In this guest blog, our Adopteens members tell us about two fantastic new resources they have developed and also share their experience of presenting at a recent One Adoption West Yorkshire conference. A huge thank you from all at PAC-UK to our Adopteens members for writing this piece for us.
“I have never felt so listened to” is what one young person exclaimed after presenting at the One Adoption West Yorkshire (OAWY) conference last week. Three members of our Adopteens Youth Council attended to deliver a taster of our ‘Adopt a Change’ training for professionals and to share two new leaflets they have been working on: “Adopteens: Myths vs Reality” and “Adopteens: Top Tips for Schools.”
At the start of the year, Adopteens were approached by an adopter who asked if we had a fact sheet on adoption, which could be shared with their child’s peers and their parents. Their child was being asked a lot of questions at school and the parent felt a fact sheet would be helpful, so the child didn’t have to keep sharing their story or educate people on adoption.
We consulted the group and they all felt that creating a resource to explain adoption in simple terms to others was a brilliant idea. Every member in our Adopteens group had shared a story with us about how they had been taunted about their adoption, how their family make up had been misunderstood or how teachers had tried to explain adoption, but never quite got the facts right, leaving a jarring feeling in that young person.
Being understood and not being judged for their family feels to them such a crucial and important need. Many talk about feeling very different from others at school anyway before anyone says anything, so to counter this we developed our “Adopteens: Myth vs Reality” leaflet that separates fact from fiction and also shares what is useful language and what isn’t so useful.
At the OAWY conference, social workers were asked how they could use this resource with their families and promote it, which resulted in a brilliant array of ideas from the social workers in the room.
“Presenting at the conference was a hugely positive experience for me. I loved hearing how social workers were going to use our resources. Everyone was so kind and supportive and it felt as though we genuinely made an impact, that will hopefully improve many other adoptees lives.”
Our second leaflet that sits alongside this is our updated ‘Adopteens: Top Tips for Schools’ leaflet. Back in 2016, we wrote out top tips for schools for the DfE, we took a look at this again and gave it a boost and a refresh, with more detail and greater depth.
At the conference, we asked social workers to rank these tips in order of importance and compared them with how the Adopteens members had ranked them. It made for very interesting conversation and the overall consensus was that schools still have a long way to go to meet adopted children’s needs and that we all have a responsibility to flag issues and drive through improvements.
The most fun part of the day was of course our workshop that highlights how many rules, transitions and expectations young people have to live up to in school and how different these are to what is expected of adults in the workplace. This was highlighted superbly by our group and many social workers shared that this was their biggest ‘take home’ of the event.
The young people who attended were glowing from the day and shared:
“The conference was quite simply amazing. It was quite emotional and outstanding that so many people were actually listening to us Adopteens and our ideas. It was truly a lovely experience to be able to deliver to 120 adults and listen and discuss topics we really thought were crucial.”
“I found the conference very successful because it seemed like everyone was getting involved and were asking questions and wanting to know what we were going to do next. I felt very proud.”
Download: Adopteens: Myth vs Reality
Ideas for using and sharing this resource:
- Take the leaflet in to schools and colleges and share with teachers – encourage education professionals to share far and wide including during PHSE lessons, newsletters and sharing with all parents
- Share them with other adopted people, adoptive parents and anyone who you might think is interested
- Do you know of any after school clubs who might find this valuable? Forward them the leaflet or let us know if you would like to contact them directly
Download: Adopteens: Top Tips for Schools
Ideas for using and sharing this resource:
- Take into your school and give to the designated teacher
- Share with other adopted people, adoptive parents and anyone else who might be interested
- If your adopted you might want to rank these in order of importance and let your school know
- If you’re a social worker working with a child in school – an activity to do is to rank the tips in order of importance with them and see if they agree with them or have any other priorities of their own
Adopteens | November 2022
Please note, all content published on this page is provided by our guest blogger/s, based on their real-life experiences. We invite you to discuss this blog via PAC-UK's Twitter profile and ask you to tag @PACUKadoption in to your posts and use the hashtag #PacukBlog
This blog is the twenty-fifth of our regular 'guest blogger' platform which we started in 2019. We would love to hear from adoptees, birth parents (and relatives), adoptive parents/carers, special guardians and professionals who are interested in taking part in future blogs. If this interests you please email firstname.lastname@example.org.