reducing “the amount of infant contact we have to more tolerable levels“, suggesting this “would be entirely in the interests of that baby“. Unfortunately, all this demonstrates yet again is Narey’s lack of knowledge of – or disregard for – long-established research demonstrating the massive importance of mothers to their young babies, especially within the weeks immediately after birth. That Narey follows this up by decrying cost as an implication, then adds “it would save local authorities a lot of money as well” only further serves to exemplify his true motives.

The radical re-assessment of the current ideological perspectives on adoption is further demonstrated as necessary by Narey’s reference to “the outstanding ‘Family Futures’ adoption agency, one of the most impressive organisations I’ve been to”. This, with his admission of surprise that a child distribution agency would want to do anything to make their business easier to sell, highlights either Narey’s naivety around the devastating, life-long impact that adoption has upon people, or his desire to further the child procurement and distribution industry. Of far greater indictment however, is nod to the “Family Futures’ Top 20 ‘Wishlist’ for Adoption in the 21st Century” – a document detailing almost everything adult adoptees are currently fighting against.

{See THIS POST for the Family fucked-up Futures critique}

2. We want to ensure that arrangements are appropriate to their age and stage of the child and specifically infants, ensuring they are not, for example, subject to long journeys. Each case will need to be decided on an individual basis, however we should like to propose that a starting point might be that children under two are rarely exposed to contact more than two or three times a week and for sessions of no more than two hours.
Should we strengthen statutory guidance to ensure more consideration is given to the purpose of contact for infants?
Yes No
Please comment further, including any suggestions for alternative proposals:

This response has previously established Martin Narey’s aversion to the financial costs entailed in ensuring that children retain contact with their own families, thus this question is nonsensically phrased. Of course each case should be decided on an individual basis, which is why stipulating restrictions such as no more than six hours exposure of children younger than two to their own parents is exceedingly dangerous. Not only does it prevent the decision being made according to individual needs and experiences, but it also negates the research available showing how important physical contact with ones’ own parents is.

That local authorities currently “spend a fortune employing agency social workers to supervise contact and shuttle children across town” is not as a sign the service should be removed, but that it should be made more efficient. Again though, it is only through a radical reassessment of the true impacts of adoption and needs of the adoptee that such a change can be truly useful. Adopters should be compelled to ensure that contact takes place in safe, healthy ways such as by playing on parks and such like, rather than in contact centres and other such child unfriendly places.

3. To ensure the role of Independent Reviewing Officer in scrutinising contact arrangements, as part of the care planning process for the child, is sufficiently emphasised,
Should we look again at guidance for Independent Reviewing Officers?
Yes No
Please comment further, including any suggestions for alternative proposals:

Yes. It is always good to look and see if improvements can be made in any sphere.

4. We think that the duties on local authorities to allow children in care reasonable contact with their birth parents and to promote contact for looked after children, may encourage a focus on the existence and frequency of contact arrangements, rather than on whether they safeguard and promote the best interests of the child. Removing these duties would remove the perceived presumption of contact in all cases and help local authorities to take a case-by-case decision about the best contact arrangements for the individual child.
Should we remove the duties on local authorities in primary legislation to allow children in care reasonable contact with their birth parents and to promote contact for looked after children?
Yes No
Please comment further:

No, duties placed on local authorities in primary legislation to allow children in care reasonable contact with their biological parents and to promote contact for looked after children should not be removed. Instead, as explained in answer to question 2, such contact should be strengthened in order to reflect the fact that it is essential for the wellbeing and healthy identity formation of a child to remain in contact as much as possible with their parents where it is physically safe to do so.

5. Alternatively, we could look to ensure that arrangements are made in the child’s best interests, taking account of views and wishes of all concerned, and aligned with the longer term plans for the child.
Should we replace the duties on local authorities in primary legislation to allow children in care reasonable contact with their birth parents and to promote contact for looked after children, with a new requirement that local authorities consider contact arrangements that have a clear purpose documented in the child’s care plan?
Yes No
Please comment further:

Yes, this should be done anyway.

CONTACT ARRANGEMENTS ONCE ADOPTION IS THE PLAN

6. We want to ensure that contact arrangements change as a child’s circumstances change and that they are consistent with plans for the child’s future. There are three key points at which contact arrangements need to be considered and reassessed:
(a) when the local authority makes a decision that a child should be placed for adoption, but no placement order has been made;
(b) at placement order; and
(c) when the child is placed with prospective adopters.
Should we look at existing guidance and regulations and consider where and how these can be strengthened to ensure a formal review and a clear decision making process about contact takes place at each of the three points?
Yes No
Please comment further:

Yes, this should be done anyway.

7. We want to minimise the risks of harm for the child as a result of badly planned and inappropriate contact arrangements.
Should we introduce a presumption of ‘no contact’ unless the local authority is satisfied that contact would be in the best interests of the child?
Yes No
Please comment further:

No. The presumption should ALWAYS be for prolonged, sustained, and regular contact unless the child is in immediate danger from such contact.

8. We want birth parents to gain the court’s permission to apply for contact, rather than being able to make a direct application to the court.
Should we introduce a ‘permission’ filter for birth parents, requiring them to get permission from the court to apply for contact with a child?
Yes No
Please comment further, including any suggestions for alternative proposals:

No. There are already enough hoops for parents to have to jump through in order to sustain the very necessary contact with their children – adding yet another layer will only (a) add to expenses, and (b) be detrimental to the child by potentially reducing the amount of contact they get with their own parents.

