Category Archives: Fostering

Social workers to learn how to earn ‘public trust’ from Politicians … Really!

Politicians to lead task force that will guide social workers in earning back public trust …… Really!

Forgive me, I almost choked on my coffee whilst reading a piece entitled ‘Social work needs to earn back public trust‘ on the Guardians Social Care Network.

The government has set up a task force to guide the social work profession on how to earn public trust. A stellar line up of politicians which include Michael Gove, Theresa May and Iain Duncan Smith, those well-known advocates of social work and those they work with. When did Politicians earn the right to pontificate on how a profession might earn public trust I wonder? I must have missed this whilst reading about the numerous promises this government has reneged on since the general election, and which clearly must have enhanced the publics trust in them …..

I am a tad perturbed the government seems to have ditched the comprehensive Munro Review, which provided a very balanced approach to reform that focused not just on social workers and their education but also the political and organisational contexts which also shape social work practice, and arguably go some way to explaining the current problems that bedevil the profession.

The piece suggests the new task force will focus on robust assessment of qualifying social workers involving employers, academics and those who use services …. ummm sorry to mention this, but I do not know of a qualifying social work programme that does not already do this. Social work programmes across the land expect students to pass a number of academic theory assignments and law based exams alongside practice based assessments which involve numerous observations of practice and a plethora of meetings and reports provided by employers, those who use services and academics commenting on the student’s performance and fitness for practice over a 2 or 3 year period.

The article goes onto suggest the social work profession needs to ask itself ‘why the college failed’ and ‘why the public mood’ supports changes in the law where social workers can be prosecuted for wilful neglect. In response to the first question, from my perspective, the reason I did not join the college is that I felt it represented the voice of the government not social workers. To the second comment I would hazard a guess that 30 years of inaccurate reporting in the media, oft-repeated by politicians, and flawed serious case reviews have played a part in the general publics perception of the profession.

Just read the book by Prof Ray Jones which looks at why politicians and the media were so keen to blame and vilify social workers and Sharon Shoesmith, Haringey’s then children’s services in the case of Baby P, to gain some insight into why the profession is held in such low esteem by the public, aided and abetted by the media and government I would suggest.

I was surprised the piece did not mention the problems with inadequate IT systems, how social work now operates in a call centre environment where workers hot desk and have limited contact with their peers, or how workers work in their cars, making phone calls in lay-bys on their mobiles because they cannot access secure office space. Nor does it mention the failing court system, or the outmoded model of fostering and adoption which is no longer fit for purpose and in many cases just adds to the trauma of already traumatised children’s lives, it fails to mention the knock on effect of welfare reform, the lack of affordable good quality housing or the deterioration in mental health support services to both adults and children, it does not dig deep into the effect on frontline service provision of high levels of stress related sickness and social work vacancies, or the impact of temporary agency workers in providing important continuity when working with children and families.

I have worked with hundreds of hard-working social work students, many of whom are accruing debts of up to £40,000 to become a social worker in children and family services. Despite public and government distrust, and potential imprisonment, they are committed to being the best social workers they can possibly be …. because of this I believe in social work. Time for another coffee I think …..

Free Adoption ibook: the journey to finding a birth mother…………..

About a year ago I started the search for my biological mother and shared my experience in a blog entitled ‘The Adoption Files’. However, writing ‘The Adoption File’ became as much about understanding the effects of childhood on individuals as finding my natural family. Whilst my story is related to my adoption much of what I discovered about the effects of childhood and family is the same for anyone, whether adopted or not. The truth is family is central to many of our life experiences and sometimes those are good and sometimes not so good. When childhood has not been so good it can overshadow the rest of our lives, however, it does not have to, we can turn those negatives around to achieve positive outcomes.

Many people spend their lives trying to be the person their family want them to be rather than just being themselves. This often stems from negative experiences in childhood that shape relationships within families. That childhood and family shape our lives is not exactly a startling revelation, however, this much I know, they do not have to define who we are and who we become. As George Eliot suggests “It is never too late to be who you might have been”. We are not bound by our childhoods, forever imprisoned in a world defined for us by others. Throughout life we meet individuals who are equally as important in shaping who we are and what we might become, and of course we also have our own will, intellect, humour to carry us forward into life to become the people we want to be.

The central message from my adoption story can be summed up in the words of Steve Jobs, who, like I was also adopted, and they apply to anyone who might have had a difficult childhood or who is still affected by negative family relationships

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary”.

