Thursday, 28 July 2011

National Adoption Week film competition launches

We are very excited to finally announce the launch of our national film competition. The film competition is being run as part of National Adoption Week (31 October to 6 November) and just like our Adoption Champions scheme it's your chance to get involved in making this year's campaign one to remember.



The brief of the film competition is very simple – just make a short two minute film about what adoption means to you. We've kept the brief deliberately wide so that you can give it your own personal touch. And just like our Adoption Champions scheme, the competition is open to anyone who has an adoption connection. This may include being adopted, having adopted children, having a friend or relative who is adopted or even working in adoption.

Once you have made your short film, upload it to YouTube and tag it with NAW2011. Then fill in our film award registration form. You may like to watch this short film that explains the process further:



There are a few rules to the competition: these include keeping the film to just two minutes; not using copyrighted material; and being over 18 to enter. Before you start it's worth checking out all the rules on our website. 

The deadline for the competition is Friday 30 September, so you have all summer to get busy making your film. It might be a fun thing to do as a whole family during the school holidays. However we do advise that if your children want to get involved they help out behind the camera instead of in front of it.

Entries will be judged by a panel of celebrities with adoption connections, including actress and adoptive mum Clare Grogan, celebrity hairdresser Andrew Barton and BBC's Nicky Campbell, as well as BAAF Chief Executive David Holmes and one of our very own Adoption Champions Phil Woodford. All shortlisted entrants will be invited to an awards night in London, which forms part of our prestigious National Adoption Week event attended by BAAF Patrons and supporters, where the winners will be announced.

In addition to the awards given out by our panel of judges, we are also running a People's Choice award to the film with the most views on YouTube. So to be in with a chance of winning, get sharing it with your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours.

For more information about our film competition visit the National Adoption Week website.

National Adoption Week 2011 is supported by 1E.







Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Chat to us on Twitter about black and minority ethnic adoption

(c) CakeFace Originals
Last night marked BAAF's fourth Twitter Chat, which this time focused on black and minority ethnic adoption. Read on below for a transcript of the chat, which included help and advice from a BAAF expert as well as a member of the PACT team, plus first hand experience from adoptive and prospective adoptive parents. Most recent tweets appear first.



ins_foundations Inspired Foundations 
@BAAFAdoption Sorry to have missed #adoptfosterchat again! I really need to become more organised in an evening. Will look out for next one!


thegrene
@BAAFAdoption @PACTCHARITY Thanks for all you do! #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@BAAFAdoption @spursblogger Adoption agencies encourage ppl to adopt so do not be put off #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
RT @spursblogger: The main message is: anyone thinking of adopting,find out more. Chat,ask,enquire. Don't rule yourself out #adoptfosterchat


spursblogger 
The main message is: anyone thinking of adopting, find out more. Chat, ask, enquire. Don't rule yourself out #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@BAAFAdoption @QuiverFullMummy A service dedicated to BME adopters such as PACT London hopefully will address this #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
A reminder that advice lines are here if needed: http://bit.ly/mFGCam #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
#BME #adoption publications here: http://bit.ly/ni6WQ8 #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
@thegrene BME children who wait the longest are African & Caribbean boys, esp over 3 years old #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
@thegrene Around 4,000 children need adopting every yr. As many as 20% could b BME children #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption 
RT @QuiverFullMummy: #adoptfosterchat. - more bme adopters need better experiences that they can share with th… (cont) http://deck.ly/~NbGyf


thegrene
@PACTCHARITY How many BME adopters do you need? #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
@QuiverFullMummy That's really important #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@thegrene it is black and minority ethnic #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
@thegrene Black & minority ethnic #adoptfosterchat


thegrene
@PACTCHARITY What is BME? #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
It would be good to know what would help more BME adopters to come forward to adopt #adoptfosterchat


