Adoption Preparation Groups

Our adoption preparation groups were run on three days over two weekends. Friday of one weekend and the Friday and Saturday of the next

They were very long days, 9:30 until about 4:30 with a couple of breaks in the middle. There were 3 other couples there so it made for a really nice, small group and we all got on well. We’ve kept in touch with one of the couples and, even though they don’t live that near to us, we keep in touch by text.

When we first arrived the social workers were there already to greet us. We started promptly at 9:45 and sat in a circle while the various social workers and guests talked. There were, over the 3 days, a child psychiatrist, 3 adopters and another lady who came in to talk about attachment issues. The psychiatrist was fascinating. In fact the whole 3 days were really interesting even though they were so draining. We slept so well on those 3 nights! There was a lot of involvement of us (the prospective adopters) and lots of discussions and questions. We talked about why children are adopted, the different reasons (drug abuse, alcohol abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, emotional abuse to name but a few) how the local authorities go down every avenue possible to try and keep a child within their birth family and the fact that adoption, really is, the last port of call. We learned about attachments, what a child needs to develop and grow and we were made to understand that adopted children are different in ways to birth children as they have more of a question mark over their futures and development because what has happened to them.

We were then given various tasks to do. One was called “The wall of needs” where we had to discuss what makes up a childs needs from birth onwards and what happens if a child doesn’t get those things. It falls down, of course, or at the very least becomes unstable. It is then up to us (the adopters) to try and build that wall up and insert the bricks back in for these children.

We were also asked, at the start of the 3 days, to pick out a picture of a child and put it in an envelope. Our decision had to be based purely on looks. Then, at the end of the 3 days, we had to get the photo out, explain why we’d picked out that particular child and then read the information on the back about that child. This was to teach us that there is more to a child than a picture.

The whole prep group experience was invaluable. We learnt so much, including one of the most vital things which is the reading of report. We had case studies and homework to do which we threw ourselves in to and really “got it”. It was, by far, the most informative things we’ve done on this adoption process. Very harrowing at times, but vital to us understanding the needs of these children.

I would go as far to say that I think every parent should go on a course like this. Maybe certain children would stand a better chance in life if they did.

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