As I sit down to reflect on my journey as a fostering and adoption social worker, I can’t help but feel a deep sense of privilege and fulfillment. It is now almost two years on from my first blog, detailing my first few weeks as one of St Andrew’s Children’s Society’s newest social workers, which has been quite a journey to say the least.
Compared to when I first joined in mid- 2021, there is now a hustle and bustle here at our Edinburgh office, a welcome change to a time when we were coming off the tail-end of Covid-19 restrictions.
Our lifelong commitment to our families
One aspect of the job I enjoy the most is the interactions I have with the children and families we support. Although we as fostering and adoption social workers will at times only play a fleeting part in their lives, we are lucky in that we have a lifelong commitment to our families. As we are all too aware, adoption can come with challenges, to a greater or lesser degree. Our interactions and input, no matter how fleeting, can serve as a constant reminder of the impact we can have in helping children find, and remain, in safe and loving families.
One of my favourite aspects of my job
The prospective adopter reports we complete are a crucial part of the role of a fostering and adoption social worker, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I found this one of my favourite aspects of the job. From feedback from our foster carers and adopters, I know it’s a hugely intrusive process that requires not only scrutiny and evaluation, but also empathy, for which I can’t help but feel immensely privileged to have people share their stories, experiences and parts of their lives with me. Helping adopters through this, and helping them and their adopted children inch closer towards each other, is a constant reminder of why I enjoy getting up for my job.
However, like all jobs, it comes with challenges also, some generic and some specific to adoption and fostering. On this front, I consider myself extremely lucky to work alongside my present pool of colleagues, many of whom are vastly more experienced than myself, and who have dedicated themselves to their careers. Their insight, wisdom, and knowledge have proven invaluable to a budding social worker like myself, who having only been just over 2 ½ years qualified is still learning the craft, learning about what works and what doesn’t, not to mention the complexities and legalities of the adoption process. In this regard, one thing I have particularly derived benefit from is the honesty and self-reflection my colleagues possess and demonstrate. Hearing from things they’ve done well, as well as things they have felt they could have done better has driven my own desire for growth and development within my role.
Readiness to go the extra mile for our families
On a related note, I am struck with the pang of sorrow that comes of learning that several of these colleagues will soon be retiring. How selfish and unwarranted! As pastures-new beckon, as much as I would like to raise the retirement age to at least 90, at least in their cases, I can’t but help but feel grateful for their dedication to their work, their calming presence as well as their readiness to go the extra mile for our families (and not-so-newbies like myself). Not a bad legacy to leave behind.
And although perhaps we’ll hear them whistling ‘The winner takes it all’, I suspect not, and don’t doubt that they’ll miss us too.
If you would like to find out more about adopting or fostering a child through St Andrew’s Children’s Society please call 0131 454 3370 or email email@example.com.