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Drawing the line during home study...

(88 Posts)
wonderinglots Wed 06-Nov-13 18:49:47

Have NC'd for this.

We are well into our home study. During our home study we have done many things (including modifications to our home) that we didn't necessarily agree with, but did 'for the greater good' and have talked about countless things that we think only had a tenuous link to being relevant in our quest to adopt.

We are now being asked to do something that I fundamentally disagree with - My view is that the thing we are being asked to do is Orwellian. DH is fairly 'meh' about it. Any resistance to doing it will be seen as not being committed to the process (rather than the objection to the principal of being asked to do it - which is what this most definitely is).

We have been told not doing this is a deal breaker in our application so I'm not even sure why I'm posting this as we have no choice....

Have any of you have 'drawn the line' and refused to do something during home study? If so, what was the outcome?

wonderinglots Sun 10-Nov-13 13:51:11

Yup.. This is point. Would they ask me to get my tubes tied pre approval?

We absolutely wouldn't have renewed next year, after approval (for a start, it costs a lot of money). DH was all up for getting rid last year, I said 'let's not tempt fate'.

We have discussed it with them and they have told us it is a deal breaker pre approval.

It is the principle that has me wondering whether to draw the line. Nothing more... But any reluctance will be spun as us not being sure about not having birth children.

The have said it is the only thing standing between us and approval.

Maryz Sun 10-Nov-13 13:57:10

God, they have you over a rope.

I don't know what to say, really.

I do think you should raise the "do you ask everyone to have a hysterectomy/vasectomy before approval" and see if you can get them to rethink. Can you explain that it's not that you want to use it, but that you feel it's tempting fate?

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 10-Nov-13 14:07:09

This would be a red line for me, OP. I think you need to raise this with your SW and up the management chain (it is probably not something they have encountered much, so may well have misinterpreted any guidance that they may have on this issue).

Reasons for my objection would include:

- there is no guarantee that you will have a child placed with you, either by this agency or another.

- dDisposing of your husband's sperm now means that other options eg using a surrogate are closed off.

- even if you do adopt, you may decide to pursue other options for a sibling, and you are entitled to keep that option open. (As others have said, they don't insist on vasectomies / hysterectomies for other adoptive parents)

- you could commit to not using the sperm until a child is placed with you and for a certain period after (which is the same as using contraception). This is a reversible position.

- there is no need to require you to make some grand gesture of commitment (and you would want to know from your SW whether s/he had particular concerns on this point for some reason).

Hope you can reach a satisfactory agreement.

FamiliesShareGerms Sun 10-Nov-13 14:12:09

Not that it's necessarily any help to you OP, but DH and I probably could have another birth child if we were prepared to keep going through the miscarriages and risk of premature birth. We had to demonstrate that we were genuinely committed to adoption and all that that entails, but at no point were we told that we had to commit to not ever trying to have another birth child. Even though we were both convinced that adoption was how we were going to complete our family (and DH has since had the snip) the very fact of being told that we could not ever contemplate a birth child - which is in essence what the SW are saying to you, if I understand your position correctly - would have felt intrinsically wrong to me.

Kewcumber Sun 10-Nov-13 15:16:32

I would be very tempted to tell them to fuck off. But of course I wouldn't.

What I would do is have a meeting with them and say that what concerns you is the similarity to asking any other man (or woman) to be sterilised. There is actually nothing wrong with having birth children after adopting with a suitable gap and what are saying that you must never have the opportunity to consider that.

I would want to be very clear who is insisting on this decision and I would want them to insist on this decision publically (metaphorically at least) I would ask if its possible as a minimum for this decision to be taken by the adoption manager and frankly I'd also want my opinion escalated to the Decision Maker (who I'm guessing would be the head of SS) I would even consider putting in writing that if the decision is destroy the sperm or be refused an adoption is supported by all relevant professionals (including quite possibly decision maker and panel members) then you will comply. But you would like to understand that what in effect they are saying is that will never accept any parents who might want to consider one day having biological children.

