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Seriously considering adoption do you think we have a chance?

(19 Posts)
waitingtobeamummy Fri 27-May-11 20:59:53

Hi All,
First post although been a serial lurker and need some support please.
Found out this week that I have a big chance of being infertile, although am sad it isnot a huge suprise as have always thought it might be the case.
So have already looked at our local council's website about adoption and on the adoption uk website,but don't want to start getting my hopes up for them to be dashed...again.
I know nobody can wave a magic wand and give me 100% answers but your help is appreciated.
Dont really know how to do this so am going to writ the pros and cons of me and can you please tell me if we are right to think the cons are cons and if they are outweighed by the pro's.

We are married, young ish (I am 28 my hisband is 34), own our own house, have a good network of family and friends, stable jobs, have godchildren and neices who we spend lots of time with and I work with children both in an educational enviroment and I also work for Barnardos. I am pretty certain I would be allowed up to 9 months off work maybe a year, we have a spare room.

My husband has sizeable debts that are mangable and will be paid off in 3 and a half years. We are overweight. I am losing lots of weight but having to puch husband too. We are both healthy and active though. We dont speak to my husbands dad and his wife. I was abused when I was little.

I dont know if some/all of my pros and cons will be taken into account but I just want help and advice. We are desperate for a child. I feel bad saying it but ideally under 5, but I know there is not a huge chance of that. Also as a white couple would we be able to adopt a mixed race child or a child who is black etc?

I am sorry if I seem insensitive wit any of my question but I could really do with help and advice.

Many thanks


shivster1980 Fri 27-May-11 21:18:46


I am an adoptive mum of one DS.

The only real advice I can give you is phone your LA and voluntary agencies and ask. smile

None of your cons will automatically stop you from adopting but you may need to have an early medical, and you need to be emotionally prepared to share details from your childhood in your homestudy.

Some LA may not even take on and assess white couples who are looking for younger child (with no diagnosed SN although you don't say about this aspect).

It is highly unlikely at present that you would be placed with a child who is of dual heritage unless you have strong links to the culture which your ethnicity does not reflect.

Your pros are great. Support network, and contact with children stand out as being particularly great. I also see your 5 and under suggested age range as being realistic and achieveable too.

I think it is also important to ensure that you have worked through the emotional baggage that comes with an infertility diagnosis, counselling was right for me.

Best of luck!

waitingtobeamummy Fri 27-May-11 21:30:34

Thanks for your msg shivster1980.
It didn't dawn on me that some local authorities would just not take people on so we really do need to contact them. sn is something we do need to talk abot although ifwe were having a child naturaly we wouldn't know whether it would have sn or not.
Thank you again for your reply and kindness.
x x x

hester Fri 27-May-11 22:19:53

waitingtobeamummy, you don't just have to go with your local authority - you can also ring other local authorities (relatively nearby) and voluntary agencies. They really vary in terms of who they are looking for and will take on.

You have a lot of points in your favour. You have correctly identified the cons, except one: you have only just found out that you may be unable to conceive. You are still young and so may be considering fertility treatment. The agency will want to know that you have fully resolved your feelings about your fertility and they will want you to promise you won't try to get pregnant. They will probably want you to wait for at least a year after finishing any fertility investigations or treatment.

Obviously I don't know your medical situation, but my advice is to think very carefully about whether you are ready to abandon all hope of pregnancy. If you are considering both fertility treatment and adoption as routes to motherhood, you should do the fertility treatment first. Adoption will still be there as an option in five years; whereas your fertility will only decline further.

Anyway, you can use this time to investigate agencies and read up on adoption. Please forgive me for saying that you could also use this time to lose weight: I don't know how overweight you are, but social services will definitely want to be sure that you are physically fit to care for a child.

They will also want to know that you have worked through issues around having been sexually abused. If you adopted a child who turned out to have been sexually abused, would that rouse deep distress in you? Or have you sufficiently worked through the experience to be able to use it to positively support a child who has gone through similar?

