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Can the forums recover?

moo June 4, 2019 21:46

Actually bop but I am sorry to say I disaggree...

If AUK were really at the helm they would totally get the issue of lost support, pm & full archive of coping strategys for day to day survival with adopted children... This site is now totally fixated with family findng & not support post A.O .AUK has been all about forum support from adopters who are/have lived it & are emerging the other side. This now is not what linkmaker offer at all... to say that linkmaker are trying albeit too late just doesn't cover it..... no p.m's oh we are fixing it by the end of the month.... duh.... that will be two months since launch... why is ita surprise to linkmaker that all forum users want to support each other.... because they are not AUK surely & don't understand the void that they have created!?.

Sorry xxx

Edited 17/02/2021
chestnuttree June 5, 2019 13:57

I think it would be best if AUK hired a communications specialist to sort this out. This move has not been well managed.

Members were not consulted, changes were made without members wanting any changes, some people seem to not even have known about the joint venture at all, services were withdrawn without warning (private messaging), some longtime members have pretty much been kicked out (if they cannot/ don't want to be verified by an agency). Some old members are now regrouping in other forums, saying they are no longer bothering with the AUK/linkmaker forum. That is a disaster. Maybe AUK/linkmaker think that the constant flow of prospective adopters will fill the gaps over the years. However, those adopters are all at the very beginning of their journey and know nothing about the challenges of eg. the teenage years. From previous changes, AUK should have been aware how anti-change their users are and gone about this in a carefully considered way and with a lot of consultation.

Most users don't seem to be very technically savvy, therefore an intuitive design is important. However, the forums are now hosted by two organisations and the same forum has two different looks, depending if you go straight via AUK or via the linkmaker login. I don't know ANY other forum or website who is designed like that. Two brands are now claiming the same forum. The "needs" of the brands seems to be more important than clear communication and the users' needs. Not surprisingly it causes confusion and frustration. If this is the AUK forum, it should be on the AUK website only and linkmaker should quietly manage the technical side in the background. Plastering the logo above the AUK logo is not helping anyone - not even linkmaker. The linkmaker website is designed in a way which makes it look as if it has swallowed AUK. Both brand images have suffered massively, meaning a lot of trust is gone.

I used to be able to go to the "posted today" page in one click. Now, I have to write my username, password, random numbers (so this can't be filled in automatically by my browser), plus another click on Posted Today. I don't need that level of security. I regularly get kicked out and have to do it again. This is not progress.

I very much hope AUK can find a way to solve all these problems.

Edited 17/02/2021
Safia June 5, 2019 14:02

Personally I think the whole thing is deliberate - as many have suspected before. This would explain why the technical issues are taking so long to sort out and why these problems and what people most wanted were never consulted on or foreseen before transfer and why transfer was so rapid that most people were unable to even provide contact details by pm to those they wanted most to keep in touch with. If you look at adoption support websites - and there is one listing the top ten best adoption support websites which doesn't include AUK - most if not all focus on prospective adopters and the assessment process. I think AUK are worried that they are losing out - and that would include membership fees which they rely on to provide other services - and a partnership with LinkMaker offsets this as a major organisation involved with placement and the early stages. Many times people in the past have commented that posters on AUK are negative and involve too many horror stories - and I have seen comments reflecting this on other sites - "don't go there as the posts are too negative" etc - as if it was putting people off that is the posters intentions. I do not recall ever having seen a post that was recklessly negative - but brutally honest maybe - reflecting the posters honest and heartfelt experience. People post when they need support and experienced adopters are both able to offer support and advice to those in need. I never actually posted for advice when my children were young but for many years read and learned - the most valuable thing I did over the years was to read these boards (the original ones). Now my children are older I have joined the POTATO group and will get support as necessary from there. What worries me the most is the middle group of parents - those with toddlers and primary school / early secondary school aged children who are just realising that their children need more help than the average child in school (or even outside) and are at a loss how best to find this. This was one area where many experienced adopters could offer a wealth of different perspectives on what may be happening for these children and how they went about finding the right help for their own children. When people first adopt - during the preparation and assessment process and in the early years they do not know whether they will need this support or not so it is not high on their agenda. However very often they find out later that they do (and no disrespect to others whose children have no or few apparent issues - it is very common that adopted children do have a wealth of issues - often confused and complicated to unravel and it can take many years to do so)

What would be great - if AUK are in fact monitoring the boards and are keen to find out what is most beneficial - would be maybe two separate boards - for pre / early adoption and for post / later adoption. This provides the necessary support and advice for those later on in placement whilst at the same time shielding those in the early stages from what may frighten them about what they are letting themselves in for. Maybe if necessary consider charging for the latter if it is impossible to run these without doing so - but bear in mind that many adopters struggle financially particularly those whose children have major issues - hence the drop in membership rates for this group. Perhaps it might be possible to find other sources of finance to support these.

At the end of the day - as well as the adoptive parents who are struggling and the effects this has on their mental health - the effects on the children are I would have thought paramount - they are the ones ultimately who need and benefit from this support the most - both directly and indirectly - and should be the main focus for everybody in making these decisions.

