Unexpected start to the adoption process

(28 Posts)
RationalThought Thu 06-Jun-13 11:15:24

My dp and I have just started the process of hoping to become adoptive parents. At the second exploratory meeting, before we had even officially applied, the social workers asked us to consider a specific little girl.

Is this as unusual as it appears to us? I'm not complaining and we are very excited about the prospect of adopting this dc, but reading other's experiences of waiting for months / years it seems a bit odd. We're both in our 40's and have bc from previous marriages, so I wonder if this makes a difference.

Does anyone have similar experiences?

musickeepsmesane Thu 06-Jun-13 11:37:42

not unusual at all. Congratulations and I hope it works out for you. How old is the little girl?

RationalThought Thu 06-Jun-13 12:08:57

Thanks music. We don't have that much experience of adoption and were just going on what we had read here and other forums.

She is 5 and has already had two adoptions fall through.We are both very excited and looking forward to providing her with a loving, stable family.

Devora Thu 06-Jun-13 12:10:20

I've certainly heard of it happening - I think someone on here got approved and matched on the same day? And I have a friend who started home study already knowing the child they were lined up for.

If your agency has a child in the system who would suit you, and become available at the right time for you, it makes sense to assess you with that in mind, so as not to waste time later. It will also save you the tedium and often misery of a prolonged wait to get matched.

My only caution is: if you feel this is the right child for you, go for it. But don't feel you have to say yes just because she is the first you are offered.

Best of luck!

Ragwort Thu 06-Jun-13 12:14:04

Just be cautious, it sounds very fast ............. I know of a couple of situations where children were 'suggested' very quickly to prospective adoptive parents, in one case the child had already had two failed adoptions and this was the third attempt .......... sadly it failed too and I dread to think how damaged that child will be. In the second case the adoption didn't exactly break down, but the whole family is very, very unhappy with multiple problems. sad. Sorry to put a dampner on your excitement, don't rush into anything. Make sure you ask lots of questions about ongoing support.

Catbert4pm Thu 06-Jun-13 12:44:23

I've not heard of it so quick before, tho' clearly other posters have.

I tend to agree with Rag, be very careful, it's such a massive decision. First, what does this approach say about the agency's standards that they have proposed this to you before you have applied, let alone been approved? If they are, as it appears, cutting corners from the approval angle, are they also cutting other corners - as if so, you may be the ones to pay the price.

I would find out why the other proposals fell through - be really clinical about it. And do not give off vibes that you will accept the first child offered, but that you will cool-headedly (is that a word?) evaluate all suggestions.

Clearly we do not have all the facts here, but make sure you get them. And keep your emotions at bay until you are approved and matched.

And, as rag said, make sure you get proper post-adoption support.

And particularly if you do end up going ahead with the 5 year old, consider doing the Sue Goulding attachment course "I can't dance, don't ask me!".

Good luck; I hope all goes well for you smile

RationalThought Thu 06-Jun-13 12:56:29

Devora, Ragwort, thanks both for your comments and advice.

The information we have been given raises a few questions about her physical and emotional needs, but we will discuss this with the social workers. We both have BC with different, but probably greater needs, so that doesn't worry us too much.

We will try to make sure we don't let emotion get in the way of logic.

TeenAndTween Thu 06-Jun-13 13:38:03

I too would be very cautious.

If a child has had 2 adoptions fall through, the SWs will be anxious to place her. BUT there will be reasons why those previous matches fell through. Sometimes this is due to unrealistic expectations of adopters, but often this is sadly because a child's needs are massively 'undersold' by the SWs.
(If this fall through after introductions have started, or at an earlier stage? If after intros the girl would be impacted by this before her initial background were considered)

tbh, I would say you should say she sounds very nice etc, and if she has not been matched when you have completed your HS then you might be interested, but be very cautious of committing now.

Remember the HS is there to help you reflect on how you would parent, what type of behaviours you could cope with, contact issues etc etc. You shouldn't be being 'bounced' into accepting a little girl with a disrupted background.

Rational, we are not yet adoptive parents, we are about half way through our home study with have a birth daughter of 8 who has some small behavioural 'things' and probably dyslexia.

We have thought about adoption for years and been looking at it seriously for about three years now.

When we first made the official 'yes' we want to go ahead and have a meeting in our home phone call (that type of time) the social worker told us about 2 or 3 or perhaps even four boys she had in mind. I found this very off-putting and rather 'too much too soon'. When we met with the social worker I told her (a different person of course) and she kind of said sorry if that was a bit too much.

Since then no specific children have been mentioned and I am much happier to get through this whole process without thinking of a specific child.

I hope you will not mind me saying Rational that I would be very, very cautious about this match at this early stage. I echo the comments of those who are cautious, expecially Teen. This little girl has obviously got a lot of issues, and to be sort of matching her with someone who has not yet been approved seems to me (in my humble opinion as a non-professional) to be not wise.

You will need to think of what you and your DP and your kids can 'handle' and the agency needs to know you as a couple/family and to me this all seems too fast.

