Tuesday, October 16, 2012


You know him, but not by his real name, which is Graeme. 

He has no idea who his father is.

He was adopted at the age of four months.

His new parents adopted another baby, a girl. That's when he thinks they told him he was adopted:

"One of the sharpest memories of my childhood is how my mother explained to me what adoption meant. I can’t remember how old I was, but I suspect it was when I was five, when my sister arrived. But what I do remember — with perfect clarity after four decades — are the precise words she used: You’re different from other children because we chose you. You didn’t grow under my heart, you grew in it.’Writing those words, I realise they can read like something from a soap opera script or slushy pulp fiction. But those words meant, and still mean, all the world to me."

The parents discovered after adopting the baby girl that she was profoundly deaf, having no hearing in one ear and only a fraction in the other. They loved her and dedicated themselves to her as much as to their adopted son. He knew this and says he remembers their love to this day.

"I was given the most precious gift any child can have — unconditional love, stability, security — by parents who had gone out of their way, who’d had their lives intimately scrutinised, who’d jumped willingly and uncomplainingly through bureaucratic hoops just to make my life whole."

Any ideas who he is? If you know, because you're better informed than me, well done.

He goes on:

"Children in dysfunctional homes at risk of abuse are kept in danger for too long because politically correct rules mean we won’t challenge unfit parents."

If you're thinking to yourself that people who do our work need someone in government with these kind of views and experiences, I'll tell you now, the man is Education Secretary and possible future Prime Minister, Michael Gove.

"But the real problem doesn't lie with the councils or the social workers they employ. In many cases, social workers are the unsung heroes of the adoption process, selfless professionals who care deeply about children at risk. The real culprits are, all too often, the judges who rule on care proceedings.
They can take for ever to make decisions and the worst won’t trust the word of committed social workers who want children to be rescued from danger and adopted quickly."

However. Before we foster carers run away with the happy hope there's a man at the top on our side, he's actually eerily quiet about fostering. He was adopted, and like all of us his formative experiences inform his views. And clearly he is a massive supporter of adoption.

Before we all vote for him at the next election, supporting an adult who has grown from the like of whom we take into our homes, best remember he is what they call a "moderniser". He wants to change the world into what he wants it to be.

And to be honest, I worry a bit that maybe he has a deep-rooted emotional attachment to adoption, and might be sniffy about fostering.

Michael Gove Prime Minister, with his entirely understandable dedication to adoption may see fostering as pre-adoption for carers. 

But well done Michael Gove, you've fared well in life, so far.

Equally, well done Mr and Mrs Gove.

And just as equally, careful how you vote.

The Secret Foster Carer



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