Support Support…….Where are you?…………Come out come out wherever you are!

Published May 15, 2012 by thefamilyof5

Support or the lack of it has been a real contentious subject for me lately.

A few weeks ago I contacted my local authority’s post adoption team after reading something on the internet about support groups. I registered for their newsletter last year but if I’m honest it’s a double-sided sheet twice a year and mostly covers training. So I emailed them asking about support groups. They replied quite quickly telling me

Currently responsibility for your support is still with the placing local authority, but we will make enquiries and respond to you shortly.’

I replied informing them that the placing authority was over 200miles away so it would be impossible to attend one of their support groups.
Then a few days later they informed me:

‘I have been able to confirm that we can offer you information about our groups and have been in email contact with the placing authority about how the financial side is sorted.’

What financial side?! I only want to attend an existing support group, why does someone need to pay?!
So anyway I took their advice and I rang the duty social worker last week. She told me they do have support groups and there was one in a neighbouring town. She didn’t have the details and the lady who did, was on leave. She commented that we should already be on the mailing list for the activity days they hold for adopted children and their families during the school holidays, so she arranged for me to be added and assured me the lady would return from leave next week and call me with details of the support groups.

So I wait.

And wait some more.

In the mean time I received a call today from the counsellor I saw the other week. During my consultation she’d offered to use her contacts and knowledge of the support system to see if she could find out about adoption support groups I could attend. She sounded deflated on the phone, and I wasn’t surprised to learn that she had also ‘spent the last 2 weeks going round in circles and eventually hit a brick wall’, her words not mine.

So being impatient I decided to call my local authority and chase up the lady ‘in the know’ about the local group that had been mentioned. I find she’s no longer on leave, but she is now off sick.
So who else can help me I enquired?! No one apparently.
It seems they’re once again, hung up about the placing authority being financially responsible for our support so are unable to give me any answers until they’ve spoken to several managers, drank lots of coffee, done lots of um’ing and ah’ing, filled out many forms, drank more coffee, doodled a bit, had more discussions, made some more call’s, filled out some more pointless forms, sent a few emails, eaten some cake, taken some annual leave, thought some more and discussed even more!

So where does that leave me.  My girls are able to attend our local authority support days, but I am not?! How does that work then?! I’d have thought if there was any financial issue for support, it would have been for my girls, not for me, after all I pay my council tax just like everyone else that attends that support group. I’m presuming here obviously, but you get my point.

It just seems no one wants to take responsibility, no one wants to offer support and no one wants to help. It’s hardly surprising that the woman ‘in the know’ is off sick really. I just wish that I had that option.

Just to add salt to an already inflamed wound, I had a Facebook status today from Home Start, asking ‘New Mum’s’ (clearly aimed at birth mum’s) about the most useful support they received during their childs early years and then another from Change4Life about the same sort of thing and just to push me over the edge, KidStart have decided to set up an online forum to enable parents to support one another, I bet no one on there even knows what  an attachment disorder is, let alone how to support a parent struggling with one.

Time to contact my local MP I think, it’s not like I have anything better to do is it!

My attempts to find some support for myself have left me even more stressed out, go figure!

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17 comments on “Support Support…….Where are you?…………Come out come out wherever you are!

  • Support is so important. We are really lucky as our LA run a pre-school group; which whilst I was on adoption leave I could attend, sadly it’s on one of my work days. We also have an Adoption UK support group once a month in an evening – is there anything like that you could access?

    Failing that – I’m in the process of setting up some adoptive farmily fun days; getting together initially with some adopters that I know, and hopefully some more will come along. Do you know anyone else who has adopted locally to you? Even if it’s just to meet up in the park.

    • Thank you for your comment.
      We do have a local ish AUK group, but it only happenes every 2-3 months and whilst I’ve so far only attended one, they do all appear to be topic led leaving little time to ‘meet’ the other people there. For example the one I attended in February was a conference style with a topic of attachment, very interesting but there was no opportunity for discussion/chat. The next one is aimed at prospective adoptors from what I can gather.
      I’ve tried really hard to find other local adoptors but understandably, they’re hidden very well.
      Support is so so important, like you say, its just a shame that those a position to make a difference to the system, don’t see just how important it is x

  • I hope your MP is better than mine. I wrote to him asking about adoption things and he told me there was no point in him asking anything as no one ever listened or responded to him!

    • Oh my gosh! That’s awful! What a waste of time mp!! Have you checked to see if he’s been replaced by one with a backbone more recently?
      I hope you managed to get your troubles addressed x

  • Unfortunately he is still “in”. I emailed the office of number 10 in the hope that someone there might just read the email (but of course I got no response) stating what was the point of me having an MP when my MP claims no one listens to him anyway so he refuses to raise anything that I ask him to raise. I asked them where is my voice in parliament?

    He is one of those MPs who have a permanently “safe” seat I expect he has been there 30 years or more.