spursblogger
@PACTCHARITY @BAAFAdoption @Mum2Rocky_Mally absolutely #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
@thegrene Citizenship is complicated & needs to be checked out on case by case basis #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@thegrene @BAAF once you have adopted children are legally your children #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@spursblogger @BAAFAdoption @Mum2Rocky_Mally yes but having a service for bme adopters encourages ppl to come forward #adoptfosterchat


thegrene 
@PACTCHARITY @BAAF Excellent. Any chance of my kids getting dual US/UK citizenship? #adoptfosterchat


thegrene
@BAAFAdoption Thanks, will do. It's a few years until we'll be ready, though. #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@PACTCHARITY @thegrene @BAAF Scotland has some diff rules to england so would need to check further #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
Recruiting black and minority ethnic adopters/foster carers: http://bit.ly/oKCIrL #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@thegrene @BAAF if you are a pernanent res then you are able to adopt in this country #adoptfosterchat


spursblogger
@PACTCHARITY @BAAFAdoption @Mum2Rocky_Mally choice is key for children, practitioners but shortage of bme carers limiting #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
@thegrene Best to speak to BAAF Edinburgh office tomorrow - 0131 226 9270 or email scotland@baaf.org.uk #adoptfosterchat


thegrene
@PACTCHARITY @BAAF If my husband is Scottish, and I'm an American with permanent residency- can we adopt in Scotland? #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
@thegrene @PACTCHARITY Happy to answer! #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@thegrene @BAAFAdoption happy to #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@BAAFAdoption @Mum2Rocky_Mally yes agree but my exp has shown that there are mny bme adopters out there is the serv is rght #adoptfosterchat


thegrene
@PACTCHARITY @BAAFAdoption It's a bit premature, but you may be able to answer some of my obscure questions. #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@spursblogger Identity for children growing up is important and aids self esteem, we need to encourage bme ppl to come fwd #adoptfosterchat


Mum2Rocky_Mally
@PACTCHARITY @BAAFAdoption @QuiverFullMummy definitely #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
@Mum2Rocky_Mally Children best placed w/ family of similar ethnicity bt shouldn't b compromised by delay -see adoptguidance #adoptfosterchat


Mum2Rocky_Mally
@BAAFAdoption exactly - common sense must prevail otherwise children may take too long to be placed #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@thegrene @BAAFAdoption @FunkyBodmin maybe you should take the next step contact us #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@BAAFAdoption @QuiverFullMummy I think that flexibility is important but keeping the identity needs of a child in mind #adoptfosterchat


thegrene
@BAAFAdoption @FunkyBodmin I'm one of those people! Adoption is my first choice! #adoptfosterchat


spursblogger
@PACTCHARITY I'm old enough to know how hard it has been to give identity prominence in first place. Hard won gains lost? #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
@FunkyBodmin Sorry to hear that - if you're experiencing problems pls call our advice line - http://bit.ly/mFGCam #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@BAAFAdoption @FunkyBodmin we often have people who elect to adopt and this is seen as a positive #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
@QuiverFullMummy The idea of exact match does not help children as it's v hard to find #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
RT @FunkyBodmin: @BAAFAdoption system assumes 1 tried being a birth mother 1st. Some people simply want to adopt -gd thing? #adoptfosterchat


spursblogger
@PACTCHARITY my concern: lazy thinking will use this as 'excuse' to give identity needs of bme children lower priority #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
RT @QuiverFullMummy: #adoptfosterchat - forgot to do that. We had good experience - our sw was willing to loo… (cont) http://deck.ly/~aroFi


spursblogger
@PACTCHARITY I will RT to DfE and Tim Loughton. When I've finished cooking dinner... #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@spursblogger there seems to be a shift, but still a recognition that we need to continue recruiting bme people #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
Anyone have strong feelings on ethnic matching? #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
If anyone would prefer to ask a question anonymously, email press@baaf.org.uk and we'll feed back into discussion for you #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@spursblogger that would be a very good idea to address the issue of attracting more adopters for bme children #adoptfosterchat


