Black Fax/ Born Sandy Devotional

Before I begin, I just want to thank you all for the encouragements so far! I want to remind you all this blog will blog about therapeutically flavoured smallholding primarily- as soon as we move. We are currently in limbo, waiting for solicitors to finish an exciting right of access document, that appears to need 34 trillion years.


So. Not everybody has diffcult adoptions, if by difficult you mean so impossible there have to be massive changes and evasive red alert shenanigans to keep the adoption alive, and the adopters sane enough to have any quality of life.

Ours has been, and currently still is, a hard adoption. But things are changing, we are changing, and we are pursuing a hope and future. Hang in there, make the necessary big changes, and you will too.

I worked at an adoption charity support department once, and some of the stories were so sad, bleak and unjust they still haunt me.  Such adopters would contact the charity by various means, and one popular contact was via the message boards.


The message boards were the wild west. Few would go in there.

Some threads had become  a monument to pain and fury, and subjects were ruled by snarling Titans, who sent a perpetual emotional black fax of doom out to the world- using up people’s resources, resolve, and hope.

The Titans would often bully, insult and crush vulnerable people, if they dared to resist agreement with their doomy pronouncements and opinions. The moderators had to get medieval on occasion, and banish the Titans back to their lair.

But such people were rare. Most people in the message boards enduring dreadful situations and screaming for help/ out in pain were doing their very best. They received incredible emotional and practical support from fellow travellers. When you read the response “have PM’d you” you just knew somebody, somewhere, was climbing into a car with a bottle of vodka, tissues, a cooked meal and plans to give the adopter a weekend off.

In our darkest days, my wife used the boards to get advice and wisdom- especially on attachment, and behaviour. She is very clued up about those subjects now. I just went on a zombie video games. I’m very good at completing every level on Left 4 Dead 2 now.

The “painful subject boards” were a significant part of the whole charity. So was the helpline and support department. Thats the point. The majority of the boards were about really difficult stuff, that for a lot of people wasn’t really resolving quickly enough.

But the charity was there to promote and support adoption. Being brutally honest- or even  just honest- about adoption would put people off. Therefore the “front of house” was light and appealing. You may have had the feeling that adoption never got harder than the Simpsons, and the expert help you could receive was like all the nice professors in Harry Potter popping round your rose-covered cottage for a cup of tea.

Also, this charity was evolving (by management choice) away from the grassroots movement it had started in, into playing with the national big boy charities. This choice had a host of plus and minus factors, although two undountable benefits were increased influence in the nation, and an excellent therapeutic focus.

Here’s an example to illustrate what I mean (I can’t seem to discuss anything without analogy- I must have annoyed my wife on our first dates- or brackets, which annoys myself)

Social care doesn’t run adverts like this:

Fancy facepalming into a bottle of wine every night? Like to give stressed half attention to every case, so no child or family ever gets the skilled help they need? Want a boss who is either a white collar sociopath, or criminally weird and inept? Like to remove a child from a toxic family, and then get slaughtered in the witness box and made out to be a negligent, vindictive monster by the parents defence lawyer?

Whilst this has been my story very often, without any hint of exaggeration,  I love social work. Where else can you be a civil servant dressed in a leather jacket and T shirt? Where else can you interpret law, and helping a family, with complete creativity? Where else can you work at the coal face of the human condition without their threat of arrest, restraint, or medical procedure?

I have made a difference for good, I have an amazing boss and team at present, and its worth it.

But you get my drift. People selling social work aren’t fully honest, and often they aren’t honest at all.

When people tell me they want to be a social worker (like when people say they want to adopt) I have an internal reaction. Its part recoil, part yearning to bomb them with encouragement, part needing to laugh, part needing to soberly warn them and show them my waistline now, compared to before the kids came and I comfort ate for Britain, and part  gush of respect.

How do you balance truth and recruitment to a complex job or life choice ? How honest can you be, when you met people in the early stages of exploring a possible adoption, about your journey? How do you say it?


Born Sandy Devotional is a classic seminal album from a band (The Triffids) who imploded before they ever received the fame and respect they deserved. Buy it, and see what I mean.

The reason I’m including it here, is that the album is often about pain and loss, and that the band have somehow managed to make those things into a beautiful experience that inspires and moves you- to deeper and better things… could argue the sense of emotional journey and intensity is seen in later mainstream bands like Mumford and Sons.

Maybe the adoption experience is a good, rich album. Not easy listening or lightweight, but something we develop an acquired taste on. All kinds of songs, some happy, some sad, some single material, some definitely B sides. Maybe we need to slip people our mix tape, rather than a greatest hits compilation when they ask.

Hope thats all clear, then.





























  1. Chant · March 11, 2016

    Great blog as always and Thank You x


  2. shabbafarm · March 11, 2016

    cheers! its so encouraging to get feedback x


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