A few questions, thoughts, worries...

(8 Posts)
FlyntCoal Mon 26-May-14 18:26:35

I've been considering the idea of adoption for years. I've been researching more in the past few weeks as I'll be moving from my one bed flat to a two bed soon, so one obstacle is gone and I need to consider the rest.

Firstly, I'm single, and I've never really considered having birth children. For several reasons including my health (I have PCOS and have been told it's very unlikely I'll conceive naturally), but the main reason is to provide a home and family to a child who needs it, rather than having one. If that even makes sense! However most sites and books I'm looking at say a potential adopter must have ruled out infertility, I forget how it's worded, but have tried treatment and Ivf etc. Is this a huge barrier? Can you even be considered for adoption without having trying for a baby?

Secondly, one issue I'm seeing a lot is weight/health. I'm overweight, I'm obese, and I have health issues in the form of PCOS and arthritis. The arthritis is newly diagnosed, obviously a life- long condition, but is being managed though a drug regimen. I can take steps to lose weight, although it is a very slow process- my highest weight was 21 stone, I'm about 16 now and that has taken quite a while. But I can do it, I lack motivation right now, but I know it's possible.

Now I say I'm single, and have Been most of my life. However I did have one long- term 'relationship' which could create problems. We were together for four years but long distance, very little actual contact and it was very much a fling. We lived in the same country for one year, but still only saw each other monthly, since then only saw each other maybe three times a year. It was fun, but no future. He still lives abroad, in his home country. We never lived together, or even considered it. Would he be contacted? We never got to the point of love, let alone considering having children. He wasn't violent, or abusive, or any other reason I see people having for not wanting former partners to be contacted. He's just a flake, approaching 40 and still living at home, no job whilst I was with him. I finally ended it last year after no contact for several months. He has no convictions or anything but is just not a positive, responsible person.

Support network- I keep seeing this, what does it mean? I have no family close by, my best friend is moving away soon and I have no one else really. A few friends. Is this a huge barrier? I should say, I'm a nanny, have been for years, before that I was in nurseries. I've been sole charge, 60 hours a week for a family with 5 children for over three years now, so I am very, very aware of the realities of childcare. I've done overnights, proxy parenting, newborn care, special needs care.... Would this be positive enough to overcome my shortcomings?

Lastly a little one... The flat I'm renting soon is on the second floor. I know this will be no issue for me, but would it be frowned upon?

Sorry for the essay, I just need to get my thoughts down! Work wise, I do work long hours now but the youngest is a year away from nursery so from then on I won't be needed, family will go to a before/after school nanny so that's when I would change to a shorter nanny day position or change to a school or nursery.

Fredmitten Mon 26-May-14 19:22:06

There are others who know a great deal more than me - we're just at the end of stage one.

I have pcos too, and dh and I decided not to ttc and adopt as our first choice. Lots of reasons for that, but our local authority didn't really bat an eyelid.

Weight - as a rule of thumb it seems to be as long as you're loosing and committed to getting your weight down most agencies will be satisfied. It's all about your health really, and you'll have to have a medical.

I can't imagine they'd want to speak to an ex when you didn't live together and there were no kids.

Join something, anything, locally - you'll need to show you can call on someone for help in the wee hours, I'm almost enjoying the stuff I'm doing ;-)

Flat will be fine.

Best thing to do is contact a couple of agencies and ask your questions. We had a typed list of 20+ at our first meeting - I just wanted to make sure I didn't forget anything!

Good luck!

MooseyMouse Mon 26-May-14 19:34:47

I don't think any of those things would be deal-breakers. Your health would be assessed (based on a report from your GP) by a medical advisor. You've lost loads of weight and, although still overweight, you're heading the right way.

Your nannying experienced should be viewed very favourably.

The only thing I'd flag for you is the lack of support. Start putting this in place now. Identify parent groups you could go to, friends you can spend more time with. You need people you can talk honestly with and who will glue you back together if you've had a rough day. Think of who could nip to a chemist for you if your child was ill and who would come and help if you were ill.

You might find that you meet these people once you start to immerse yourself in parenting/adoption. They don't necessarily need to be local. My auntie travelled 150 miles and stayed with us for one tricky week. Internet groups like this one count as support too.

It's great that you're considering adoption. You don't have to have tried for biological kids already. Welcome and good luck!

I agree with others for support etc.

Join stuff, volunteer, actively pursue those friendships on the edge of your life, especially with people who have kids.

No idea about the partner but if you did not live together or have kids then I cannot see (IMHO) why but you should. But, again IMHO, best to be honest about it with the social workers.

As far as not having birth children is concerned I think social services need to know you have resolved not to have any (e.g. that you have no plans to actively pursue having any now or in the future) not that you have had IVF. As you can imagine this is simply because if you did have such plans you would be better off to pursue them now than to wait until you also had an adopted child placed.

I think you do need to 'grieve' and explore that lack of a birth child and show you have done that to some degree. You can't just say 'it's ok' because what if you are given a new child to adopt and that suddenly triggers issues for you and you start researching surrogates/egg donors etc and wanting to extend your family but you can't afford two kids etc etc. That is the issue, as far as I can see it, not whether you have actively pursued IVF. Sorry if this sounds very intrusive. I have a birth daughter and an adopted son (recently) and I did have to come to terms with not having a second birth child. I had a lot of very expensive fertility treatment and it was very hard to get to the point where I was happy not to have another birth child but now I am 100% happy with adoption.