spursblogger 
Practitioners: has recent debate re matching and culture created changes in your organisation's policies? #adoptfosterchat


spursblogger 
Suggestion: govt to sponsor advertising campaign for black adopters, carers, along lines of generic teaching ads #adoptfosterchat


bcadopt 
#adoptfosterchat happening now @BAAFAdoption


PACTCHARITY PACT 
PACT CHARITY in London is now launching an adoption service for Black and BME adopters #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
Anyone have any experiences to share? #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
Our new #BME homepage: http://bit.ly/r2kQky #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
@spursblogger thank you Alan, #adoptfosterchat


spursblogger
..good evening everyone. My background more fostering side, looking forward to this evening's discussion, happy to help #adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption
Any BME adopters joining us? #adoptfosterchat


PACTCHARITY
Jean Smith will be happy to answer your queries regarding BME adoption at #adoptfosterchat


spursblogger 
In central London, BAAF HQ, scores of white labcoated technicians huddle expectantly around flickering monitors....#adoptfosterchat


BAAFAdoption BAAF 
Evening all! A reminder that if you're joining the chatter tonight to tag your tweets with #adoptfosterchat



For more info and advice about adoption, head to the BAAF website. Details about our BME publications can be found on the BAAF online bookstore. For info about our recent conference, 'Matching in black and minority ethnic children', please email conferences@baaf.org.uk


Details about the next #adoptfosterchat will be announced shortly.







Friday, 22 July 2011

A Tale of Two Mothers: An Adoption Story

(c) Pig on The Run

Today on our adoption and fostering blog, we hear from Molly, who tells a poetic story of how her daughter's birth mother handed her over - and how they are preparing to meet again 24 years later.


It was snowing the day I met you - my daughter's mother.

It was a long journey there. I spent the entire time in silence as the car sped down the motorway and then meandered through the countryside until we came to the address.

The social worker from the adoption agency was waiting for us and quietly introduced us to you. You were very young and beautiful. We hit it off immediately. My husband sat on the settee without saying a word while you and I rattled ten to the dozen.

You loved jumble sales just like me, something that amused us both. We found plenty to talk about even though, in truth, we probably had very little in common; except for our bubbly personalities and our strong maternal instincts. 

The time passed all too quickly. I had thoroughly enjoyed your company despite my initial nervousness. Soon we were on our way home. I wondered if we’d see you again.

We did - at your request. It was your wish that you be the one that handed the baby over to us. Just as it had been your wish to meet us when you had been pregnant. It was the first time you had picked your daughter up, just as it was the first time I had held mine.

We sat at your bedside in the hospital for what seemed like hours. Taking it in turns to hold and gaze at the four day old little girl who slept contentedly the whole time. I guess we must have talked, but I don’t recall much of the conversation, except being asked what sort of food we liked to eat. 

Eventually it was time to go. I reluctantly took the baby back to the nursery. All the other cots were empty. I didn’t like the thought of her being there all on her own, but I laid her down anyway and said my goodbyes.

You stood outside the nursery door in your dressing gown. We held onto each other for a few seconds, the silence as vocal as a thousand words. As I walked down the corridor on the way out I looked back and you were still there.You hadn’t moved an inch. I had a huge lump in my throat. Once more I wondered if I would ever see you again.

No names, no addresses, no contact. Your choice.

We drove back home through the February snow.

Five eternal days later we went to pick up our daughter from the adoption agency. The social worker handed us a letter from you. On the envelope in the most beautiful, artistic writing it said, “To the Adopters.” I put it in my bag to read later.

To this day that letter makes me cry. “I’m glad you were chosen to be the parents and hope that out of my sadness you’ll find joy. God bless all three of you.”

We did find joy. Enormous joy. 

Our daughter traced you a few years ago and you generously welcomed her into her extended birth family and now, 24 years on from that hospital visit, I’m preparing to meet you, my daughter’s mother, again.

