Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.
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First meeting with sw(7 Posts)
I have to echo what other people have said on here - I don't think it is your shyness that will get in the way but you need to come across as flexible. Looked after children can be challenging (the challenges might not manifest themselves until later) and you need to be able to adapt. What would happen if your child, at a later day, suddenly developed an allergy to cat fur (as happened to my brother at 10 years old)? Would you return the child to social services rather than re-house the cats?
Of course, having animals should not prove problematic (although might do if you live in a small house and the dogs are big) and will definitely be a "plus" for some children who desperately want animals. Risk assessments on each animal will need to be done.
Remember also that taking prospective adopters to panel is time consuming and expensive - and they want to know that you are whole heartedly committed.
The other thing I would say is that after you have been approved as an adopter, you still need to be matched with a child. The animals MIGHT go against you with certain children - in as much as there might be two couples a LA is looking at for a child - one with animals, one without. The child's LA might decide to go with the couple without animals as there is less risk (allergies/attacks/cleanliness etc) so it might restrict you, too, in this way. Would you be prepared to rehouse 2 or 3 of the animals if the right child came up but the child's social worker felt 5 animals would be too much for the child? Please think carefully.
I do think 5 furry animals is a lot and might be overwhelming for a child - but you should have a chat with your social worker and see what he/she thinks. I wouldn't anticipate it being a problem with older children - but might be with v small children.
What I am trying to say is you need to be malleable/appear malleable to social workers who are assessing you.
It is great you are going down the adoption route though - good luck.
We were told of a couple who were matched with a child who was allergic to cats and had a cat of their own. They said they wouldn't rehome the cat and were "blacklisted" in spite of soul searching and agreeing a few days later and took a long time to get another match - our (terrible) sw told us this during our home study (we have animals).
My advice would be... Don't go in with guns blazing and sound as flexible as possible as they want to see you are putting the child's needs first. I wouldn't say anything outright until it comes to discussing matching criteria then give pet allergies as a no due to your family being animal lovers - they want to place a child who will fit into your family and lifestyle as these are the best matches. I'm sure anyone would rehome their animals if their child (ie once placed) developed a severe allergy anyway.
Also have three dogs and two cats who are my furry daughters and I would never give them up if that was a condition
Well not saying that to a social worker would be a good start! They won't ask you to give up your pet as a condition of adopting, they will assess the animals as part of your home study. They will expect you to put the needs of a child before an animal, particularly an adopted child who has had enough change. Any indication that you won't do this will (in my opinion) scupper you at the beginning.
I can't think how to ask this without sounding confrontational but if in a choice between keeping your pets or adopting a child, you would choose your pets - then why are you adopting a child? Why not just stick with animals?
I loved the cats I had when going through my home study - I was very upset when they died, but if it had come to a choice between adopting or pets I'd have rehomed the pets. The adoption process is challenging, not just the home study but the panels, the waiting, the uncertainty, the worry about what kind of child you might be matched with etc - I just can't imagine getting through it all without being totally single minded about wanting children above anything else.
Alice try not too worry. Just try and give the social worker the answers and info as they ask, try and think of it more as a job interview than a 'friendship' just try and be as calm as you can. The social worker needs to know stuff from you, and there are no skeleton's in your cupboard you say so you can relax.
All the best.
I don't know what they will say about the dogs or cats, we have a cat and we said we did not want a child who was allergic to cats because I love our cat and our Dd would be very upset to lose the cat. However, if a child of mine adopted or birth developed an allergy to the cat, or if the cat went crazy and attached people randomly (unlikely I know!) I would re-home the cat for the sake of my child. Try not too worry too much, if they ask any questions about pets they are probably trying to assertain how safe the pets are around children and vice versa.
I don't have any advice, but hope all goes well.
Feeling so nervous, churned up and excited tonight as tomorrow is our first meeting with the sw who is coming to our house to talk to us about adoption. We've done three cycles of IVF but were unable to go to term. That was six years ago and I feel ready to go down this route now. We've bought a nice house in a good area but I am so nervous that so something will go wrong. It was always the application stage that scared me. I don't have any skeletons in my cupboard but I am very shy and take a while to be myself with new people,don't have many friends but hang out mostly with my in laws. Also have three dogs and two cats who are my furry daughters and I would never give them up if that was a condition. Scared that I left my DH down if my shyness gets in the way. I just hope it is our time for giving a child a forever family.
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