Today I feel like I’ve made more of a difference for some families than I ever have before. I was in a confidential meeting so I can’t discuss much about it, but the topic of post-adoption support came up.
In that meeting I was the only ‘service user’ present, so I was the only person who was able to present any information from an adopter’s point of view. The others were either independent people with nothing much to do with adoption (professionally, at least) or social workers.
There were two things I said which I think made an impact:
“There is a perceived stigma surrounding the use of post-adoption support.”
That had a reaction I wasn’t expecting. Many people gasped, as if that was new information never heard before. To be honest maybe they hadn’t, these were people who were used to telling adopters that if they had any troubles at all then post-adoption support would be there to help them through thick and thin. That contacting them could only be seen as a positive thing.
That lead to my second thing:
“Contacting post-adoption support makes people feel like they’re viewed as not coping.”
Is that a true thing to say? I think it is. Some professionals will disagree. Are they actually viewed as not coping, or is it just the perceived feeling? I think it is a bit of both.
Have I truly made a difference today? I don’t know. Changing mindsets is hard, maybe if I keep on with my little message of things not being as rosy in post-adoption support land as social services believes, that attitudes might change. I read as many blogs as I can, interact with as many adopters as I can, getting their views, seeing their desperation.
Now I’m trying to pass that message on to our local authority. My family isn’t in crisis, my family doesn’t currently need post-adoption support. That may change, and if it does I do not want to be stigmatised for it any more than I want those people who are desperate for useful help now to be.
I never intended to start a battle, there may not even be one to have as in this instance I was listened to. I was even told by two people that they were glad I was there to give my view point. I wasn’t trying to change minds, I was presenting some information as I saw it, but maybe as a result I have.