The ‘Adoption file’ is a free short ibook and provides a snapshot of my journey to finding my natural family, and my reflections on famly and relationships. It is a story of life and hope.

The Adoption File by Diane Galpin
The Adoption File by Diane Galpin
from the introduction

‘Ayaan Hirsi Ali begins her book “Infidel my life” describing a scene with her grandmother when as a five year old she was able to name her family ancestry back three hundred years. In Somali culture lineage is central to belonging, this was something Ayaan had drummed into her as a child. Knowing our cultural heritage, our ethnic roots and family history is important to understanding who we are, they provide reference points from which we can develop an understanding of the factors that have helped shape who we are today. It is easy to over emphasise the importance of these when you do not know them, or under value their importance when you do. However, equally important is the way we are brought up and our relationships within the family. Whether who we are is predetermined by some invisible invention of science called genetics or the highly visible ‘*uck ups’ (as the poet Philip Larkin would suggest) made by our parents is commonly known as the ‘nature vs nurture’ debate and has been the subject of much discussion for decades. The truth is we are probably shaped by a bit of both[…]’

The book can be downloaded here

(You will need an iPad to read it)

After 32 years the search for my birth mother is over……..

After searching for my birth mother for 32 years I hear the words I thought I would never hear….

The phone rings, it’s the intermediary from Long Lost Families. She begins “there is good news and bad news”, okay………

My mother is alive and has been found.

However, I was wise to be reticent about happy endings, she does not want to meet me.

My reticence does nothing to ease the absolute desolation I feel as I repeat the words over in my mind.  I am silent. The intermediary continues.  “Your mother has recently been diagnosed with cancer and does not feel able to handle revisiting the past, her letter is very definite, she does not wish to have any contact”.  The intermediary is pretty sure my mother will  not change her mind, so am I.

After a lifetime of searching for my mother this is the scenario I feared most.

I am in shock, trying to respond,  fumbling for words, pretending its alright, I’m not bothered, I fully understand.  I ask the intermediary can she tell me the name of the area where my mother lives, yes , they are happy to do this (I know I can probably find her address via certain people tracing websites).  I ask for copies of the letters, hers included, and these are e-mailed to me, it is a great thrill to see my mothers handwriting for the first time, she clearly has a way with the written word.

Next I ask, will they forward a letter from me to my mother?  Yes.

As soon as I put the phone down the laptop is up and running, and hey presto within 5 minutes I have her address, now what?  She is about 6 hours drive away, it’s 4pm. Google Earth. There, her home, her street, her front room window, her bedroom, her garden.

I have lost my mind at this point.  I am frantically zooming into the windows of her home trying to get a glimpse of her. Maybe she is stood at the kitchen sink washing up looking out of the window, or maybe she has a photo of herself on the fireplace, or on the dressing table? I ring my partner and friends, I text a friend in Australia.  All say the same thing “do not get in the car and drive there”.

How did they know I was planning that?

Continuing into the evening on Google Earth, searching, searching, searching for a glimpse of her. My partner is watching me, concerned about me.  Then I burst into tears.  What am I doing stalking my mother on Google Earth!  This is not helping.  I turn the laptop off, I must stop, it is doing me no good at all, I feel helpless and pathetic.  But most of all I feel rejected, just like I did as a child.

In that moment I am 7 years old again living in a family that I am not part of.  It is obvious to me there is something wrong, I am treated differently than my sisters. The only way my 7 year old brain can make sense of this is to blame myself, there is clearly something wrong with me, I’m not sure what, but I know it’s my fault.

But I am no longer a child struggling to understand why I am being rejected, trying to work out what I have done wrong.  The past is not my present, nor my fault, so I begin the process of mourning.

How you can mourn the loss of someone you have not met, and is not yet dead (as far as I know) has been a revelation to me, not so much that you can, but the intensity of feelings; shock, anger, guilt, self-pity.

There was a sentence in my mothers letter to the intermediary that particularly upset me.  She wrote “bringing back such unhappy memories is something I could  not contemplate”.  The crashing realisation of how it must have been for her hits me. The fear and shame must have been overwhelming – there were no family celebrations when my birth was announced, no balloons or cards with ‘its a girl’ written on them in the hostel for fallen women!   And then there would have been the ultimate moment of sadness when ‘they’ came and took her 5 day old baby daughter, me,  away from her.  Was this all I was to her, an unhappy memory?

Rolling in the mire of my own self pity was brief, thankfully.

