What are our chances of being approved for adoption?

(27 Posts)
domesticvoyager Thu 19-Sep-13 14:25:10

I know noone can tell me, but we're starting the process and I'd like to know if there is anything that counts us out before I get our hopes up.

DH and I have 2 children. We have DS age 4 who is donor conceived. We did this because DH has a hereditary health issue not because of conception issues. Our other child is my DH's nephew. He is now 15 and was orphaned at the age of 1 (both parents), brought up by MIL and then passed to us when he was 12 because he wasn't going to school/behaviour issues. This has been hard but has worked really well and he is now happy, good friends and doing well academically.

We live in a largish house and are financially very secure. However, DH's work would be described as a professional gambler which I know is probably not their favourite.

We would like to adopt from abroad. Any age. Any variety.

Can anyone give me their opinion?

smile

TeenAndTween Thu 19-Sep-13 18:14:15

With regards your nephew they may wish to explore his status (SGO, Adopted, nothing) and your reasons for that.
They will wish to explore nephews feelings towards you adopting.

Why adopt from abroad? I think you have to have a specific country in mind for the assessment. You will need to show willingness/ability to reflect childs cultural roots.

Child normally expected to be at least 2 years younger than youngest in family.

sandiy Thu 19-Sep-13 18:23:26

Have you considered adopting from this country There are loads of gorgeous older children who are in long term foster care.They would just thrive in a loving secure home.Or longer term fostering,of older children not saying children from abroad are not worthy but honestly I go to some reviews of looked after children and just would so take them home.Foster carers are in short supply so you could make a massive difference to the lives of children and young people.

domesticvoyager Thu 19-Sep-13 19:53:51

Thanks for your posts!

Firstly, when I said we wanted to adopt from abroad, we have nothing against adopting within the UK, we just assumed we would have the best chance of adopting abroad.

DN is not adopted by us. In fact, bizarrely, he is not really in anyone's care. WHen his parents died he was already partially in the care of MIL and social services just let him stay there. When he came to us, at 12, nothing was signed at all. We just registered him in a school and that was that. I'm sure he would be happy to talk to them about what it's like to be adopted by us <gulp> particularly now he is 15 and has some perspective. The first years were tough.

Sandiy DS is just 4 and incredibly sociable and I would love a sibling for him, a bit older or a bit younger. After the last 3 years with DN (and of course, quite a few more to go) I think our family dynamic would work better with a child aged 4 or under. What I mean is, I need a few years before I do '13' again. But I will keep an open mind.

My brother and his family foster (long-term) and we have been very involved with all the children and still are with many of them, even though they are now grown up.

I believe that all children deserve a childhood, I feel uncomfortable at the prospect of 'picking through' the options. But we do really want to give a child a stable, happy home, so we will have to begin somewhere.

I have called PACT, but not spoken to them yet. Is that a good place to start?

Lilka Thu 19-Sep-13 21:38:55

I can't see anything obvious that would concern a social worker in your post. If your husband has a medical condition then that would be explored (plenty of adoptive parents have medical issues, its about making sure you will be fine to raise a child through into adulthood)

International adoption is pretty rare (probably between 100-200 a year compared to 5000 domestic adoptions last year) but its an option. I certainly wouldn't say it was easier though - for a start there's a lot more paperwork and bureaucracy involved and the homestudy is just as thorough and in depth. However it might be the right route for your family. You need to research the countries though - they all have different restrictions and requirements and you meet the other governments requirements in addition to UK requirements.

You will only be approved for a child aged 0-2 because of your younger sons age. This applies to all adoptive parents except in exceptional circumstances like kinship adoptions, the new child has to be the youngest by at least 2 years. This might make domestic adoption your best bet - there are babies aged under 1 and sometimes as young as 5/6 months waiting for adoption in the UK and more now than there have been for a long time, but many international countries dont have babies that young available to parents from other countries (except the US)

Where you need to start depends on whether you prefer an international or domestic adoption. For domestic, you can go to an adoption open evening held by your local authority (or city/borough council), a voluntary adoption agency or even a neighbouring council if you are near a county border. The agency/council website should give you information about their process. You can ring an agency to talk about it if you have any questions their website doesn't answer. We can also try and answer any questions you have smile I'm honestly not sure where you would start for international, but you could try the intercountry adoption centre (IAC) for information and guidance on what countries you might qualify for and what the process entails, or an agency that approves international adopters. There are a couple of parents on here who've adopted their children from other countries who are obviously in a much better position to advise you than me!

Maiyakat Thu 19-Sep-13 21:47:57

It sounds like your experience with your nephew would be a real positive, although I suspect his 'status' may come under scrutiny (may be simpler to wait until he's 16 and it's less of an issue!)

Adopting from abroad is very complex (some on here have done it and can give lots more info than I can) - it is a very long process and is very expensive. The vast majority of children adopted in the UK are British.