9. We want potential adopters views to be taken into account at an early point when making contact arrangements.
Should we introduce a provision to explicitly seek the views of the potential adopters at an early point in relation to contact at the point of the placement order?
Yes No
Please comment further:

No. No adopter should take on a child that they are not ultimately willing to make massive sacrifices for, and if one of those sacrifices is more time spent enabling the child they are raising to make the most from any and all contact that they can have with their own parents, then that is what they should be doing. If they are not willing to sustain a strong relationship between the child they are raising and that child’s parents, then they should not be adopting.

CONTACT ARRANGEMENTS FOR ADOPTED CHILDREN

10. We want to give adoptive parents recourse where informal contact arrangements were causing difficulties.
Should we provide that the court can, on application for an adoption order, make an order for no contact?
Yes No
Please comment further, including any suggestions for an alternative proposals:

No. The only time an order for no contact should be considered is if the biological parent in question is an imminent and immediate threat to the life and physical health of the child.

If informal contact arrangements are causing difficulties, then those experiencing this should re-apply to the courts for a more formal contact regime to be crafted, reflecting sensible aspects such as geographical distances, or shift-working patterns.

11. In addition to introducing a “no contact” order, we could raise the bar for any birth parent to make an application for a contact order. Criteria for granting permission already exists therefore we will explore how this might be strengthened.
Should we amend legislation to create a new more demanding ‘permission filter’?
Yes No
Please comment further, including any suggestions for an alternative proposals:

No. Contact between children and their own parents should not be restricted unless there is clear and compelling evidence that the parent will be an imminent and immediate threat to the life and physical health of the child.

12. What additional support do social workers and family justice professionals need to ensure their own practice and recommendations are informed by evidence about the positive and negative effects of contact for children who are adopted?
Please comment further:

Social workers and family justice professionals need to demonstrate comprehension of the impacts of adoption upon the adoptee, as explained in the following referenced books, before they can accurately educate others.

Brodzinsky, D.M. and Schechter, M.D. (1990) The Psychology of Adoption. New York: Oxford Press.

Lifton, B.J. (1988) Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.

Lifton, B.J. (1994) Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. New York: Basic Books.

Verrier, N.N.(1993) Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. Baltimore; Gateway Press, Inc.

Verrier, N.N.(2003) The Adopted Child Grows Up: Coming Home to Self. Baltimore; Gateway Press, Inc.

As explained by Verrier (2003, pp. 162-3):
Sometimes, terrible things happen to little children. Perhaps more often than we realize. Things that aren’t always recognized as terrible, such as being put in an incubator to save a life or placed with foster parents to avoid abuse, feel terrible to little children. We know that leaving children with abusive parents is a bad thing, but we don’t often recognize that children also suffer when placed with other people, even if those people are good. I am quite sure that many CPS (Child Protective Services) case workers don’t recognize the harm in taking children away from their real parents. Yet in the life of the child it is a huge transgression. These actions, although perhaps necessary, create attitudes in children that are sometimes harmful to them. … Sometimes social workers have to make these decisions, but they need to understand the pain for the children when they do. … Children may be harmed by keeping them in their abusive homes and by placing them with foster parents. … I am referring to the harm that comes from being separated from everything familiar – from family, even a bad family.

13. In what ways should we strengthen the training about contact for prospective adopters as part of the new adopter assessment process?
Please comment further:

It should be compulsory for prospective adopters to read the following books, and demonstrate comprehension of the issues discussed within them:

Lifton, B.J. (1988) Lost and Found: The Adoption Experience. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc.

Lifton, B.J. (1994) Journey of the Adopted Self: A Quest for Wholeness. New York: Basic Books.

Verrier, N.N.(1993) Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child. Baltimore; Gateway Press, Inc.

Verrier, N.N.(2003) The Adopted Child Grows Up: Coming Home to Self. Baltimore; Gateway Press, Inc.

As explained by Verrier (2003, pg. 117):
It is sometimes difficult to spot grief in children. After all, it isn’t as if the child sits in a puddle of tears his entire childhood. As one adoptee said, “Of course I played, laughed, sang. Do people think that if you’re not sitting in a corner with your head on your knees, you are not sad? I had happy times, but the sadness was always there, even when I was having fun.”

14. What additional post adoption support could be offered, to help adoptive parents support their child to understand how to make or stop contact with their birth family?
Please comment further:

Education needs to begin with taking notice of what adult adoptees are describing. Examples of place to turn to find such things out are:

http://www.ukadoptees.co.uk

http://adultadoptees.org/

15. How can unsolicited contact, either from a birth parent or from an adoptive child to their birth family, be better managed?
Please provide any examples of good practice, particularly managing the use of social media.
Please comment further:

If contact is not removed, then such an issue will no longer occur because it will be acknowledged that families need to remain in touch.

16. Please use this space for any other comments you would like to make on the review of contact arrangements for children.

It is imperative that the Government and professionals involved in child welfare ameliorate the devastation contemporary adoption inflicts upon the adoptee. Whilst the complete removal of the adoption system is preferable, until this becomes possible, there is no good reason that adoptees should not be able to apply to have THEIR OWN adoptions annulled, or otherwise divorced, in the same way other legal arrangements (e.g. marriage) can be invalidated or otherwise terminated.

Additionally, I would like to invite whomever reads my Parental Contact Response to read my Sibling Contact Response too, as this describes much that is relevant to the issues surrounding parental contact.

Continue reading Part #2.

Written by 7rin

Fri, 31 August, 2012 at 8:50 pm

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