My working week – Adoption@Heart Family Support Worker

My working week – Adoption@Heart Family Support Worker

Posted on August 19, 2020 at 8:30 AM

Coronavirus has and continues to impact everyone. Here at Adoption@Heart, despite the challenges Family Support Workers are facing, now more than ever it is important that post adoption contact (PAC) support continues.

One of our Family Support Workers has given you an insight below into what it’s like working from home.

Monday: I begin my week with a catch up with Post Adoption Contact team mates where we go through the team inbox and review all the letters and allocate them across the team. In between the catchup and task allocation, we will also talk about any issues still ongoing in Post Adoption - as a new service, we are looking at improvements continually and trying to keep on top of an ever increasing workload that can sometimes be stressful and hard to manage.

I also attend the meeting with the Adopteens working group-. this meeting is to look at how we can improve the ‘voice’ of the children and young people we support, to ensure our service reflects what their needs are, and what support looks like for them, and help them to participate in feedback and service change. I ponder on the road that this may take us down and the new networks that will be developed because of this work, as well as new young people I will meet along the way.

Tuesday: Its PAC surgery in the morning. Some of the adoptive families we support can be ever increasing, and complex, so these surgeries will help social workers gain more insight and confidence in engaging and co-ordinating the post adoption contacts for all the families we are already involved in. Or, they will help with cases where we have a corporate parenting role with the birth family, to ensure the communication and engagement is good, and everyone is happy with the outcome.

In the afternoon, I draw up the outgoing post for all the post adoption letters that need to go out. It’s a far cry from the letters I would send out prior to Covid restrictions, but still essential for some of our families, as not everyone wants electronic mail. This also must be checked by a team mate before it can go to admin, Covid creates different barriers. Still, we are in a good routine now, thank goodness.

Wednesday:It’s post in day. Unlike when I was in the office, this is largely an electronic process for now, but it’s great to see some of the beautifully handwritten letters that are sent to and from adopters and birth families. They include messages on how everyone is doing and coping with the pandemic, with the occasional picture and artwork thrown into the mix. It’s a real reminder that letterbox is essential for the child to have a connection with the birth family and gain answers to questions for when the children are older.

ALast week, I dealt with one letter where a teenager wanted to complete an ancestral family tree, and grandmother was able to answer all her questions. This is a piece of her life puzzle that she now has, thanks to her letterbox.

Thursday:Today, I have helped a birth family write a letter for the adopters. Birth families often find this difficult and hard to do, especially the first time. I often think about how this would affect someone and the impact having a child removed has on an individual. It must be one of the hardest letters to write, and often the birth family don’t always engage in the first couple of years, as the pain of having the child removed is too much to bear. They tend to engage when they have worked through some of their feelings.

Also, I think how hard it must feel for the adopters who have a reminder each year that the child they love and care for daily is not biologically their own. I wonder how this could cause anxiety and distress to them in their routine, and how they will try and manage this, with a growing little person they love dearly and want to keep those important links with birth families.

Friday:I usually thank crunchy at this point! We round off the week with a PAC team meeting, just to ensure all the email and telephone calls have been completed for that week and discuss any other issues that we may have picked up on the way - generally, with a coffee in hand, and a caring catch up with one another, in these trying times. That way, we can all have a stress- free weekend and feel reassured that all the team are well despite the pressures of this new way of working.

I also engage with a young adult adoptee, who has recently turned 18. I helped her transition, moving into full independent living, with support from her adoptive parents. I make sure she is up to date with all her tasks and coping with her freedom together with her responsibilities as an independent adult.

So, I start and end my week with a subject that I find myself always moving towards, the ‘voice’ of the children we support. It’s a stark realisation that many families and young people need help and support, and representation. I also ponder and deliberate on the journey that this can and may take, and the changes that may come along with the ‘voice’ of an adoptee who may need a different support puzzle piece to help them become a more self-assured and supported adult.

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