Teen Groups

It’s 4pm on a Friday afternoon and my work for the day in my role as Children’s Worker at Scottish Adoption is about to begin.

Smells Like Teen Spirit

This afternoon’s events are a slight change from the norm. Instead of running our two young peoples’ groups, the Young Teens (ages 12-14 years) and the Old Teens (ages 15-18 years), we’re merging both, creating a super group and embarking on a rock climbing session.

We have 15 kids tonight, with the Young Teens having only recently having come together as a group and their older peers now over two years in. Looking at the larger group, it’s not hard to distinguish who belongs to which group.

In fact, if Attenborough were here, he’d be gently encouraging us to observe some key behaviour from these very different species. The proximity that the Young Teens have to their parents on arrival, standing separately, somewhat unsure of one another and eagerly looking for an ally. For some, this group might be the first time they’ve had the opportunity to forge a friendship with another adopted young person. For others, it might be that friendships in general are tricky. Three weeks into this new group and we still have the full pack. As a facilitator, I’m quietly elated.

The parents of the Young Teens are also acting as we anticipated they would; some question if their child linking in with peers with similar issues is a risk. There’s no doubt that bringing vulnerable children together can feel tricky. However, for adopted adolescents the teenage years can present a number of complexities with regards to identity, birth family and relationships.  During these times, the therapeutic support the group provides is invaluable and it can be argued that this is a risk well worth taking.

Looking across the room, I can see parents chatting and some swapping numbers. We hoped that this would happen, as even a five minute conversation sharing a family struggle can feel incredibly supportive. I hear “I get it. I understand. We’ve been there too!”

Despite the inherent commonalities of the Young Teens, the word adoption has so far only been mentioned once. This is because the focus for the year ahead is to have fun and to build trust with one another. Once this is established, the magic starts to happen.  Our plan to achieve this is simple. Games, team-work challenges, laughter and fun of the old fashioned variety are the order of the day.

Cast a look at the Older Teens and we see an entirely different picture. Some bodies entwined, others actively avoiding each other. I smell hormones and there’s an air of exclusivity to their huddle. This group has recently regressed from what could be defined in group work terms as their performing stage, to a more fractured state.  Having recently worked together incredibly well to organise and facilitate the Adoption Voices Conference (an overwhelming success by the way), followed by a number of changes to the group’s structure, the packs sense of safety has been jeopardised and they’re now re-grouping. In group work theory, this is known as Storming.

We’re back at the office for pizza and, before the last slice has been eaten, my co-worker and I have already diffused one major outburst, several mini dramas and watched an in-joke erupt into tears of laughter. Having already established a robust level of trust with one other, no subject is off limits. One of the questions they’ve asked this evening are, “If you could choose, would you rather not have had the experience of being adopted?”

I never cease to be blown away by the bravery of these kids. They regularly share their deepest private feelings with one another. They say they can’t do this with 99% of their other friends, but they do it here. This is their safe space.

However, with such intensity of emotions, some sessions can be difficult. This evening was tricky at best. Facilitating, or as described sometimes as the Conducting of a group, can mean digging deep into my skill base. For example, working to turn negative situations into learning experiences, constantly monitoring  the power dynamics, ensuring emotional/physical safety and doing this whilst genuinely (and they know if you’re not) staying attuned and joining in the fun and energy of the session.

There’s a reason adolescents are attracted to gangs, to packs and groups. Peer groups are a mirror. They’re practice for the wider world and they help teenagers develop social confidence. For adopted young people they’re more than that. They reduce feelings of isolation and provide a therapeutic community. Group work isn’t easy. It can be complex and often exhausting. But, reader, I love it.

Stevan and Denis Talk Siblings

Stevan and Denis share their experience of adopting a sibling group.

Stevan and Denis talk openly about what it is like to adopt a sibling group.  If you are thinking about adopting a sibling group and want to speak to someone about this, please call our office on 0131 553 5060 and ask to speak to the duty worker.

Activity Day

Sarah shares her experience of an Adoption Activity Day.

