Let’s Talk Adoption – Siblings -

View videos →

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.

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

 

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

 

Adoption UK are conducting two surveys for this year’s Adoption Barometer report, which will explore the experiences of adoptive families in 2020.

Both surveys will close at midnight on 28 February 2021.

The Adoption Barometer main survey for prospective adopters and adoptive parents with children aged 0-25 is live here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/AdoptionBarometer2021

The Adoption Barometer survey for adopted young people and adults aged 16+ is live here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/TransitionsToAdulthood

I wanted to write and wish you, above all, a happy and healthy 2021.

As we enter this New Year, we know that nationally there are a few difficult months ahead in respect of the  continued fight against the virus. I wanted to reassure you whether you are thinking about adoption for the first time, in the assessment process to become adoptive parents, waiting for a match, in the initial stages of meeting your child or receiving or requesting support post placement that all of our services remain available and open to you. We will continue to operate as we have done over the last 9 months. Whilst the office in Cardiff (Park Place) remains closed to visitors and services for the most part will be delivered remotely, if needed  we will conduct  face to face visits at home following the risk assessments we have in place. First and foremost the safety and wellbeing of you, your families and our staff is our primary concern.

We know that as schools remain closed there will be additional challenges for those with school age children. Please do not hesitate to contact us for advice and support or just a listening ear.

We are all longing for a time when we can get back to some sort of normal , with the office open, meeting freely together to share individual experiences over a coffee and cake or coming to an information evening or training event in person. With the vaccination programme commencing  there is some light at the end of this tunnel so we will hold onto this and until then keep safe and well.

With warmest wishes to you all

Wendy

Every Christmas, we usually all get together and have a wonderful celebration in Cardiff with all of our families. Unfortunately, this year it hasn’t been possible, so instead we have asked Dan Mitchell to record a very special Christmas story for you all, we hope you enjoy.

From everyone at St. David’s Children Society, Merry Christmas.

A Christmas Story – English from St. David’s Children Society on Vimeo.

As we move towards the end of this year I wanted to pass on heartfelt thanks on behalf of all those who work for St David’s, including the teams of Adopting Together and AFA Cymru to all who have used our services over the last twelve months. This has included those who have made the first tentative steps to becoming adoptive parents through enquiry, application and approval to adopt, to newly formed families and those who have accessed our adoption support services through our main services or through the Adopting Together Service. AFA Cymru has provided advice and information to families brought together through other forms of permanency such as fostering, special guardianship and kinship care aswell as facilitating learning opportunities for professionals right across the social care spectrum.

To say this year has been different is probably an understatement as all our services moved on line during the first lockdown in March. With risk assessments now part of our daily lives, we managed during the year to introduce some face-to-face meetings where needed, particularly for those in the assessment process to become adoptive parents as well as families who just needed a face-to-face visit with their social worker to discuss particular adoption support needs. I think we have all missed what we have so taken for granted in the past – human contact over a cup of tea and a biscuit.

I know for each and every one of you this year will have in some way been affected by personal challenge and our aim has been to act as a trusted guide to be there for you when needed. Thank you for your faith in us to fulfil this pledge and we will continuously strive to provide this.

We all wish you a safe and happy Christmas for those who are celebrating, and a much welcomed break for you all. We look forward with confidence to a brighter 2021 for everyone.

Warmest wishes,

Wendy Keidan

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.

A MESSAGE FROM Wendy Keidan

I hope you are all keeping well as we enter into the fire-break lockdown on Friday announced by Mark Drakeford this Monday.

I just wanted to send a message of reassurance that whatever stage you are in the process or journey of adoption, from making an enquiry to needing post placement support, we remain open and here for you at every step.

We are classed as an essential service so the arrangements that we have had in place during most of this year remain unchanged. Our staff team will be mostly home based but for those of you who are going through the assessment process to become parents , face to face visits will occur following a risk assessment to ensure everyone remains safe and well. We can also offer video calls. We will also continue to provide support on a face to face basis when required; again following our risk assessment process. We are constantly working in partnership with our colleagues in the Local Authorities and Regions to ensure that the linking , matching and placement of children continues. Please don’t hesitate to contact your social worker or contact us at info@stdavidcs.org or on 02920 667007 if you wish to speak to a duty social worker Monday to Friday 9.00am – 12.30 pm or leave a message and we will contact you the following day.

With my very best wishes to you all.

Wendy

Below is a statement on Black Lives Matter from CVAA. As a member of CVAA, we fully endorse this statement and the actions CVAA and ourselves as individual members of CVAA will take to address racism and discrimination in our Society.

CVAA Black Lives Matter statement

 

Interested in adoption?

We would be delighted to hear from you: contact us

Get in touch

Our friendly team of representatives are on hand to answer any questions you have.

Visit our contact page