You could try contacting www.first4adoption.org.uk/ which is the new government initiative to give prospective adopters information and support. Or go to your local authority's website (or a neighbouring authority, you don't have to go through the one you live in) and search adoption - they may have an information evening coming up soon

Good luck!

floatyjosmum Thu 19-Sep-13 21:48:55

Pact are a good agency. They may however charge for your assessment as they earn money by 'selling' you to la's and they would need to be paid by someone.

You would also have to consider below the age of 2. The order of birth is not meant to be altered and a 2 year age gap is advised - a 4 yr old who has been abused/neglected is probably not going to function on a daily basis how your ds is.

In relation to your nephew it sounds like no one has pr for him - its important that someone does so my advice would be to seek legal advice or apply for a residence order.

domesticvoyager Thu 19-Sep-13 22:26:58

Thanks so much for your posts. All interesting stuff. I knew about the 2 year gap - I wish it wasn't the case but I'm sure they have good reason.

I'm a bit concerned about the points made about DN and adoption. We went to social services when we got him, and we were assured that he was within the degree of sanguinity to my DH for it not to be a problem.

Why must someone have PR for him? Surely his case is that he lives with family members? I don't want to cause a problem for him, he is doing so well.

I will speak with PACT tomorrow and contact my local council.

Many thanks for your interesting posts - I'll reread them as all these factors start to sink in!

Devora Thu 19-Sep-13 23:05:24

Hi OP. I agree with others that international adoption will not necessarily be easier for you - I suspect it is usually more complicated and more difficult.

I was approved to adopt a child at least 2 years younger than my birth child, and ended up with a child 4 years younger (she came to us at 10 months). At the time, I was rather frustrated that they insisted on this big age gap. Now, I think they were quite right to do so. It's a mistake, I think, to see adoption as primarily a way of providing your child with a companion who is a close age peer. It's hard enough for children to cope with sibling rivalry when the new one is young and unchallenging - far harder to have an instant rival who is into their toys, challenging their family role etc. You also need your birth child to be older enough to allow you to really focus some time and attention on the new arrival.

Having said that, I have been really surprised (and delighted) at how close my two girls are. Even with a four year age gap, they really do play together and love each other very much. It has been easier for them to achieve this, I think, because the older one is able to be more mature and generous to her little sister, and of course the little one hero worships her big sister.

By the time you are approved and matched, your birth child will probably be 6 and well settled at school, so allowing you to have lots of one-to-one time with your adopted child (which is important). You will probably adopt a child aged between 1 and 4, and there are lots of children available of these ages. I think it could all work very well for you.

domesticvoyager Fri 20-Sep-13 08:28:29

Hi Devora yes I see now that a brother or sister of the same age could be problematic. DS needs to be the 'big boy'.

Does it still take 2 years? I know the tories said they were streamlining the process.

Do we have to choose whether to adopt in the UK or overseas, or can we just see how it goes?

Thanks for all your help smile

Kewcumber Fri 20-Sep-13 10:02:50

You must choose to a country to adopt from before your home study starts (not just domestic or abroad but actually choose a country).

It is extraordinarily difficult to do an overseas adoption at present and very few countries are open for UK adopters.

Chiina open but last time I looked waiting list from matching (on top of time getting approved in this country and processing paperwork) was 6 years.

Russia currently open and successful adoptions happening BUT Russia has said that any country which legalises same sex marriage will be barred from Russian adoption so we are expecting the UK to be dropped at some point

Kazakhstan closed
Cambodia closed
Vietnam closed unless you are resident in Vietnam
Guatemala closed
Thailand open but I think we have a quota something like 10 adoptions a year so I think most agencies have waiting lists so long that they have effectively closed their lists
Ethopia open I think but not easy
Mexico - I hear rumours that Mexico might be possible
Ukraine closed (as far as I know)
India technically possible but extremely difficult in pratcice unless you have INdian heritage and preferably family in India.

Can't think of where else.

Intercountry adoption centre can advise you

Domestic is certainly the more straightforward option.

I would not start with PACT particularly if you even want to consider intercountry adoption - I have heard extremely mixed reviews about PACT and I would start with your local council - many of them run information evenings.

Kewcumber Fri 20-Sep-13 10:07:22

Ah just read - India closed but China and Philippines special needs programmes open

Lilka Fri 20-Sep-13 10:41:55

As Kew said, you have to choose whether to adopt domestically or internationally (and if IA, your country) before starting. The preparation courses and home studies are different and only certain agencies approve international adopters

The domestic approval process has just been changed and most agencies should now have or be implementing an approval process lasting about 5/6 months. After approval when you're looking for your child, that could take a long time or a short time, it depends completely upon what you're looking for, which children are waiting and when etc. No one can give any predictions about that

International adoption could very easily take more than 2 years. Or far more, as Kew said NSN (non special needs) China is taking like 6/7 years after you're approved with all your paperwork in China. Many countries are closing down or closed. Some only have older children or children with significant special needs available to foreign couples. Since you need a 2 year age gap you have to rule out every country which usually only has older children, and if you don't feel capable of adopting a child with special needs you need to rule out more. I assume the USA is still open, i know of a couple (friends of friends) who adopted from there in late 2011. I heard we were ready to start SN adoptions from China as well, but no idea whats happening now

Kewcumber Fri 20-Sep-13 10:53:54

I forgot about USA - I think that is still available.