One of our Senior Practitioners, Sarah, attended an Activity Day in Bristol with her adopters. Here Sarah shares her expereince of the day.

On Sunday I attended my first activity day or play day as it was called. This play day was being held on the outskirts of Bristol which meant a very early start for a Sunday morning, leaving the house at 6am for an 820am flight. I wouldn’t normally make such an effort to travel from Edinburgh to Bristol for a random play day. This however, was no random play day. A couple of weeks earlier our agency had recieved a profile for two boys, 4 and 5, who needed a new forever family, or as we later learned, a growing up family as they understand it. These boys were not only adorable in the photos with cheeky grins but also love dogs, being outside, walking, exploring, are crafty and arty and have a lovely sibling bond. They sounded like a great potential match for my adopters who also love all of the above. So after sharing the profile with my adopters and numerous conversations with the boys social worker, we were invited to come to the play day as the boys were going to be there. Needless to say my adopters jumped at the opportunity to meet these cheeky chaps and so this led to my 5am Sunday morning start.

We arrived at the play centre where the day was being held and were warmly welcomed by all the staff facilitating the event. They all knew we had come from Edinburgh and I think they were just as excited about the adopters meeting the boys as we were. This wasn’t the boys first play day and while they had had another potential match this had fallen through, so it felt like everyone was invested in the boys future.

The staff had set up a grown up room where we had bottomless tea, coffee and biscuits. In here they also had pictures of the children who were attending, with their names and any geographical restrictions for placement. That was all we knew about the children. Altogether there were 14 children, a mixture of single children and siblings groups of 2 and 3, aged from 18 months to 8 years old. From our side there were about 11 sets of adopters. After an introduction from one of the organisers, explaining the structure of the day, play, tea and snack, parachute games and then storytime, some hints and tips about conversation starters with the children and foster carers, it was play time as the children had started to arrive.

To begin with it all felt a bit awkward, at the best of times, grown ups are not very good at playing without children, then add in the mix of anticipation and nerves and you have some very awkward adults! Things soon became more relaxed as the children began playing and were supported by the helpers who facilitated some crafts and music. Soon the boys arrived and they were even more adorable in real life than the photos showed! After some play inside, the foster care suggested to the boys that they explore outside and they were off. My adopters tried to wait a few minutes before joining them outside and I followed them 10 minutes later. The boys loved the outdoor activities, the swing, flying fox, slide and balance beams. My adopters and the boys were having a great time just playing and generally being silly. The next 30 to 40 minutes was all outdoor play and by a touch of fate no other children or adopters came out to play so my adopters were fortunate to really spend a lot of time with them. The boys decided that they would like to play on the bikes and we felt that we had possibly hogged the boys and their carer’s time, so we went inside to warm up, take a breath and get a reassuring cup of tea. It was easy for me to see that my adopters were rather smitten already.

We then all gathered back to have some group parachute games, during which the boys kept connecting with my adopters through eye contact and silly faces (though that might have been the adopters more with silly faces)! After story time, we all went on a bear hunt and we were only a little bit scared! And a ball flight in the soft play ball pit the day was being to draw to a close I don’t think any of us wanted it to end. The boys wanted to show the adopters their bikes as they had ridden here, and then it was time to say goodbye.

For us the day was a great success, getting to meet the children the adopters had read about was invaluable and really helped to cement the connection they were beginning to feel. Over dinner that evening we all reflected that it would have been a very different experience to attend without knowing anything about any of the children. It would have been much more overwhelming, as it would be walking into any room full of children you don’t know and trying to play, but with the added knowledge that you could possible adopt one of them it adds a certain level of anxiety. However, from my perspective I would also have prepared the adopters differently if we were attending the event without having a specific child in mind, so perhaps that would have been much more reassuring to the adopters or perhaps they would have decided it wasn’t the right type of event for them.

