Hope’s Families Adoption Journey

Last month, we received this letter from Hope who is 9 years old.  Hope’s Mum and Dad adopted her little sister with St. David’s a couple of years ago and this is Hope’s story.

Our Adoption Journey – By Hope aged 9.

 

When I was six years old my Mum and Dad talked about adopting a little girl or boy. I thought it was a great idea so did my brother too. I think you should as well.

A few months later Mum and Dad went on a course about adoption and me and my brother had to stay with my Nan and Granny for a day or two whilst they were on a course.

They found a perfect social worker for us. Her name was Cate, she was brilliant. She asked us some questions like “do you want a brother or sister?” “what do you like to do?” “how do you feel?” – those types of questions.

After six months Mum and Dad went to find out if we could adopt someone. THEY SAID YES!!!! It was so exciting, since that day we had all been getting ready. Woohoo.

Cate’s job was to find the most perfect little boy or girl.  After a few weeks she said she found a beautiful little girl.

Mum and Dad met her first. Two days later me and my brother went to visit her.  Then five days later we bought her to our house, it was so fun!

It felt very exciting but different.  I love her and I like how much me, my brother and our sister all get on so well.

We both like playing with the guinea pigs and rabbits together and we love going on the trampoline with each other. I love sharing a bedroom with her it is lovely she is the best.

By Hope aged 9

‘Adopting Together’ wins top UK award

A partnership which places children who wait the longest for adoption in Wales has won a top UK award for its societal impact.

The Adopting Together collaboration triumphed at Innovate UK’s annual Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards.

The KTP project brought together St David’s Children Society – an adoption specialist dedicated to finding families for vulnerable children across Wales – Cardiff University’s School of Psychology, and Cardiff Business School, supported by Welsh Government.

The KTP allowed St David’s Children’s Society to team with Cardiff’s academic expertise, translating research findings from the Wales Adoption Cohort Study into a practical methodology to facilitate the adoption of priority children.

By gathering expertise from clinical psychologists and therapeutic social workers, Adopting Together has improved the lives of many children by delivering early intervention, increased the placement of the number of children who wait for adoption and new commissioning models.

St David’s Society Chief Executive Wendy Keidan, Cardiff School of Psychology’s Professor Katherine Shelton, and KTP Associate Coralie Merchant jointly welcomed the award.

‘Everyone is simply delighted to receive recognition for what has been a truly collaborative enterprise working with the team and colleagues across the National Adoption Service and therapeutic partner from the get-go. Behind the hard work in creating a therapeutically informed Adopting Together service to meet the needs of adoptive families has been a shared vision of making a difference to children’s lives. We would like to also thank Welsh Government for their support in helping to make this vision a reality.”

First introduced in 2020, the Societal Impact award recognises the wider impacts of KTP, including projects who have delivered a societal, social, or environmental benefit.

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething said: “I’d like to congratulate St. David’s Children Society and Cardiff University on this superb achievement. Knowledge Transfer Partnerships offer real solutions to difficult problems for industry, and this award recognises their ability to help solve societal problems too by having a real world impact and genuinely improving people’s lives. In Wales industry and academia continue to collaborate so positively for the benefit of future generations and the Welsh Government will continue to support that.”

The UK’s knowledge transfer partnership (KTP) scheme helps organisations in the UK to innovate and grow. It does this by linking them with an academic or research organisation and a graduate.

A KTP enables an organisation to bring in new skills and academic thinking to deliver a specific, strategic innovation project through a knowledge-based partnership.

Cardiff University has an outstanding track record for developing award-winning KTPs.

Business Manager Paul Thomas said: “Huge congratulations to everyone involve in winning this award. We are delighted that Innovate UK have yet again recognised Cardiff’s ability to deliver exemplary partnerships that have huge value and lead to significant impact.”

 

Let’s Talk Adoption – Siblings

The below blog comes from Damian, a St. David’s adopter, who, with his partner, adopted twin boys. More of Damian’s blogs can be found on his website:

https://www.damiankerlin.com/

Let’s talk adoption


It’s been a while since I talked about adoption.


Next month (May 2021) marks three years since we met the boys and all of our lives changed forever. Andrew and I always knew we wanted more than one child. It was never a matter of if, but when. Initially, you worry about the practicalities. We had never had a family. How were we going to afford it? How would we fit anymore than one child in our home? We only had a small car.

