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Is anyone watching this? Is it just me but was the comment from the foster carer of the 4 children not a bit unrealistic. She said "I have done the hard bit, they are a much more manageable group now". Missed how long she has had them for but I think it is only a few months and she thinks she has done the hard bit?


Maybe I am being a bit sensitive but 8 years in and I am still dealing with the "hard" bit as I know lots of us are. x


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She has had them 8 and a half months. I think it is unfair to say she is unrealistic. It is clear that they have come a long way with her. She has done a lot of hard work. Of course we know it is a life-time of hard work for our children but as she is a short term foster carer she may not always see that, although I am sure she is aware of the ongoing difficulties many of the children she has cared for continue to experience. It was an unfortunate comment but let's not nit pick and take away from the amazing job she has done with four children that many would shy away from. The hard work will most definitely continue for years to come for whoever becomes forever families to these children but they will have a lot to thank the foster carer for in starting the process for them.


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Winces. Several amazing adopters are very much in the tough bits 15 yrs in plus!


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I thought exactly the same almond !


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My girls' foster carer thought they were no different to other children. She had fostered over 300 children so everyone listened to her. Well, they both got autism and adhd diagnoses. One has a learning disability. I am astonished that she didn't pick anything up.


I believe that she had minimal interactions with them. She had lots of foster children and they played together or went to nursery/school. She focused on feeding and clothing them.


She didn't place demands on them which would disregulate them - no going shopping or going to restaurants, libraries, swimming pools etc. She had no real aspirations for them going forward partly because she knew they would leave her but also because she had few expectations generally.


Foster carers vary in what they give to the children they look after and in their understanding of the behaviours they see.


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Only thing watching this made me feel is glad that we adopted. Yes, life is different now (harder!) but we wouldn't change it for the world.


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The Foster Carer is a temporary care giver, not a psychologist..Good on her for taking on all four. Not many would do that. She can t undo all the damage and make everything ok to pass on to us adoptive parents but fair play she is doing the best she can and she is doing a pretty good job in my eyes!!

After much contemplation about adopting when me and DH watched Finding Mum and Dad a few years back we started our adoptive journey in honest and tonight i sat here mopping my teary eyes remembering our life before meeting our girl.

Feeling very happy, proud and grateful to have her in our life.

All the very best to all the children and adoptive families in tonight's programme and all the amazing Adoptive parents and amazing children out there xx

PS I purposefully avoided the forum until I watched the programme for myself x


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I particularly liked the prospective adopter saying 'you get back from a child what you put in'. If only that were true for all adoptive parents.


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I think all prospective adopters are 'guilty' of a few naive thoughts


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I certainly was serrakunda! I haven’t seen it yet so will wait until I have. I do hope though that genetics and in utero stuff is covered in training now. It was all about attachment when we adopted.


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It just seems like all the other adoption programmes - just different faces.


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I found this show fascinating but uncomfortable viewing. I don’t find it fair that these children are so publicly paraded in national TV.

One thing stood out for me, there’s so much HOPE from prospective adopters, social workers, FCs. Perhaps it wrongly propels the system where a more rational brain is required. the hope and optimism of all involved was both great to see, but bittersweet knowing the challenges for the child and parents ahead.


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I just watched this as missed it first time round I cried at start and end.

What beautiful children.

I do think was fluffed up alot maybye next two go into post adoption support etc, was intresting film was surprised to see adoption event thought only happen in America.

Intresting film for prostive adopters like myself to watch I found myself thinking what additional needs do children have while watching but hard work start when the childs at home with new family etc looking forward to seeing it again next Tuesday


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Donatella I was thinking FASD with the child Lewis and maybye ADHD.


I thought that lovely lad but they may have challenge on there hands with him.


Felt sorry for two boys Kyle and his brother. Loved cupple with 6 kids man was really child centred.


Totally pulled at my heart strings though


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I was imagining a 6 year old shadette at such an event - she would have been either off the wall and running around hiccupping and giggling - or switched off self soothing in a corner


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Lovely children and very nice prospective adopters. I never got to go to anything like this: all our children were chosen for us by social workers and I must say that was fine by me.