Think the first SN programme adoptive family came back from CHina quite recently.

domesticvoyager Fri 20-Sep-13 11:09:02

Ah, thanks Kewcumber that's all really useful. I remember you gave us good advice when we brought DN to live with us. I'll start with our local council tomorrow.

Actually, can anybody clarify the situation with DN? I'm a bit concerned that his informal status with us will be a problem, as per Maiyakat's post.

Very good news that the approval process could be short. I do understand that finding our child could take longer.

Viviennemary Fri 20-Sep-13 11:15:37

I agree that I would be wary of saying one of the reasons for adoption is to provide your child with a sibling. Have you thought about long term fostering.

domesticvoyager Fri 20-Sep-13 11:38:25

OK, yes, entirely agree that it would give the wrong impression to say we wanted a sibling. We just want another child and cannot have birth children for health reasons.

We have been closely involved with long-term fostering (DB's family) and have seen how ultimately rewarding it has been but also how hard. Maybe though because he fosters troubled teenagers. I actually think our experience with DN has been very similar to fostering as he has 'another family' in a way.

I suppose we are hoping that the fact that we have taken in a child and done well with him, and that DH has a son who is not genetically linked to him, will show that we can love and cherish children without them being born to us. I'm sorry, it's not very easy to express!

TeenAndTween Fri 20-Sep-13 11:51:39

I don't suppose your DN's status will be a problem for them, if it is not a problem for him.

People have been saying up to age 2 because your son is 4. But of course by the time you are approved DS will be 5, possibly 6 before you are placed. So you could ask if you can be assessed for 'any child upto 2 years younger than DS when placed' or similar.

Approval and matching time is still as long as a piece of string. As far as I can tell these days they just start the clock running later to meet gov targets for approval time. If you have a straightforward life approval will be fast than say if you are both divorced, and lived overseas for 5 years each.

Sounds to me like you would make great adopters.

(Adopted sisters then aged 2 and 8)

floatyjosmum Sat 21-Sep-13 06:26:34

The issue with your dn is a side issue tbh. As you don't have pr legally you can't sign anything - school trips, passport form, medical forms etc.

It would be really easy to sort out.

Floaty, we sign everything, got a passport etc. It has never been a problem. Would it help us adopt if we had PR? Do you happen to know what we would need to do? I imagine get a family lawyer, etc.

tynecorbusier Sat 21-Sep-13 10:23:37

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

floatyjosmum Sun 22-Sep-13 10:11:28

Legally you can't sign anything as you don't have pr, I'm a sw now working in adoption and I would query why you haven't done anything about but it wouldn't go against you.

Lilka Sun 22-Sep-13 10:32:33

I don't think the PR issue would hinder you adopting. BUT as floaty said they would probably query it, and getting PR gives you security for yourselves, that if something happens requiring the consent of someone with PR, you are able to do it, and there won't need to be a hunt round for his birth mother.

Your experience could definitely be a plus point

domesticvoyager Sun 22-Sep-13 11:21:58

Thanks floaty it's really useful to talk to someone who is a SW in adoption. DN's parents are both deceased. The SW we saw in London said that because DH is his uncle and within the degree of sanguinity to be able to sign etc. We explained the whole situation to the school and they were fine with it. I don't claim CB.

How do we get PR then?

I'm glad our experience could be a plus point.

Thanks smile

floatyjosmum Mon 23-Sep-13 00:14:37

Easiest way to get pr is through a residence order.

MangoTiramisu Mon 23-Sep-13 00:25:46

I don't know about the boxes that have to be ticked when adopting, but I would say that just reading your post that you sound like the PERFECT people to adopt. Just the fact that you have taken your DN into your home and your positive comments about that, tell suggest to me that you would be able to cope with the pressures and be able to offer a child a stable home.

Just one thing though. Please adopt from the UK. I know lots of people (I live in Singapore and have lived in HK) that adopt in Asia. At any one time herein Singapore there is a long list of people looking to adopt babies and a very short list of babies. The UK has a couple of hundred thousand kids in care I believe sad

Mutley77 Sun 06-Oct-13 12:21:10

Hope all going ok - just a couple of points to add:
1) You probably will need to sort out the status of your DN as part of the adoption process - shouldn't be overly complex but he does need to have someone with the ability to make decisions legally for him, i.e. having PR - as someone above said that is likely to be a residence order but your LA will be able to advise you.

2) If you are hoping to adopt from overseas your LA will need to assess you (or whoever they outsource their work to which may be PACT or the IAC or another agency depending on where you live) - you won't have a choice of agency. PACT do also deal with domestic adoption and it is definitely worth speaking to them - all adopters have their own personal circumstances and experiences so one agency won't necessarily fit all.

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