Saturday, 5 August 2006

anger

We have been discussing and mulling over our last adoption meeting.  I wrote this quite late last night, to get it off my chest and I have been debating whether or not to post it.

It has transpired that the information B has had to give regarding his work-related travel over the last fifteen years is not specific enough.

For each theatre tour, he has been asked to write down precisely where he stayed.

The adoption agency then pass that on to International Social Services and/or the Criminal Records Bureau / Interpol, who check that he has not got a criminal record or come to the notice of social services in any of the countries he has listed.

For some countries, that is not good enough. He has to apply in person at a UK police station designated by them and have his fingerprints taken in full, to match against their database.

This is ridiculous. Utterly ridiculous.

Why?

Well, for a start, it is only work-related trips that they check up on. So if someone has been taking kiddy-fiddling trips to Thailand regularly in their summer break for the last twenty years, that slips under the radar completely.

And secondly, this is all by voluntary disclosure. So if we had not initially been so thorough and honest in our list of places that he has worked to the adoption agency, then we would not be jumping through these hoops. Or, as B has just said, jumping through the eye of the needle.

How can you remember the name of the hotel you stayed in for one night fifteen years ago? Or even it's street?  Or the date?

We understand what they are trying to do and why they are trying to do it.

But it is SUCH an intrusive process.

And so much of it seems to lack checks and balances - the fact that the disclosure is essentially voluntary makes a mockery of it and of people who are honest with them.

Because I was honest about my past abusive relationships, that is going to make things more difficult for us.  It seems like I will need to go in to more depth about them for the benefit of this panel of people I do not know, who's job it is to make a judgement upon my history and my choices.

Because B was honest about his work history, his fingerprints will go on record with a number of countries, to be matched against their criminal records database.

If we had kept quiet, these things wouldn't have happened.

Honesty is very important to me and therefore I think we have done the right thing. But speaking about my past relationships, even at the depth I have already;  I feel as if I have been exposed, naked in front of strangers. It's horrible.

Also. We have been told that really, despite our self-evident difficulties with conceiving, we should be using contraception at this point.

We are expected to commit fully to the agency and put all of our faith in their ability to deliver a family to us. 

Whilst on the other hand, we are supposed to lay our lives before the Board; revisit past pain or foolishness; demonstrate that we have learnt, grown, moved on, have appropriate reactions to all these things we've experienced;  lay any slim-to-none remaining hopes of natural conception aside;  and wait, to see whether they deem us SUITABLE.

Perhaps this period of anger at the intrusiveness of the process is something everyone goes through.

Don't get me wrong - our worker is behind us. She says that she thinks we have a lot to offer.  And, I repeat, we do understand why this has to happen - things that have happened to us in the past impact on how we behave now;  and on how we will react to the children who are going to be placed in our care.   And because the children are at the centre of everything, these things need to be exposed.

These are the things one has to do to make it happen.

Boy On Top - you said a few weeks ago that you were interested in this process, because your friend was going through it and didn't want to speak about it.

I can see why.

Today, I feel somehow soiled.



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29 comments:

  1. It does seem very unrealistic for them to expect you to remember such tiny details. And I can understand why you feel soiled, it must be really hard to talk about such personal stuff with a complete stranger, especially when you know they are using that information to make a judgement about something that is so important to you. I can see why they need to do these kind of checks, but still, if you are the one being checked it must make you feel awful.

    I can also understand why you would be reluctant to give up even the smallest chance of conceiving naturally - that must be really tough :-(

    Sending a big hug and a SheWeevil, hope they help.

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  2. It does seem very unrealistic for them to expect you to remember such tiny details. And I can understand why you feel soiled, it must be really hard to talk about such personal stuff with a complete stranger, especially when you know they are using that information to make a judgement about something that is so important to you. I can see why they need to do these kind of checks, but still, if you are the one being checked it must make you feel awful.

    I can also understand why you would be reluctant to give up even the smallest chance of conceiving naturally - that must be really tough :-(

    Sending a big hug and a SheWeevil, hope they help.

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  3. Bureaucrats run amok! I can only imagine how you must feel -- violated and humiliated come to mind. I am so sorry you have to go through all this. I really admire you both for being able to keep your perspective, and your focus on the ultimate goal.

    Hugs

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  4. Bureaucrats run amok! I can only imagine how you must feel -- violated and humiliated come to mind. I am so sorry you have to go through all this. I really admire you both for being able to keep your perspective, and your focus on the ultimate goal.