Overall I am so glad that we attended this play day and I would encourage others to do the same if they are given the opportunity. For more adopters it has made them more committed to pursuing this link and proceeding to the next stage of meeting all the professionals around the boys. Nothing beats meeting the children, they are the centre of this process and while we don’t want to expose them to too much uncertainity or risk, they have also had an opportunity to show that they also had fun with the adopters and hopefully also felt a connection, I think this is a strong foundation for a match going forward.

The children all appeared to have fun and left with smiles on their faces. Hopefully not only will these boys have a new growing up family but hopefully many of the other children who attended too.

Anthony & Clare Video Blog

Clare and Anthony share their experience of how they are finding our Adoption Preparation Groups.

Anthony and Clare have taken part in our Adoption Preparation Groups and have very kindly took up our offer of doing a video blog to share their experience of the group with all of you!

If you are thinking about starting the adoption process or just want to find out more information about the adoption process then these videos, made by those going through the process, does make essential viewing. If you would like to know more about the process after viewing these videos do get in touch with us by calling 0131 553 5060 or by email info@scottishadoption.org.

 

 

 

Here is week one:

Here is week two:

Week three is right here:

The final part of Anthony & Clare’s Preparation Group Video Blog series is here!

Finding My Birth Family

Tracing birth family members can be hard, but Scottish Adoption are with you every step of the way. Read how Leasa helped one man reconnect with birth family he didn’t know he had.

Despite having had wonderful adoptive parents who had always been open and talked to me about my adoption, I came to a point in my life when I thought that no woman would put her baby up for adoption unless she, in some way or another, was going through difficult circumstances. Through research I learned my birth mother had no relatives she knew about as she too was an adopted child. This is why I belive that my birth mother made a painful but wise decision for both herself and myself by putting me up for adoption – undoubtedly with horrific pain in her heart. Thus, as a mother she must have had to carry a painful dark secret all her life; being a single mother in those days was classified as sinful – a very sad state of affairs.

Who knows, perhaps my birth mother and my birth father may both have wanted to know how their son was getting on in life and may even have wanted to see him. With this is mind I started my twenty year search to find out who my birth parents were and if they were still alive.

Scottish Association for the Adoption of Children, now called Scottish Adoption, is the charity that assisted my birth mother to find adoptive parents for me. Thanks to a tip I was given in 2018, I contacted Leasa Bleteau at Scottish Adoption. Now my birth father is not named on my birth certificate, so it can be classified as being an abbreviated certificate, but Leasa was able to provide me with information as to who my birth father was. Unfortunately both of my birth parents has passed away but further research enabled me to come in contact with sisters and a brother on my birth father’s side who now live in Australia. I  was also able to track down the final resting place of my birth parents enabling me to finally “give this a place” and at the same time close what proved to have been a somewhat daunting twenty year chapter in my life.

Tracing blood relatives can be like a rollercoaster of excitement and at times painful disappointments that hurt. My advice to those who are interested in tracing their birth family is to be patient, expect disappointments and rejection from a few as you progress, but whatever you do don’t let anyone deter you in achieving your objective. Most of all, maintain your faith with Scottish Adoption as they are such a great team that are there to support and guide you.

Thank you again Leasa; I now have blood sisters who have welcomed me into their family as being one of them. Alas we lost 60+ years of not being together, so there’s plenty to blether about…

Tracing Families

I was born in Edinburgh in 1980, and it is probably fair to say that my initial start to life was not the greatest.

My Story

I was born in Edinburgh in 1980, and it is probably fair to say that my initial start to life was not the greatest. As a baby, I was ill quite a lot, and my biological mother; who was very young at the time, was not well enough equipped to deal with herself, her family, and the task of raising an infant.

After about 8 or 9 months I was taken into foster care by a very kind and loving family who doted on me. Apparently, I was exceptionally bright yet mischievous at the same time. Some things do not change.

I was formally adopted just before my 2nd birthday and since that day I’ve always been thankful that my parents chose me, I couldn’t have picked better parents myself.

The fact I was adopted was never hidden from me. I was given two photo albums that had pictures and little paragraphs outlining every detail from my birth right up until I was 7 years old when my parents gave me the albums. I found it interesting and humbled that people had gone to the time and effort in order to do that. I felt it was a good way for me to get my head around it personally. There were no tantrums or questions that I really felt I had to ask, as far as I was concerned my parents were my parents and I was happy.

