How do people make up their minds to adopt a child?

(19 Posts)
Happiestinwellybobs Sun 21-Jul-13 20:52:53

Lilka's post covers everything, but to answer your question about the process being arduous, it wasn't that bad for us (well not too much anyway), but I suppose it depends how easy you find taking about yourself. They explore every part of your life, and it is hugely important to be open and honest. My DH coped magnificently - much better than I ever thought actually, as he has a tendency to be quite reticent.

Even though it was quick for us (15 months from initial enquiry to bringing DD home), it is hard going at times. The waiting in particular was tough, as was the emotional drain. Whilst we only ever had one profile (DD), reading through it took a few days, with lots of deep breaths, tears and quite a lot of wine.

We also found it hard to state what we could cope with and whatever could not. I felt a lot of guilt about dismissing things like disability, learning difficulties as something I just didn't think I could handle.

As for why we chose to adopt, purely selfish. We couldn't have a birth child, and we desperately wanted a family. And DD completes us smile

If you choose to adopt, good luck. It is difficult but so worth it. The adoption board is full of people who will guide you through every step.

Lilka Sun 21-Jul-13 17:57:26

I should add

The hardest bit of the process for me, was not the physical paperwork and talking stuff, which as I said was pretty much fine, but the emotions that go along with it. Without doubt, the hardest thing was what was going on in my own head

Trying to sort out my feelings on adoption, the ups and downs, the expectation, the fear, excitement and anticipation, disapointment when something was delayed or when I found out a child I was interested in ws being adopted by somebody else. Reading the profiles of children. Being given a childs profile and realising this isn't right and having to say 'no' has been especially hard for me. Reading my children's information and realising what their life has been like so far.

I've been through the full process twice to adopt my 2 daughters and then went through the rollercoaster of considering a sibling of DD2 and that played out over 2 years (I then adoped DS when he was 23 months) and emotionally it doesn't get easier.

I have no regrets at all, and adoption is the best decision I have ever made in my whole life, but it's not a process for the faint hearted, even if the SW's are lovely and efficient

Lilka Sun 21-Jul-13 17:49:35

To those who have adopted, did you find it an arduous process?

Honestly, no I didn't. That's not to say it's an easy process, but it's not horrific either. This is another area where the media enjoy putting out the horror stories, while leaving out the fact that the vast majority of people are fine with the process.

I found the process a bit long when I did it (but the timelines are all chaning this year so you shouldn't need to sorry about that bit) but I didn't resent any of the questions - I could see the relevence of nearly every question, and the need to be so in depth. I think really private people can struggle, because you do have to talk a lot about your lives, but I'm quite open and happy to talk about my life and feelings, so it wasn't a problem for me. I think once you have started the initial bit of the process, your husband should probably spend some time looking up what questions he/you are likely to be asked, and do a bit of mental preparation in advance. That way, the probing questions shouldn't be a shock?

I don't know quite what you can expect from your own adoptoin process/timeline, because councils in England/Wales at least are bringing in a new streamlines process, with the aim of getting adopters approved in about 5/6 months max, and they all have slightly different ways of doing things.

However, you will do all of the following
- A lot (but not all) of adopters attend an informal information evening to find out a bit more before making the formal contact with agencies

- An initial home visit where the social worker will talk to you about your lives and your reasons for adopting and will then invite you to continue on the process if you are accepted

- An enhanced CRB and a medical check
- References

- Preparation course/days, where a group of prospective parents (you included) are given information, guidance and training on not only the process and legalities, but adoption issues - things like contact with birth family, trauma and how it might affect brain development, the backgrounds of waiting children. Also, you should get the opportunity to talk to real adoptive parents about their own experiences and ask them questions - I've been the adoptive parent on a prep course before myself

- The homestudy visits, where you and your husband will sit down with your SW and go through a LOT of stuff, ranging from your lives, childhoods and relationships, to your views on adoption, your way of parenting your child, your expectations, your support network and you will talk through what kind of child you would like to adopt etc.

- Your SW will write up a report on you, and then you will 'go to panel', the panel will read the report, ask your SW and you a few questions and then recommend whether you should be approved. Their decision is ratified by the decision make and voila! You are done on the first part and now you find your child. Time varies on this bit wildly, it all depends on which children aare coming through the system and their individual issues, your preferences and a bit of luck/good timing as well.

BananaKetchup, thank you for all that information. I did not know about the "Child Permanence Report" and it sounds as though it would make heavy reading.

Lilka thank you to you to for the very comprehensive post (and you're flipping amazing to have gone for it solo- wow). It's true that it's concerning reading all the media reports (especially the journalism by John Hemmings MP) but there can be little doubt after reading your comments that there are a lot of children in real need of loving adoptive parents. (Thanks also for the navigation tips. smile )

Thanks also to MrsTerryPratchett, Annunziata and also to Ragwort for your comments.

Meita, you sound eerily like me! Yes, I have one birth child, now a toddler. Like you, I have been thinking about adoption for quite a long time (certainly since before I was pregnant). And now I'm starting the fact-finding mission (again)...

