Adoption Mid and West Wales celebrate Pride Month

June is LGBT+ Pride month, and to celebrate, we are sharing the adoption story of one of our same sex couples, Tom and Lee, who adopted their little boy, who was 1 years old.

Here at Adoption mid and West Wales, there are no barriers when it comes to welcoming the lgbt+ community to be assessed as adopters.

We’ve approved a number of new families from the lgbt+ community over the last few years and here’s what Tom and Lee had to say about their adoption journey.

three pairs of legs

As a same sex couple who always wanted to have a family of their own, adoption was always our first choice. Together we had a firm understanding of children’s needs through working with LAC children and coming from large families. We knew that we could meet the needs of an adopted child and knew that we could offer a loving, stable forever home. From the get-go we were welcomed with open arms by Mid and West Wales Adoption Team. From the initial phone-call we felt listened to, and that their approach was far more in-depth than the other agencies we had approached. For us we wanted the process to be thorough and for no stone to be unturned as inevitably we wanted to find the best match for us and for our child.

Like all couples considering adoption, research was our first step into this seemingly terrifying world of adoption. There are some fantastic books, podcasts and blog posts out there. Try and connect with other adopters and make sure you enter the process with an open mind. We will all approach the process with our own misconceptions, however keeping an open mind and being reflective is our top tip. Make time to listen and consider different angles and perspectives. You may have heard that the assessment process is scary, and your social worker will stare deeply into your soul, however this isn’t quite the case. Be honest, be reflective and you will wholeheartedly, weirdly enjoy some elements. You may even come out the other end knowing yourself and your partner better. It really is like free therapy!

The process definitely becomes emotionally draining and building a support network and having a supportive family is important when this happens. Our family members attended the family training course and found it very informative and helpful. Additionally, you will meet some fantastic families through adoption who will remain great friends for a lifetime. You may even meet these people on your preparation course. We remember the relief as a same sex couple after seeing another same sex couple on our training. There is something comforting about not being the only ones for sure.

After the training, it was full steam ahead with the assessments, panels and matching. Your journey will be very personal to you and no adoption journey is the same. Trust your social worker and make sure you approach every decision together as a couple. Times will be tough and it will be an emotional rollercoaster. However, no matter the hurdles it will all be worth it when you hear the pitter-patter of little feet in your house for the first time or the first time you open the door and realise that there’s a little persons shoes lying next to yours.

If you are interested in adoption and want to learn more, please visit our website www.adoptionmwwales.org.uk or get in touch by phone 0300 30 32 505 or email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

We are also on Facebook @adoptmwwales and Twitter @adoptmw_wales

New resources to support your children as they return to school

Lockdown has been a difficult time for many of our adoptive families, with many parents having to work from home, whilst entertaining their children and home-schooling.

With the Welsh Government announcement that schools can return in Wales from 29th June, parents now have the difficult decision whether to send their children back to school or not. Some parents may see this as an opportunity to use these next few weeks to slowly ease their children back to school with the new normal that awaits them in the classroom.

The adoption support workers have been busy creating some fantastic resources to support parents with this transition back to school.

Rachel one of our support workers has also created a story which aims to help children understand the changes they will now face at school. The hope is that they will be able to relate to the anxieties Sammy the Sloth has, allowing them to understand the transition of returning to school.

Here’s what Rachel had to say: “I have always enjoyed being creative and have dreamed of writing short children’s stories and illustrating them for a long time. I never imagined that the first story I would write would be about a pandemic, but in times of so much change and uncertainty I found myself thinking of the many children I’ve supported over the years through transitions and how challenging this would be for so many.

Children often find change particularly challenging, and with the changes approaching us as we begin to return to school, with it may come a mix of emotions and feelings. Stories are a natural way for children to learn about their feelings, to help them learn that their experiences of feeling worried or nervous about returning to school are faced by many. This story focuses on the familiar, particularly around relationships, as sometimes feelings of anxiety come from the unknown, and while we may not know everything about what school will look like in the coming months, by thinking of some of the things that will be staying the same, we can help our children feel more secure.”

 

Please download a copy of Sammy Sloth. Please email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk to get copies of the other resources available to assist with the return to school.

Further resources will be made available on our social media channels. Facebook: @adoptmwwales Twitter: @adoptmw_wales

Life-changing work of Adoption Service continues through Covid-19 pandemic

Adopted child holding crayonsThe vital work of matching children with their new forever families across Mid and West Wales is continuing despite the Covid-19 outbreak.

Adoption Mid & West Wales, the Regional Adoption Service for Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys local authorities remains open with staff working remotely, conducting visits via Microsoft Teams, Skype or phone.

Some essential visits continue, adhering to the social distancing rules set by Welsh Government.

