We reopened last month. We’ve missed working alongside each other doing one of the most stimulating and rewarding jobs you could imagine. But most importantly the lock-up has meant we’ve been separated from our work with adopted people and their families for six months.
I asked staff about what they have missed the most and what they are looking forward to doing. There’s no room for everyone’s responses but here’s a selection.
Fiona most missed: “Having had time to reflect, I appreciate now more than ever that we at Birthlink are able to connect with and support people from all over the world. The pandemic has made the world seem much bigger and yet I am so proud that Birthlink is able to help people (with connection to adoption in Scotland) in such a meaningful way, no matter who they are or where they are in the world.”
And what she’s looking forward to? “Getting back in touch with service users as I have been sad that we at Birthlink have not been able to provide support during the last five months or so. I am also looking forward to finding out how people have coped and how perspectives may have changed during what has been a challenging time, for many different reasons, for people the world over.”
Louise? “Be careful what you wish for!”, that is my new mantra. We all live very busy lives, trying to juggle the competing demands of work, family, friends . . . to achieve balance and harmony. Many times, I have thought how wonderful it would be to work less. Well after months on furlough I can honestly say I really, really missed my work at Birthlink.
“I found myself missing the banter and companionship of my colleagues and the feeling of anticipation/excitement of working alongside the people we support. Each individual, story and experience is unique. We never have two days the same. What has become clear is that I thrive around people. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be part of such an amazing team; part of a service that really does make a difference to people’s lives’.
Lara has “missed the company of my colleagues every day but also checking in with our services users. I often thought about them, and every now and then something would happen that would remind me of a certain person. With everything going on, not knowing how they were doing was a worry’.
She is looking forward to “being able to provide our full services again, as they are sadly limited as lockdown restrictions remain. The rewarding nature of the work at Birthlink means that we are often lucky enough to see a journey from the start to completion, supporting people to find out about themselves and their families in a way they may have thought was impossible”.
Finally, a word of praise for our office and business manager. Audrey travelled into the office every week during lockdown. She made sure everything was in place for the service to hit the ground running. Audrey’s looking forward to “re-engaging with our service users to continue providing the excellent service that Birthlink is known for”. We all agree.
Dr Gary Clapton, reader in social work and programme director for BSc (Hons) in social work, Edinburgh University.