Rachel (our current social worker) had informed us about a website named Link Maker during her last visit. This website enables approved adopters to view the profiles of children that are in need of being adopted & place requests for further information. Rachel made us aware that the children placed on this website often had more complex needs, which is why they are on there. However, we all agreed it shouldn’t stop us registering and having a look. It didn’t!
Jonny & I completed the Link Maker registration process, which involved completing a full profile about us that included; home, work, type of child we would like to be matched with etc. Rachel also had to send confirmation of our approved adopters status to Link Maker.
We began our first search for a child last Thursday. Initially we didn’t apply any filters to the search, so there were over five hundred results of children’s profiles. Some of the children were over the age range Jonny & I are hoping to be matched with so decided to use the filter tool.
There is something off-putting about searching for a child & using filters to narrow it down, especially given that most of the children’s profiles included pictures of them. This tugged at our heart strings. How could I ‘skip’ past these children because of their age? It really made me feel like I must be insensitive. I had to remind myself of our journey to date, what we have learnt and how we came about to make our child matching criteria decision. After all, it is important that the match is successful, not only for ourselves, but for our child too.
We applied the filter to help narrow down the search to show only profiles of children aged zero to four. Over two hundred results were shown. Jonny & I decided to look at babies profiles first (since a baby would be our ideal match).
Each profile we read started with a snap shot of information about the child, what their perfect day looks like, their sleeping pattern & how they socialised etc. This information combined with the pictures, really can make you feel like you want to place a request straight away. Thankfully your only able to request further information on five children’s profiles at time, utilising the ‘show interest’ or ‘notify social worker’ button. This forces you to be more thoughtful whether it would be the right match.
Towards the end of each profile is the medical information . This can be quite upsetting to read. I found it difficult to read about a child suffering with illness.
We came across a few profiles that we would have liked to gain further information. However, we didn’t fulfil the requirements set by the children’s social workers (we mainly found this to be because of our race or religion not matching & their social worker was keen to keep them with the same religion or race). We did find three babies under one year old that we placed further information requests for. The request goes through to the child’s social worker so we will have to wait to hear back.
The Link Maker website gives you the option to bookmark a profile, so we are going to try doing this next time we search. Jonny & I will then read the bookmarked profiles the next day. Hopefully this might help us make sure we are thinking clearly about the match.
My overall thoughts on using the Link Maker website are: it felt a little bit unpleasant at times, like we were shopping for a child on ebay; the website does offer a fantastic platform for social workers to locate an ideal match nationally for a child. I also feel like we are helping to further our adoption journey.