Scottish Adoption Duck Race

The Duck Dash is back for 2022 and will be taking place on Saturday 9th of July!

Duck Race

After a sell out year last year the Duck Dash is BACK for 2022! We are pleased to announce that on the 9th of July 2022 we shall be holding our Duck Dash in North Berwick.

For the second year running we will be holding the Duck Dash out with the City of Edinburgh and holding it at our Family Picnic in North Berwick instead!

There will still be great prizes to win so dig deep and buy your duck here. All ducks will cost £4.00 or buy 3 ducks for £10.

More prizes will be added to this list as and when we get them confirmed. Prizes that have been donated so far include:

  • One of our popular prizes from the last few years have been the Swedish Candles donated by Robert from Woodhead Eco Trees. Robert is back and very generously donated another of his brilliant Swedish Candles.
  • Helen from Rockpool Trading has donated a Kernowspa candle and some Kernow Chocolate. All are handmade in Cornwall from small businesses and are available on their website www.rockpooltrading.co.uk
  • Linda has been a great supporter of our Duck Races and has once again very kindly agreed to make another gorgeous blanket.
  • Maurice has kindly donated a lovely pair of Handmade Stained Glass Earrings and Knecklace. Maurice is currently working on his website but can be contacted on MPG5961@gmail.com
  • Another great supporter of our Duck Race is Andrew from Vino Wines. This year Andrew has donated a lovely Bottle of Fizz from Vino Wines!
  • Brad from GHS Loft Flooring has very kindly donated a loft ladder.
  • Two Bottles of Red Wine have been donated by Angie.
  • Caledonian Horticulture have donated an 8ookg bag of Green Goodness Compost. Don’t worry you wont ned to carry this home, they will deliver!
  • Dynamic Earth in Edinurgh have donated some complimentary passes to the top visitor attraction.
  • Gemma has donated a voucher to be used at The Lobster Man at Fenton Barns. Fresh lobster caught off the shores of North Berwick.
  • The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick have donated a Family Day Pass. You will be able to watch the Gannets on the Bass Rock, watch Puffins on Craigleith Island and try and spot dolphins or seals in the sea. A great day out!
  • Fiona from Business Parcs have donated a great prize for golfers! you coudl win a 4Ball Voucher for Whitehill House Golf Club at Rosewell!
  • Lyndsey from Mini First Aid Edinburgh has donated a voucher for two parents/guardians to come along to an open baby & child first aid class.
  • Lorraine from Bo-peep Handmade has donated one of her gorgeous Bunnies. Lorraine is another supporter who has donated prizes before, and we really appreciate the support!
  • Author Liza Miles has donated signed copies of her books Love Bites, My Life’s Not Funny, and the Cosy Mystery series which is a series of murder mysteries set in Edinburgh.

More prizes will be added to this list and to be in with a chance to win any of these prizes you need to buy a duck, which you can do by clicking here! For more information please call 0131 553 5060 or email david@scottishadoption.org

The Duck Dash is back for 2022 and will be taking place on Saturday 9th of July!

Duck Race

After a sell out year last year the Duck Dash is BACK for 2022! We are pleased to announce that on the 9th of July 2022 we shall be holding our Duck Dash in North Berwick.

For the second year running we will be holding the Duck Dash out with the City of Edinburgh and holding it at our Family Picnic in North Berwick instead!

There will still be great prizes to win so dig deep and buy your duck here. All ducks will cost £4.00 or buy 3 ducks for £10.

More prizes will be added to this list as and when we get them confirmed. Prizes that have been donated so far include:

  • One of our popular prizes from the last few years have been the Swedish Candles donated by Robert from Woodhead Eco Trees. Robert is back and very generously donated another of his brilliant Swedish Candles.
  • Helen from Rockpool Trading has donated a Kernowspa candle and some Kernow Chocolate. All are handmade in Cornwall from small businesses and are available on their website www.rockpooltrading.co.uk
  • Linda has been a great supporter of our Duck Races and has once again very kindly agreed to make another gorgeous blanket.
  • Maurice has kindly donated a lovely pair of Handmade Stained Glass Earrings and Knecklace. Maurice is currently working on his website but can be contacted on MPG5961@gmail.com
  • Another great supporter of our Duck Race is Andrew from Vino Wines. This year Andrew has donated a lovely Bottle of Fizz from Vino Wines!
  • Brad from GHS Loft Flooring has very kindly donated a loft ladder.
  • Two Bottles of Red Wine have been donated by Angie.
  • Caledonian Horticulture have donated an 8ookg bag of Green Goodness Compost. Don’t worry you wont ned to carry this home, they will deliver!
  • Dynamic Earth in Edinurgh have donated some complimentary passes to the top visitor attraction.
  • Gemma has donated a voucher to be used at The Lobster Man at Fenton Barns. Fresh lobster caught off the shores of North Berwick.
  • The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick have donated a Family Day Pass. You will be able to watch the Gannets on the Bass Rock, watch Puffins on Craigleith Island and try and spot dolphins or seals in the sea. A great day out!
  • Fiona from Business Parcs have donated a great prize for golfers! you coudl win a 4Ball Voucher for Whitehill House Golf Club at Rosewell!
  • Lyndsey from Mini First Aid Edinburgh has donated a voucher for two parents/guardians to come along to an open baby & child first aid class.
  • Lorraine from Bo-peep Handmade has donated one of her gorgeous Bunnies. Lorraine is another supporter who has donated prizes before, and we really appreciate the support!
  • Author Liza Miles has donated signed copies of her books Love Bites, My Life’s Not Funny, and the Cosy Mystery series which is a series of murder mysteries set in Edinburgh.

More prizes will be added to this list and to be in with a chance to win any of these prizes you need to buy a duck, which you can do by clicking here! For more information please call 0131 553 5060 or email david@scottishadoption.org

Supporting Our LGBT+ Adopters

The second annual Adoption & Foster care support week for LGBT+ parents takes place 20-24 September. Scottish Adoption is proud to back it.

LGBT+ people now play a key role in Scotland in parenting some of our most vulnerable children. Scottish Adoption have placed more children with LGBT+ families than any other Local Authority and Adoption Agency in Scotland making Scottish Adoption the Number 1 Adoption Agency in Scotland for the LGBT+ Community. Vickie Foster, Practice Manager said

“This is something that Scottish Adoption is extremely proud of, we have worked closely with the LGBT+ community for many years, building up this relationship and trust and will continue to work with to support both the LGBT+ community and our LGBT+ families.”

In 2020 1 in 12 adoptions in Scotland were to same-sex couples. Research suggests that LGBT+ adoptive parents are more likely to adopt older children, sibling groups, or those with additional needs and disabilities than other adopters. While LGBT+ adopters and foster carers bring a unique skillset to parenting, they also face distinct and separate support challenges to other adopters and foster carers.

To help our LGBT+ adopters Scottish Adoption will take part in September’s campaign to raise awareness of new, unique content online that our adopters can access as the campaign takes place. Throughout the week this will focus on education. New Family Social – the UK’s charity for LGBT+ adopters and foster carers – leads the campaign and says education is frequently a concern for them.

“Finding the right school for your child is a top priority for all parents. If you’re LGBT+ you’ll want to make sure your family is fully supported by the school’s policies and practices. You’ll also need to know that the schools on offer can meet your child’s additional needs. If you need to access help from your adoption or fostering agency, you’ll want clarity on what it can do for you,” says James Lawrence, New Family Social’s Head of Engagement & Communications.

Scottish Adoption is a member of New Family Social and offers free access to the charity’s services as part of its support package for its LGBT+ adopters.

Ben’s Preparation Group Blog

Ben is back with the second of his blogs, this time on his experience of the Online Preparation Group.

Preparation Group – Bonds Over Fears.

One of the most rewarding experiences of my time so far at Scottish Adoption has been co-facilitating a preparation for adoption group. This is an opportunity for prospective parents to explore processes, development, attachment, expectations, and improve understanding of what adoption really means. This opportunity really opened my eyes as I went into this group with an expectation that the focus would be on the learning and practicalities of the adoption process. What I came out with was a deeper understanding of the journey that prospective adoptive parents will go through and a shared collective spirit of support we all had for one another.

Initially I found the prospect of facilitating a group through an online platform to be daunting. I visualised looking at a computer screen with sixteen faces looking back at me and considered how achievable this could be without us all being physically in a room together. As this was early into my placement at Scottish Adoption it would be my first time speaking to a large group of people at the same time. I felt reassured that many of the feelings I was experiencing early into my placement would run parallel and potentially resonate alongside the prospective adopters experience of them themselves being in the early stages of their own journey into adoption.  I considered how this could connect everyone together in the group as many would be carrying many of the same fears, uncertainties hopes and excitements as I was and thus creating a collective experience for all. As the groups progressed it became clear that the prospect of overcoming fears together would create a connection and shared resilience that would set the foundations of turning hopes and expectations into a reality.