When I was 20, I looked into the possibility of trying to find my birth mother. I have never held a grudge or anything in regards to being put up for adoption regardless of what went on in the past, one day the idea simply came to me. I did some research and met with an adoption counsellor who advised me how to proceed further if I wanted to. After pondering about it for a couple of weeks, I decided to leave it. I honestly cannot remember why I did not pursue the matter then, though maybe deep down I felt maybe, someone might come looking for me instead. Funnily enough, they did…

Getting in Touch with Scottish Adoption

Nearly two years ago, I phoned my parents about visiting with my Fiancée on my birthday. While on the phone my mum told me that I had had a letter from Scottish Adoption enquiring as to my identity and if I was the correct person they were looking for. I just had a funny feeling I knew what was coming, but I left it until I came home to visit and gave Scottish Adoption a call. I spoke to Julie the counsellor, who told me that I had a half sister called Fiona who wanted to get in contact with me.

After a short period we arranged to write letters to each other, a good way of breaking the ice. It became obvious quite quickly that we shared quite a bit in common, despite me finding out she was nearly 13 years younger than me. Our sense of humour was one thing in common, facially to it was obvious after swapping pictures, and I am normally rubbish at spotting that type of stuff.

It freaked her out a bit before we swapped photos when Fiona asked what I looked like as I jokingly told her I was a 5 foot 6 inch Ginger haired sibling, when in fact we are both dark haired with freckles, and I’m actually 6 feet tall. I found that quite funny at the time when I was writing to her and I knew she would get the joke… eventually! We had other things in common, things like music, jobs I had done, Fiona liked the same music and was doing the similar types of jobs.

Even College courses were similar as we are both interested in sports. I think the decisive factor for me was when I found out that both Fiona and her family supported the same football team as me. Her mum was already having kittens at the other coincidences as it was!

From Letters to Email

Our letters continued back and forward for about a year, and then moved onto emailing. Trying to find a date to meet was quite tricky due to different things going on in both our lives, but we got there. We met recently in Edinburgh, firstly at the Scottish Adoption offices with Julie and Fiona’s mum both present. We chatted for a couple of hours and swapped photos etc. Then we both went into town for lunch, to get to know each other a bit better away from it all, just the two of us.

It was a weird day in that I was not nervous at all. I was more concerned that she would be ok with everything rather than my own personal feelings. It all went great, Fiona said so too and I do not think she was lying…

I think the fact that it had taken nearly two years from first contact, to actually meeting, helped us too. The age difference was one thing that could have been an issue. Rushing into a meeting might have left us both a bit, not disappointed, but maybe a little unsure. Getting to know each other’s sense of humour and things, eased all that. She will probably go all shy at me for putting this down on paper! She is funny, just not quite as much as me and she definitely got the looks out of us both.

I am her big brother and have grown quite protective of her already… in a good way. She is my little sister and I would not change that for anything.

Our Social Worker’s perspective

Fiona had been in touch a few times through her teenage years.  Initially looking for more information about her adoptive story and as she got older looking for her older birth sibling.  Her adoptive parents were supportive and involved each step of the way.

We did not locate David the first few times that we looked for him but two years ago when I did another search, I found an address that was potentially his parents.  Fiona and I met and we agreed that I would send them a letter for David and ask them to forward it onto him.

Fiona knew that it might be the wrong address and that even if we did find him he might not want to have contact.  We were also sure that he was unaware of her existence.

David rang and I explained that he had a younger sister who would like to have contact with him.  He had not known he had a sister and whilst excited, he took time to discuss it with his Fiancée and parents before committing to having contact.  It was important that David had the same information about his birth family that Fiona had before they started getting in touch with each other.  Therefore, time was taken to share information about his birth mother who had died many years previously and to share his adoption records with him.

We then started the business of letters going back and forth between David and Fiona – to keep everyone’s confidentiality all correspondence comes through Scottish Adoption.