I felt/feel tremendous guilt for opening this part of her life back up to her.  My actions have opened old wounds for my mother, a past she has done her best to move on from, 3 marriages, the loss of 2 children, a diagnosis of cancer and a letter announcing my re-appearance, it is too much too late.  For the first time I truly see the selfishness of my actions, my need to know, my desire to find her.  Whilst everyone tells me I have a right to know, the question  for me is do I have the right to cause her pain and distress? The speed with which she replied to the intermediary leaves me wondering if her family know about her past, hopefully only she saw the letter.

Does she mourn the loss of our love never expressed as I do?  I believe she does.  Whilst it is doubtful we will ever meet,  we will always be alive to one another in the privacy of our own minds. I do not blame her for one moment for her decision, my biggest sadness is that she is facing cancer and I will not be there to support her. I have written to my mother again but to no avail.  I will not write anymore, here silence hurts.

The intermediary tells me my mothers response is not uncommon, with many women of her age keeping children like me a secret from their new partners/family, but making arrangements with solicitors so that after their death their new family will be told about the child from a previous relationship, and sometimes a letter is forwarded onto the child they gave up for adoption.  “You never know you may be one of them” is at least a positive note to end the call on.

Whilst, for now, this is the end of this part of the journey it is not all sad, there has been the unexpected joy of finding my sibling and family in New Zealand.   Meeting my sibling in particular has been a revelation.  Not only are we physically alike, but emotionally, psychologically, intellectually – it is scary to be honest, I have learnt more about myself by listening to them than any amount of therapy could achieve.  It has, and is, a great joy to me. Finding members of my biological/genetic family has given me a real sense of self,  a self confidence that no longer  asks ‘who am I?’, but boldly states this is who I am.

There is more to come yet, as I investigate the ‘India connection’ and my mothers anglo indian heritage.  We plan to visit my grandfathers grave in Kotagiri and his last known address, in case we still have family living there.


Thank you for indulging me and reading the adoption file blogs.  All of this has been such a hidden part of my life, starting with my adoptive families decision to keep everything secret.  This was done with the best of intentions but in truth was not only destructive to me but the whole of the family.  It over shadowed everyone’s lives, and to be honest of us all I have been the one to escape least damaged.  For me writing this, and knowing others have read it, has brought my mother to life, she exists, she is not a shameful secret any longer. This matters to me.

My letter to my mother, I thought for a long time how I should sign it and decided to use the name she gave me.

The ‘Adoption File’ blogs are now available as a  short Apple ibook (it’s free by the way). The ibook is just long enough to enjoy with a coffee and a kitkat! It contains more photos and details, and any latest developments. It can be found in the ibook store, just type The Adoption File in the search bar,happy reading it really is a story of hope!

Mixed race adoptions …..does Mr Gove have a point?

As a Guardian/Observer reading ex social worker it pains me to even type this, let alone say it out aloud….but, could Mr Gove have a point?

This is an area of personal interest to me as someone who was adopted in the 1960’s and who is of mixed race, although not obviously so. My birth mother is Anglo Indian but I am ‘white’ in appearance. The Observer discusses recent research published by the British Association for Adoption and Fostering, which examined the experiences of children who had been adopted in the 1960‘s from Hong Kong. The report suggests racial and cultural differences can have a significantly negative impact on children from ethnic minorities when adopted by white families. Many of the feelings the adoptees reported I too have felt, especially feelings of not belonging and difference within their adoptive families and wider communities. I too experienced such feelings even though we were an all ‘white’ family. This suggests, to me, that whilst ethnicity is an important factor, it is not the only factor that needs to be borne in mine when selecting potential adoptive parents and matching them to adoptees, hence the need for a rigorous screening process undertaken professionally.

For me it boils down to an adoptive parents ability to demonstrate unconditional love and acceptance of difference, whatever those ‘differences’ might be.

However, there is a bigger picture here that needs to be addressed because being ‘different’ is not the problem, being accepted is the problem. It is the way others react to such differences that causes problems. The way some in wider society perceive, and treat, individuals from minority ethnic groups is the problem because

“ We are all apt to believe what the world believes about us” (George Eliot)

If the world of the child tells them there is something wrong with them, they are apt to believe there is something wrong with them!

So do the Tories have a point? This report is written about children adopted in the 1960’s when our cultural values and ‘norms’ were very different, and of course much has changed in respect of discrimination and ethnicity, although not thanks to Tory governments in my opinion. However, this is not really about the colour of adoptive parents skin is it. It is about the values of society, about societies inability to accept ‘difference’ , whether that might be due to ethnicity, sexuality or a multitude of other things that might not conform to the ‘norm’, and of course the ‘norm’ is reinforced by policy and legislation handed down by government.