So, when we started the assessment process, we explained our thinking to our social worker, who was happy to process our application for one child. Or so we thought. As we navigated the adoption process with the support from our social worker and we discussed in further detail our future family, it became clear to us, that we were ready and our once reasons, were only excuses. Fortunately, our social worker had predicted this so we continued to progress through the process seamlessly.

In those days before the boys moved in, I remember staring at their empty car seats we had diligently waiting, trying to picture two children (twins to be exact), our children, in them. Now they are covered in stains and crackers crumbs. The past three years seems to have passed both as slow as forever and as fast as the blink of an eye. What did we do with all this love before them? Over the years we have had it all. Laughs. Tantrums. Lack of sleep. Hitting.

You name it, we have had it.

Are these adoption related? Yes and no.

Over the years we have learned to identify behaviours which are related to and the effects of their early childhood trauma. The rest is down to not getting their own way, tiredness, growing up and learning how to handle their emotions and some days, whichever way the wind blows. You know, the ‘normal’ stuff.

Their whirlwind tantrums, how the simplest and most menial tasks can take hours, I feel, when that moment of peace finally comes, that we got through something huge, and I say, ‘If you two were anyone else, that would not have been cool.’ I mean it. I would not take that crap from anyone else. In so many ways being an adoptive parent is exactly as joyful, relentless, messy and profound as being any parent.

We don’t have crystal ball. We can’t predict the future. There will be many hurdles (their teenage years!), but there will be so much joy. We prepare as best we can, as we continue to learn from each other through a space of understanding, openness, honesty and love. No painting of perfection.

This future was not always predicted for our boys. When they went into the care system and due to their early childhood experience, there were initial conversations that they would need to be split up. The thought of this breaks my heart, but this is the reality for so many children across the country. Sibling groups are being split up as social services struggle to find them their forever home.

Last week You Can Adopt a nationwide adopter recruitment campaign which aims to raise awareness of adoption and bust myths around who is eligible to adopt launched Brothers and Sisters. A new campaign aimed at potential adopters & approved adopters to consider adopting family groups and highlights the benefits of adopting brothers and sisters together.

There are currently 2,030 children waiting to be adopted in England, of those 890 are part of a family group. 520 children who are part of a sibling group have been waiting for 18 months or more to find a home.

Adopting two (or more) children definitely comes with it challenges, but the bond between our two is one of my favourite things to watch develop, grow and thrive. They are the best of friends and like every best friend they have their up and downs but they are never not there for each other. They would not be the children they are now if they had been split up and in my honest opinion it would have been hugely detrimental to their long-term mental health.

If you are thinking about adopting, or only considering it, please check out You Can Adopt’s latest campaign because you may find you have more room, a little more money, and that car, may not be as small as you think.

Captain Tom 100 Challenge

 

Help to raise funds for St David’s and celebrate Captain Sir Tom’s amazing achievements in a special fundraising event over his birthday weekend.  

St David’s are inviting you, your family, and friends to take part in the Captain Tom 100 challenge from Friday 30th April to Monday 3rd May.  This is help raise funds for St David’s and to celebrate Captain Sir Tom Moore’s amazing achievements over his birthday weekend. 

Friday 30th April would have been Captain Sir Tom Moore’s 101st birthday and to celebrate this year his family have pledge to celebrate his life in an event that everyone around the world can get involved in – the Captain Tom 100 

Get involved  

All you need to do is dream up your Captain Tom 100 – an activity of your choice based around the number 100 – and do it anytime and anywhere from Friday 30th April through to Bank Holiday Monday 3rd May. 

Your 100 could be walking 100 steps or running 100 metres, scoring 100 goals, baking 100 cakes, climbing 100 stairs, hopping 100 laps of the garden, building 100 sandcastles, writing a 100-word poem, flipping 100 pancakes – anything at all, inside or outside (within current Government Guidance)It’s your chance to do it your way! More ideas can be found here 

Fundraise or donate
Once you’ve decided what you’re doing, you can fundraise or donate to St David’s and share your 100 on social media, using #CaptainTom100 and tag us @adoptionwales.  

You can set up a fundraising page or donate directly to St David’s by following the link https://bit.ly/2QdnW6F .   