Fiona was heading off overseas for a while so we moved to e-mail correspondence still through myself.

After about eighteen months, we started to talk about when David and Fiona would meet.  A lot of thought and chat went into this first meeting, which happened here at Scottish Adoption.  Fiona brought her Mum along for support while David came alone.  Everyone was very nervous (even David) but they quickly relaxed and chatted for a couple of hours, sharing photos and stories from their childhoods.  The meeting went so well that Fiona and David felt comfortable to head off to lunch together.  My role in their relationship is over now as they continue their contact independently although I am always here if they want to make contact with me in future.

The time taken for Fiona and David to get to know each other through letters and e-mails was invaluable as it allowed them to build the beginnings of a relationship in a safe and supported way.  When they finally met, it was at a time that both felt ready for this step.   By taking things slowly and with support they have begun what will be a positive relationship through the rest of their lives.  Their families and David’s partner were also on this journey with them, and the time taken to get to know each other prior to the meeting also allowed them to adjust to the idea of their child/partner having a sibling, and making space for this person in all their lives.

Scottish Adoption Experience

It is hard to summarise the support given to us by Scottish Adoption into a few paragraphs, given that they have offered us such varied and tailored support over the years.

It is hard to summarise the support given to us by Scottish Adoption into a few paragraphs, given that they have offered us such varied and tailored support over the years, but here goes:

Scottish Adoption, and particularly our social worker, have taken the time to get to know us and our needs, both as a couple and laterally as a family. The support they offer is always thoughtful and tailored towards our needs. We have attended Theraplay sessions, which helped us to focus on using fun to help us meet our son’s attachment needs. These sessions provided us with new ideas and games to engage with our child at a time when things were proving difficult for him. They also offered us the opportunity to engage with other parents and develop further support networks.

Approachable

We have always felt it possible to approach Scottish Adoption when in times of difficulty. Post adoption, we’ve always felt that our social worker knew us well, and we’ve felt trust in her. As a result, whenever in times of crisis we have felt no qualms about lifting the telephone and asking for support. Knowing us well she has always been able to spot when we need to see her and has managed to take the time to come out and talk with us. She’s always had insight and great ideas to circumvent the most varied of behaviours from our son and has also been able to help us explore why certain behaviours may be challenging for us as parents. Above all, she’s listened non-judgementally and offered us support.

With the support of Scottish Adoption we have been able to parent our child therapeutically, to help him develop from an anxious, frightened child, to a loving, caring, funny and charming young man. He is still only very young, but thanks to the support we have received, we now realise that we, as parents, have what it takes to support him on his journey to greatness.

Adoption has been far more challenging than we ever could have realised when sitting in the room at that first information meeting, but by far, the best thing that we have ever done in our lives.

Pre Placement Preparation Group

We recently held a Pre-Placement Preparation Group and asked if someone would be able to write about their experience of the group so we could share their experiences online with everyone.

We recently held a Pre-Placement Preparation Group and asked if someone would be able to write about their experience of the group so we could share their experiences online with everyone.

Why we have a Pre-Placement Day:

The Pre-placement Day arose out of recognition that the early days and weeks of a child coming home to its adoptive parents are both

(a)    really important in helping children start to build attachments, safe and security to their parents

(b)   can feel totally overwhelming for adoptive parents.

Up to the point of panel whilst there will have been talk about the needs of the children being placed for adoption and the type of parenting they might require.  The focus is naturally on completing the home study and getting approved.  However, after approval there is the opportunity to breathe and relax as the waiting period begins.  This felt like an ideal opportunity for us to meet with adopters and revisit the needs of the child and the different parenting that they might require. Both Introductions and the early days of a child coming home can be very stressful and difficult.  The purpose of the day is to help approved adopters really think about the task ahead and to hopefully equip them with a bag of useful tools. Below is one persons account of the group.