I can see why this is such a tough decision for you. Asking for a discussion (in as non-confrontational a way as possible) to include Decision Maker and panel as its obviously a policy decision about adoption and birth children might well call their bluff. It may also piss them off - hence as non-confrontationally as possible!

See, now we all feel differently knowing what the subject is!

MrsDeVere Sun 10-Nov-13 15:24:19

I think they need to take this to Legal.
I agree that they have misinterpreted guidelines and their ultimatum is draconian.
What if they don't approve you to adopt?

I am sorry you are being put through this.

Hels20 Sun 10-Nov-13 17:47:30

I think this is awful - and it might well have been a red line for me. We were always told that if we wanted to adopt we had to agree to use contraception once we had been approved and for about 18 months after a child was placed with us. This request seems out of kilter with almost every other borough's agency's rules. This makes my blood boil. Even if you might want to preserve your chance of possibly having a biological child later on that should be your right.

zeeboo Sun 10-Nov-13 18:01:23

Wow Op what a choicehmm to me this just further proves how corrupt and power obsessed Social Services are.

wonderinglots Sun 10-Nov-13 18:14:17

It isn't social services telling us to do it.

Thanks for all your messages. I may talk to BAAF.

TrinnyandSatsuma Sun 10-Nov-13 19:13:09

Following my previous post, I think I need to revise my views! This sounds very unreasonable to me.

Adoption is our first choice and we have never tried to get pregnant. As far as I am aware, my husband and I are fertile and could conceive if we tried, BUT, we committed to social workers that we would use contraception and we obviously stick to that. At no stage was there a request for anything further, like a vasectomy, which I know isn't quite the same as you are being asked, but is kind of similar.

Like PP have said, there is no guarantee of approval, successful match etc, so asking you to burn all your bridges at this stage feels unfair.

wonderinglots this is totally out of order and I am wondering if it infringes your husband's human rights. This is essentially his irreplaceable 'property' which they are requiring him to destroy!

I completely agree with all other outraged posters and this totally changes my earlier answer! If you are going with a voluntary agency, they have no children to place anyway so they cannot be sure to place anyone with you. If your DH chose to use a surrogate he could be a parent to a biologial child in another 10 or 20 years, I am not saying he would want to but technically he could. Are they really asking him to make such a monumental decision.

I fundamentally disagree with this. After years of fertility treatment I know that some degree of control (like saying when you are ready to stop) is really important. You are no trying and could committt to not using the sperm but to be honest i feel they are totally out of order and I even wonder if it is legal for them to say this! (Outraged reader!!)

Sorry - they should read - and could committt to not using the sperm for a period of time but ultimately the decision about this sperm is your DH's.

RudolphLovesoftplay Sun 10-Nov-13 20:39:31

I totally take back what I earlier wrote. I honestly cannot believe what they are asking you to do!! I agree with Italian, this has to be infringement of human rights. However, I'm not sure what the next step is, I would post in legal and see what an expert says.

wonderinglots don't reply if you don't want to but is this a voluntary agency asking you to do this?

Some counties have quite a lot of children their are looking for parents for and would possibly welcome you! This lot (whoever they are) seem very suspious! It almost seems weird that your DH wanted to stop the storage and now you are having to think this all through because whom-ever has made this an issue! If that makes sense.

roadwalker Sun 10-Nov-13 21:02:08

I am really shocked at what they expect
Fertile couples adopt so I can't see the difference
What if you adopted then, later down the line, split up - your dh may want children with someone else

I am not for a minute suggesting this may happen but it takes away his choice and feels so wrong
They are asking him to do something they wouldn't expect other potential adopters to do

that is shocking. I was thinking the same about it being a voluntary agency.
I can fully understand why you wouldn't want to until you are absolutely certain you would be accepted. I think that if it were me I would be questioning them and moving to another agency.
It is so horrible isn't it that you feel you can't say anything against them for fear they say no to you.
I would definitely recommend contacting baaf.

snail1973 Tue 12-Nov-13 22:20:27

I am totally shocked by the demand being made of you. This can't be right. Please please seek advice. I am usually a suck it up and do what they say person. But not this time. I massively object and you must find a way to challenge this ultimatum.

