An interesting day. Started off, late due to traffic issues, with looking at our significant objects. Talked about them and why they were important. Then we looked at attachment and what a secure base in arousal-relaxation cycle is and why it is important. Then looked at the effect of a non-responsive adult in the cycle and the effect of this in attachment. Talked about attachment issues and what problems they can bring. Then we divided into four groups and each one looked at what needs a child needs from adults in terms of needs: physical, social & emotional. Each group had a different age (0-2, 2-5, 5-10 & 10+). I was in group 2 and we came up with a number of needs fairly easily. It was interesting to note things like love & affection, food etc came up in all groups as we built the wall. Then we discussed what missing bricks would mean to a looked-after or adopted child (see the wall for a good explanation). Talked about how we could help our adopted child to recover those ,issuing bricks and what after adoption support there was. SW emphasised the need for early intervention & not leaving it to crisis point. Then another social worker (who was N & M’s original one who I talked to during their home study) talked with us about ‘Theraplay’ which is a ‘here& now’ therapy based on simple games in a structured way with a child. Very interesting and something I think we would use.
After lunch the 2 foster careers talked to us for a good while telling us their good & bad stories about adoption with their foster children. They again emphasized the importance of communication and mentioning any niggles/doubts at an early stage. They brought along a memory box for one of their long term foster kids who they would adopt if it wasn’t for the additional support whole he is looked after. It was interesting to see what was in it and one of the birth mothers commented it made her feel guilty that she had nothing for her children like that. Talking to the FCs it was interesting to here that their 17 year old girl would have liked them to adopt her, but she would loose out a lot of money at uni, so instead she is changing her surname by deed-poll. Throughout the importance of communication came through and the SWs running our course were also asking questions and said they were the best they had had on any courses they had run. The final exercise was to think about the definitions of neglect, physical, emotional & sexual abuse which was emotionally hard but interesting. Then we talked about one (real-based) profile and his history. We had to think about what effects his experiences would have left on him in terms of behaviour and the like.
Overall a hard but fascinating day. Got some homework for the next one in that we have to picture our support network which we have discussed, but not put down on paper.