Our First Experience of the Pre-Placement Preparation Group

The invite to the session arrived a few weeks before we went to the approval panel. A tingle of excitement – this was real, something was going happen after all those months of home study. Having attended the evening prep classes over 8 weeks, we wondered how a full day, 9.30am to 4.30pm, would be filled, who would be there, what else could we learn?

There were 10 of us in the group that day – a reunion with one person we’d attended prep classes with – and a real mix of couples and single adopters. Everyone was at slightly different stages in the post-panel approval process. One woman was about to go to a matching panel, one second-time adopter was taking enquiries further with a couple of children, and reassuringly for us just 3 weeks post-approval, a few couples who hadn’t had any profiles sent to them yet.

After an icebreaker exercise to discuss in pairs how we thought a child we each already knew would feel being moved to live with complete strangers, we were fired up and the day flew by.

With plenty opportunity for questions and discussion (which there was a lot of!) Giles and Julie expertly took us through an agenda that included a reflection on how we cope with change and stress ourselves, so we can recognise the impact of placement on us as well as the child, and what our key worries are around placement overall.

We also looked in detail at the next steps of the process including introductions, what to expect and how best to cope, working with foster carers, plus a discussion around the legal process and the varying levels of uncertainty this stage can bring.

There was a group exercise on matching child behaviours with different types of attachment (secure, insecure, ambivalent, avoidant and disorganised), with instruction on achieving the first steps of security for your child, so that they can relax with you and go on to thrive. I thought Giles was particularly helpful in giving verbal examples of what you might actually say to your child in certain situations.

For example, we learned that quite natural and widely accepted forms of discipline that are effective with securely attached children, like the naughty step, where you’re saying to the child “I’m going to withdraw my contact or attention until you behave”, are not constructive with newly adopted children, whatever their age. To sever your newly formed connection or bond in this way sends out the wrong signal, making the child feel completely rejected when they might not yet have the resources to know that this is just a passing behaviour from you.

What we learned to do is say “no” firmly but then immediately reinforce this with warmth and encouragement by saying something like “but we’re fine, me and you, come on – let’s go and do something else”. In this way, we keep the child safe, keep them within our boundaries, but also go a long way to strengthen the bonding between us.

The session on funnelling was also very valuable in how you can get your family and friends to really help this work towards successful and early attachment. We feel much more confident about this aspect now, where before our family thought they may not meet the child for a long time. It’s also reassuring to know that social workers are happy to go out and meet family and friends to help explain the funnelling process and how they can be a part of it.

After the session on legalities, we broke for lunch and went to a nearby café as a group, giving us further opportunity to catch up on each other’s stories. And there were plenty breaks for tea, coffee and too many chocolate biscuits.

The day finished with Julie demonstrating different games that we can play to help with attachment in the early days, but to also help children catch up on developmental stages they may have missed from inconsistent or negligent care. For example, playing peek-a-boo helps children learn permanence: that their parents still exist even when they can’t see them, which is crucial for children to settle in nursery or school, and be relaxed and open to learning.

Again, Julie was great at getting down on the floor and actually showing us the games and talking through their function, so that you could really imagine doing this with your own child.

We found the day really helpful as preparation for placement. It was the usual roller-coaster of emotions, just like the prep classes, but it was reassuring to learn more about the extent of future support that we’ll have access to, like Theraplay, toddler groups, starting school workshops, right up to when our children are teenagers and need to check in again for security around their bigger life decisions.

All we can say is thank you – and bring it on!

Reflections of an Adult Adoptee

One January morning, five years ago, I woke up knowing the time had arrived to search into my past.

One January morning, five years ago, I woke up knowing the time had arrived to search into my past. The prompt seemed to come from a voice inside my head. Purposefully, I leapt out of bed aware that there was no time to waste, since, in a matter of months, I would turn sixty. Not that I considered sixty to be a particularly old age, but because time might be running out to track down my birth mother.

For the previous few years I’d come to doubt that what I’d been told as a child might actually be true. Instead of taking action, I stalled, since I didn’t want to have to acknowledge that my parents had, most likely, lied to me, even though I guessed that it would have been for my protection. My ‘real’ mummy had died, they said, when I asked what happened to her. And even if they had told me the full truth, instead of the explanation designed to put an end to the matter, I hadn’t wanted to start delving until my adoptive mother, who outlived my father by twenty eight years, passed away.