Best of luck

KristinaM Wed 13-Nov-13 10:22:15

I think you should get them to put their demand in writing, and to clarify if they ask fertile couples to be sterilised. once you have the letter you should reply, stating that you will not comply and the reasons.

Hopefully, once you request that it be put in writing, someone senior in the agency will realise how inappropriate and possibly discriminatory it is and withdraw it .

Do it I writing because they may then stop your assessment. I don't think you have any right of appeal at this stage ( someone will correct me if I'm wrong ). You will need to then approach another agency and ask them to assess you.

They will request a reference from your first agency and I would expect that they will say that you withdrew from the home study process. Or that there was a mutual agreement that they were not the right agency for you. Or similar . You need the letters as evidence.

If you pull out from this agency without getting it writing, you might find it hard to get another agency to take you on. If it's just your word against theirs, they will ALWAYS believe another agency

wonderinglots Wed 13-Nov-13 13:14:31

Thanks for all your responses.

In answer to a couple of your questions:

Yes, it's a VA

We are right at the end of the process, just awaiting some modifications to our PAR then a panel date. This particular issue was mentioned to us only recently by the Adoption Manager when they were reviewing our PAR (i.e. wasn't brought up during our home study visits by our social worker).

Yes, we were on the verge of getting rid of the sperm. It's the fact that this has now been presented as an ultimatum that is making me hesitate. A - it just seems inherently unfair when compared with other adopting couples and B - I can't see how it proves that we, as a couple, are 'over' having birth children which is the reason being given to us as to why we have to do this. Bear in mind they are not even asking me/us to take contraception and we have been told we may not be asked to even after approval.

We are obviously concerned that if we kick off, we will end up in a position where our application isn't supported, having to start all over again with another agency who may take a dim view that we have been through this once already, without success.

Thanks again for all your responses. It's sometimes hard among all the requests we comply with during the approval process to work out which ones are reasonable and which aren't. Of course all our 'non adopting' friends are horrified at this situation - but then they're horrified at a lot of things prospective adopters have to do. Your responses have made me realise that perhaps this isn't a reasonable request even against the landscape of things prospective adopters are asked to do.

I have emailed BAAF and I will update when I know more.

wonderinglots Wed 13-Nov-13 14:17:57

One more question if I may - to any couples who initially underwent fertility treatment which involved sperm storage and feel able to answer (please feel free to PM me)

Did you still have sperm stored when applying to adopt?

If so, when did you dispose and was it your decision/were you prompted to by your LA/VA?

Many thanks.

eurochick Wed 13-Nov-13 14:27:01

I find this really shocking. The word Orwellian is spot on.

I sometimes lurk in this board while I consider adoption as a future possibility. This kind of thing horrifies me. And I suspect there is an argument that it would infringe your husband's right to family life (Art 8 or 10 of the ECHR). Horrifying.

KristinaM Wed 13-Nov-13 14:33:32

One of the reasons this seems very inappropriate to me is that you don't have to be infertile to adopt. Many people, including myself, have bio children after they adopt . Other have bio kids before they adopt. The only problem usually is During the adoption

Kewcumber Wed 13-Nov-13 15:37:53

it certainly doesn't prove you are "over" having birth children confused Have they never heard of donor sperm or surrogacy?

MrsDeVere Wed 13-Nov-13 15:54:07

Contraception was never mentioned to us.
We are kinship adopters but that shouldn't make a difference.
Of course we didn't ttc whilst fostering and adopting our DS but I don't remember it being bought up in anything more than a cursory way.

I have had two babies since.

It all seems very unfair and unnecessary and I can understand why you feel backed into a corner.

cedar12 Wed 13-Nov-13 16:19:15

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