To answer my own question, it's partly the inadvisability of a second pregnancy for me and partly the desire to give a good life to a dear little child in need of a loving family that has made me start looking into adopting now. You've all given me a bit of hope as I had assumed that not owning our own home would rule us out automatically.

To those who have adopted, did you find it an arduous process? Did your spouse (if you are married) cope well with intrusive questions? My husband is lovely (in my opinion) and likes the idea of adoption, but I don't know how he'd react to some of the questions they'd probably need to ask.

Meita Sun 21-Jul-13 11:11:16

Hi Maltesefalcon,
do you have birth children? If yes, can I ask, how did you go from idly thinking 'wouldn't it be nice to have kids sometime' to actually deciding to go for it and not use contraception anymore/TTC? (Assuming that they were planned kids ;) )

I'm asking because I found it to be quite similar. With BC I always new I wanted to have kids sometime but the time was never right, then all of a sudden (like Lilka said) I just started feeling this need. The time still wasn't right but I didn't care anymore ;) We then did look into adoption but were put off because it seemed so very hard. I wasn't confident enough about my prospective parenting to jump in at the deep end. Adopting is, I think, the hard way to 'get' a child, and also very likely to be more challenging once the child is at home with you.

After having DS, it was similar. I still knew that we'd sometime like to have more kids. I still knew that we might adopt; it had actually become more likely, for various reasons, that we'd choose adoption over having more BC. But anyway, the time wasn't right. And when you have BC, the time when it is right to adopt is not just determined by yourself anymore, the agencies have a lot to say about it too!

So my 'idle' thinking that we might adopt sometime grew to be a bit more specific, and when DS was about 9 months old I started really reading up on things. Then lay it to rest again. Then picked up some more books a year or so later. Then lay it to rest again. And so forth...
Now that DS is nearly 3, I started feeling the 'urge' again. What I really needed was to find out if we 'could' adopt, if they would let us at all - even if not right away. Because if 'they' (SWs etc.) wouldn't let us adopt, then we would want to have another BC and for that, due to age and such, time is sort of running out. Also I wanted to explore in more depth if it really is what we want. To avoid waiting another 2 years, then finding out that actually upon closer reflection we don't want to adopt, then finding that we can't have BC anymore either. So that was what made me make the move from 'idle thinking' to talking to LAs/agencies, reading specific books, posting on here, etc. And that's where we're at now - at the start of the process!

RowanMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 21-Jul-13 09:29:03

Hello

We've moved this to 'adoption' now at the OP's request

Lilka Sat 20-Jul-13 23:01:48

The adoption forum is at www.mumsnet.com/Talk/adoptions if you go onto the main talk page where every topic is listed, adoption is in the "becoming a parent" section. Or if you go to the top of this thread, you'll see two lines of links in blue, click on 'I'm on' or 'I started' and you'll get a list of every thread you've posted on/started in the last few days, including this one smile

Thank you for the marvellous detailed replies, which I'll respond to tomorrow. I'll report and have it moved, and hope to be able to find it again. smile

Mintyy Sat 20-Jul-13 21:59:33

Yanbu to wonder. Its not really a great question for AIBU though, is it?

Lilka Sat 20-Jul-13 21:57:58

Okay, I recieved Form E's (the old CPR's) which were basic, THEN the detailed stuff later but the other adopters are saying that their modern CPR's are extremely in depth - but either way, you it doesn't matter when exactly you get all the detail, but you'll get it!

Ragwort Sat 20-Jul-13 21:57:00

I also know quite a few families who have adopted and whilst the actual 'process' wasn't particularly stressful in all cases the outcomes have been very, very difficult. One adoption broke down completely (child returned to care sad), in another case the children have now grown up but have had many, many problems in their lives - still on-going; sorry to put a downer on the thread but you often only read about the positive stories, there can also be a lot of heart ache involved - on all sides. I appreciate that all sorts of families experience problems, but one of the comments made to me, by more than one family, was that post-adoption support was very limited.

Lilka Sat 20-Jul-13 21:53:21

You can get this moved to adoptions if you report the thread smile

I'm an adoptive mum. Interesting question...I think it really depends on the person. I always thought adoption was a nice way to become a family. I wanted a child for a few years (in a general way, not specifically adoption) but quite suddenly aged 27/8 over a few months I came to feel very strongly that NOW was the time I wanted to be a mum. I can't think of any particular reason, it was just a feeling. At that point, I hit the real snag that as a single lesbian (in 1994) I had very few options, I thought it was basically sleep with a stranger (and that felt pretty disgusting and wrong to me) or have a friend give me some sperm (okay, but there are some legal issues with that). Then I found out that single women were allowed to adopt and there wasn't a ban if you were gay, so straightaway I knew adoption was what I wanted. I just hadn't thought seriously that I could do it before then, but the minute I found out I could, I didn't have any reservations. I never particularly wanted to be pregnant or give birth, or even look after a baby. I told SS from the off that I didn't want to adopt a baby or young toddler.