I’d also stalled because I had no real idea where to begin. A few years earlier, a friend who was into ancestry research, suggested that I start with the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. Halfheartedly I lifted the phone and dialled a local number. The ring tone lasted for ages until I replaced the receiver, concluding that it was not meant to be and feeling just a tad relieved. But, on the morning of my epiphany, there was no more excuse as the internet was now at my disposal, I was computer savvy and all I had to do was conduct a google search. I was taken to the website of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering (BAAF) – an institution which, sadly, no longer exists – filled in an email template and within a short space of time received a hopeful reply.

The wheels were set in motion and a request sent to the Government Registry Office in Southport, Lancashire, because, even though I was living in Edinburgh, my adoption, as a six month old baby, took place in England. I was informed that the details would be sent to a local adoption charity. I have to confess that I was more than a little miffed to discover that there was an apparent snag. It was due to the fact that I was adopted before 1976, the year in which a change in the law came into being, enabling adoptees to obtain details of their birth identity. In order to be given the information I sought, a counsellor would have to assigned to me. Those that were born after that date had a choice in the matter. How wrong I was to consider this a stumbling block, as though the counsellor would somehow stand in my way. Soon I received a reassuring phone call from the person allocated to my case at Scottish Adoption, and I knew then I was in safe hands. It was absolutely essential to be in the presence of an empathetic, well trained and highly skilled professional, since to read my name at birth and that of my birth mother, presented a monumental trauma and was not to be experienced in isolation.

And it didn’t just stop there, as I was to discover that, indeed, my birth mother was still alive, and I desired to find her before it was too late. My counsellor was at the end of the line whenever I needed her to help me come to terms with the gradually unfolding revelations, and to act as an intermediary when required. Close friends said they admired my courage when I announced my intention to search, and while I recognised that it wouldn’t be easy, I had seriously underestimated just how much the information I garnered over time would rock me to the very core of my being. I had no idea just what damage takes place when a child is exposed to prenatal tensions, thoughts of possible abortion and separation from the biological mother, which recent research has revealed. To see a photograph of my birth mother for the very first time, navigate my way through the emotionally turbulent waters of my adoption file, and attempt to integrate with the birth family is not a journey I could have realised, much less undergone safely, without my counsellor being at the helm.

The act of procuring information which was rightfully mine: namely accessing the missing puzzle piece of my infancy as well as my biological heritage, was far from straightforward. The stumbling blocks lay with other institutions and authority figures who might well have denied me this complicated still further by the fact that I was born in England and my counsellor was able to address each issue as it came along. Thanks to her persistence at the time, and her support of mine since then, a highly pleasing result has been achieved. I appreciate, of course, that the ending might not have been a happy one, that my birth mother and also those close to her could well have not wanted any contact with me. It was, then, even more reason to have this back up.

Certainly there have been many ups and downs and moments when I’d wished I’d never gone ahead with my search. But I soldiered on, and only last month did I realise a dream I thought would simply remain that way. Although I had met and stayed with my ninety one year old birth mother a few times, I was finally able to sit down at a pre Christmas meal table with her, also in the company of the younger full sister I never knew I had, and my adoptive cousins. Everyone was happy and interacted well. However, the best part for me was being able to celebrate this achievement by way of a phone call and the sharing of a photograph of the occasion with the person who has accompanied me along the often tortuous way, during which, at times, all seemed lost. My counsellor at Scottish Adoption.

Kirsty and Mark Video Blog

Kirsty and Mark very kindly took up our offer of doing a video blog instead of writing everything down, and we couldn’t be happier with the result.

Kirsty and Mark are the first to take the Preparation Group Blog to new heights! They very kindly took up our offer of doing a video Blog instead of writing everything down, and we couldn’t be happier with the result. So see for yourself, watch and enjoy!

Week 1 & 2

Week 3