I do worry for e.g. prickly little Hollie, aged 6, for whom no-one came forward. How will this help her self-esteem, especially if social workers sell her the lie that there was no family there "good enough" for her? She seemed quite bright to me and capable of seeing through that. I thought she was adorable, but quite understand no-one wanting to take things further, given the dire absence of post-adoption support and the blaming adopters when it goes wrong culture.


The key to getting children like this placed is not adoption parties but realistic, multi-agency support as delivered by e.g. Family Futures - real investment in these children and their future families, imo. That would potentially save so much money further down the line - a project for social investors maybe?


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"The key to getting children like this placed is not adoption parties but realistic, multi-agency support as delivered by e.g. Family Futures - real investment in these children and their future families, imo. That would potentially save so much money further down the line - a project for social investors maybe? "

Well said Fruitcake.


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Repeatedly they talked about specific ages and numbers of children that adopters had been approved for. When we were approved I don't remember it being fixed, by panel's approval? Is this the case?


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If only Fruitcake! But I fear lots of sw still think that love will conquer all and all issues disappear into the ether at placement. Assuming they’re willing to admit there were any to start with! Not cynical at all!!


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A lot of the comments on this thread are really insightful and of course show many layers that the programme barely touched upon.


What struck me first was that they were even televising this at all. When I was family finding I attended at least 3 activity days and they were all shrouded in secrecy - but this was 1-2 years ago, at a time when hard to place children were far less hard to place. The feedback I had after expressing interest in one 7 year old boy was that 60 other families had expressed an interest. I waited a year and a half to be matched as a result of all the high number of waiting approved adopters.


I've heard from SWs at CORAM more recently though that the tables have turned again and adopters are desperately needed now, with families for sibling groups being most needed. CORAM have ramped up their profile in order to recruit more adopters. They now advertise on local radio and have put up huge advertisements on the road leading to my local station. In this context it is clear to see why the programme is not a worts and all analysis of very challenging children. It has been made as a shop windiw for CORAM, to show people who may or may not have started thinking about adoption that adoption is something that people like them are doing and that the children are adorable and entirely manageable. It's another way to get people through the door. If they started with a show about the hard reality many adopters face it would not have the desired effect.


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Sparkle Motion as a relatively recently approved adopter we had to be approved for a specific age group and number for approval panel. Not sure why but guess it is a way for sw to narrow search.

I actually do not think sw,s expect problems to disappear once child is placed with a family. They are faced with the very difficult challenge of placing very challenging children in loving permanent homes. Investing more money would be fantastic but there is not a never ending pot of funding for anything actually whether it is Post Adopton support the NHS or cancer drugs.

All adopters today are given a very detailed CPR detailing every possible challenge, physical , mental health , family history , possible chromosome deletions, probable FAS along with Learning difficulties , schizophrenia and drug abuse of parents. Not forgetting the chance of sexual abuse. To be honest our training covered everything!! It felt a bit too much info at the time but at least we were given that knowledge so just maybe the sw's are taking on the ongoing challenges of placing a damaged child . I guess if adopters who have faced difficulties haven't experienced recent adoption training they would not be aware of just how much is covered.

As for the programme it may not be the ideal way to find a family for these hard to place children but even if they didn't find a match on the day hopefully having so many viewer may guarantee a match for some.

I dont think modern day adopters are looking for PERFECT children . Like the children, they too are looking for a family and someone to love. Most of us are willing to take the chance and try our best to be a positive influence on our child's lives.

I heard today from a SW friend that Adopter numbers are right down compared to amount of children in need of a family I truly hope that despite all the potential difficulties Adopter numbers will grow.

I joined this forum for mutual support and to chat to people who truly GET our kids but find it is mostly cynical and negative. It seems to me the majority of advice on here is "DON'T DO IT . If I only knew then what I know now I dont think I would have done it"

Well I guess if you were expecting "normal " family life you would be disappointed but we certainly are not. Hopefully the children not matched on the programme will appeal to some approved adopters watching. We never went to one of these but can see the appeal of meeting a little person face to face.


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Dreamwriter - all too many people here have found that they haven't been informed of 'every possible challenge, physical , mental health , family history , possible chromosome deletions, probable FAS along with Learning difficulties , schizophrenia and drug abuse of parents.'


On the contrary, all too often incredibly important information has been left out either by incompetence or deliberately.


