SW wants to see our emotions!

(17 Posts)
Greenleaves13 Tue 05-Nov-13 17:38:10

Help please. Had an awful meeting with sw's yesterday. They called us into their office rather than meeting us at home, they said they feel like they don't know us, we are on visit 6 and we thought everything was going great. However, SW has been chatting to her manager about our case and it seems on paper we look great but in their opinion we show no emotion and they feel like they don't know us, they feel there is a barrier (but when we questioned the barrier) they couldn't actually tell us what it was?!?!
We said we didn't agree and we had given our all, answering fully and giving examples etc... And they agreed!! But also said it wasn't enough  what do they want from us?!?!

They want us to have our individual sessions again and be interviewed and video taped at their office  I don't want to do it and feel it is unnecessary. They agreed on paper we are great candidates but felt we were rehearsed and our answers were too perfect!! The want us to relax more, which we pointed out is hard with 2 strangers in our living room, grilling us about our life!

Anyone have any experience of SW wanting to see more emotion?

Maiyakat Tue 05-Nov-13 20:32:23

I had something similar. My panel date was delayed as SW's manager felt SW didn't 'know me well enough', and that I was giving the answers they wanted to hear. I felt like I couldn't win! I had been quizzed and quizzed on certain issues, was feeling quite defensive, and so wasn't going to present as overly open and friendly... Anyway, SW came round to do a couple more visits to 'get to know me'. Not sure how different those sessions were but she and managers seemed happy so off to panel we went (was approved). (I did come to really like and respect my SW btw!)

The idea of being filmed seems truly bizarre, I've never heard of that and would not be happy to do that. Surely that knowing you're being filmed would make you hold back even more! Who do they want to show the videos to?

Hope you find a way forward you feel happy with x

Greenleaves13 Tue 05-Nov-13 21:49:27

Thats exactly how I feel, defensive and frustrated.

We have emailed today asking for clarification on why we need to be filmed and expressed our concerns that the thought makes us feel really uncomfortable.

Thanks for reply, and congrats on being approved x

Greenleaves13 sorry to hear that. No advice but whatever happens hope it goes well.

snail1973 Tue 05-Nov-13 21:57:22

I had something similar too. We were doing well in the home study (SW was very very thorough.) but she could not accept that I was just ok about being infertile. Having told myself I would not lie during the process I ended up pretty much having to make myself cry in front of her. She needed to see I had appropriate feelings. Which meant she thought it was not normal to be ok with my situation. I had to show her I was upset because that's the reaction she thought was appropriate.

Is it a case of showing them what they want to see?

Good luck. This must be a really tough time for you both.

KristinaM Tue 05-Nov-13 22:37:08

They are idiots. Not all adoptive parents are extroverts .

Unfortunately you probably have to go along with them, even though they are being unreasonable. And pretty stupid < we want you to relax, so will film you talking about personal things and show it to loads of people >

Are you good at acting? You might have to follow snails advice.

BTW,being calm , quite and considered people will stand you in good stead as adoptive parenst. Many adopted kids have had way too much drama in their lives alreday and need calm and thoughtful parents.

RudolphLovesoftplay Tue 05-Nov-13 22:38:38

My SW found it odd I didn't feel anything towards my birth dad, she continually questioned me on: was I angry with him..no, did I ever think about him...not really, did I ever want to contact him..no etc etc etc. pretty much every week for 6 weeks!! She got it eventually though.

Agree it's odd about the filming, good on you for asking for clarification.

Kewcumber Wed 06-Nov-13 11:46:01

What bollocks

I am calm and considered (mostly) and behaved quite clinically in my home study I think - luckily I had a sw who was quite similar herself so we had a bloodless, efficient home study.

Play the part I'm afraid - snail is right. Crying would be good if you can manage it! If you worry a lot for the 30 mins before the next meeting and then talk to her about how terribly scared you are that this might scupper your plans to adopt then you stand some chance of genuinely shedding a tear. With luck that will make her feel such a heel she'll be much more sympathetic.

IME most social workers are quite caring people underneath its just that many of them are a bit bonkers.

Maiyakat Wed 06-Nov-13 12:07:30

Kew that is an excellent description of Social Workers!

My SW wanted to meet my parents - the look of horror on my face made her retract the suggestion! (My parents are lovely and love DD to bits, just didn't want them let lose on a SW!)

Greenleaves13 Wed 06-Nov-13 12:23:55

I'm so glad it's not just us! Felt like a personal attack, but I agree with you all, we must do what SW asks and 'play the game', but I still think it's bonkers and totally unnecessary.
Now waiting for a response from SW. Hoping for an email today

Kewcumber Wed 06-Nov-13 12:49:26

"but I still think it's bonkers and totally unnecessary." and you'd probably be right... on the other hand you do need to start stocking up on bonkers adoption stories to be considered one of the gang.

I'll see your "being filmed with emotion" story with my "sex talk" story - I win!

