National Adoption Week!

This week (14th – 20th October) is National Adoption Week!

We are taking this week to celebrate our adopters and let you know how we can support you in your adoption journey!

Adoption Information Evening

Tuesday, 15th October
4 PM
St David’s Children Society (28 Park Place, Cardiff)

Have you been thinking about adoption but something is holding you back? Perhaps you think you’re not eligible to adopt, or you think it will be expensive? Are you unsure what an Adoption Agency actually does?

At our adoption evening we’ll answer all your questions about adoption. Come along and learn about St David’s as an organisation and how the adoption process looks, then ask us any questions of your own! If you like what you hear, you can even talk to us about how to start your adoption journey.

It’s not to be missed!

Follow along on social media!

We will be posting all week on social media, giving you information about the organisation, as well as being part of an exciting project with the National Adoption Service! Make sure you’re following us to keep up to date with us this National Adoption Week!

Twitter: @adoptionwales

Facebook: St David’s Children Society

Instagram: st.davids.children.society

With St David’s amazing support, we’re doing OK.

When our daughter’s social worker visited our home to see that we could accommodate the little person about to enter into our lives, she mentioned the “honeymoon period” that adopters often have. We said we hope that our “honeymoon period” would be as short as possible, because it’s a honeymoon for adopters but a nightmare for the adoptee.

Well, how about no honeymoon period at all?

The day we brought our daughter home wasn’t anything like we imagined it would be. We knew it was going to be a bit sad for her, but we thought there would also be happiness, excitement. Instead, it was one of the toughest days in the lives of all three of us.

The first few weeks were incredibly challenging and lonely. We had moments of happiness that felt like they were surrounded by grief and sadness. We remembered that we were told this might happen in our training, and our social worker Jane was always just a phone call away – day or night, 24/7/365.

That made it easier, and the tools that St David’s provided us with were producing results, which gave us a great sense of empowerment. We felt like “we got this”- and that whatever would be thrown at us, we can handle it.

Adopting an older child has its difficulties. It sometimes feels like we’re “sharing” her with her birth family and foster carer. She’s also burdened with so much guilt, that often if we have happy moments she’ll feel like she has to compensate by expressing her loyalty and love to the people she’s no longer with.

On the other hand, in many ways it makes things easier. She can talk and has the self awareness to help us understand what’s bothering her. She also has clear memories of her family and a connection to her past. That, we feel, takes a huge burden off her in terms of her identity and also off of us as we don’t need to “carry” her past for her – she knows what she’s been through.

There are amazing highs and devastating lows in this journey. Two weeks after our daughter moved in with us, one of our two cats of 9 years died unexpectedly. It was crushing, but we had to deal with it while we had a child who was herself grieving and finally letting out the pain that she had kept inside for a long time.

For a long time it didn’t really feel like parenting. It felt like supporting a child who was going through stuff that adults would struggle with, a child who feels like at any moment her whole world can turn on its head and once again she’ll have to start over.

Of course, when that period finally started to end after the first couple of months, other challenges came up. There’s always something, and every day has its trials and tests. But it’s different now: it feels more like parenting, she feels more and more like a child who’s confident in her place in the world. A child with a feeling of self-worth and who isn’t afraid of new experiences.

Seeing that difference in her, and hearing her social worker and other professionals say what a different girl she is to the one who moved in with us, that makes it all worth it. With St David’s amazing support, we’re doing OK.

“It feels like they have always been here with us”

 

I remember planning my outfit. It sounds ridiculous but I remember the conversation with my partner, Andrew, the night before we visited St David’s. I wanted something that said I was responsible but fun, light-hearted but protective, and fun but stern too. Upon realising that I didn’t own anything that could present all of that, I decided on my usual clobber – but with a smart shoe.

