What if you’re the bully?

This week at my office we have been doing an awful lot of reflecting and navel-gazing, which any NGO worth it’s salt is very good at. We love lamenting and taking long hard looks at ourselves, it’s our favourite thing.

In the wake of various charity scandals and safeguarding failures and so on in the last 18 months, there is a lot of wondering how we can fix issues like “endemic bullying culture” etc that keep coming up.

We have all done the compulsory online training, attended the face to face sessions, seen the posters, listened to webinars and read the countless emails that have been sent. So the issue is clearly not one of awareness raising but of behaviour and culture change, which is so much harder to identify and address.

We all talk about collective responsibility for change, living our values, and changing our culture, but I am willing to bet there is not one single person out there who self-identifies as a bully. I don’t believe anyone reads about an organisation’s bullying culture and thinks “Oh yeah, they mean me, because I’m totally a bully”. Continue reading

Delegating Parental Responsibility

As the flurry of activity is starting to snowball, and I’m suddenly being sent document after document to read, review, sign, etc, I am learning some fascinating things. Also they sent me a provisional timetable to meet my (potential) daughter which is THE MOST EXCITING THING EVAAAAAR!!!! It’s all becoming suddenly very real!

One notable thing that I found really interesting was the list of delegated parental responsibilities – and specifically what will transfer to me and what will not during the placement process. Continue reading

Little by little

Things are moving – glacially slowly, but they are moving.

There were a flurry of emails about the medical adviser appointment (apparently the main medical adviser is off sick so there was a lot of back and forth about phone appointments and alternative options).

However I now have several appointments booked in – I’m meeting my Social Worker this Friday to talk through all the preparation and things that are required.

In early June, the child will go for her pre-placement medical review, and on the 6th I’ll meet with the children’s services medical adviser to talk through any concerns that they have. They won’t have written up the full medical report by then but that will come later. There’s been a few mixed messages coming from the social worker and foster carer and family finder so far regarding various health issues so it will be good to get everything all straight and make sure I understand everything properly. (Things like the Family Finder thought she had chicken pox a few weeks ago, foster carer says no she didn’t in the end etc). All very minor but a tad confusing nonetheless.

I’ll be meeting with the foster carer for the first time the week after, in a random neutral location halfway between my house and her house (I think it’s a garden centre cafe or a motorway rest stop or something really odd!).

Then I will go to the panel – the date STILL hasn’t been confirmed yet, though they have pencilled it in for later in June, but this date has already changed at least once so I am not holding my breath just yet…

And if all that goes well, we’ll be starting to plan the introductions, I’ll be giving my notice to go on adoption leave, and setting dates for me to meet her for the first time!

There are still so many hoops to jump through, so many things to do, like buy a buggy and get stairgates installed, and have all these meetings, but it’s getting closer now, I can feel it.

When the stars align…. there is usually admin involved.

My dear beloved readers, they picked me!!!

After all three social workers (mine, hers, and the family finder) met with me, the family finder sent me some lovely feedback about how they thought I was wonderful and they are all in strong agreement it’s a really excellent match, and they picked me!!! This means they are not looking at anyone else to be this little girl’s parents, and they are going to book in a linking/matching panel date for me sometime in June or July.

One more hurdle achieved! Continue reading

Easter mini-break

This Easter I went on a truly wonderful mini-break in the UK with a friend of mine who has an EXTREMELY sexy camper van.

I have recently started to realise the UK has just so many awesome things to see and do, and I really don’t make enough time to explore this tiny but awesome little island. My recent trips to Leicester and London (and previous trips to various Henges) have shown me just how much there is to do right in my own backyard and it’s encouraged me to try and plan a few more little mini-breaks here and there!

First stop, we drove down to Wookey Hole (I have ALWAYS wanted to go there, and my dad was actually born there during the war too).

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Carbon Goals

Apologies – this post is LOOOOOOONG.

So long in fact I have had to give it sub-headings – madness!

I’ve been reflecting recently on how I can reduce my carbon footprint, and how to navigate the ins and outs of caring for our environment in an increasingly plastic-filled world. The fact is, I travel an awful lot, both for work and for pleasure. Usually by air, and I worry about all that C02 I am contributing to global warming. I also purchase an awful lot of products that are wrapped in plastic.

A friend told me recently you can just pay £20 or so whenever you fly to offset your carbon – in other words, I can be lazy and pay someone to plant a tree on my behalf so I can jet around the world. I am unsure about carbon offset schemes and how effective they are, but I must admit to being very ignorant about it all, so I’ve been doing some research to try and figure it all out.(Please note that my “research” has been ad hoc and not at all systematic, and I discovered that a lot of it was from quite a few years ago, so my deepest apologies if any of my assertions appear to be out of date with current thinking!).

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Incredible Ethiopia

I went to Ethiopia for 2 weeks for a work trip. It was HARD work.

I was delivering 2 back-to-back trainings, which I would normally never do, as it’s exhausting. But you know how it is, end of the financial year, budget to spend, blah blah blah.

I had 1 weekend free in the middle, and was hoping to get out of the city and see something of the rest of the country, as there is SO MUCH amazing stuff here! But sadly in the end I came down with a really rotten cold and had to work all weekend anyway. So I mostly sat in my hotel room, working, which was lame, although I did manage to pop out on Sunday afternoon for a few hours, so I went to the Sheraton Hotel which has a fancy pool and lazed around for a couple of hours.

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