Meet social care’s top bloggers no.7: Sally Donovan

Adoptive parent and blogger Sally Donovan on 'yarn bombing', why her blog is 'bumpy, spiky and optimistic' and what 'great social work' should look like in 2013.

Sally Donovan
Picyure courtesy of Sally Donovan

What’s your name or pseudonym?

Sally Donovan. It’s not my real name and I’m not a Scotland Yard Detective in the BBC series Sherlock.

Where can we find you on the Twitter/blogosphere?

My Twitter name is @sallydwrites and I blog on my website 

What three words would best describe your blog?

Bumpy, spiky, optimistic.

Tell us a bit about your role as an adoptive parent?

I have two children, both adopted from the care system. I have learnt the hard way that we will only get through this is if I shape up as a professional, therapeutic parent.  So the usual chores take second place to a lot of narrative work, some art therapy, lots of time ‘in’ and collaborative work with the children’s schools. 

I do as much training as I can and consult regularly with our social worker. Although I take a professional approach to the therapeutic stuff, it’s not a job.  I do it for love.

Why did you start blogging/tweeting?

It’s not very noble but I started because my literary agent told me to. I’ve written a memoir about the journey from infertility to parenting adopted, traumatised children which she is trying to sell.

She got fed up with hearing “Sally’s book is really great but we don’t think there is a market” and asked me to go out and prove otherwise. Both the blog and Twitter have become much more than just a marketing tool now.

If you could recommend one of your blog posts to social workers what would it be?

Ten things I thank our social worker for, because it describes in a nutshell what great social work looks like. It is also short and I know you are all very busy.

Can you recommend a social care or adoption-related blog?

I can’t decide between two so I’ll give you both.

Puffin Diaries is so well presented it fills me with blog envy. Lots of interesting posts about life as an adoptive parent and other good stuff too.

The One Hand Man is near the beginning of his adoption journey. He is funny, inciteful and brave.

Favourite non-social care blog?

That would have to be by yarn bombing, feminist, psychology student Dilly Tante.

What’s the strangest/funniest thing you’ve seen as an adoptive parent?

Probably one of our therapy sessions. We spent half an hour examining the words c**t and w****r.  It was like an out of body experience.

What one tip would you give to NQSWs or people thinking about becoming social workers?

A child has one chance at a childhood.

What’s your most hated jargon in your role as an adoptive parent?

The plethora of acronyms and terms which confuse and complicate what is basically the long term effects of early neglect and abuse. They cloud the issue and dilute funding.

What’s your biggest hope for social work in 2013?

A one-stop-shop for well-resourced post-adoption support which includes therapy for all traumatised children and their families. 

What’s your biggest fear for social work 2013?

That words are cheap.

Best biscuit for a tea break?

Bahlsen Choco Leibniz please. It’s a high-class biscuit.

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