13.1 The initial feedback overall is very positive and the importance of effective organisation cannot be over emphasised. The day was worthwhile in a number of ways. There were a number of expressions of interest in the children and at the time of writing (March 2015) matches had been made for six children and this study will conduct a follow up after nine months. The overall matching rate currently is 26% -which is identical to the average rate achieved over the first 55 adoption activity days in England held since 2011. Some key themes in the adoption process were also highlighted.
13.2 The activity day had the effect of focussing attention on key aspects of the adoption process in particular the role of foster carers and the importance of preparation for the children.
13.2 Many participants were alive to the risk and ethical issues for the children and there were strong views especially from some foster carers that the days should primarily be for younger children and the emotional risks to the child increased with their age. This highlighted the importance of preparation especially for older children so that they felt supported both on the day and afterwards. Foster carers were all clear that both carers should be able to attend if they and the child wanted them to.
13.3 Many of the prospective adopters found the process emotionally challenging. More than preparation meetings or exchange days the event had brought home to them the powerful mixture of wanting a child and worrying about their capacity to be a good enough parent and enabling the child to love them and to able to love the child.
13.4 The success of the day in the longer term will be evident in the numbers of children who are placed with a family. The activity day may well be a part of the process and it will not necessarily be possible to identify precisely how much of a role the day played in the eventual outcome.
13.5 There is a plan to follow up after nine months to discover the destinations of this first group of children. And views of the relevance of the activity day.