I would just ask (please do not be offended) but what makes you think you will 'succeed' where these other adopters have 'failed' - it may well be that you could succeed and will have the right combination of skills and abilities etc and maybe in some way we can never know how we will cope but I think before you say any kind of yes to this situation you really need to know what difficulties you would be taking on and what you would do to deal with those in a loving and suitable way. You won't have all the answers yet, or even at the end of the adoption prepapration but I feel to ask you to consider a child with these needs is unfair on you and probably unwise. This little girl clearly needs a lot of care and if you have not yet been accessed how can they possibly know you will be able to give it. So if they are just talking generally about a child and you are thinking generally about the future that seems fine but I don't think it is right to expect you to make a commitment to child at this early stage.

This is in no way a reflection on you or on the child. It is just my personal opinion.

Please let us know how things go.

musickeepsmesane Thu 06-Jun-13 14:23:18

I think that you need to know why the other matchings failed. You need to know her background. Do NOT let them flannel you. She could be a very troubled little girl. A lot of adoptive parents are unaware of Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD). This is caused by severe neglect in the formative years. I would strongly recommend doing some reading. I agree you don't have to take the first child you are offered. We don't necessarily hit it off with every child we meet.

RationalThought Thu 06-Jun-13 14:58:56

Thank you all for taking the time to respond so eloquently. We had concerns about the speed of identifying this little girl (particularly before we had formally started the process of being assessed) and wanted to get some informed views.

Obviously I don't want to give out too much information on a public forum, but will try to give some relevant background. DP and I already have 6 children between us, the youngest of which is 17. Most have now left home, so we have the space and, more importantly, the time to devote to a child. Of our BC; one has profound disabilities and two are on the autistic spectrum, so we have coped with most things that children can bring. My DP works in education and has been professionally involved with children with additional needs.

We don't know why the previous adoptions have fallen through, so this is obviously an area we need to cover. I am also concerned that she has been with the same foster family for most of her life and so there will be very attached. I suppose we also need to find out why the foster family haven't adopted after 5 years.

I don't know why, but reading the profile we just get the gut feeling that there's something that's being withheld. Taking a step back and reading your advice, I now realise that we need to be very thorough in questioning the SW's about the DC and the support they would provide post adoption.

Again. Thanks to all of you. flowers

Catbert4pm Thu 06-Jun-13 16:27:14

I think your instincts are right OP. But you sound very well equipped to adopt - and to manage curved balls from Social Services meanwhile!

Good luck and please let us know how you get on.

Rational you sound like a fantastic mum and I am really sure you could make a wonderful mum to new child through adoption.

It may even be this child.

But it may not.

You sound really wise and grounded and I am sure any agency or county council would be lucky to have you.

Just remember to keep your feet firmly on the ground and to find out everything you need to know.

I do not know but I get the impression once you adopt it is very hard to get help but before you do it may be there, so you need to secure whatever help you need before you agree to adopt (experienced adopters am I wrong here?).

Also, if she is attached to her foster carers that is a good thing, maybe someone else can explain more about attachment?

Can I how many of your birth children live with you now?

I really wish you all the very best with this process.

Would love to know how it all works out.

Catbert4pm Thu 06-Jun-13 18:00:07

Italian, I can only speak for support in my area:

We went too long thinking we could cope on our own, then, unfortunately, when we did eventually ask for help the post adoption team never came back to us so this put us off contacting them again.

Fast forward another couple of difficult years: we plucked up the courage to contact them again and the support this tine has been superb. We have had home visits, phone support, information, training, activities for DC and a referral to specialist counselling for DC. Absolutely brilliant!

The informal support network is also important. As my only DC is adopted I only know this kind of parenting, but I can see that it's different to birth parenting - and everything clicks into place when getting together with other adoptive parents.

Hope that answers your question!

Thanks Catbert.

Lilka Thu 06-Jun-13 20:43:30

My eldest child had a disrupted adoption before she came to me. On the face of it, a previous disruption only tells you for certain that another family couldn't cope, and it doesn't necessarily mean that you would not be able to cope. BUT and this is a big but, there are reasons why two probably quite different families have found themselves unable to cope. You absolutely need as much information as possible before considering this child as a match.

To be honest, it's such a serious consideration that I'm not at all impressed with your agency asking you to consider this child at this stage. My honest advice would be to progress with the home study as normal and not to change to a child specific approval. The home study length will give you more time to think about what kind of child you not only could cope with, but also the kind of needs you want to live with. My eldest is happy as an adult but as a younger teen/pre teen she really did have many challenges and emotional needs such as attachment disorder and ptsd are VERY hard to live with.

If you get approved and still want to consider this particular child, that's fine. But my advice then is

1. Demand as much information as possible about this girl's needs and about why both previous adoptions failed. Do NOT let ss fob you off with verbal 'they weren't ready' etc. Ss have an agenda which is to place this child, you are the only ones here who are solely focussed on yourselves

2. When an adoption disrupts, there is a disruption meeting which the adoptive parents should take part in. Try get the minutes from this meeting, it will record what everyone thought about why the disruptions happened and if anything could have been done differently. In addition to this, there will be other reports about the disruptions, try get hold of them. You really need to know why this happened especially since ss will sometimes withhold information from you.

