I'm after some advice please, either from those who may have experience or just general opinions.
I have been asked to give a talk to a group of prospective adopters (who are all looking to parent older children - although in reality I think this just means 'not babies').
I've not done one of these before and am starting to panic.
I want to be realistic and honest,but I don't want to scare them rigid (which I probably could given some of our experiences over the years). I've not been given any focus for the talk - education, child to parent violence, single adopter, FASD, attachment ... so am wondering what your opinions and advice would be.
This is the one of the sessions I still remember most clearly from our course and that is over 20 years ago! I can remember wondering how on earth I would cope if the things they were talking about happened to me, they did happen and I did deal with them, well sort of!
Things have probably changed a lot now but I wonder if talking about your experiences of matching, introductions, settling in, school, chasing therapy, everyday life and managing expectations would help. You have so much experience you could probably talk for days. I think I remember this session best because it was a real adopter talking not just a social worker with theoretical knowledge.
You will be fabulous, try and enjoy the experience, you have an awful lot to offer.
Riding the roller coaster with DH, AD and AS. Both striding out in the big wide world.
Thanks Mooster, I still remember adopters coming in too (also a long time ago!). We had four different sets over the course of our training; it started with a couple for whom everything was going swimmingly, then moved on to more challenging adoptions by the time we met the last couple.
One of my issues though is they've only allocated 10 minutes for me to talk, then a further 10 for questions during a coffee break. I'm sure 10 minutes will feel like 10 days when I actually have to face them and talk, but right now that doesn't seem much which is why I wondered if I should focus on just one area?
What I liked about ours was they focused on what every day life looked like for them after the adoption order had been granted. So after all the support/involvement from social workers and foster carers had ended. Our course (June 2021) had a lot of information around matching, introductions and the early days already. So it was good to hear about the bits that came after that (e.g. transitions to school, meeting wider family members, therapy and any birth family contact).
10 mins really isn't very long; especially when you'll inevitably spend a couple of minutes introducing yourself, your family and how long since you adopted etc. The 10 minute coffee break will be for whatever questions are foremost in the trainees minds. So I agree with you that you should pick one area of focus to talk about. Whatever area you pick, focus on what you wish you'd known/someone had said to you in the beginning.
Truth is any realities you may highlight may scare some or all of them. But being thought provoking/testing is part of the point of the training. Nothing you say may be as testing as what they face later in their adoptions. So I wouldn't worry too much about that.
I was honest but not brutal !! I did a few when things were difficult with Simba and some in better times.
I think I tried to get a balance in highlighting how different their experience might be from their friends with birth children, that they might have to reframe their ideas of what family and success might look like.
Also that its very different when you are dealing with a real life child that is yours, that you care passionately about and not a hypothetical child.
I also emphasised that whilst life could be difficult, it was often just plain ordinary!
Mum to the 'hansom' Simba, age 19 and 40 now retired teddy bears and FC to Special K, age 12