Letter: Reform of adoption

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The Independent Culture
Sir: As a retired social worker, I believe you have not grasped the deeper issues in adoption work.

I have never met a qualified social worker working in this field who was against adoption as being the best environment for a child, second to their own family. This presupposes that the family, adoptive or otherwise, is stable, secure and happy.

Most, if not all, of the children in residential home care are there because they have very deep-seated problems of a psychological, psychiatric or physical nature.

Many damaged children are living in foster homes and being helped to realise their potential and, if possible, return to their own families. The reason why some move around is often because their behaviour is so wearing that a single family cannot sustain it.

The children available for adoption in this country are mainly groups of siblings, physically or mentally handicapped, teenagers, or of ethnic minority origin. As a consequence of contraception and improved attitudes there are far fewer babies and young children available.

Since adoptive parents are unsupervised once an adoption order is made, approving authorities have to be very careful that, as far as is humanly possible, the adoption applicants will be able to cope with the child or children and it is not a case of "out of the frying pan, into the fire". Not many applicants wish for difficult children, and some applicants have unacceptable reasons for wanting any children.

Breakdown in adoptive families is not common and maybe this is a reflection of the care taken in setting them up.


Bridgwater, Somerset