Maybe the Tory government should focus on ridding society of it’s intolerance to difference first, before blaming social workers. Whilst not a perfect profession Mr Gove, maybe it is because social workers are already aware of the reports findings that the adoption process for children from ethnic minority groups is slower.

There is much more to this issue to be considered, maybe Mr Gove needs to listen more closely to those working in the system on a day to day basis, rather than base his reform of adoption services on his personal experience. It is good to have a personal perspective, but please do not let this get in the way of getting reform right.

Phew back on safe Guardian/Observer reading ex social worker ground now, thank goodness. If you would like to read about my experience of adoption and the search for my birth mother please click here for a free short ibook.

The Adoption File: ‘Baby Evans’…………

‘Baby Evans’…….that’s me!!!!

Finally, the adoption file has been read.  Has it provided that one vital piece of information that will lead me directly to my birth mother?  No, but I am getting closer, more on that later.

The adoption process was very different in those days that’s for sure.  The assessment of my adoptive parents is probably the polar opposite of todays procedures. The whole assessment is no more than two pages long and the worker appeared particularly impressed that even though my adoptive father was on a low wage (£8.15 shillings a week) the family were saving for a car, so were clearly of good character and highly suited to adopting a baby.  A bit slim in terms of evidence of potential parenting skills I know, but, no matter, just to double check all would be well they obtained a ‘satisfactory reference from a neighbour’, oh!  Whilst some parts of the file really made me laugh, was my whole future really based on the potential purchase of a Ford Anglia?,  other parts were just, well sad.  One sentence in particular brought tears to my eyes when it says of my adoptive parents ‘they are anxious to adopt this baby whom she and her husband have grown to love’.  My relationship with my adoptive parents was not great, to be honest it was a real shock to read they loved me.  When did I stop feeling loved I wonder?  In truth my adoption affected everyone of us in the family, it was shrouded in secrecy and shame, never ever spoken about but ever present.  I was never told of my adoption or the circumstances that led to my adoption, and no one in my family will speak about it, indeed my older sister still refuses to acknowledge I’m adopted.

It was pleasing to read in the file that my birth mother seemed to disengage with the process – she did not respond to letters or keep appointments, and even lied about knowing the whereabouts of her husband so he could not confirm he was not my father, thus holding up the adoption process for several months.  What does this all mean, well in the absence of hard evidence I choose to believe she was having second thoughts, maybe the reality of being a woman from a minority ethnic group trying to raise an illegitimate child on her own, with no family support (her family were in India), won out in the end and she did what she thought was best for me, and possibly her only option.

It was strange seeing me referred to as ‘Baby Evans’ and ‘Susan Evans’ and telling of the social context of the time that my mother is not referred to by name but as ‘the child’s mother’,  it is also noted ‘Baby Evans’ is illegitimate throughout.  There is nothing regarding my mothers Asian ethnicity, nor anything about what she might look like or family history.  All things I have subsequently found out over the course of the last 34 years.  These things have been extremely important to me in helping me understand more about who I am and where I come from and have given me a real sense of identity and worth.Thank goodness that has changed now and adopted children are given more information about their birth family.

Whilst the file has not led me to my birth mother it has unexpectedly led me to rethink the relationship with my adoptive mother. To read that she had grown to love ‘Baby Evans’ has changed the way I see her.  Over the years I have often wondered why she adopted me , because I often felt unwanted to be honest, but at this moment in her life, 12th May 1961, the reason she adopted me  is officially recorded as love,  hmm ‘sometimes it’s hard to recognise, love comes as a surprise, and it’s too late…….’ she died in 1994 (Human League, Together).

This is not the end of my search though,  there has been a significant development. At the end of last year I applied to appear on the ITV programme ‘Lost Families’.  Amazingly, out of thousands I was selected as a potential participant. They came and interviewed me, and lo and behold they decided to include my story in the programme!

And so the next step began, the most significant of my life.  An end is in sight, or is it a new beginning, or the beginning of the end, who knows.  All I do know is that whatever the outcome I cannot stop now. So I try to prepare for every eventuality, and hope for the best.

(This is the 3rd  in the ‘Adoption File’ blogs, the full story, with outcome of my search, can be read in a free ibook available here <a href="here“>) You will need an ipad to read it though. I hope you find it interesting.