I hope you find yourself in the group of adoptive parents who do have a relatively smooth ride. But there is no need to attack those who went into adoption with the same attitude and hopes that you have, only to find that their (much loved) children have difficulties they never imagined and support is non-existent. Many have found that the SWs who were supposed to support them have lied, covered up, and blamed the adopters for the damage done long before the child was placed.


My concern about an unrealistically 'warm and fuzzy' image of adoption is that it will attract the people who will be put off by the warts and all. Like advertising a job covering church fetes on the local newspaper when you're looking for someone to report from a war zone. Yes, you might get 100s of applicants, but none of them are up to it while the 1 person who is willing to go to the war zone isn't interested in church fetes...


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When it comes down to it, few of us would say don't do it. After all most of us love our children and don't regret adopting them. What we would say is beware of being swept into biting off more that you can chew. And be aware of challenges ahead. I do t think that's negative, it's wise and realistic, but we wish these folks well, even if the situation they meet their kids in is not ideal. ( my eldest was advertised in CWW with a photo that drew us to enquire about him, and I don't regret adopting him for an instant, but did feel a bit uncomfortable that he was " advertised" even to an approved list of prospective adopters) If all adopters are now being fully prepared, as many here were not, that is brilliant, then I am glad things have improved so much. I hope that applies across the whole uk in every LA and VA. I recommend adoption strongly to anyone who wil listen, but would have it be informed with good training ( and , as I expressed, a recognition that support may be needed in the future) However I have a natural discomfort of the parties. Probably because I myself as a child wouldn't have presented well to prospective parents. I haven't seen the programme but I hope they fuzzed out the children's and prospective parents faces, for their future privacy.


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Tokoloshe


Thank you.


We were deliberately lied to. Vital information was DELIBERATELY withheld from us on our older children whom SS were desperate to place. Had we been given the information at the time, things would have been totally different.


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pingu123, sadly they did not blur the childrens or adopters faces no. I share your discomfort of these parties having gone t two as a foster carer with children for whom no interest was shown in them as a couple only as individual children. and, like you I would not have presented well at one of these as a child and probably would have been left waiting for a family after it. my two were not told what the parties were actually about as were the children at this one on the telly, they were told it was a party for children waiting for adoption and who were in foster care but not that there were prospective families there. one of them still went up to a random stranger to ask if he was her new daddy (but then she did that outside of this situation often too!).


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I don’t think you can generalise Dreamwriter. That may be your experience but I’m not sure that happens right across the board.


Personally I found Board users knowledgeable, informative and supportive when we were having issues with our easy to place middle baby. There was definitely an assumption that all his issues were attachment based and that time would be enough to fix. It wasn’t and actually his issues were adhd and ASD, something that really wasn’t surprising given his history but seemed very surprising to sws involved at the time. Not to mention Camhs and his then therapists being equally disbelieving.


If posters are cynical, then it’s with good reason. Trouble is that when the brown stuff hits the fan some years in, there’s invariably an assumption that it’s a failure on the part of the adopters. Genetics, trauma, in utero experiences etc are conveniently forgotten so it seems. Oh no. They’ve had enough time in this family so it must be something the adopters have done wrong. Cynical ... possibly?


I guess ultimately if someone doesn’t find these boards to be a Support then maybe they’re in the wrong place. Personally I don’t know where we would have been without them in the early days. We’re in a pretty good place right now. Two of my kids are diagnosed, understood and well supported. My older son has some identity issues atm and we’re having some tricky things to deal with. And this is 16 years into placement. Do I regret adopting? Absolutely not.


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Interestingly we were told that we had been extremely well informed about our ac. It was form E when our kids were placed but gave detailed info on each child. But the placing LA lied. Deliberate concealment of events, genetic questions fudged etc.

Recently I met the chair of the adoption leadership board and mentioned this and it seems the practice of ‘smoothing over the cracks’ so hard to place children are more attractive to adopters is far from over in many places. There’s a feeling that if professionals told the truth about the challenges ahead or the actual history of the children, there would be no adoptions.

The group of adopters present were appalled. We think if you are going to adopt, you are going to adopt. It’s better to know what you’re heading for so you can request the right support from the get go.

Personally I don’t think there’s ANY excuse for hoodwinking people into adopting children.


