The Open Nest Conference 2014

As a new charity The Open Nest is developing in the open and involving those with experience of many aspects of adoption. It has fortuitously been born at a time when social media is enabling scattered groups of people to connect, share and support each other and is engaging with the adoption ‘community’ in ways which some of the larger charities are struggling to.

I’m a trustee of The Open Nest and proud to be so. I’ve had a lot of time to think about the support we’ve needed as a family and since the publication of No Matter What and my involvement with the DfE have listened to many other families’ experiences too.  It’s satisfying to be able to direct at least some of that into something positive and hopeful.

Our first conference takes place on 18 October at the Royal York Hotel, in York.  The 18 October is a Saturday, because we know that some of you have actual jobs and children who need to be collected from school from someone they know well.  The cost is £25 because we know that sometimes it’s difficult to return to work when you parent a child with attachment difficulties.  The hotel is next to the station because we know that life can be complicated enough without google maps.

The speakers include Fran Proctor, an adoptee who has taught me more about the healing process following trauma than anyone, and two inspirational women who have established We Are Family, a fresh approach to support groups and networking in North London.

Amanda will be screening, for only the second time, a ground-breaking documentary about her and her daughter Jazz’s experiences.  I was there at the first screening and can barely express the depth of impact it had upon the audience.  It is a stunning piece of film.

For those who want to find out more about how to find support both online and ‘in real life’ Sarah and Vicki from The Adoption Social will explaining how to do this and what’s on offer.  They will be facilitating some social time because we know that sometimes the most useful part of a conference is meeting others in a similar situation.

Al Coates is an adoptive father, social worker and blogger and will be talking about the complexities of adoption which are sometimes over-looked.  If you use social media you may have come across him and his engaging writing.

And me, well I’m going to be looking at ways we can advocate on behalf of our children, particularly at school.  I spent some years working in industry as a negotiator, so let’s just say I’ll be drawing on some of that experience, as well as some crushingly terrible mistakes I made in the early days, which I can (almost) laugh about now.

If you are an adopter, an adoptee, or someone supporting an adoptive family in either a professional or personal capacity then please come along.  You will be most welcome.  Come and join in with the freshest, most creative, new charity kid on the block.

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