Sometimes we concentrate too much on the negatives, some call this pessimism, others realism. We shout when we want to change something, but stay silent when things are good. It is seen everywhere including with adopters.
I am guilty of this. I have written many posts detailing the bad time we had during our matching process, and although I have attempted to keep my posts balanced I’m not sure I have always managed to accomplish this.
During our approval process we met only two social workers who we felt didn’t do their jobs to the best of their ability. Who didn’t do what was best for the children at all times, regardless of how much it may have inconvenienced them. But I’ve talked about them before.
I am going to attempt to redress this negativity. After all, during our process we encountered many social workers, probably in double figures, and with those two exceptions they were all helpful, supportive and positive towards us becoming adopters.
Two particular social workers who stand out for me are the one who did our Stage Two assessment – I have done numerous posts about this – and her supervisor.
Firstly I will talk about the SW who did our assessment.
She was a student social worker, still learning the ropes. We were the first couple she had ever assessed for adoption. I can honestly say I think she really ‘got’ us. She laughed with us at our, sometimes fairly inane, jokes. She welcomed our dogs and gave them a superb write-up in her report by concentrating on their positives rather than their sometimes clingy behaviour. She didn’t have to do that.
At no point did we feel she was judging us in our assessment, even though that is exactly what she had to do. She asked everything she needed to ask in a friendly way and we just got on with her. She built a brilliant rapport with us and we trusted her, and most importantly we really felt we could be ourselves.
She was never late to any of our scheduled meetings, she always did what she said she was going to do WHEN she said she was going to do it. Most of all, the Prospective Adopters Report she wrote about us only had to go through a single draft. What she wrote was pretty much perfect the first time she gave it to us to read.
That report lead to the family finding team approaching us about the siblings that would become our children before we were even approved adopters.
At approval panel she gave an amazing introductory speech about us, so much so that I felt the need to say thank you to her under my breath after she finished. Many of the panel members then stated they didn’t have a question to ask any more because she had already answered them in that speech. Despite it being her first ever panel, being incredibly nervous, she represented us brilliantly.
When things began to go wrong during our matching, she knew that it was out of her depth so she handed responsibility over to her supervisor, the Senior Practitioner.
She was the one who took our concerns about the way we were treated to managers of the departments involved before we even asked her to. She was the one who forced herself into people’s schedules to help us get heard. She was the one without whom we would never have had the second chance we needed to prove that we would be good parents to our children.
Both of these social workers were there for us when we needed them. They supported us through things which could easily have caused them a lot of problems in their jobs. They did that because they felt it was the right thing to do, not because it was easy.
For them I am thankful.
I am someone who sometimes finds it difficult to see past the negatives which we are constantly presented with. I have to remind myself that for every social worker who gives the profession a bad name, there are multiple people working hard in the background trying to do what is the right thing for everyone involved. The positives are often lost because we do not tend to speak about things when they go well, we only moan when they go wrong.
So, to end this post I want to say: Take heart that for every negative story out there about bad social workers, appalling communication, and lack of support, there are many positive stories that are untold. Families that are content where they are, with no need to express their views because they don’t need to change things for the better.