Another fruitful Monday

In support of National Adoption Week, one of our adoption social workers Mary Cody offers an insight into a typical day of her busy working life at Diagrama. #supportadoption

It’s Monday morning and there’s time to check my emails and messages before setting off to do battle with the M25. I did some mindfulness training a few weeks ago and decided that, while I think I have a positive mindful approach to people, I now need to bring it to my driving instead of my more usual automatic pilot.

This weekend I went to an adoption activity day with J, a single approved adopter. This was a first for J and she met two little people that she would like to learn more about and explore whether she could meet their needs. I send emails to the two local authorities involved to follow up her interest and including some initial info about J and what she could have to offer.

In my inbox I’m very excited to see a profile of a young boy whose family finder is interested in a couple I’m working with. She received their profile in our monthly mail out and wants me to discuss him with them. They were approved some time ago and I can see from the brief profile that they will be interested. I quickly send it off to them and arrange to catch up with them later.

Settling in

In the car I’m mulling over things and my ’to do’ list plus thinking about the past few weeks in the life of the family I’m seeing this morning. It is the first review of the placement of T who joined them four weeks ago. They have told me ‘shell shocked’ is a good word to describe how they have been and having met with them weekly since this little five- year-old moved in, I am up to speed with what this means!

They can also see that even in these short few weeks there are positive changes including much less frequent use of the F word, sleeping better, fewer major meltdowns and a very successful play date. We meet with his local authority social worker and the deputy head of the school he will attend in a few weeks. The review is very supportive and it is clear to all that the routines, consistency and predictability that the family are putting in place are just what T needs despite his resistance and him telling them, with great drama ‘’you are ruining my day’’ (this young man was delayed in his speech and language development - no longer it seems! ).

It is important to get the school on board with the additional support he may need, especially in terms of his emotional development so we set a date to meet with his new teacher to look at this. We will have a second review in three months when his new family will know him much better and we will have a clearer idea of what additional support he and they would benefit from.

Next I’m off to our office at Airport House where I have my first meeting with N+L who have been approved recently to adopt. Kira, one of the social workers is in who knows N+L so she comes to say hello. Having read their home study report I have a good feeling about these two and I think they will have much to offer the right child. They tell me they see themselves as a bit quirky and different and ask me if they ‘’are mad” to be thinking about adopting a 10-year-old. I think this is a question which has been put to them by family and friends when they have expressed their interest in an older child. They tell me about an 11-year-old boy who is in foster care for whom they are independent visitors and I learn a lot about their motivation and also what skills and experience they could bring to parenting an older child.

Adoption profile

We start to put together their Diagrama adopter profile and also the referral form to the national adoption register - both of which will help bring what they can offer to the attention of local authorities. I remind them that all our placements involve another agency and that the child who might become part of their family could come from anywhere in the country. We look at a profile of a six-year-old boy which came through last week. He has had some experiences in his birth family which resonates with N and I can see that they bring insight and empathy to thinking about what this little guy may need. I agreed to contact his social worker to find out a bit more.

When they leave I have time to respond to some emails and see that H+R have received the profile I sent them this morning and are keen to learn more. Reading between the lines I know they are feeling cautious as they have had some disappointments in the time they have been waiting. I arrange to speak to them tomorrow when they will both be home and send some information about them to the local authority involved.

Time to catch up with a colleague about next week’s support group for adopters and to double check that everyone has the venue and date and that we have everything we need - including coffee and nice chocolate biscuits – important to have sugar to calm any fraught moments!

Did I have lunch I wonder? ...Yes, I did in my four-wheeled café. Note to self... ‘clean the car’ else will be in the bad books at home!

Mary Cody

Diagrama social workers offer support throughout every stage of the adoption process and beyond. If you would like more information about adopting a child with Diagrama, or accessing adoption support, please call us on 0208 668 2181 or email us today.