Channel Four should be commended for the documentaries that select key issues in society.
The new series 15000 and counting is about the tragedy of those who are not able to parent their own children and the difficult decisions the local authority and social care workers have to take to get the best outcome for the child. As one social worker said ‘we try and do what is best but further down the line, when the child is older, they may look back and find that the wrong decision was made’. The point is there are no guarantees only the pursuit of an ideal scenario in a less than ideal situation.
I saw one mother who clearly cared for her baby girl. I do not know the circumstances of why social workers had got involved as I joined the programme half way through. I just saw the court ruling at the end to say that the baby girl was going o be adopted. The young mother was grief stricken but resigned to her fate. “I hope she gets more GCSEs than I got and that she has a better life. I got 2 F’s for Mathis and English and I have never had a job. The girl hated herself and life. Therefore, as much as she cried for her lost baby daughter, it was almost as if she expected not to have her child for life because she has no ounce of belief in herself or her abilities.
It made me wonder what kind of life she had experienced to go into adulthood with this outlook on life. So what the social system is trying o do is break this vicious cycle of neglect that breeds neglect.
In a preview of the next programme on the adoption process, the social worker says ‘all this little girl wants is a mum that doesn’t smoke, drink or take drugs, is that too much to ask?’
The programme says there are not enough adoptive families but this is exacerbated by the two year process it takes to adopt a child. We would like to adopt but do not have a spare room and until we move we can’t take our application further. I have friends and family who have plenty of rooms and money but cannot face the prospect of loving a child who isn’t from their genes. I do not understand this mentality, through time as a nanny, I experienced a strong loving bond with children born to other parents, to the extent that I didn’t want to hand them back at the end of the day.
I hope programmes like this stop families embarking on their 10th ivf attempt or surrogacy contract and the realisation dawns that love knows no bounds, genetic or otherwise. Those who want children but can’t have them biologically should give adoption the chance to change their lives and create a bond with a child who is already in the world and in need of love rather than wasting time, money and heart-ache chasing that elusive embryo.
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Thanks for reading.