Devora Wed 06-Nov-13 15:56:17

Gosh yes, you have to have suffered some kind of sw atrocity tale to be able to hold your head high round this gaff wink

Sympathies from me: this sounds liike it says more about the sw's interpersonal skills than yours. But yes, suck it up, there will be lots of sucking up to do along the road to getting what you want from this. Don't, whatever you do, make a stand on this: it's not worth it, and they hold all the cards at this point.

Best of luck.

RationalThought Wed 06-Nov-13 17:16:41

We had a similar experience with the SW and manager when we were looking to foster. The SW kept trying to psychoanalyse us and expected emotions we just did not feel - like others I though being calm people who cope with life would be a positive thing. In the end we just gave up on that idea after 18 months of misery.

The adoption process has been completely different. We chose to go with a different LA and our SW has been really professional and supportive. We go to panel in two weeks, 4.5 months since we submitted our formal application. The whole process hasn't felt nearly as stressful this time and has been far more enjoyable.

If you were earlier in the process I would have suggested trying another route, but as others have said you may be better off just faking it and giving them what they want.

Either way, good luck

Greenleaves I second what everyone else said! Suck it up. The first time a social worker talked to us I cried a bit about our fetliilty attenpts but I had told our fertility story so many time that when I met the second (main) social worker I was all cried out and told it like it was, it was hard, 6 and a half years trying and now am over it! Luckily, she was obviously quite a percetive perosn and could see it had meant a lot and I had worked through it rather than it had not affected me! Sometimes (just a guess!) going into details can help a bit. For example, in the end one of the things that was really difficult for me was the pain of the stomach injections and the sound of a phone alarm still reminds me of those nightly shots! I feel so relieved it's over. Sometimes remembering those kind of details can help you convey how it felt emotionally. For me now I would say those injections are in he past, the years of staring at pregnancy tests and them not saying what I wanted was demoralising!

Now I am excited about adoption and I can't really recreate the bleak feelings of those years of trying but when I get into conversations about babies and pregnancy or when friends who have lots of lovely kids moan about it, I do still get that spark of anger or despair!

For me I think it is the balance of showing I have those emotions but you have overcome the negative things. They are replaced by hope for the future and the experiences, while draining at the time, have perhaps made me a stronger person.

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 11-Nov-13 07:22:13

We had all sorts of odd conversations eg about DH's relationship with his parents, my parents's likely relationship with an adoptive child etc etc. All the way through we felt that they were looking for particular answers, and began to work out how to "play the game". It's ridiculous but...

In their defence, it helps to remember that SW generally have little experience of adoption (think how few children are adopted and how many SW there are).

Though I would have hoped that the one key skill a SW needs is the ability to see through pretence and people playing the game...

We found a helpful "tactic" on some of the more bonkers stuff was for one of us to object, not both. Eg in this scenario we would say "DH really really hates being filmed, he wouldn't be able to relax and he really doesn't want to do it, but is happy to have more meetings or see a different SW. I guess if only one of us is filmed it would undermine the point of the exercise?"

amesmya Mon 11-Nov-13 10:42:10

I think its important to put your thoughts in the mind of the child you want to adopt. This is where the sw is coming from. The sw, who is assessing you, has all the back grounds of these children fresh in their minds and know the complex issues and behaviors that this can bring to a household.
Its important to remember you know your life story well. You lived it! You have done all the leg work in your head and made peace with what ever baggage you have. A sw is just a person trying to get a clear picture of all that before they put someone into your life that will push all your buttons, like all children do.
It is partly about playing the game but its also about someone objective coming into your life and posing some of the questions that may come up, particularly when these children reach teenage.
Unfortunately a sw knows about adoption break down and the devastation that it can bring. These children have often been through more in their lives than we can imagine. Maybe try and turn it around in you mind and consider that all this intrusive questioning is preparing you for the emotional roller coaster that is parent hood!
Its a very different view looking out of your own life than it is looking in. Unfortunately most of us make decision on gut instinct but the sw has a form to fill in. It might b that he/she likes u but needs to tick the right boxes. Sad but true. They cant tell you what they are looking for, or what would be the point of an assessment!

KristinaM Mon 11-Nov-13 16:40:48

I'm not aware of any research that shows that " intrusive questioning" during the assessment process produces better outcomes in adoption .

Nor that extroverts make better adoptive parents than introverts .

Some years ago, all sorts of intrusive and inappropriate practices were carried out on women during childbirth eg routine enemas, shaving, episiotomies. Women who questioned this were told " it's routine" , " it's hospital procedure" or asked " don't you want a healthy baby? "

Now these are no longer routine in the uk, thanks to evidence based practice and the empowering of service users . Outcomes have not been adversely affected.

Simply saying " it's about the kids " is no longer sufficient to justify inappropriate, unethical or unprofessional ways of working. Clients who feel abused , lied to and manipulated during their assessment will not trust their agency to support them once a child is placed.

An experienced practitioner should be able to adjust her way of working to meet the needs of each individual /couple being assessed. Just as the agency expects the family to adjust their parenting style to meet the needs of the child.

Modelling flexibility, sensitivity and respect would be good, rather than talking about it while demonstrating the opposite .

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