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Often the sws have no idea of much of what went on. They can only tell you what they know but there can be huge gaps because so much goes on behind closed doors. We have recently reunited with a birth family member and she has provided us with some very important information which no one in social services knew about ( and it explains a lot! ).


Also, in my experience adopters often fail to understand the implications of what they have been told. Hence why so many people take on these children when actually they do want a relatively 'normal' life going forward and why they then come on here asking why their child does x.


Imo prospective adopters significantly overestimate their abilities to bring about substantial change to the behaviours and capabilities of these children. And generally no one in social services puts a realistic brake on.


I agree that the programme is basically an advertising campaign. It is similar to so many shows before. It is tugging at people's emotions when imo it needs to be much clearer around the realities of adoption.


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I don't think anyone is saying don't do it. When there are so many children in need of families someone needs to do it.


It's true that at approval panel adopters are approved for an age range and number of children but this isn't binding. Some years ago adopters needed to go back to approval panel if they wanted a change in their criteria but I suppose it was deemed a waste of time. I was approved for one child aged 3-5 but family finding was such a lengthy process that I also considered sibling groups and ultimately adopted a one year old. You need to defend your change of perspective repeatedly to achieve it, especially at matching panel, but it is absolutely possible to adopt outside of what you've been approved for. I don't think approved prospective adopters are necessarily aware of this. When the dad of six in the show said his hands are tied I am sure he genuinely believed they were. But as the children's social worker said, it's really rare for adopters to be approved for 4 children. I felt like she would have been in favour of the match with this couple if they'd felt it was right for them and that would have been enough to drive it forward.

Indeed the postscript on the show said something along the lines of the couple didn't feel they were able to take 4 after all, rather than the children remain in foster care due to the number of children stated on this couple's PAR.


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I found my son at one of the Coram activity days. Like most posters here I was initially uncomfortable with the idea but went along as I wanted to be sure I had tried everything to enhance my chances of finding a match.


Interestingly I had seen the profile of my son on CWW however, discounted him as an option as the profile stated two parent family required and that he was afraid of dogs (I have a dog). So on the day itself I didn't think I was in with a chance. He has a difficult to place older child (age 5 nearly 6 on moving in).


But meeting him and talking to his foster carer and social worker things had changed his foster carer had recently got a dog and he was coping well and social workers had reviewed the need for a two parent family. Several people - couples included expressed an interest in him on the day but I was the lucky one!!! Had I not gone to the activity day I would not now be his mother.


I am very lucky that he has settled well and at the moment does not present with many issues I am very aware this may change. (Making hay whilst sunshines).


Although things are going well for us I am very conscious this may not always be the case and is clearly NOT the case for many. I view these board regularly and find lots of hints and tips and feel that if or when problems do occur I will be better placed to deal with them through learning from others and knowing that if the brown stuff does hit the fan and whole army of those that have gone before are right there at a click to offer support and knowledge.


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BTW I think there is a big difference between running private adoption parties and featuring the children on TV.


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Hi

In the end it is about the children and giving them the best chance in life. I do agree that as much as is known about the child should be shared and honesty should be paramount with up to date information.

There have been some major changes in the many years I have been involved in this forum ...the ASF, a realisation that it is not all about attachment, more emphasis on mental health/ neurological conditions, school training and better preparation from some agencies of people wanting to adopt. In part this has been driven by those posters who have fought valiantly for honesty from the adoption system regarding information about a child placed in their family. I do not see this as negativity.

In our situation we knew more than the sws about our girls as we have an SGO but this did not prevent me being labelled as having FIP (Fictional I!!ness by Proxy) and having to undergo the stress of formal complaints procedures. Hopefully others will not experience this.

If Finding me a family does produce good adoptive people for the children who need this and raise awareness then it is serving its purpose. Nothing is ideal in this less than ideal world.

Wishing the children involved the best possible outcome for future happiness.


Johanna x


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Ps I do not have FIP. This was merely assumptions of sws unqualified to make any kind of diagnosis.

Johanna


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Dreamwriter - your comment about there not being a never ending pot of money is a bit facile and misses the point.


