Friday, 19 August 2011

Working for an adoption and fostering charity

Today, BAAF's Deborah Adams talks about the multi-faceted nature of her role as Receptionist, her experiences as an adopted person tracing her birth mother, and why she sometimes feels like an octopus. Yes, you did read that last part correctly.

Being Receptionist here at BAAF is a rewarding all-round job. As well as being the first port of call in the office, I'm also very active in helping other departments. It's not unusual for me to be juggling three or four things at once so it really helps to work here if you're an octopus. I'm going to learn to write with my feet soon, just for the sake of efficiency!

Every day is different for me, but there's a general structure to my day in that I do things like take care of the post, deal with couriers, log cheques, and generally assisting people with any other jobs that need doing. It makes me happy to help take a little bit of stress from someone else by helping out. As well as doing a lot of work for our office manager, I sell books for Publications, assist Fundraising in a variety of ways, and I recently designed a workshop access database for our Southern office from scratch.

One of the things that makes this job particularly rewarding for me is that I'm adopted, myself. During the process of tracing my birth mother in 2006, I became interested in working for BAAF. I'm the poster child for how not to trace your birth relatives using the internet, and I wish that I had had access to the help that BAAF can provide people who wish to trace. It's so, so important to talk to someone professional and impartial about it. For me, it just would have been nice to have access to someone with experience who could to offer me advice. Or explain some of the unexpected, often conflicting, feelings adopted people may feel that they may not realise in advance. 

If you're going to trace, you have to be ready to accept potential rejection. Luckily, for me it worked out and I'm now in contact with my Scottish birth mother. I'm not going to lie and say that it was all puppy-dogs and flowers - it wasn't - but it was worth it to discover that little bit inside me that I always felt was missing.

If you are an adopted person and seeking advice on how to contact birth relatives, please visit the BAAF website. Publications on search and reunion can be found in our line bookstore.

For more info on the subject and to share your experiences, join BAAF and Barnardo's live on Twitter Thursday, September 8 to discuss search and reunion. Tag tweets with #adoptfosterchat to join in.

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