    Hugs

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  5. It's great that at the end of the process you'll know that you've been as open and honest as you possibly could have been. Whatever happens you won't be left asking yourself if you could have tried harder. But if I were in your shoes I can see myself being dishonest about the contraception - it's so impossible to check. I can see what they're worried about; someone bailing out of the process at the last minute, even after they've met their prospective adoptee, because they're pregnant. But sometimes you have to cheat a little bit, just to feel like you've got some control.

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  6. It's great that at the end of the process you'll know that you've been as open and honest as you possibly could have been. Whatever happens you won't be left asking yourself if you could have tried harder. But if I were in your shoes I can see myself being dishonest about the contraception - it's so impossible to check. I can see what they're worried about; someone bailing out of the process at the last minute, even after they've met their prospective adoptee, because they're pregnant. But sometimes you have to cheat a little bit, just to feel like you've got some control.

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  7. and big hugs from me.

    I have trouble remembering what I did last week let alone a hotel I stayed in 15 years ago......

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  8. and big hugs from me.

    I have trouble remembering what I did last week let alone a hotel I stayed in 15 years ago......

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  9. I'd like to add my sympathy, support and understanding to everyone else's.
    Yes, it seems very intrusive and I can quite understand why you feel so dirtied by the process. They're almost demanding that you prove yourselves fit to adopt rather than checking for those who aren't.
    Be strong. With your worker behind you both I'm sure that this will all have a happy ending.

    *hugs* and a large bar of choccie.

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  10. I'd like to add my sympathy, support and understanding to everyone else's.
    Yes, it seems very intrusive and I can quite understand why you feel so dirtied by the process. They're almost demanding that you prove yourselves fit to adopt rather than checking for those who aren't.
    Be strong. With your worker behind you both I'm sure that this will all have a happy ending.

    *hugs* and a large bar of choccie.

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  11. Gosh, how utterly shitty. I completely agree with the other comments - it's unrealistic to expect B, having been so honest, to remember all the places he's stayed for one night however many years ago, and how utterly ridiculous it is bearing in mind that, as you pointed out, if he'd been off for dubious but personal trips no-one would be any the wiser.

    As for telling you you should be using contraception, the words 'mind your own business' spring to mind.

    Just do what seems right. You'd both be great parents. Sympathy, chocolate, tea, alcohol - whatever - on hand here whenever needed.

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  12. Gosh, how utterly shitty. I completely agree with the other comments - it's unrealistic to expect B, having been so honest, to remember all the places he's stayed for one night however many years ago, and how utterly ridiculous it is bearing in mind that, as you pointed out, if he'd been off for dubious but personal trips no-one would be any the wiser.

    As for telling you you should be using contraception, the words 'mind your own business' spring to mind.

    Just do what seems right. You'd both be great parents. Sympathy, chocolate, tea, alcohol - whatever - on hand here whenever needed.

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  13. Just been catching up on all your posts that I missed this week. I think it's a shame that you are being penalised for your thoroughness and honesty. I completely understand your frustration. It doesn't seem fair. At least your worker seems to be on your side. Good luck.

    ((hugs))

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  14. Just been catching up on all your posts that I missed this week. I think it's a shame that you are being penalised for your thoroughness and honesty. I completely understand your frustration. It doesn't seem fair. At least your worker seems to be on your side. Good luck.

    ((hugs))

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  15. Ally you have all my sympathy. These so called professional people couldn't organise a proverbial "p*** up in a brewery".

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  16. Ally you have all my sympathy. These so called professional people couldn't organise a proverbial "p*** up in a brewery".

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  17. I can understand the need to do checks and be as thorough as possible but this seems to be going a bit too far. Had you both not been so open and honest and lied instead would they have been so interested. I don't think so!

    I admire you both for your complete honesty and can't for the life of me see why they are making it so difficult. Could members of the panel remember the details that they are asking of you? i doubt it.

    Wishing you both all the best and hoping that some form of common sense will emerge.

    Wine, chocolate and tea on it's way.

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  18. I can understand the need to do checks and be as thorough as possible but this seems to be going a bit too far. Had you both not been so open and honest and lied instead would they have been so interested. I don't think so!

    I admire you both for your complete honesty and can't for the life of me see why they are making it so difficult. Could members of the panel remember the details that they are asking of you? i doubt it.