To be honest, Andrew and I did little to no research. We didn’t want our experience to be hindered by other people’s perspectives, or to be disillusioned by the whole process due to one person’s difficult experience. We treated it as if we were to read reviews: you always focus on the negative responses on TripAdvisor, as opposed to the positive. So we decided not to consume any of it. That didn’t stop me making up scenarios in my head, but it did stop them from being backed up with real stories, which wasn’t what I needed right then.

The next day we called into St David’s during one of their Drop-In Sessions and we couldn’t have felt more welcome. I have completely invented this trepidation, this idea that I would have to present myself as someone different. This very quickly subsided once we sat down with the social workers. Here, we were asked some questions to assess our readiness for adoption, but we never felt like we were being judged.  The discussion was informative but not overloading. It gave us the information required for us to be able to make an informed decision as to whether we wished to fill out the initial paperwork, progressing us to the next stage. This is literally: name, address, D.O.B, family pets and any other information we would like to disclose. We found ourselves filling out the initial paperwork there and then, although we weren’t pressured to and could just as easily have taken it away with us to discuss further.

Having come away from the Drop-In Session, we were glad we decided to limit our research. From St David’s information pack and the initial conversation with the social workers, we felt they would tell us what we needed to know to put us in good stead for the assessment process and the start of this journey.

You will always ask yourself: Am I ready? Am I good enough?

I felt I didn’t just have to learn how to become a Dadi, I also had to earn the right to be one.

We were asked by others and, more often, by ourselves: Is now the right time?

Were we 100% ready? Probably not – renovating your garden during introductions is not advised. But we did it, and we embraced the entire process from the start. And did we take ownership of it? Yes. Did we work through it with our social worker at a pace that was comfortable for us? Yes. Did we ask 101 and then some questions throughout, regardless of how stupid they sounded? Yes. Did it completely engulf our lives for 9 months? Yes!!

I can’t stress this enough: embrace it! The assessment process covered a wide array of topics around adoption – it succeeded in balancing the intensity of raising an adopted child, with the absolute “worth it” moments of forming a family. It is a positive, thought-provoking and informative experience, answering all the questions we had and many that we hadn’t even thought of. You may feel talking about your experiences as intrusive and daunting, but in fact it was highly therapeutic.

You are cautioned to expect problems and mentally you prepare for the worst, but to date, all has been well! We have the normal age-related behaviours and other aspects that perhaps need some fine tuning; however, all in all, it feels like they have always been here with us.  Together we have formed a strong attachment and we’re confident that we will manage any problems that occur in the future – as a family.

We have St David’s to thank for that!

In the end, it is completely worth it! We have beautiful, funny, energetic children and a very different feel to our home. Toys have taken over our house, nothing we own is clean anymore, fish fingers have become a delicacy, and we frequently hear:

“Dad, Dadi… look!”

“Good morning, Dad! Good morning Dadi!”

“I need a poo!”

“No, I don’t want to go to bed!”

And: “I love you Dad and Dadi.”

These are the sounds of our family setting. This is our story. It may not appear ‘perfect’, but that’s the best bit: it’s those bits in between, those imperfect bits, where you learn the most about each other, where you develop that trust that begins to connect you as a family.

A forever family.

 

St David’s Children Society has Drop-In hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 12pm – 2pm. Why not stop by and start your journey like Andrew and Damian?

Adoption Drop In Sessions

For some time now, St. David’s Children Society have hosted Adoption Drop In Sessions, every Tuesday and Thursday from 12-2 at our Cardiff office, for people who are thinking about adoption and have questions they would like to ask.

We appreciate that for many people who initially contact us, adoption may have been something that they have been thinking about for a long time and that first contact may seem really daunting and to speak to a stranger over the phone about it may seem like a really odd thing to do!

Our Drop In sessions are a really informal way for people to find out more, ask questions of an experienced member of staff and to find out about the next steps.

If after the session, you feel that adoption is not right for you, that is absolutely fine, but if you feel like the time is right for you, we can advise you of the next steps.

