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“Making a positive impact on a child’s life is all the motivation I need”
Published: February 22, 2017
Will Storey, a Regional Business Partner for Adoption Match, shares his experience of being a professional ‘family finder’
Adoption Match is a national matching service that brings together children awaiting adoption with the approved adopters who can give them permanent homes. Our team manages the Adoption Register for England. The Register is the statutory online database holding details of children waiting to be adopted, where their agency has not found the right family with which to match them.
As the Regional Business Partner for the East and West Midlands, I work closely with social workers, and other adoption professionals, to facilitate successful matches between approved adopters and children whose profiles are featured on the database.
Social workers refer children and adopters to the Register. Any match always begins with the needs of the children and I look at their details – including background, the kind of experiences they have had and the type of family they need. I’ll then review family-finding profiles so that they accurately reflect the personalities and needs of the children and adults involved. Much of my time is spent searching our database for suitable adopters and forwarding links to children’s social workers suggesting potential matches. I also run searches on behalf of families.
There’s no science to bringing children and families together. It’s about team work, cultivating close working relationships and understanding a child’s matching considerations. Every child is, of course, unique. What is important for one child may be irrelevant or entirely different for another. I’ve worked at Adoption Match for 7 months and the longer I do this job, the more I understand what to look for in a family’s profile to match them favourably.
Adoption Match also organises Adoption Exchange Days – potentially a very successful way of bringing together children and adoptive parents.
I really enjoy attending Exchange Days. They can be exhilarating, emotional and sometimes overwhelming experiences. Not least because they can result in adopters finding information about the children who will eventually become part of their family. Exchange Days feature the profiles of children from across England waiting for adoptive families. They’re always busy events with a fantastic, positive atmosphere. Crucially, the days allow adopters to consider a selection of children from beyond their local area including those that fall outside their original ideas/thoughts. It’s surprising how often adopters feel a connection with a child very different from the one they’d imagined. Sometimes they express interest in a boy rather than a girl and vice versa. Occasionally they even consider adopting siblings instead of a single child. Adopters are also able to have a direct involvement in the process of matching and to take a proactive approach to their family finding. On a personal note, I get the chance to put faces to names and build relationships with professionals from my region.
Before I started at Adoption Match, I worked in the travel and tourism sector where I was used to chasing sales targets and profit projections. Now, my targets are about so much more than money. Knowing I can make a positive impact on both a child and a family’s life is hugely rewarding. Helping a child take a step in the right direction on their family finding journey gives me all the motivation I need to do my job well.
You can find out more about Adoption Match at www.adoptionmatch.org.uk