A real inclusive attitude to the preparation group is realised through working in partnership with prospective parents, online resources and activities are shared through an online space were feedback, thoughts and opinions are encouraged between each group session. This creates an environment of shared learning and opens the floor for everyone to explore and voice their own ideas, values and understanding of the themes and concepts throughout each week.

Central to setting an environment that provided a space that nurtured bonds and connection were the fantastic and highly experienced facilitators that I worked alongside. They both brought humour and positivity that shone through the online platform and made something that could have been a disconnected experience radiate with life.

This has been a running theme through my time here at Scottish Adoption, the unconditional support and good humour that stems into every aspect of work goes far to make something that could be a lot more daunting just that bit easier. Key to this is celebrating different personalities, bringing out the strengths of all those involved and by doing so highlighting what each of us can offer one another.

Over the weeks I could feel my own confidence grow as well, as well as my skills and knowledge, and this has formed many of the foundations of my understanding of adoption and the journeys of those people involved and has ultimately set me in good stead for my work here at Scottish Adoption and my future career within social work.

Ben’s First Week Reflection

Finding connection in the heart of Leith.

Taking my first steps into the world of Social Work, I was happy to discover that my placement would be with Scottish Adoption. Being a resident of Leith myself, I was excited to find out its office was situated in the heart of the area that I most consider to be home.

Starting my studies back in January at Edinburgh Napier University, I could not have envisioned the surprises that the year ahead would hold. The transition from hands on learning into a world of the virtual required adaptability and resourcefulness that I did not know I was capable of. Being a student on a course that relies so heavily on the human element of supporting and working in partnership with people, Covid would go far in creating barriers to what attracted me most to the course – building connections with individuals and communities.

While I initially considered to have the potential to isolate myself and utilise support from fellow students and the university, this consequently led to a shared resilience and bond that has gone far in strengthening our resolve as students and as people. It is this attitude I hope to take into the real world of social work practice, through my placement opportunity here at Scottish Adoption.

With social distancing meaning that I have had to work from home for most of the year, I was delighted with the prospect of being able to physically come into a working office with real people, doing real social work things. I hoped that I would be entering a work environment that reflected the down to earth, inclusive, and good-humoured attitude that makes Leith so great. I was not disappointed. The people that I have met so far, in person and virtually, have been warmer and more welcoming than I could have hoped for.

The spirit at Scottish Adoption is that the work doesn’t stop no matter what challenges are presented by current complexities in health and social care. The practice that I’ve witnessed so far has left me with a real sense of what drives the work here, this being characterised through means of character building, recognising strengths in individuals, celebrating identity, offering empathy and establishing trust.

It is clear from the little time I have spent here that the shared spirit of community and connection that this organisation radiates will continue to support people through the complexities, frustrations, and uncertainties of these times and I can’t wait to be part of that ethos going forward and ultimately discovering the impact this will have on my development as social work student.

Finding connection in the heart of Leith.

Taking my first steps into the world of Social Work, I was happy to discover that my placement would be with Scottish Adoption. Being a resident of Leith myself, I was excited to find out its office was situated in the heart of the area that I most consider to be home.

Starting my studies back in January at Edinburgh Napier University, I could not have envisioned the surprises that the year ahead would hold. The transition from hands on learning into a world of the virtual required adaptability and resourcefulness that I did not know I was capable of. Being a student on a course that relies so heavily on the human element of supporting and working in partnership with people, Covid would go far in creating barriers to what attracted me most to the course – building connections with individuals and communities.

While I initially considered to have the potential to isolate myself and utilise support from fellow students and the university, this consequently led to a shared resilience and bond that has gone far in strengthening our resolve as students and as people. It is this attitude I hope to take into the real world of social work practice, through my placement opportunity here at Scottish Adoption.

With social distancing meaning that I have had to work from home for most of the year, I was delighted with the prospect of being able to physically come into a working office with real people, doing real social work things. I hoped that I would be entering a work environment that reflected the down to earth, inclusive, and good-humoured attitude that makes Leith so great. I was not disappointed. The people that I have met so far, in person and virtually, have been warmer and more welcoming than I could have hoped for.

The spirit at Scottish Adoption is that the work doesn’t stop no matter what challenges are presented by current complexities in health and social care. The practice that I’ve witnessed so far has left me with a real sense of what drives the work here, this being characterised through means of character building, recognising strengths in individuals, celebrating identity, offering empathy and establishing trust.

It is clear from the little time I have spent here that the shared spirit of community and connection that this organisation radiates will continue to support people through the complexities, frustrations, and uncertainties of these times and I can’t wait to be part of that ethos going forward and ultimately discovering the impact this will have on my development as social work student.