You can find out more in general at CaptainTom100.com  

We hope you’ll join the thousands of people around the world taking part in Captain Tom 100 and spread his message of hope while raising funds for St David’s Children Society which will be used directly to help the children and families who need support 

Start Fundraising Now https://bit.ly/2QdnW6F  

Any amount is very much appreciated  

Thankyou  

Adoptive parents, healthy relationships & adoptive families

Senior Practice Consultant Dee and Clinical Supervisor and Adult relationship counsellor Carola, discuss adoption and the impact this can have on families. They touch upon the importance of healthy couple relationships, working together as adoptive parents and much more. For more information visit www.relate.org.uk/cymru.

A Message and Note of Reflection from Wendy

I wanted to write to all of you who use our services and reflect on the year just gone; to those individuals or couples making that first tentative contact with the Society about adoption to families who remain in contact with us through our adoption support services.

 

The Society has gone through one of the most unprecedented times in our history as we have all adjusted to a different world. In the midst of this global turbulence we quickly mobilised all our services so that we were able to respond to you albeit in a different way – through the wonders of technology – I think we are all now so used to seeing each other on screen which I know doesn’t replace the face to face contact that we all need and all miss. I know for some of you, we have arranged home visits following all the necessary risk assessments and I do hope this blended approach has been helpful.

 

I am conscious that for many of you this year has brought many personal challenges – anxiety about vulnerable relatives and friends, loss, missing seeing family and friends for a drink, meal, hug. Alongside this coping with other uncertainties such as jobs, finances and having to remain grounded for those who rely on us- particularly children who have not only needed all the things parents generally provide but to absorb other roles that for some bring different challenges such as taking on the teacher mantle as you battle with home schooling.

 

Within all of this turbulence I also wanted to send a message of optimism – Over the past year our family of adopters has grown by 29, we have placed a further 28 children with their new families and creatively reached out to you through coffee mornings/ evenings. I have been able to join you at these events and really welcomed the opportunity to talk to you and listen to your thoughts on how we can improve our services to you .Our partnership relationships with our colleagues that make up the National Adoption Service ( including regional local authority adoption teams) has never been more positive.

 

We have also provided a range of training opportunities in collaboration with The Family Place  a therapeutic organisation.  For those thinking about adoption we have set up a new  workshop to talk in more detail about what this journey may entail. The feedback from this has been very positive. Thus with your support we have not only survived but thrived.

 

So what do we hope for the next 12 months – I think we all long for a return to some normality –opening our office up again to you, organising events which will all give us the opportunity to meet socially. Whether that will be possible this summer remains in the balance but we are already making plans for a big family event in  2022 which will be our 80th Anniversary. If anyone has any suggestions as to how we could celebrate this special event please feel free to contact me directly.   In the meantime we do remain totally accessible at whatever stage of the adoption journey you are at through a blended approach of face to face visits particularly for those going through the assessment process or need adoption support and  via technology.

 

May I finally wish you all a peaceful Easter break as we all look forward to brighter days ahead

Adoption UK – Connected Service

 

Connected is the name of a bespoke service for adopted children age 7- 10, young people age 11 – 25 years old, and an 18-25 year old group.

The monthly groups aim to improve children and young peoples’ self-confidence, build self-esteem and reduce the sense of isolation which some adopted children experience and also develop life skills. This is achieved by offering a range of activities such as art, drama, circus skills, healthy eating/cooking and music sessions to name but a few.

Find out the full details here.

These monthly sessions are offered in limited areas at the moment (Carmarthen, Swansea and Cardiff, and soon to be in Brecon and south east Wales) however we hope over time more groups may be developed and become available across Wales.

Want to know more? If you are interested in our existing groups or would like to express interest in a group starting in your area, please complete the Enquiry Form on the link above and send to wales@adoptionuk.org.uk

 

Christmas Card Competition

Our Christmas Card competition is now closed.

Congratulations to our winners!

We received many entries for all age categories and we love them all! It was hard selecting three winners, but don’t worry, keep an eye out on our Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages to see all your designs showcased throughout December!

From our CEO, Wendy:

Thank you to all our brilliant artists who submitted entries to our Christmas card competition. The standard was exceptionally high and all the pictures will  go on display in our art gallery at the office.

Many congratulations also to our 3 winners Griff, Oliver and Morgan for their imaginative and creative designs.