Adopting a child changes lives for the better. Here, Newcastle City Council’s adoption family worker Lisa Watson tells us about the rewarding role she plays in connecting families.
Being a family finder is a special and complex role.
Once a child can no longer live with their birth family, the job begins of starting the search for a forever family. It takes care and insight so we get it right for everyone.
Each child has a social worker and lives with a foster carer, so we liaise with both to understand the child’s emotional state and general development to find parents who can fulfill their needs.
There is a lot to take into account, from geographical location and the family’s support network, to how open they are to contact with other siblings and the birth family, for example.
Anything the child may need, we consider how we can meet it. And if you’re a prospective parent, we ensure we have all the details you need to be fully informed along the way. Connecting families takes time and patience.
Where we can’t find a match within our catchment area, we look outside of our Local Authority and there are two excellent sites; Adoption Match, which is government regulated and Adoption Link, another regulated site created by adopters.
Searching these databases enables us to approach and potentially progress matches. If you’re considering adoption, it’s certainly worth checking these out.
We also attend consortium meetings bringing all the regional Local Authorities together to exchange profiles of children and adopters to widen the search parameters.
The job involves supporting social workers and children in attending adoption activity days (life appreciate days for older children) where children and adopters can meet in a safe and happy environment. This is really important as you can’t bring a child to life on paper.
We really want adoptive parents to see and understand the impact of any loss and trauma or developmental issues and talk to us about the support we can provide. There’s lots of help around and you can access it any time.
Ultimately this job can be challenging but it’s very rewarding. I’m passionate about it and it’s so worthwhile when you see a child placed in a happy home forever.