Adopter ‘entitlement’

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog entitled ‘Siblings? Age ranges?’ inspired by WASO, the Weekly Adoption Shout Out. This, for people who don’t know, is a support network of people who blog about adoption. Along with a lot of helpful comments (for which I’m thankful) I discovered that someone had linked my blog post to two of their own blogs. Being new to the blogging world I was intrigued. It didn’t take a lot to work out from the tags they had included it under that they had perceived a single sentence I had written negatively (‘adoptee socialisation’,  ‘adoptees need to fit in’, ‘adopter entitlement’, ‘adoptee abuse’). From one of these blogs I discovered this person also took this one sentence and then tweeted it out of context and encouraged others to retweet it, obviously to invite negative comment – which of course they got – including the opinion that I should never be allowed to adopt at all.

More shockingly after reading other posts attached to WASO over the last couple of weeks it became evident that the blogger is actually someone who posts regularly, albeit with a different blog name, as part of WASO. This has upset me greatly as I thought the whole point of WASO was support, not to use what is written there to try to run people down, even if you use a blog you don’t connect up with WASO to do it.

People who are thinking about adopting have so many thoughts and emotions going through their heads. Will I be able to cope? Will the social workers think I have a chance in hell of being a good parent? Will the children I adopt, if I’m allowed, be happy? Do I have the skills needed to help them feel secure? Will I give be able to give them a good future? Will I be able to help them flourish and succeed at life? Will the adoption break down? Will I break down? And so on and so on to fade. Yes, because they don’t know the child/ren yet a lot of the thoughts are about themselves, but not exclusively, and more often than not with the future child’s interests at heart. The over-riding questions for me right now though is ‘am I good enough?’ and ‘do I really think I can do this?’

To take one sentence I’ve written and use it to imply how people who want to adopt see themselves as ‘entitled’ or who want perfect children to ‘fit in’ with their lives – and therefore should never be allowed to adopt a child – is unfair and upsetting. Particularly, as I stated, I thought WASO, which is where the blogger found the post, was a place to find but also to offer support and help.

The sentence that seems so dreadful out of context was this: ‘It now feels important that the child/children I adopt fit in (as far as they can) with my wider family, nephews included, and friends’. But my point, if you read the sentence in the context of the blog, was actually this – far from thinking I’m entitled or thinking just of myself, or expecting my adopted child/children to be pressurised to toe-the-line, quite the reverse was going on. As the next sentence stated actually I was thinking of the child/ren and what a welcome they would receive by my family – what support they would get – even from my nephews who are currently only 4 and 2 years old. The way my nephews would relate to a ten year old cousin, for example, would be very different from how they might relate to one of a similar age who they would essentially grow up with and might be able to support along the way. The point was that I want my whole wider family and friends and their children, to play a part in making the child/ren feel welcomed, loved and secure. And that actually ages and how many children would play a part in how that might work. Thinking these things through won’t ensure a child will feel welcomed, loved and secure, but it might just be a place to start. Just agreeing to any age group or any amount of children with any given needs certainly won’t give a child the family they deserve. It wasn’t at all about the child playing a part, or expecting them to be someone they aren’t, or to just slot in and play happy families. It was actually the reverse: what part my family will play and what we as a whole can offer. May be ‘feel they fit in’, ‘gel with’, ‘feel a part of’, ‘attach to’ would have all been an attempt at a more accurate description of the meaning behind what I was trying to say than ‘fit in (as far as they can)’ but that is the problem with the written word – it never truly conveys everything we want it to.

Adoption doesn’t work out for everyone. I know this. I saw it play out growing up. Adoptions do break down. Children/young people can be left more wounded and traumatised than before. But for some they do work out. And if I’m allowed to adopt, I want to do everything I can to make sure that adoption is the most positive experience it can be for the child/ren placed in my care. So that they have the potential of a good future and are allowed to be themselves (whoever that turns out to be), in the most secure, loving and supportive environment that it is possible for me to provide. And no, I’m not expecting their adoption to wipe away their past, or heal their past trauma or hurts or make them into the perfect child but I do want it to have the best possible outcome for them. Thinking through issues such as these and working out what I and my wider family and friends can offer a child or children, to me, is an important part of this.

So don’t judge me, or my intentions, or my heart from just one sentence. I am going to carry on blogging and sharing my thoughts and experiences, however ill written or incomplete, even if some people who come across my blog do find the odd sentence here or there offensive, but it has made me think about linking up in the future and inviting comment if not everyone else linking up there has the same intention.


Frustration Part 2

25 couples waiting for an initial home visit. I can’t get that out of my head.

Even if the person, apparently on holiday, who deals with home visits (and I can’t imagine that’s her only role) manages to see one of those couples per day, that’s still a potential wait of five weeks. That takes me to the middle of October before I may be visited. That seems a horrendously long wait to even start the process.

25 couples! If they’re going to have 25 couples going through the process at once, are they going to have enough staff to deal with that? And deal with it well with the new system? Will it mean I have to wait again to get to go on the training days? Could it be the new year before I’m invited to attend those? And that’s presuming, after all this, they think they can even work with me, and I know after last time that’s not even a given. So many questions and I “just have to wait my turn” to find out.

It was the end of June when I filled out the internet contact form, to get an initial inquiry form, to get a phonecall, to hopefully get a letter to arrange this visit. A visit which may (or may not) allow me to attend a course, where I might actually be able to finally fill out a register of interest form and then start the process. It could potentially be 1/3 of a year before I’ve reached that point.

Someone has suggested I ‘shop around’. Look for other agencies and see what they have to offer. I’m not sure how that would be perceived. Will they see it as a bad thing that I am casting my net wider than one agency? Like I am trying to play them off against each other? I can’t pretend that its because I want to find the agency that’s right for me either. I’m simply impatient. I want to feel that I’ve finally started the ball rolling. Got on the first rung of the ladder. And all those other metaphors. To be honest, I know I’d probably simply end up going with the agency with the shortest waiting list.

And what does that say about me? I feel like a spoilt brat who can’t ‘wait my turn’ for possibly the most important decision of my life. I don’t begrudge those 25 couples their place in the queue, I suspect many of them will have suffered far more heartbreak, loss and grief before they’ve even reached this point than I have. I would imagine in some ways they deserve their place in the queue much more than I do. May be I should simply just stop being impatient, think about them and count myself lucky.

Edited to add: This post has been linked up with #WASO from The Adoption Social. For other blogs on adoption see:


Was told by lady from the agency on the phone two weeks ago today that if I hadn’t heard anything within two weeks to call and find out what was going on. So I did, just now.

Now I feel like a prize idiot. Her: ‘Well, who said that to you?’ Me: The lady I spoke to who responded to my inquiry form. Her: ‘What was her name?’ Me: I don’t know. Her: ‘Well, I’m surprised she said that to you. You won’t hear anything for quite a while. We’re very busy and we’ve got quite a backlog. 25 couples are waiting for their initial visit. All I can say is you need to wait. You can call back in a couple of weeks if you want to, but you’ll probably have to wait much longer than that. If you’re on the system someone will get around to you eventually, you just have to wait for your turn’.

Great. Totally different story than two weeks ago – ‘no reason why you shouldn’t hear from us in the next two weeks, but if you haven’t, give us a call to find out what’s going on’. No reason, eh?

Already seeing why you need stamina and determination for this.