Our goal is that you find out all the information that you need at whatever stage you are at, and you feel comfortable in talking to us.

No appointment is needed, just come along between 12 and 2 on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and we will put the kettle on and hopefully answer any questions you have!

If you would like any further information, please call us on 02920 667 007

 

Adoption Information Evening – 21.05.2019

Are you interested in adoption but don’t know where to start?  If you live in Wales or Herefordshire, please see all the details below:

St. David’s Children Society, Wales’ longest serving adoption agency, are holding an Information Evening on Tuesday 21st May 2019 at 4pm.  We will talk about:

– Who are St. David’s Children Society and what do we do?

– Who can adopt?

– What is the process and how long will it take?

– What children are available for adoption?

There will be lots of opportunities for you to ask questions, whether that is part of a group, or privately.

Please contact us on 02920 667 007 or email info@stdavidscs.org to book your space as places are limited.

Our office and the Information Evening will be held at:

28 Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3BA

 

 

LGBT Fostering and Adoption Week 2019

LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week 2019

New Family Social’s LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week campaign returns from 4-10 March, 2019. This year’s theme is ’7 days to love’ with each day of the week focusing on different areas.

We’re thrilled that record numbers of adoption and foster care agencies are joining us and supporting the campaign this year.

Why the week’s needed

In 2018  there were 75,420 looked after children in England, an increase of four per cent from 2017. There’s an ongoing need for more people to provide foster care across the UK and for more people to consider adoption.

Despite a record proportion of same-sex couples adopting in England and Wales, LGBT+ people still report high expectations of discrimination from foster and adoption agencies. To counter this, LGBT+ Adoption & Fostering Week is a unique opportunity for agencies across the UK to come together and encourage more LGBT+ people to consider both pathways to parenting.

LGBT+ Fostering and Adoption Week is ran by New Family Social  who are the only charity led by LGBT+ adopters and foster carers.  St. David’s Children Society are proud members of New Family Social and have a strong history of assessing and placing with families who identify as LGBT+.  We will be actively supporting LGBT+ Fostering and Adoption Week.  If you would like to speak to somebody about adoption and live in Wales or Herefordshire please contact us on 02920 667 007 or email, info@stdavidscs.org

Innovation Award Winner – Institute for Collaborative Working

St. David’s Children Society are delighted to announce that yesterday we were awarded the Innovation Award at the Institute for Collaborative Working for our new project, Adopting Together.

In collaboration with Barnardo’s, Adoption UK, Cardiff University, the 22 Local Authorities in Wales and supported by National Adoption Service, Adopting Together has emerged from a common and clearly defined purpose: securing permanence for children who have waited for a significant length of time for a family. These children in Wales are traditionally but not exclusively children over 4, BME children, part of a sibling group or have additional complex needs or uncertainty regarding their development.

Congratulations to everyone involved for all their hard work over the last 12 months to get this project off the ground and successfully placing children with their forever families.

https://www.instituteforcollaborativeworking.com/

Innovation Award Winner – Institute for Collaborative Working

Awards News – Adopting Together

Adopting Together wins Highly Commended Go Wales Award for Social and Community Benefit

Adopting Together, St David’s collaborative project working with Barnardo’s, Adoption UK and the National Adoption Service, has been awarded Highly Commended 1 in the Category of Social and Community Benefit in procurement at the Go Wales 2018/19 Awards. St David’s and its partners were one of six Wales based projects to be shortlisted. The project was able to highlight how social and community benefits have been embedded at the heart of the procurement process, with a focus on outcomes for children and adopters at the centre of the projects development.

Adopting Together has also been shortlisted alongside 3 UK wide projects for an award from the Institute for Collaborative Working in the category of ‘Innovation’.  The entry evidenced how the project has used a structured approach in collaboration and how it is ground breaking in its approach to supporting children and adopters as a part of a collaboration between third and statutory sectors. The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony held on the 13th December at the House of Lords.

Awards News - Adopting Together