Wanting to adopt - what do I need to know?

(6 Posts)
SteelCityGirl Fri 21-Feb-14 14:12:45

Hello All

For some time now, I've been thinking about applying to become an adopter and have decided the time is now right to do this. I'm 39, single and this apparently does not count against me as I thought it might. I've done some online research yet not had the chance to 'talk' to someone about their experiences so I'm hopeful that this forum may help.

I'd welcome any advice on what I need to know, questions I'll be asked and, perhaps more importantly, questions I ought to ask myself and be sure of before I even start this process.

Thanks for reading, all advice welcome.

Hels20 Fri 21-Feb-14 15:32:50

Hi SteelCityGirl

I am sure that someone who was single when they adopted will be able to help you but in the meantime, the questions that immediately spring to mind are:

a) have you considered having a biological child? How do you feel about not having a biological child and how have you dealt with that disappointment/grief (if relevant)

b) agencies typically want someone to consider taking 12 months off (although a lot of us I think only took 6 months off) - how would you be able to afford this? (Our agency was really keen to see our finances/how a child might impact on our finances).

c) what is your support network like? Do you have a few close friends/family that you could call upon when you need help?

d) what age child do you want? Do you have a separate bedroom for the child? Do you have a preference re: sex of child?

e) what experience have you had with children?

f) do you have a car? Are you near hospitals/your doctor surgery?

g) do you have friends with children?

h) what type of child do you think you could cope with? A lot of children have uncertain development issues/background - could you deal with this uncertainty?

i) can you deal with contact? Most children who are adopted - you will have to engage with indirect contact with certain birth family members - but with some children, you may have to agree to direct contact - usually, this is with siblings.

For me, I think you have to really consider who will be there to help you out/support you. Adoption is tough - I think in some ways, a lot tougher than if you had had a birth child. You need some really strong friendships/family members who could drop things and come and help you out if you needed help. How much time are you thinking of having off work?

Over 3 months in, and there is a small part of me that longs for my old life back. Adoption can take a long time (I know the approval process is meant to have been sped up but the actual matching process can take a while - my DH and I looked over lots and lots of child permanence reports because we struggled to find a child that we felt a connection to.

SteelCityGirl Fri 21-Feb-14 17:07:49

Thank you very much for this, it's really helpful. I don't have any strong urge to have my own biological child although would like to be a parent. Your observation about finding a child with whom you felt a connection sounded very heartfelt.

My employer offers a generous adoption leave and I have friends and family nearby who are an excellent support network. I'm under no illusions that it will be harder on my own and want to gain as much info as I can.

The questions you have asked about contact are good ones, definitely something to think about.

Thank you again, much appreciated.

Hels20 Fri 21-Feb-14 17:51:08

SteelCityGirl - if you have come to terms with not/or are indifferent to having a biological child - that is great. But just be prepared that this is one thing SWs really probe. So just be adamant from the outset.

We had to sketch out - almost as a tree - all our support network, which included putting the children of our support network on it. You might want to do that now - so that you have it to hand.

I think the thing for you is finding the right agency. The fact you are only 39 is a bonus. When we started, we were one of the youngest in our class. From experience, most adopters are more mid-40s - or at least they were on our course.

So - finding the right agency. You need to decide whether to go with your local authority or find an agency (e.g. Coram). We went with an agency - but that was because our LA rejected us for being "too white" - they didn't have any white children on their books and so they didn't want to start the process with us. I think things have changed a little bit - although agencies will want to take someone on that they feel they can find a child for. Generally, if you want a young child e.g. under 18 months - then LA's are your best bit. But remember the younger the child - the more uncertain its development. My real concern was foetal alcohol syndrome or autism - not always determined when the child is under a year. So we adopted a 2.5 year old - when autism had essentially been ruled out. Rmeember birth parents might not always be honest with what substances/alcohol they have abused during pregnancy.

PM me if you want any further info.

Hels20 Fri 21-Feb-14 19:20:32

I should add that just because your LA may reject you,
another LA might not.

Maybe have a look at Bemyparent website or adoption UK for the types of children that need a home.

If you want a v young child - maybe consider concurrent planning.

And keep an eye on this board! There is a lot of useful info posted here!

SteelCityGirl Fri 21-Feb-14 21:23:53

Thank you so much for taking the time to send all this detail. I'm going to look on the sites and digest this info before getting back to you in a few days.

Thank you again and have a lovely weekend.

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