Lost families: “I can’t take one more step toward you because all that’s waiting is regret….” (Christina Perri)

This is the 2nd of three blogs on my adoption, to read part one please go to and part 3 here

As my adoption file arrives I cancel my appointment, after 8 months you would think I’d prepared myself but apparently not!  My emotions get the better of me and I re-arrange the meeting.  In preparation I go over the bits of my adoption journey  that are known to me, those key moments, the most important being the first time I ever saw my natural mother in a photo.  

There are 3 photos, her with a small child (not me), one of her with a handsome man and a photo that looks like a passport photo of an attractive dark eyed woman, of about 30 years  of age, looking directly into camera, hair smart, her skin looks dark, or is that because it’s a black and white photo? (I find out later she is Anglo Indian).  I stare at the photos looking for similarities, are those my eyes, her chin, how tall is she, how thin is she, is that my nose?

It’s like ‘wah hey I look like someone’ , this is the first time I have ever had a resemblance to anyone.  This is very important to me because I share no physical features with my adoptive family and have always felt like a ‘cuckoo in the nest’.

After getting over the initial excitement deeper thoughts emerge, more  unknowns to be known, questions I would desperately like to ask her.

Turning the passport photo over there is a small faded date stamp “Jan 1960”, what does this tell me?   Repeating the date in my mind, “Jan 1960, Jan 1960”  the penny drops, of course this is the year of my birth.  More significantly its January, she is already pregnant with me, not more than a few days/weeks though, does she know?   The eyes look sad, did they before I knew the date on the back of the photo or am I seeing something that is not there?    We are in a peculiar position at this moment she and I.   The dark eyes that look back at me hold her secret, yet the eyes that look at her, mine, know her secret and  what is going to happen within a few months of this photo being taken.  I am looking at  a woman whose life is out of control as all that she loves, and might have loved, will soon to be lost to her forever but she does not know this yet.

The small child turns out to be my half sibling and the man her husband, but not my father. Within a few months of these photos being taken my half siblings life would be turned upside down as my (our!) mother loses a hard fought custody battle.  For her husband his beautiful wife, the mother of his first born, will soon break his heart as she tells him she is pregnant with another mans child. The unborn child within her, me, will spend just a few days with her in a hostel for unmarried mothers, the only time we have met.

Fifty years after the taking of these photos I learn the fate of my half sibling as we are happily reunited via an incredible stroke of luck, when in a moment of boredom I surf the internet and come across a website called ‘Tombs in Ooty’ (I know!),  this site leads to us finding one other,  but of the central figure, the one who has been totally absent in my life, and the one who has had the biggest impact, well …………..

When I reflect on the reasons for my adoption, basically because my mother was ‘unfaithful’ and pregnant by another man,  she probably had very few options as a minority ethnic woman in 1960.  It makes me realise how far society has advanced, and how proud I am of those advances, although others may not see it in the same way as me!

I know reading the file will not make up for these lost years or bring to life someone who only exists in my mind and in 3 little photos, I know all thats waiting is regret, but still the desire to make some kind of sense is strong, and so with some trepidation the file will be read, but just not now.

(The full story, and outcomeof my sear, can be read here <a href="here“>)

Adoption:A ‘good’ adoption is not just about being faster

 As the government seeks to speed up the adoption process with Michael Gove highlighting the value of a stable and nurturing environment, an adult adoptee suggests the actual adoption is just the beginning and more support post adoption is needed.

On this, Michael Gove and I agree, adoption has to be better than a child languishing in the care system, farmed out to a multitude of foster placements that may break down.  Just as Mr. Gove’s personal experience shapes his thoughts on adoption so do mine.

What I think the government and Mr Gove fails to understand is the change in reasons why children are adopted today compared to when we were both adopted.  In my case I was adopted  because I was illegitimate and my mother did not have the means to care for me in terms of a home, cash or family support, I think this is less the case today.  The reasons for adoption today are far more complex and involve problems such as mental health issues, substance mis-use, domestic violence and child abuse, these along with the knowledge gained from neuroscience means that some of the children who need to be adopted now may have far more complex emotional and psychological needs than I did, and thus require adoptive parents  able to cope with whatever this might bring.

Whilst the system does require reform, lets base it on facts and evidence not personal experience.  Yes personal experience is important, it can act as a motivator to improve the system, lets just make sure its the right change, otherwise we are in danger of letting down the next generation of adoptees.