  • I just looked him up on Wiki and he has been there for 29 years so I was more or less right. Eventually I will have to do a real “snail mail” letter to number 10 so that they (I think) HAVE to respond but for now I am trying to just keep my head down a bit and stay in the tatters of the adoption system.

    • Whata nightmare! That’s so wrong isn’t it!
      If its adoption related have you tried writting to Mr Tim Loughton? He’s the children and familys minister and is currently promising to reform the adoption system. I wrote to him 2 weeks ago, I blogged my letter ion here f you want to have a look for it x

      • Yes – I responded to you there with “I hope you get a response. I wrote to him too and got a typical “politically correct” response from someone in his department. I am not sure he had my actual concerns raised directly/personally with him

        They did respond within a fortnight or so though”

        Basically I feel there is no one actually listening. There comes to a point whereby you can only bang your head against a brick wall for so long until you realise that “it hurts” and “it is getting you nowhere” and you therefore stop. Of course, I am sure this is what they hope for (that they give the impression they want to listen and do something when in actual fact they ignor/pass off everything anyone tries to tell them and they hope that the “annoying” person who is trying to be heard just gets so frustrated at not being “heard” that they give up, stop and just go away)

        I am starting to see why certain groups of people dressed up as Batman and stood on tall buildings – it seems that really is the only way to get anyone to actually take notice of you and what you have to say.

        I actually emailed three – Tim Loughton/Martin Narey and Sarah Teather MP (Minister of State for Children and Families). I heard back from a representative of Tim Loughton (with a standard type response) and heard nothing back from any of the others.

      • I did read your reply, I just didn’t make the link sorry, it was early! 😉

        I can’t believe you’ve written to all those people and no one bothered to listen, that’s disgraceful isn’t it. Who are we supposed to get help from then eh, the whole system is such a mess isn’t it :/

      • Yes it is and I think the idea is that we do not actually get help from anyone. In your case where you already have the children but seemingly both they and yourself could really benefit from effective external support I think the bottom line is you may get the odd trickle of something useful but on the whole you are 99% expected to just get on with it and deal with it all by yourself (or with your partner if you have one). In my case it seems I am destined to waste a few more years yet trying to be allowed to even have children but in the end am likely to be rejected with no one really caring or looking into the “validity” of the “why”

        It would not be quite so bad if they did not advertise so repeatedly for their “needs” in the system for foster and adoptive carers….they make the whole of society think that they really DO want people yet in actuality it seems to be just a “front” because when people apply they do every single thing in their power to get them out of the system (or not even let them into it)

      • Oh I can be so frustrating can’t it with very little sign of hope. We were lucky with the process, well once we decided to ditch the LA and go with a VA we were anyway.
        I don’t know much about your story so forgive me if you’ve already tried a VA, but we did find them so much easier to access adoption. We used Action For Children. Our LA were only interested in putting us off adoption it seemed. The downside I’ve found is post adoption support isn’t that great, but I guess other than offer a listening ear, there’s not much else the social worker from the VA can do. I’d imagine that a LA social worker would have had access to more support services from the start so I’d have known where to go and who to ask for help, but who knows, the LA could have be just as bad too, they certainly don’t seem eager to help me now x

      • We initially approached our LA but having been kept waiting for 9 month by them with no data as to where we are up to we approached a VA. The VA came and did the initial assessment and decided that we were not straight forward enough for them to process us…..they stated that basically they only accept applicants who are seemingly likely to get to panel super quickly with no potential delay issues in the way. We are still registered as an “enquiry” with our LA but have pretty much given up on them and are now trying to start all over again. We are attending an open meeting for a local LA towards the end of this month. It does mean that yet another year has been wasted though.

        I expect a VA would have far better post adoption support to an LA but your experiences appear to show that basically there is very little effective post adoption support full stop no matter who you go through.

      • I’m so sorry to hear your having such a hard time to even begin the process :/ it really isn’t on is it. I appreciate some of your story may be sensitive so if you wish to chat more about your difficulties my email address is at the top of my blog, feel free to use it.

        We was on a prep group with 4 other couples and a single lady. One couple was mixed race, one couple already had a birth child, one couple had a birth child from a previous relationship, so part time with them, one couple had no family or friends to support them and the single adopter was polish I think. We were the youngest couple in the group. All of us now have children placed although the couple that were mixed race ended up adopting from abroad due to the difficulties the had finding a suitable ‘race’ match. So we were a pretty varied group I felt x

      • Yes a vary varied group 🙂 Do you keep in touch with any of them?
        I will drop you an email.

      • We’re in touch with most. The single adopter and the couple with an existing birth child distanced themselves from the group a little. The mixed race couple had a long hard struggle to get to where they are now so they also have drifted away from the group although I am still in contact via facebook. The other 2 couples we’ve remained in contact with, we meet up around twice a year and bring our children together for a picnic in the park so that’s nice x

      • Have they had similar issues with post adoption support like you have? Do any of their children have similar challenges like yours do whereby you could support each other via shared experiences?

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