For more info and advice about adoption, please visit the BAAF website. If you need support tracing your birth relatives, you may find our search and reunion site useful.







Friday, 15 July 2011

BAAF launches film competition for National Adoption Week

National Adoption Week this year gets glitzy with an exciting new celebrity led film competition. Full details are yet to be announced, but we wanted to give our blog friends a sneak preview on what is in store to whet your appetite

As with our Adoption Champions scheme last year, we wanted to do something for National Adoption Week that would give all you lovely adoptees and adopters the chance to be part of our campaign. We know how passionate you all are about adoption, and nobody can inspire others quite like you. That's why we're inviting you to pick up a camera and make a short film about what adoption means to you.

You don't have to be an expert film maker, or have specialist equipment. Some great films have been made on mobile phones. What you do need is a connection to adoption through friends, family or work, a creative idea, and passion to get others to adopt - like several adoptive fathers did for us around Father's Day:


Entries will be judged by a panel of experts from the world of media. We're hoping this will include some pretty big names in the world of showbiz. All shortlisted entrants will also be invited to a glamourous evening reception in London where the winners will be announced.

Full details will be announced in the next week or two, but for now why not start thinking about how you would make a short film that would encourage others to adopt.

This year, National Adoption Week is 
supported by 1E.







Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Our adoption and fostering blog is one year old!

This month the BAAF adoption and fostering blog is just over a year old. When we started, we were not sure how popular our blog would be. But we are heartened that more and more people are taking the time to read our posts. We hope that by sharing personal accounts of adoption and fostering we can provide support and encouragement to others.

To celebrate our first anniversary we'd like to share some of the most popular posts. We hope this will provide anyone visiting our blog for the first time the chance to catch up on some of the classics, and for regular readers, provide a trip down memory lane.

Back last summer we launched our adoption film via our blog. One Family, Three Stories tells three different stories of adoption through the eyes of the young people. You can watch the film again below.


During last summer we also heard from two adoptive families about their first summer holiday together. Author of Frozen, Mike Butcher and his wife, had a brilliant holiday in Devon with their new son; while Paul's trip to Centre Parcs took an unexpected turn.

But our most popular blog post to date came in September, when we got to see adoption through the eyes of a nine year old boy. His simple drawing said so much about the complexity of these young lives, and moved many people to comment.

As we moved in to National Adoption Week we ran a series of posts about adoption from a variety of view points. But the one that seemed to touch people most was the adoption story from Ros and Gary, who suffered from the heartache of failed IVF, to the joys (and the challenges) of parenthood through adoption.

Then before we knew it Christmas was upon us. In January we heard from Ali, who with her husband, had spent their first Christmas as an adoptive family. It wasn't all plain sailing as they struggled to deal with years of bad parenting. But they made it through all the same.

In February actress, pop star and BAAF patron, Claire Grogan, explained why adoption is so important to her. Her frank and honest interview is an inspiration, and clearly you thought so too, as it remains one of our most popular posts.

As we moved in to spring it was the turn of fostering to be in the spot light. During Foster Care Fortnight, we heard from amazing foster mum, Andi Hider who has been fostering for 26 years. We then heard from Andy's fostered child, Pip.

But of course it isn't all just about the mums. As we approached our first anniversary we got to hear from the dads in some video diary Father's Day specials.

Do you have a favourite blog that we have missed out of in our round up? If so, please let us know. We'd also like to hear about any other adoption and fostering blogs you like reading - share the links with us in the comments section below. If you’d like to write an entry for our blog, please email us – press@baaf.org.uk







Friday, 8 July 2011

Providing support for black adopters and adopters of black children

Image by stevendepolo

Following on from our 'Matching for black, Asian and minority ethnic children' conference earlier this week, we chat to one of BAAF's very own Trainer Consultants, Roana Roach, who specialises in black and minority ethnic (BME) issues.

