This is the title of a TV programme I just watched. I recorded it on Thursday the 24th of April, on ITV and it was presented by Nicky Campbell.
The programme is showing us the adoption system works in the UK. Nicky Campbell is a man who went through this system as a child and was adopted from a very young age. I hoped for a great piece on the way this system works now and I did get that.
However there were some items that had me screaming at the TV.
At the beginning of the show you are shown a room full with display boards and lots of adults milling around searching said boards. On each board were several biographies of the children who were looking for adoptive parents. I was so glad to see the children themselves were not in the room. However it still looked a bit like a cattle market as prospective adoptive parents went round deciding which child or children they were interested in.
Then we were shown two cases.
1) A couple trying to adopt a child.
One of the first things we see the couple doing is going through a tick list. So detached and cold it seemed. They were asked if they would consider several situations that kids may be in
a) Would you consider a disabled child
b) Would you consider a child who has had drug problems ie. Were born with an addiction because of parental drug use.
c) Would you consider a child who has Foetal Alcohol Syndrome
The list went on and on. They were given three options for each question.
1) Yes we would
2) No we would not
3) Would discuss the situation
We next see them attending an adoption panel hearing.
Quite a formidable process I thought they wait in a room and are then taken into a larger room with a panel, there seemed to be around eight to ten people, who sat there and questioned the couple. They were then asked to go sit back in the waiting room and await the panels decision. I imagine its quite an ordeal for the couple having to go through this. I was scared for them.
The couple were fortunate and told they were able to adopt. The process now coming to a conclusion for them.
Then their social worker comes to their house with two files on two five month old boys.
One of the boys is rejected because social services don’t know who dad is. Have you ever heard anything so wrong?
However the second wee lamb looks promising.
The social worker returns around a week later with pictures of the wee boy and a DVD. The DVD is to show that although the wee lad was addicted to crack cocaine at birth he was getting on really well. During the viewing of the DVD the lady in the couple shows real emotion a positive thing for the wee laddie.
The couple do adopt the wee lad and after a week or so where they get used to each other in the foster parents house. It looks positive for all three of them. A great result from a broken system.
2) Was about a young lad who at the time was in foster care.
This young lad was nine month old and had been having problems finding his forever family. This was because both his parents had mental health problems and there may be a chance the wee lad would have them as he grows up.
The couple who are fostering the wee boy are asked to attend an Adoption Activity Day. This shocked me. The went along to this event attended by fifty kids aged from months old to around nine year old.
The foster parents of this wee man said they felt days like this could look like a cattle market.
The kids are told prior to the event “the strangers you will be meeting are prospective adoptive parents”. This, in my opinion, is so wrong. I always told my kids not to talk to strangers. Why are these kids in the care system any different?
During this event the youngster was approached by several couples. One couple spends a long time with him just to say as they walk away he was to young. Imagine if that happened to one of the older kids. How much of a crush would that give them. Saying oh your not good enough for us. I know they wouldn’t say that but it is how the child would feel.
At this point Nicky Campbell talks with a mental health professional.
This doctor states that not all mental health problems can be inherited but some are. She also said that even with those that are inherited the love of a good family home can reduce the risk.
Then the last you see of this cute wee boy is when the Family Finder from the activity day goes to the foster parents house. To tell them there were four couples interested and three of those looked promising.
Thankfully this lad is to young to realise what is going on. So hopefully will not have any detrimental effects from the way the system treats him or the way some prospective adopters treat him.
They conclude by saying social services are currently meeting with prospective adopters and hope he will have a family of his own soon.
I should say that during this programme I was in awe of what prospective adopters put themselves through to get a child. I was also in awe of the foster parents of the cute wee lad who’s parents had mental health issues.
Both of these couples deserve nothing but respect and admiration for the great work they’re doing and the magnificent effect they are all having on the lives of children who are in the care system.
What I did object to was the way, both in pictures and in person, these children who are in care for various reasons are paraded like animals in a cattle market. Shown to crowds of prospective adopters during activity days. I realise that some kids will come out of these days with adoption as a final result. Can you imagine though being a youngster and attending several of these days and not being chosen?
What effect will that have on children who are already in situations that have destroyed their self worth/ self belief?
Please someone in power do something about a system that can hurt kids like this!!!!!!