A year ago I would have agreed with shivster that you wouldn't be able to adopt a child of dual heritage. However, since Gove's intervention I think some agencies have loosened up on this. I recently met a white woman, recently approved as an adopter, who has been told that she WILL be considered for dual heritage children. Again, this is something to ask your agency.

I think you probably would be able to adopt a child under 5, though under 2 may be more problematic. Your chances would be higher if you would consider adopting siblings.

So: I understand that right now you probably feel quite panicked about how you are going to achieve your family (I honestly do know; I've been there) but my advice is to slow down and draw breath. You've just had some really bad news. Now you need to research all your options, including talking to adoption agencies. Then you can start getting yourself ready for parenthood, but do understand that adoption will take time: minimum 3 years in your case, I would think.


NanaNina Fri 27-May-11 23:13:15

Brilliant post Hester but I think minimum 3 years to wait is a bit pessimistic. I don't think anyone has mentioned to the OP that adopted children will all have been to a greater or lesser extent by the abuse/neglect that they suffered with their birth parents. The most common problem is attachment disorders in the sense that these children's needs have not been met from the time of birth and they therefore learn that adults are not to be trusted. This isn't something that all the love and care in the world will necessarily resolve. It can often cause all sorts of problems in childhood, often peaking in adolesence, and sometimes throughout the lifespan.

I have seen many many families in 30 years of social worker & tm manager of fostering & adoption team for a LA, struggle and struggle with children with very difficult behaviour problems. I am not trying to put you off, but it is something that should never be under estimated. A lot of prospective adoptors think that "love is enough" but sadly it isn't. The thing is if the baby is abused/neglected from its earliest days, then this manifests itself in all kinds of diffiulties for the child and the parent. There is usually a vast difference between the child's chronological age and emotional age. Very often their development is "arrested" and there is a need to allow the child to regress. With good support (especially around attachment issues) and parents who are willing to give it their all, the child can begin to trust adults again, but it can be a long painful journey.

Just a word of advice about voluntary agencies (Barnardoes, Action for Children etc) They will undoubtedly be quicker at offering you a place on a
training group, followed by an assessment. Agree with Hester btw about your own sexual abuse - this will be a big factor to consider for the reasons Hester stated. However what these vol agencies don't always tell you is that they have to "sell" you to a LA (who have the children of course) as vol orgs don't actually have any children. LAs will always try to place children with their own adoptors because it is the cheapest option. The next cheapest option is an inter agency placement (with a neighbouring authority) and the most expensive is "buying" a family from a vol org. Their charges are high and as most LAs are cash strapped and likely to get worse, they will not be able to afford these high fees to buy families from the vol orgs, though if all else fails, then they will have no choice. If you do go to a voluntary agency, I would ask how many children they have placed under 2, under 3, 4 and 5 say in the last 12 months.

Sorry OP not trying to put you off but to be realistic with you. Have you thought of overseas adoption? There are people on here who have adopted from overseas who would be willing to talk with you I'm sure.

Good luck whichever way you go.

Happy to help further if necessary.

space2010 Fri 27-May-11 23:14:02

I would definitely get guidance about your fertility and like other s have suggested the social workers will go at lengths to talk about this with you. You have obviously sought advice about your fertility and there are lots of other options than adoption, (i am not suggesting this is the final option at all). Maybe have a look on the Fertility Friends website and go to the message boards, there is a wealth of knowledge on there regarding the issues you have raised. Good luck.

hester Fri 27-May-11 23:59:08

Do you think 3 years is pessimistic, NN? I thought they would want her to be clear of dealing with fertility issues for a year, then usually another year to get approved, then usually another year to get matched and placed?