3. Talk go the FC a lot, if they have had lo for years they should have a good handle on her emotional needs. Ss must let you talk to the FC and ask anything

4. Has lo been having therapeutic input and preparation for another possible adoption? She has been through a huge amount of trauma being told this is mummy and daddy and then moving and then disruption - twice over. She needs work done before they attempt this a third time

5. Make sure ss will give you a good support package with therapy, financial help, anything you can get. They should not be doing a dump and run on a child with these needs

6. However much you get to hear about this girl, you must be able to bring yourself to say no if you find she has needs you can not cope with. Ss tactic is to get you to bond with the child so you then feel unable to say no later whatever you are told. It's hard but you can't be afraid to back out.

Best of luck to you in the process

happyon Thu 06-Jun-13 21:16:12

You sound great, but take it from someone who has bc and ac, you are not as prepared as you might think. It is a very different parenting experience, no matter how much experience with children you have.

I am bit shock that an agency should try this. Not only do they not know you well enough to think about matching you, YOU have not have the time that proper preparation allows to think about whether this is right for you.

Please don't be rushed.

Devora Thu 06-Jun-13 21:47:32

I must admit I posted quickly without having quite taken on that this little girl has had two disrupted placements. That does set alarm bells ringing for me. NOT that it necessarily means she is not the right child for you, but I can't see how the agency would know that at this early stage.

The other cases I have known where this happened were relatively straightforward cases where the child was much younger and the match was considered ideal mainly because of ethnic matching. This child requires much, much more careful matching, and rushing it seems a spectacularly bad idea.

I would imagine a 5 year old with 2 failed adoptions will have a potentially severe attachment disorder. I would be very careful.

RationalThought Thu 06-Jun-13 22:16:54

The advice you've all provided is very useful and will take a little time to absorb (really not up to doing it now). We do have more information on her life, medical and emotional needs and background, but I really don't feel it appropriate to discuss it here.

We have plenty to think about in advance of the next meeting and have lots of informed questions to ask. I will post again after the meeting, if not before and am very grateful for all of your help.

duchesse Thu 06-Jun-13 22:31:56

OP- That's just what happened to my friend! They were considering fostering (not thinking they had any chance of adopting) and the SW essentially placed a little boy with them to adopt. I think that when they see a good family, they snap em up!

duchesse Thu 06-Jun-13 22:33:56

Oh, forgot to say the little boy in question was 2, had been in care since birth (so no failed adoptions in his past) and the adoption has turned out very very well indeed. It is sad if an adoption doesn't work but it"s not always the case.

Rational very wise not to share too much info about the child. Thinking of you. Hope whatever happens for your family is really right for all of you. You sound lovely and I expect with care and consideration all round will make a wonderful family to a new child. Not rushing doesn't necessarily mean not doing, it just means knowing you have made the right decision all round. So if you are ever questioned on it in the future you can say that you knew it was right and the good reasons etc rather than you were rushed and felt you could not say no.

all the very best.

Magslee Thu 06-Jun-13 23:04:38

Lots of wise words of caution above which I would agree with but just wanted to let you know I was asked to consider a child early on in my assessment. SWs were keen to avoid any delay as he had already had 2 matches fall through (pre-introductions though and much more about the potential adopters than him). I was approved and matched at the same panel and my wonderful ds has now been with me 5 months. In our case I think that the SW was very experienced and got the measure of me quickly and spotted a perfect match but as others have said there could be all sorts of reasons and so asking lots of questions and considering it carefully is definitely the best approach.

fasparent Thu 06-Jun-13 23:55:53

We are FC.s please look at the other side of the coin, Have just seen our last child placed third time lucky , Not that fc was a difficult child rather that others were deemed unsuitable a better match was found, fc is very happy and loved with forever family, we get lovely updates.
Like happy endings

2old2beamum Sun 09-Jun-13 16:17:28

Can only give our experience of our adoption process. We had adopted 7 DC's (door was shut as far as we were concerned) and out of the blue had a phone call would we consider having a 3 year old. Of course we said yes we were in our 60's
Social Services bend rules when it suits.

oinker Mon 10-Jun-13 06:29:16

Be cautious -

The adoption process itself is quite long. It can take 6 months or more.

If this DC is now 5 she will be older and more problematic before she is settled with you both.
It's sad to think she has already been placed with two previous families and its not worked out.
Alarm bells would be ringing if it were me.
Just concentrate on getting through the process. It is so worthwhile.
If things don't materialise with this DC then there will be another.

In answer to your question - matching before the process starts - it happened to us. We just did not know anything about it. We were told once we were approved. We now have our DS and DD. smilesmile

Good luck and enjoy your family. grin

FamiliesShareGerms Mon 10-Jun-13 06:43:03

We were matched before approval without knowing it, too (came out of panel and given DD's details straightaway to consider)

I would echo what others have said about proceeding with caution and not feeling bound in to only considering this one little girl. She might turn out to be perfect for you, but the home study process is supposed to give the agency time to get to know you, and you time to consider what you are able to deal with (and even if you want to go ahead with adopting at all)

Good luck

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