In the NHS it is slowly being realised that huge amounts of money could be saved with more emphasis on preventative medicine. For example, I am in a screening programme for two common cancers, making it likely that if I were to develop either cancer I could be treated in the early stages, relatively cheaply, and survive, instead of costing the NHS a fortune for advanced treatment which might not work.


There is no reason why the same principle cannot be made to work in adoption. With two thirds of adopted children having significant problems, one third severe, it could be very cost effective to make multi-agency assessment and intervention much more easily accessible. There is ample evidence that early intervention is very effective and huge amounts of money could be saved in avoiding later sad and financially costly outcomes such as return to care, imprisonment, acute mental health problems in adulthood, inability to live independently, dependence on benefits, you name it. In other words, money could be SAVED.


I was last assessed for adoption 13 years ago and it does seem that social workers are both more clued up and open about potential difficulties and complexities further down the line. That is good. But do they offer any guidance as to how you are to negotiate support or offer a warts and all honest presentation from adopters who have had very difficult experiences (which a third of you will also have)?


The adopters on these boards whom you describe as cynical and bitter (which I don't agree with - angry and grieving perhaps) are not suffering from mere disappointment that their family life did not turn out to be "normal". They have sons and daughters who have been failed by the system and are suffering profoundly in ways that cannot be spelled out in detail on a public forum. They are living lives a lot more difficult than I suspect your social workers are letting on.


By the way, it is not just "modern day adopters" who are not looking for a perfect child but just want a family life, to love a child and to make a difference. We dinosaurs had exactly that motivation too!


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Well said Fruitcake xx


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Echo that.

Well said Fruitcake.

Johanna


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Reflecting on this, what makes my life so tricky is not the information we were given / not given. It is more about how my girls' early experiences have shaped their attitude to having enough - so they see each other as a threat to getting my time for example. One hoards and her room is a tip. The other one just constantly wants stuff - anything. They both have food issues. They constantly belittle each other in front of me to try to make her sister look small and to be the perfect one instead. None of this was on the table when we adopted. Yes they have plenty of background issues but these have been manageable.


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I'm struck by the irony of posters criticising other posters for being negative


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Hallo Flosskirk


I’m sorry to say that vital information definitely was deliberately withheld from us. This was found out during an investigation during formal complaints procedure we instigated. There were memos to senior SWs from legal departments, repeatedly asking if specific documents were divulged to us as they felt it was crucial. Memos from senior SWs said no, we’re definitely not going to pass on this information to these Adopters; they don’t need to know this and anyway, they’ve got all we think they need to know about these children.


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Hi all


Just want to suggest, whatever your opinion about the programme, perhaps better to avoid talking about the look (facial features) and the potential conditions or difficulties of this particular child whose face is known to everyone now... this is an open forum, and what is on the internet lasts forever. He might get curious in the future when he is older and research what people said about him on the programme and find this post. He might think it is an insult and might get hurt or offended by this. He is already on TV. He’s been through a lot. Here on this forum I think maybe we should try to avoid posting information or assumption specific to this child, trying to be sensitive to him. Just a suggestion...


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Sorry Madrid I didn't mean to suggest that you hadn't been lied to. I was responding to dreamworker's comment about what great information they are given these days.


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No offence taken, Flosskirk.


I’m showing this to demonstrate that we put our trust in these people and that it can be misplaced.


X


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I don’t agree Micci. I would hope anyway by the time he’s old enough to search, google etc then he and his family would know if indeed he does have fas/d. He’s on the tv as you say and it was an observation on my part. I’m not sure why he would be insulted or hurt?


We’re going through assessments atm for one of ours in relation to possible fasd. If my daughter does have it then we’ll talk to her about it - just as we have about her autism.


If these kids are going to be put in show on tv then there’s no reason why we can’t have an open and honest discussion about the program and our observations of the children.


If we’re to protect their privacy etc then maybe they shouldn’t be on tv in the first place. Can’t help thinking that those children who weren’t chosen and who were overlooked are more likely to be hurt and upset.


Just my views!


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Hi Donatella, no, you don’t have to agree with me. And you don’t need to explain yourself to me. As long as you are confident and happy with your decisions, views and actions. I am not here to tell people what to do. It was a suggestion, another view of seeing this situation from the child’s point of view. I wanted to do my part by suggesting that because after all, he is just a child innocently caught up in this TV situation! I said what I wanted to say, all.