My role at BAAF is similar to other Trainer Consultant positions here - we provide training and consultancy across a wide range of child care issues and disciplines, however our core work is on adoption and fostering.  I have a particular interest in BME issues and have some lead responsibility. Before working for BAAF I attended the Black Workers Support Group and now am one of the facilitators of the Black Workers Practice Group and am involved in a BAAF initiative working with consortia to provide support to adopters of black children.


We currently facilitate a support group for WLAC for black adopters (this includes adopters where one parent is black). This group meets bi-monthly at a central venue and provides a crèche for the children to enable the adults to have space to discuss positives, difficulties, resources and concerns.


As well as being a registered charity BAAF is also a membership agency for Local Authorities and independent adoption and fostering agencies. The role I have established within BAAF supports the perspectives of BME practitioners within the organisation’s strategy to provide and enable good practice within child care and fostering and adoption services for children.


Adoption is currently high on the agenda with recent legislative changes and the adoption and delay in placement of BME children in particular. Current challenges relate to engaging with consortia to discuss the opportunity for BAAF to provide this post adoption placement service in the current economic climate.


BAAF will be chairing a live Twitter Chat on Monday, July 25 focusing on BME adoption. In the meantime, why not check out our publications on the issues including Pathways to permanence for black, Asian & mixed ethnicity children and In Black and White.







Friday, 1 July 2011

Pride 2011: Proud to be lesbian foster carers

Renee and Jacqueline, who married last year, have been together for 12 years and have been fostering since 2008. As the Pride 2011 celebrations get underway, Renee explains what led them to consider becoming foster carers and gives a heart-warming account of the positive effect it has had on their life.

I originally studied paediatric nursing, but I began to feel unfulfilled in what I was doing and didn't finish my training. My partner Jacqueline, who had been teaching for 10 years, expressed an interest in doing something for the wider community and we both agreed that we could do more. I talked it through with Jacqueline, who is adopted, and we decided to investigate fostering.

We spent a couple of months researching it; reading books, speaking to people, and sussing out how our families would feel – they play a part in our everyday life so we wanted to make sure we had their support. Everyone was very positive. Three years ago we made initial contact with a couple of local authorities and agencies and went through some interviews – in the end we went with an agency.

The process took about nine months in total, which we were happy with. We were very clear to the agency - we would take disabled children, we would take sibling groups, we would take children from ethnic minorities, different cultural and religious backgrounds. We were quite open but had a set age range which was 0-10 years – because that’s where all our experience was both professionally and personally, and that was our comfort zone. What I loved was that there was no pressure – our agency has always been so supportive.

In the end, our first placement ended up being three Nigerian Muslim children, so we had to change everything down to the way we cook - but we absolutely loved it! You as a foster carer learn so much more about the wider world, the children and about yourself. That’s one thing that I absolutely love about fostering – that with every placement, I learn something new.

We’re a very touchy-feely, loving couple but we don’t force that onto a child. We got engaged during one placement and we came home and the children asked what we did that night. We told them and they just said, ‘oh that’s nice’! Because we don’t make a big deal out of it (we don’t sit down and explain that we’re gay) and we have a copy of some children’s books about different families in the house – it feels more organic. The books we have show that some people have a black mummy and a white daddy, some people live with their grandparents, and some people have two mummies - and I think the children see that it’s not a big deal. We’ve never had children coming home from school saying they’ve been bullied about living with two women.

My advice to anyone thinking about fostering is: be enthusiastic; don’t expect anything; and expect everything! Don’t label them as a foster child – it doesn’t have to be a defining factor in a child’s life. And most of all: be open to all the new experiences that these children will bring to you!

For more books on gay and lesbian adoption and fostering, please visit BAAF's online bookstore. For further info and advice, contact our helplines or LGBT experts New Family Social.

BAAF recently held a live Twitter Chat focusing on gay and lesbian adoption.







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