The purpose of this paper is to define, describe and apply social work models to my recent placement experience, and an initial assessment that I observed. My twenty day placement was at a Christian voluntary adoption agency, based in England. They do not have contracts with local authorities in Wales, but do work with them as and when their help in finding potential families to adopt children is required. Although a voluntary agency they work within the Adoption and Children Act 2002, Children Act 2004, Care Standards Act 2000.
The prospective adopters approach the agency themselves. The agency offers a non discriminatory approach; they do not judge people by their age, culture, sexual orientation, marital status or ethnicity. There are many children awaiting adoption from varying backgrounds. The prospective adopters must be able to offer secure, safe loving environments for the children to thrive and flourish, Children Act (2004). By contacting the agency they are given an information pack, in a format that is acceptable to them. They can then, if they wish, contact the agency and request a prospective adopter’s initial assessment.
The initial assessment that I observed, was that of a single applicant whom I will refer to as X. She was of Welsh origin, but non-welsh speaking, white, thirty nine years old, divorced and employed with her own home and a supportive family. She also had a sister who had been adopted from Pakistan. Historically single people have been seen as inappropriate for adoption and only used as a last resort (Rosenthal and Groze, 1992). However,
‘Single parents have a high level of emotional maturity, have a high capacity to tolerate frustration, and are not overly influenced by the opinions of others’ (Branham 1970, cited in Rosenthal & Groza 1992, p.111).
The meeting took place at X’s home. Due to arriving early we parked a small distance away from the property. X may not have been quite ready to see us and we did not want to rush her (Koprowska 2008). We noticed that the property was for sale. The reason for this needed to be established as any uncertainty during the adoption process could be detrimental in having an adoption order granted.
On arriving at the property we introduced ourselves and engaged in some small talk mostly about the weather, which was quite nice that day following a prolonged period of snow. Thompson (2003, p.86) refers to small talk as ‘phatic communication.’ On entrance into her home we were asked would we like a drink and invited to sit down. We asked where we were to be seated; this would enable X to identify where she would feel most comfortable during the interview. X also asked us to call her by her first name.
My practice teacher chose to sit opposite her, within a comfortable distance. Regular eye contact was made by the practitioner in what appeared to be a non intrusive way. No signs of feeling uncomfortable were displayed by X. No physical barriers were evident....