Happy weekend Smile

X


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i don’t disagree that we need to carefully consider the privacy of these children now and in the future - but showing this particular child with his adopters has robbed him of that opportunity! And theirs ... which they might all be fine with right now but things change. I’m happy for him and his new family but equally I know that my kids would hate to have their lives made so public.


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I think it shouldn’t have been filmed for public viewing because I think it leaves children and their prospective families too exposed.


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One other thought before I go away ... what about the birth parents? We’re doing lifestory work at the moment and so the bps backgrounds etc are on both our minds. I wonder how they would find it having their birth children shown and talked about? I don’t think we should forget that they also may well find this difficult


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Exactly. Another reason why I don’t think it should have been filmed, Donatella.


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We adopted 28 years ago, but still follow the forums as our daughter has a child who is on the Autistic Spectrum. I find the suggestions, advise and support valuable even if he himself was not adopted. Our daughter has mental health problems, and is on the Autistic Specrum herself. Dream writer, I do " get" her, we love her very much but her childhood / adolescence was very rocky and we found it impossible to access help for her. She was only diagnosed at age 19.we have a good relationship now but if asked 15 years ago I would have been pretty cynical and negative too! You are when you are near the edge.

Re the Programme, I found it extremely upsetting that the children were identifiable. Regardless of their situation, they will all have Birthfamilies. My Grandson was close to being Adopted. At the time it looked as though my daughter would never be able to care for him. We felt desperate at the thought that at our age we could go through the same situation all over again. However, we did have for him for 3 years and my daughter, with our support ,is caring for him safely now.

I would have been bereft to have seen him on TV in the circumstances these children were. Especially to see couples perhaps not playing with him because other children were more " appealing "

No objection to idea of Adoption parties, but not televising.


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I had the same thoughts re (1) taliking about the child's facial features - his adopters are likely to be reading these comments and I don't feel speculation is helpful and (2) the feelings of the birth parents. I wondered if they had consented in these particular cases... They still have a limited form of parental responsibility pre-adoption after all...


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Dear All

Firstly Toloshe I have in no way "attacked" any adopter because of their experience and do not doubt that some sw 's have withheld vital info .I was just saying that in my experiencs I was given all the facts.

I mentioned sparkle motion because she mentioned that on the program the prospective adopters seemed to be age , gender specific.

I am not criticising the support on here in any way Donatella. Please read it thouroughly because I give mutual support as a reason I joined and talking to people who "get" our kids.Also I think it is really unfair to mention the young boy' s name and facial features . Fasd may be a factor of many of our children but you do not know his background yet criticise ME for generalizing . Why don't you drop Debbie Mcgee a email after all don't you think there is something in those features.

I am entitled to describe "IT" meaning the forum as being cynical and negative. That is how I see it.

Bop don't be saddended. You admit you may have wrote the same in your early experience so surely you can see I just hope for a better experience. But I am not niave I know I will face challenges and heartache along the way. We did not adopt a easy to place child because of this we got every sad fact in black and white. We are doing everything we can to get long term support. I know we will need it. All I can do is try and build a strong bond and build resilience in us and our child that is why I desperately yearn for good news. It isnt because I have a fuzzy, cozy idea of adoption.

Pingu I don't think it is fair that personal experience means any of us have the right to say to a new prospective adopter " If I only knew I would not have done it thats all. One third of adoption stories will have significant challenges' a third will have some challenges and a third will have little or no challenges and that is enough for me.

We certainly were not hoodwinked into adoption.

I certainly do not think televising these events is good for all the above reasons but hope some good can come out of it.

Fruitcake my comment about money is just realistic I am all for investing early to save money in the long term and am fighting for this now but I only offer support to others and haven'twrote a post on all our struggles . I decided long ago that instead of focusing on problems i would put my energy into solutions.

That is me and as well as The Great Donatella I am entitled to MY opinion.

I wasn't trying to undermine older or more experienced adopters just pointing out that maybe some things have changed.

Heavens ent I never criticiced other posters I just meant that the forum is generally negative. Similar views posted have been told to go to the good news forum well if I suggested the same to the bad news posters I would be shot down in flames.

Have a great weekemd everyone .


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