An adult adoptee and ex social worker describes how it feels to be a ‘service user’ as she attempts to access her adoption file

Adult Adoptees and Identity: the adoption process is currently under government scrutiny, getting it right is so important for adoptees futures. However, getting it right is not just about policy and procedures; it is also about social workers being professional and flexible in their approach. An adult adoptee, and ex social worker, describes how it feels to be a ‘service user’ as she attempts to access her adoption file.

(this is the 1st of a series on the ‘adoption file’, read ‘Lost Families’  if you want to see what happened next)

Whether who we are is determined by some invisible invention of science called genetics or the parenting skills of our parents is commonly known as ‘nature vs nurture’ and is the subject of much research. The truth is we may never know the exact ratio of influence, it may well vary from individual to individual, but it is fair to suggest both play a role in making us who we are. Whilst for many this is just an interesting debate for some, like me who have been adopted, it is a significant factor in shaping my understanding of who I am and how I feel about myself.

This blog is not written by me as a social worker or academic but as ‘adoptee me’. I was adopted over fifty years ago and have been trying to find information about my genetic family and my birth mother for thirty four years. Many years ago I accessed my adoption file in the hope it would provide me with information that might lead me to her. Unfortunately, it did not, although it did give me some useful information regarding the circumstances of my adoption.

Fast forward thirty years to August 2011 when I decide to have another look at my file in the hope that being older (possibly wiser?) it could still hold something useful that was missed before and might take me a step closer to finding my birth mother. And so with high hopes I contact the local authority where my adoption took place, hence forth known as ‘Never Never Land’. After being diverted to several departments I eventually reach the right one and speak with someone. The first question asked at this point is “why do you want to see the file?” Although taken aback, and to be honest rather annoyed to be asked this, I answer “because it’s about me and who I am, my family history”. The social worker explains the process to me. No I can not contact ‘Never Never Land’ direct to access my file I have to go through another authority, hence forth known as ‘La La Land’, and they will request access to my file on my behalf. Okay, why a third party needs to be involved is not explained. When I asked if I can have a copy of the file the response is guarded “possibly, but no third party information would be shared unless the third party agreed”. Okay, what if the third parties are dead i.e. my adoptive parents… reply, it felt like the worker was following a script and this question did not appear on the script, we end the conversation with one last question ”why do you want to see your file?”, “because etc etc etc……”.

My main concern at this point is who is going to decide what I am allowed to see, and will they leave out that one vital piece of information that might lead me to my birth mother? I feel powerless.

To say my first contact from the other side of the fence, so to speak, was unsatisfactory is an understatement, even after one phone call I felt frustrated and disempowered. It was clear there were hoops to be jumped through, and I was going to have to jump! I felt I had to fit the system regardless of whether it fitted me, or was appropriate.

Next step, phone call by me to ask how long the process might take, “No idea!”, followed by explanation they only worked part time, was going on leave and this was non urgent so would not be prioritised, expect a minimum of 6 months, that’s not including any delays in ‘Never Never Land’ responding. Further contact with social services is equally unsatisfactory, and still they asked “why do you want to see your file?” ………….”because…etc.etc!”

I eventually meet my adoption social worker and am pleased to report they are experienced and professional, they do not appear to stick to any particular agency approach and make me feel I am listened to as an individual, I do not feel like a service user with this social worker, this is an equal partnership.

So, have I seen my file? To cut a long story short the file is still in ‘Never Never Land’, however, it is going to arrive in ‘La La Land’ soon. Reasons for delay range from workers and mangers going sick, people working part time, supervision being cancelled and window repairs (don’t ask!!!). In all honesty, I am not interested in knowing any of this it only serves to heighten my annoyance and sense of powerlessness.

I do understand the pressures in practice, and of course the protection of vulnerable children must always come first, however, whilst not urgent it is actually very important to me. Seeing my file again is a desperate measure on my part because I’ve exhausted all other avenues, my mother is approaching eighty years of age, time is not on our side. An acknowledgement of how important this might be for me on my first contact with services would have been nice.

How does all this make me feel? Angry, powerless, frustrated, sad. My contact with services is minimal and time limited, unlike many others. The professional social worker in me knows the pressure systems, and people, are under and how my request is insignificant in the scheme of social work practice with Children and Families, but, it is important to me. Whilst at an organisational level it is just an old file, for me it is my life and about who I am. This process has made me reflect on my own social work practice, I’d do things differently now!

(This is one of several blogs, if you would like to read the complete story of what happened in my search for my natural mother you can read it in a free ibook here <a href="here“> You will need an ipad to read it)