Our First Christmas Morning

We adopted our two girls in April, so we had a good run into Christmas the first year.

Our girls were three and a half and one and a half at Christmas and while the younger was largely oblivious to what was going on, it was really our eldest who we wanted to make sure had an amazing and special time. It was interesting speaking to her about what she remembered from the previous Christmas when she had been in foster care, and it was obvious that she had had a nice Christmas the year before. We felt a lot of pressure – largely put on ourselves – to try and make Christmas absolutely perfect, complete with spending much of Christmas Eve building things and getting the presents under the tree just right. We also felt it was really important to start talking about our traditions, and what we planned to do not only this Christmas – but for all Christmases in the future.

The first Christmas morning was amazing. We had decided to do stockings in the bedroom, so they were able to open Stockings straight away and when we came downstairs, and they looked under the tree at what Santa had brought them – you could see they didn’t know where to look or what to look at. Especially the eldest, she couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing, and the look of wonder and amazement on her face was absolutely magical.

Our Experience before we were parents was obviously very different. We had no time to open our own presents this first year for obvious reasons – it really was all about the children. Prior to this, we had always loved Christmas, and had our traditions as a couple which as the kids get older, will be much easier to continue (and develop!). A niece had arrived a couple years before – so after we were finished at our house, we had gone to ‘Grandma’s’ to continue the gift opening – and it was just starting to change to be more kid-focused as she was growing up. The bonus now is that our eldest is the same age as her cousin and they both have such a wonderful bond.

The most distinct memory is seeing our eldest face and not knowing where to look first.  Also, our youngest trying desperately to open presents but not quite managing yet based on her age. Obviously, this will continue to progress going forward.

I think the only thing that was unexpected was how disappointed we ended up being that the girls didn’t have much of a chance to play with their new toys on Christmas day as it was full of opening presents at our house, then to Grandma’s, then there was eating in there and by the time all was said and done, it was bedtime! Certainly learned we needed to plan our day a bit better!

Scottish Adoption Festival

What a week it has been! We have had an amazing first ever Scottish Adoption Festival so thank you to everyone who has made this week more of a success then we had hoped it would be!

For everyone here at Scottish Adoption the purpose behind the Scottish Adoption Festival was to have some fun family events which provided opportunities for adoptive families to come together and celebrate adoption. Events, such as a Bookbug story telling session, a Parkour workshop and a music writing masterclass with Singer/Songwriter Nikki McDonald and ending the week with our Annual Family Fun Day at the Five Sisters Zoo. These sessions were open to families from all adoption agencies and local authorities giving them a chance to meet other families that they would not necessarily get the chance to meet at agency only events. The Scottish Adoption Teenager Groups also wanted to use the week to do some fundraising and so they organised a very successful Duck Race, selling more ducks than ever before! A huge well done to them!

We also recognised that as Scotland continues to have a shortage of adopters, like LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week in March and Adoption Week Scotland in November we would also provide recruitment opportunities to help raise awareness and encourage potential adopters to come and talk with us to learn more about the adoption process. We held two of these events and were really humbled by the number of people who came along to hear from us and our adopters and it is great that some have already decided that they want to start their adoption journey with us.

We are already looing forward to next year’s Scottish Adoption Festival which will be even bigger so come and get involved and let us know what groups you want to see next year!

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.

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…

Christmas Tree Festival

Scottish Adoption is proud to be taking part in this year’s Christmas Tree Festival in Edinburgh

Scottish Adoption is proud to be taking part in the Edinburgh Christmas Tree Festival. this is the 9th year the festival has been held at St Andrew’s and St George’s West in Edinburgh city centre. Our tree will be one of 40 Christmas trees lighting up St Andrew’s and St George’s West sanctuary, each telling a different story. The Festival runs throughout Advent and brings together businesses, charities, church and city, offering space for everyone to reflect, celebrate and wonder.

The theme for our Christmas Tree will be ‘Adopted Voices’ carrying on the theme from the Adopted Voices Conference which our adopted young people helped organise as part of Adoption Week Scotland. We are encouraging everyone to write on one of the decorations what ‘Adoption means to you’ whether you have a connection to adoption or not.

When and where? 

The festival will run from the 8th until the 24th of December at St Andrew’s and St George’s West in George Street. Monday-Saturday 10-6pm, Thursdays late until 9pm.

Do visit, leave a decoration, take a photo and post it on our twitter and facebook pages, we would love to see them!