The Service continues to seek new adopters to ensure that children are not delayed in being placed with families.

The highest number of enquiries about adoption has been received for some time and a recent online information evening was very well attended with 13 couples, (two of which were in a same-sex relationship), and four single enquirers.

The Panel has faced and adapted to the challenge of continuing to meet remotely and regularly.

The Panel has recommended a number of new adopters and more new families have been recommended with matches, since the stay at home message was introduced.

Assessments are continuing with adoption social workers meeting remotely with prospective adopters to get them approved in the near future.

Adoption Panel Member Cllr Reg Owens, of Pembrokeshire County Council, said: “The Covid-19 situation has meant that everyone involved in the adoption process has had to adapt and respond to the challenges of working remotely and, where that is simply not possible, following the social distancing and other safety measures.

“I have been hugely impressed by the way that the teams have rolled up their sleeves and worked so hard to get the necessary measures in place to ensure that there have been no undue delays to what are life-changing decisions for all involved.

“Throughout the lockdown period this has ensured that a number of children have been given new homes for life and adopters having children they had longed for.

“It is most probably the most satisfying duty I carry out as a County Councillor and I thank each and every person involved for their efforts in these most unusual times.”

To further aid adoptive families, adoption support workers have been busy creating resources.

A number of training courses are being added regularly, as well as new e-learning modules, with all the details available on Adoption Mid & West Wales website.

If you are an adopter requiring support at the moment please call 0300 3032 505 or email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk

The Service is also on Twitter @adoptmw_wales and the newly launched Facebook page @adoptmwwales

Positive Focus During Challenging Times

Our Adoption Support Workers have been hard at work creating new resources to support families during this difficult time. With schools closed and families staying at home, it is important that you have resources available to support you.

The team have created a time capsule template, to bring a positive focus to the current situation. We understand that these are both challenging and unique times for families right now, and so we thought that having an opportunity to look back on some of the happy memories, thoughts and feelings that have occurred during these times, with a little opportunity to look back on some of the special and fun moments that you’ve shared.

Creating a time capsule is a great family activity that everyone can participate in , it can be an activity to break up any daily worries and has the ability to transport you to another time and place, as it encourages us to think about the past and our future when we come out the other side 😊.

We hope you enjoy this activity! Please feel free to use it as you please.

Download Time Capsule

If you would like to access Adoption Support, please contact us:

email ebost adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk  Phone Ffon 0300 30 32 505

The need for Routine and Structure while the schools are closed

With the Coronavirus starting to affect all our lives, we appreciate this will be a worrying time for Adopters, with the structure and routine of school gone for the foreseeable future. We spoke to an Adopter who’s 5year old little boy finished school on Friday. This is their story of the past few days:

We picked *Jason up from School on Friday afternoon, and he told us how sad he was that he couldn’t go to school anymore. This was heart-breaking, so we tried reassuring him and said that it was going to be fun being home with us. He’s a very social child who gets on well with friends. So, we could see this was potentially going to be a rollercoaster of a few weeks.

Saturday was a bit of a struggle for him, and we were having some sulking episodes and mini meltdowns, for a large part of the day. This triggered us into starting to think of implementing a structure to our days moving forward and bring a rigid routine into the house.

Sunday morning, we spoke to *Jason about plans to do a routine chart and his face lit up. We introduced routine charts from the day he moved in and they have been an integral part to survival in school holidays for some time now. Things started feel calmer straight away. He loves a good routine chart!

Sample Routine Chart.Sample Routine Chart.
Here’s an example of the routine we are following but this can be easily adjusted:

8:00 Breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed
9:00 Home School Session – trying to follow school instructions, but adapting to use chalk on patio, etc. to make it more fun
10:00 Snack and TV
11:00 Walk the dog
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Reading, then game on tablet, fun education app if calm
14:00 YouTube – Yoga or exercise (sometimes Trampoline instead)
15:00 Snack and TV
16:00 Free time – if regulated and manageable.
17:00 Tea and bedtime routine
18:00 Family time – Film or boardgame
19:00 Bedtime

Once an hourly activity has been completed (or we see that he is losing interest), there is a choice of 2 play activities, to choose from. This is working well so far, but we are ready to adjust it as time goes on to meet his needs to self-regulate. We have a den building kit ready for when he needs more regulation.

Adopted Children are seen as vulnerable children in the list of children that can access the school settings during this extraordinary time. Things to consider:

  • Will they be attending their usual school setting?
  • Will a familiar face be there from school?
  • What experience do staff have with trauma and attachment?
  • Can you manage to keep you child at home?

If you would like advice, support or further information about completing your own colourful routine chart please email adoptionenquiries@carmarthenshire.gov.uk and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.

*Names changed to protect identity.