As I have said before I am speaking from the heart about the loss of a great source of support for many and not about technical issues that can be resolved.

Edited 17/02/2021
Safia June 5, 2019 14:14

Just to add that focussing on preparation / placement and the early stages reinforces the "love conquers all" philosophy which I think AUK in their broader role have been at pains to challenge (and rightly so) and this is what has given them such authority in the adoption world in general.

Edited 17/02/2021
Ford Prefect June 5, 2019 14:42

I haven’t posted for a couple of weeks as I was hoping some sort of forum recovery would be possible but it still looks like we are in the doldrums.

I noticed a different approach set in slowly since Hugh left and Sue came along. AUK was about the magazine and family finding but I guess those things have suffered financially as times have changed, advertising revenue has dropped and family finding has disappeared online. It seems AUK has become more of a political lobbying and adoption PR organisation which is fine, and certainly needed but not perhaps what many of the membership wanted to get from the organisation.

Personally, I think I’m done. I won’t be renewing my membership and I won’t be coming to conference anymore. I think the way the forum has collapsed is a last straw and it’s not for me anymore.

I have received a good deal of support in difficult times from the forumites and I will be eternally grateful to them all. Hopefully we will cross paths in the future.

I wish you all the best.

Ford Prefect.

Edited 17/02/2021
Deleted June 6, 2019 06:54

I have just registered,it took me 4 hours and a phone call to helpline.

what a joke...not finding the help I was hoping for with my difficult teen.

probably won’t bother with this forum again.

Edited 17/02/2021
Bop June 6, 2019 22:13

Janex - if you've got a tricky teen, I'd strongly recommend POTATO as a better source of support - https://thepotatogroup.org.uk/

Lots of parents of adopted teens....lots of experience....fab support x

Edited 17/02/2021
June 7, 2019 13:07

Feel I have to add to this post having seen Ford Prefect's post. I have had good support from various people including some who have now left the forum. I have also learnt a lot from other people's posts and found encouragement. I have found very little of interest since the Forum has changed this time, so after my post this morning, not sure I will be on here much more either unless things change.

Edited 17/02/2021
June 7, 2019 13:26

Hi again everyone

I am reading all of your comments, and appreciate all of the frustrations - I have posted previously on this thread, and I will continue to extract the details of the comments from your posts and will be reporting these into the senior management team at Adoption UK.

I can speak on behalf of us all when I say that we are obviously disappointed that what was a secure and safe option for the forums has disappointed some of you and that we are sorry this has been the case. In the coming weeks and months we will develop the forums as planned - albeit it may be too late for some of you. User engagement is extremely important moving forward, therefore, as per my previous post, should anyone wish to support development as a user, then please contact me via email: [email protected]

Best wishes

Scott

Edited 17/02/2021
Donatella June 7, 2019 13:28

Can you please whoever is running this board please sort out the log in. It’s driving me bonkers ... I get the need for security but having to log in with password and digits every two hours is unnecessary. And so frustrating. And please can I have my old name back? Doesn’t seem to be an easy way to achieve this.

Edited 17/02/2021
June 7, 2019 13:31

Hi @Camelia. I have DM'd you.

Scott

Edited 17/02/2021
June 7, 2019 14:15

' in the coming weeks and months we will develop the forums as planned'

Herein lies the problem. You will go ahead as planned. Maybe those plans should be put aside. Conduct a lessons learned exercise. Find out who the users are and what they need. Then make a new plan.

Edited 17/02/2021
June 7, 2019 14:17

Hi Serrakunda

Just to clear that mis-communication up: my comments were specifically aimed at addressing the issues raised earlier in the thread - with user engagement.

Thanks

Scott

Edited 17/02/2021
Donatella June 7, 2019 14:39

Thanks Scott! I look forward to being able to use my old name. Thanks for listening and for taking everything on board. I don’t know anything about Linkmaker but the boards have been invaluable to me over the years. The log in is my biggest bugbear and hopefully not too difficult to sort out. I’m hopeful that commonsense will prevail. Best of British!

Edited 17/02/2021
June 7, 2019 16:03

Thanks Donatella.

Have sent you info to change your Community name.

Best wishes

Scott

Edited 17/02/2021
Donatella June 7, 2019 16:47

Yay! I’m back to me!

Thanks Scott. Appreciate your help

Edited 17/02/2021
June 7, 2019 16:47

welcome back Donatella !!

Edited 17/02/2021
June 7, 2019 16:51

Woo hoo! Excellent and not a problem! Wonder if I should lurk as Dishy once more! ;-)

Scott

Edited 17/02/2021
Donatella June 7, 2019 16:54

You’re giving your secrets away now Scott!

Thanks serrakunda. Never really felt like a camelia - or a camel as my predictive text prefers to identify me!

Edited 17/02/2021
June 7, 2019 16:55

Ah, memories!

Edited 17/02/2021

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