Precious memories and life-stories of adopted children in Leicestershire are being preserved forever thanks to a specialist worker who supports them and their new parents.
This week (October 12-18) is National Adoption Week and with 34 children waiting for adoption in Leicestershire, including four sibling groups, the county council is taking the opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of the specialist support available.
Michelle Smith is the life story support worker at the council.
Her recently-created role involves championing the precious memories and life stories of children by developing life story books and offering extensive support to adopters by explaining these stories.
Life story work is vitally important and is about giving adopted children a narrative that they can understand about their early life experiences.Michelle Smith, life story support worker
“It is hoped that by having a dedicated service that is committed to hearing and preserving memories in a way that is accessible and meaningful to children, adoptive parents will have the tools to help their child understand their identity and where they have come from.
“I work with birth parents, grandparents, foster carers, social workers, health visitors even midwives who have delivered the child.
“I hold information sharing meetings where photographs and memories are added into a child’s memory box and life story book which is given to adopters.
All families who adopt through Leicestershire County Council are offered one-to-one sessions with the life story support worker focusing on telling their child’s story.
Ongoing workshops continue to grow adopters’ skills and confidence – this can involve navigating tricky parts of their story or learning more about specific pictures or events so that they can answer specific questions for the child.
Michelle added: “It is a child led service and so we flex the support to meet their specific need at the time. It helps to make sure parents are happy with how to word answers to certain questions and can be particularly helpful for difficult stories about children’s pasts.
“My role ensures that children have precious memories respectfully preserved and protected for them as they move from care into their forever families.”
We are proud to support National Adoption Week and take this opportunity to tell people about the life changing difference adoption can make, especially to those children who have waited longer.Deborah Taylor, county council cabinet member for children and families
“We have a strong support package available to adopters, to help ensure the best outcomes for adopted children and families. I’d encourage anyone who thinks they could adopt to contact our team on 0116 305 05 05 for an informal chat and to find out more.
For more information about adoption, visit: www.adoptionleicestershire.com
National Adoption Week is driven by a cross-sector steering group made up of representatives from statutory and voluntary adoption agencies together with CVAA, Adoption UK, CoramBAAF and First4Adoption.