Social services need to know that you are comfortable that adopting would most likely mean that you will not have a birth child.

Lastly, depending on the child's age, you may be expected to take a year of adoption leave from work, could you do this?

Hels20 Mon 26-May-14 20:14:00

I doubt your partner would be approached. Each LA and VA treat it differently - but my DH was married before me (though didn't have children) and his ex Wife was not approached (we went with a VA).

Agree with above but I wonder if single adopters aren't pressed so much on whether they have exhausted/grieved for not having birth children. I have no idea - but I guess as a single person, you would have to go to additional lengths to have a birth child than if you were in relationship already - am sure a single adopter will be along here soon to clarify.

Our agency wanted to know we had reconciled ourselves to not having birth children - but actually not overly pressed. They took down details of our IVF experience, spent 10 mins or so discussing it - and that was about it.

FlyntCoal Mon 26-May-14 20:27:12

Many thanks for all the replies! Lots more to consider, really appreciate you taking the time.

With regards to the weight, its tough but I do know I can lose and I know what works best for me (low GI in particular). I'm not actively focusing on it at the moment as I have no health issues at all with weight, it only impacts my looks and I'm not hugely fussed with how people see me. But with a solid goal in mind I would focus more.

I do have friends locally, my closest friend is moving away but we'll keep in touch, she would offer good support. However she's pregnant right now so that affects support. I have plenty of nanny friends, lots of people I could call on if I needed to go to the pharmacy or anything but to be honest as a full-time nanny I'm used to doing all of this- for example when first diagnosed with arthritis I was on a drug that required fortnightly blood tests. With permission from my boss, I took my youngest charge with me. I'm used to working around children, as I work 12 hours a day mon-fri I have to fit in some everyday stuff like appointments, post office etc. All with permission of course!

I also used to volunteer at a hospital, with the play specialists, when I had a job with a day off each week.

I guess I wanted to just ask on here before I approached an agency or anything like that. Just to be sure there was even a chance!

I didn't even think of support from a distance- my family live down in the SW, I'm in London. But my parents would provide support, my sister too. I only live in London for work, no nannying in poorer areas, so if I did adopt I would seriously consider moving back down south. I could get a lot more for my money there too! Probably a 3 or 4 bed house for what I pay for my one bed here.

I've never, ever, really felt any desire to have my own child. Anytime I've considered having children, I've always imagined it would be through adoption or fostering. It's false to say I'm not maternal- I love kids, I love my job, I know the reality of parenting through experience. I've been a live-in nanny, with newborns, and for 2 years with a family with a child born very premature with multiple health problems. I've just never imagined myself having my own, when there are so many children out there needing a family and a safe upbringing. I also have no desire to have a partner, I've never lived with a partner and don't intend to!

So I'm not sure if I need to 'grieve', although it makes sense. I just have never thought of having a birth child. I've been lucky enough to have a huge input into the upbringing of several children, being the main carer for several children. My current family had three when I started, two born since then, I love them to bits and I'm really enjoying helping to raise them. Obviously a different thing to parenting- the kids know who their parents are, know that I arrive each day to look after them. Hard to describe without seeming that I want to keep them or something, but I'm loving seeing them grow up.

I'm 100% sure I don't want to pursue having a birth child. I'm not saying I wouldn't be thrilled if I did find out I was unexpectedly pregnant, but that is so unlikely it's laughable.

The final point about taking time off is not something I'd come across before. That would be difficult- how do people cope without an income for so long? I do have some savings, but not enough to cover even rent for a year, let alone living costs. I suppose this is where being in a couple would be better, with a duel income. Without the money issue, taking the time off would be easy as I'd be doing what I do at work everyday anyway. I know parents who struggle with the day to day of raising children, but I love it, and I know I'm good at it.

Oh and one thing I've come across- my local authority page says they need three references, one of which can be a relative. I'm thinking my parents, my current boss, and a friend who is also a qualified nanny, soon to be a mum, and has previously worked for the LA and owned a nursery.

Polkadotpatty Mon 26-May-14 22:46:38

Chipping in with the single adopter perspective re questions about not having birth children: your social worker will still ask you to reflect on this and talk about it, perhaps not quite so much with a view to your own fertility, but more looking at how you would handle things if you were to meet a partner in the future. These are things that would normally be discussed; they are not things that would "rule you out", but it's good to do some serious thinking so you're prepared!

Re the adoption leave, it is fairly standard in my local authority to be expected to take 12 months. My company's adoption leave pay is not much above statutory, so I've been saving like a madwoman hard. There is a finance check as part of the process - you don't have to be perfect, but again just need to show you've thought about it and have plans/support.

Good luck with your thinking and question-gathering, and welcome to the board smile

Sorry, when I said 'grieve' I meant if you had wanted a birth child. If you have never wanted to have a birth child then I agree you do not need to grieve for one.

Regarding time off, maybe it depends on the age of the child, to some degree. If the child is school age you may not need to have a full year off as they will go to school but if your job is very demanding how will you fit the child into your life?

Support - I think that includes -

people to talk to and help you feel better if parenting is tough (which could be by phone or in person IMHO)
people to help by getting shopping in for you or bring a meal round if you are ill
people to look after your child (a long way down the line, I would imagine) so you can go out for an evening or if you do need to go to an appointment that you can't take a child to
people to offer advice and help in general

And much more....

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