I think for most adopters who come to adoption after infertility, it's completely different though

The answers to your questions

1) You can be low income, rented housing etc you don't need to be rich. You need to show that you will have enough to live on as a family. If you have debts, they must be under control and you need to show you have a plan and are paying them off.

2) Yes. However, you will be required to take at least 6 months off work. Quite a lot of agencies will have a 1 year off work requirement. This is to give your child the time they need to settle, progress in their attachment to you etc. Most adoptive children really need this period with at least one parent at home. After your 6-2 months off work, you are free to go back if your child can cope with that. A large proportion of adoptive parents work

3) I think if you have read horror stories in the media it's natural to be worried. But firstly you need to know that these stories are totally one sided and usually nothing like the full story is being told. It's really rare for a child to be taken from fit parents, and when it happens it's mostly because the child has injuries (broken bones etc) and doctors tell social services that abuse is probably the cause, which would lead to emergency action. But truly it's rare and these cases rarely get so far as adoption. Other than emergency cases, to take child into care involves a long process with lots of professionals, support provided to prevent care being necessary and court. In all the years i've been involved in adoption, talking to sooo many parents, reading so many profiles, I've never come across a single child or case that worried me

As to how you know - you are given a lot of information about your child past. You recieve an initial report called a CPR which will have basic information in and if you want to adopt the child after recieving the report, and the childs SW wants you as the adopter, you will recieve a lot more information, which will include a lot of detail about their birth parents and their home life before they came into care. Every single child I ever read information for most definitely couldn't be cared for by their birth parents

You do need to be okay with the idea that nearly all kids waiting for adoption will have one or more of the following issues in their backgrounds - drug and alcohol exposure in utero, physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse and neglect, and you also need to be okay with the fact that most birth parents have problems with their mental health, drug/alcohol misuse, learning disabilities, committing crimes etc. All this will be gone through with you to help you come to a decision about what you feel comfortable with and therefore which children you will consider adopting.

Annunziata Sat 20-Jul-13 21:52:36

1. Definitely stable. In our area you don't have to own your home, but you do need to prove that taking on the child won't be a burden too far financially.
2. They prefer at least one parent to stay at home with younger children, but I don't think it would automatically rule you out. Of course you are entitled to adoption leave if you do decide.
3. I doubt that would ever happen. It's very much the last resort.

For us, our nephew had been staying with us for so long and his biological parents couldn't care less about him. We wanted to be his legal guardians.

For some reason I know lots of people who have adopted. Some desperately wanted a child and couldn't have one. The natural next step is talking about other options. Some were same sex couples who also desperately wanted a child and the natural step is to talk about adopting.

In the case of my friends there is not the tiniest shadow of a doubt that the children could be left with their parents. Not the smallest doubt.

Bananaketchup Sat 20-Jul-13 21:43:08

For me it wasn't 'wouldn't it be lovely to give a child a home' it was 'I want to be a parent, and think I'd be able to parent the kind of child who needs to be adopted'. I thought about it for a long time, looked into the process and the needs of adopted children, learned stuff, then approached some agencies. In answer to your other questions:

- you have to be financially stable, i.e. not in loads of debt or living in a financially precarious way, but you definitely don't have to be a millionaire and in fact I know one adopter who adopted whilst on benefits.
-You can certainly adopt if you plan to go back to work, but you will be expected to take a year's adoption leave, and you will be expected to show you have thought about how you would manage if your child/ren's needs turned out to be so great that you couldn't go back to work.
-You know your child wasn't wrongly taken from fit parents by the incredibly long and detailed paperwork required for the courts to agree to a plan for adoption. The Child Permanence Report currently on my coffee table is thicker than a phone book and details the full history from birth: all interactions with statutory services e.g health, social care, police etc, both birth parents' histories from childhood onwards, extremely detailed psychological and psychiatric assessments of birth parents, the whole history of the court process which went from initial removal to interim care order, full care order and placement order, i.e. a judge decided the best interest of the child was adoption. Contrary to popular belief children aren't removed on flimsy pretexts by evil SWs, every CPR I've read on the road to adopting has detailed a long and sad process of all concerned trying to keep children safe while keeping them with their birth family, and ultimately the failure of the birth family to manage to keep their child safe despite a lot of support.

I second the suggestion to have a look at the adoption board, also the AdoptionUK message boards are a good resource. Hope this is helpful.

I don't know how an idea like that progresses into further action...........
However, I would imagine it begins by asking questions like you are doing now and daring to dream.

Gosh, I'm so excited for you.........

Ooh, thanks, didn't know there was one.

lovesmileandlaugh Sat 20-Jul-13 20:40:36

Might be worth having a look at the adoption board or having MNHQ move it there?

Good luck on the start of a journey, even if it only goes as far as fact finding!!

When does it go from an idle idea along the lines of "Wouldn't it be lovely to give a little child a home and loving family?" to looking at your finances / getting a bigger home / contacting adoption agencies, or whatever?

Some other questions:

How financially secure do you have to be?
Do they let you adopt if you, as the mother, will be working and not a SAHM?
How do you know your child wasn't wrongly taken from perfectly fit parents?

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