    Wishing you both all the best and hoping that some form of common sense will emerge.

    Wine, chocolate and tea on it's way.

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  19. Something in me wonders if they are testing your reaction to being put through the wringer. It seems really unfair. :-(

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  20. Beurocratic nightmares... I am sorry, that's not fun or easy. I haven't applied for UK citizenship for exactly the same reason. I have to outline all my work related travel and I can't be absolutely sure I remember it all. Plus there;'s the bother of remembering the dates. Being honest is not always easy.

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  21. Beurocratic nightmares... I am sorry, that's not fun or easy. I haven't applied for UK citizenship for exactly the same reason. I have to outline all my work related travel and I can't be absolutely sure I remember it all. Plus there;'s the bother of remembering the dates. Being honest is not always easy.

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  22. Ally, mate, you're right to be indignant and to question the process you're being put through to adopt a child who needs a loving family. I understand the need for these checks as well but like you've pointed out, some times being honest just gets in the way. I've had my honesty backfire on me too before. I'm thinking of you!

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  23. Ally, mate, you're right to be indignant and to question the process you're being put through to adopt a child who needs a loving family. I understand the need for these checks as well but like you've pointed out, some times being honest just gets in the way. I've had my honesty backfire on me too before. I'm thinking of you!

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  24. I am shocked about the overseas checks.

    I mean really shocked. It's a joke. Can they explain to you exactly what assurance they can take from them? Who have they consulted on the reliability on overseas records? If someone was up to no good it's unlikely that this would be discovered by these checks. HMG are not prepared to rely on overseas records except for a few EU countries and Australia.

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  25. I am shocked about the overseas checks.

    I mean really shocked. It's a joke. Can they explain to you exactly what assurance they can take from them? Who have they consulted on the reliability on overseas records? If someone was up to no good it's unlikely that this would be discovered by these checks. HMG are not prepared to rely on overseas records except for a few EU countries and Australia.

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  26. Gert, I don't think they have actually taken reality in to account - our feeling is that these are hoops they make people jump through so that they are *seen* to be doing something. That is why we are so upset and angry about it all; we feel it's a waste of our time - and theirs, come to that.

    I don't really feel any better about it, even two weeks later. We've got another meeting next week, so I guess we'll just have to see what comes from it.

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  27. Gert, I don't think they have actually taken reality in to account - our feeling is that these are hoops they make people jump through so that they are *seen* to be doing something. That is why we are so upset and angry about it all; we feel it's a waste of our time - and theirs, come to that.

    I don't really feel any better about it, even two weeks later. We've got another meeting next week, so I guess we'll just have to see what comes from it.

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  28. I am sorry not to have read this sooner.
    It is ridiculous,and as an adoption social worker myself I find much of what we have to ask people totally embarrassing - and no, I certainly couldn't give accurate addresses with months as well as years attached..neither could any Panel member. The new act that demands this is a knee jerk reaction to certain child abuse cases where social services have messed up. It is all about covering backs but it makes assessments which were already a very difficult and intrusive process even worse.

    Regarding your past abusive relationship, this will be a positive thing for your assessment because it will demonstrate that you will have empathy towards a child who has experinced abuse, as sadly many of those placed for adoption have been. and your honesty will be a big thing in your favour.

    Your worker obviously has much faith in you, and will support you during this process... and if he/she does not, complain because you need all the support you can get.

    And you have every right to be angry. You will not find a social worker who doesn't believe that.

    Good luck with it all.

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  29. I am sorry not to have read this sooner.
    It is ridiculous,and as an adoption social worker myself I find much of what we have to ask people totally embarrassing - and no, I certainly couldn't give accurate addresses with months as well as years attached..neither could any Panel member. The new act that demands this is a knee jerk reaction to certain child abuse cases where social services have messed up. It is all about covering backs but it makes assessments which were already a very difficult and intrusive process even worse.

    Regarding your past abusive relationship, this will be a positive thing for your assessment because it will demonstrate that you will have empathy towards a child who has experinced abuse, as sadly many of those placed for adoption have been. and your honesty will be a big thing in your favour.

    Your worker obviously has much faith in you, and will support you during this process... and if he/she does not, complain because you need all the support you can get.

    And you have every right to be angry. You will not find a social worker who doesn't believe that.

    Good luck with it all.

    ReplyDelete