Happy to be told I'm wrong smile

waitingtobeamummy Sat 28-May-11 08:56:42

Thank you all so much for your replies.
Myself and my dh are certain that we do not want to try ivf/surragacy etc. It is just not for us, but I understand what you all mean. It is almost like I am on a bit of a "high"at the moment of knowing that I will not be able to conceive naturally and I do need the bubble to burst so to speak and to settle back down with my proper feelings.
Thank you NanaNina for your advice about behavioural issues. We have discusse this and are aware of it. I feel a bit niave working for Barnardos that I dind't know they "sold" the family to La's etc.
hester I dind't know that you could from nearby authorities. We live in Staffordshire but are a couple of miles from the border of Warwickshire and very close to Birmingham so I imagine they are areas that we could try too?
Dual Heritage would be fine for us but had not thought about adopting from abroad. For some reason I thought that this was no longer allowed/that other countries had stopped this?
I feel very ashamed that weight is an issue but have so far in 8 weeks managed to lose over a stone so I am on my way although I think ideally I have another 3 to lose.
Thank you all again for your help, it is something that we are both very excited about but also very nervous and so your help and advice is much appreciated.
Thank you.

Lilka Sat 28-May-11 17:38:54

Yes, you can try any area near your own. In fact, sometimes it's better to not be approved within your own county, but another one, because some people have found that they couldn't adopt a particular child as they lived too close to the child's first parents. I think it's worth phoning everywhere close, and seeing what response you get. Depending on what special needs you are open to, and seeing as you would like under 5's, you may find one council is not looking for any adoptive parents with those criteria at the moment. Or you may find that one council respond very quickly and efficiently to you, and the others don't, which would probably majorly influence your choice of agency!

As to adopting abroad, it's something I considered briefly when I was thinking about adoption, but quickly decided against that. Theoretically you can adopt from any country that is currently allowing foreigners to adopt, as long as the British government hasn't put a moratorium on that country (Cambodia and Guatemala are the only countries with a moratorium atm). Realistically, some countries aren't good options right now, China for instance, the wait there is apparently up to 8 years to be matched with a child if you start now! But you could look up the requirements to adopt from certain countries if you are interested in going abroad. You will have to meet the other governments requirements as well as the British ones as well though. They might require a certain length of marriage, a certain income, or for you to send reports on the child after the adoption for a few years, or until the child turns 18. Also, the cost could be very large - you might not feel able to spend as much as it could cost. But it could be an option, although I think you might need to be open to some special needs. Some countries are still open and placing children (I think Russia is?). Kew could tell you more if you're interested smile

Congrats on losing a stone smile Took me about 4 months to lose a stone, but I kept giving in to certain temptations grin

boobellina Sat 28-May-11 18:08:13

We approached adoption in what seems to be a similar way to you, found out we were infertile and jumped straight into the adoption process - our local authority were and still are so desperate for families there was no year wait at the end of our fertility investigations. In some respects this was a good thing as it gave us both something to focus on but now over 5 years down the line I'm not so sure that we wouldn't have been a lot more able to cope with some of the strains of adopting if we had dealt more thoroughly with issues surrounding our infertility.

I suppose what I am trying to say is that whilst I love my adopted daughter with all of my heart and soul I still grieve for the children I wasn't able to have. In some respects having a child who has had such a rocky start to life made me feel even more aware of the injustice of infertility - if my daughter had grown in my tummy she would be much more able to cope with her peers, be healthier and a lot of the time a happier wee girl and that is a heartbreaking realisation to try and get your head around.

That said, please don't let me put you off doing it straight away go to your local authority, lots of other local authorities and as many voluntary organisations as you can to overload yourselves with information. Just remember to breath and try to listen to some of the advice that the professionals give you - ha a sterling example of do as I say not as I did grin

waitingtobeamummy Tue 31-May-11 10:14:53

Thanks both for your comments and sorry for not getting straight back-have got a stinker of a cold.
Lilka who/what is kew?
boobelina I understand what you say- I need to come to terms with everything first, but at the same time I so desperatly want a child.
Thank you all for your advice,

hester Tue 31-May-11 20:33:46

Kew(cumber) is a poster on here, who has adopted internationally smile

waitingtobeamummy Tue 31-May-11 21:09:56

thanks! grin

KristinaM Wed 01-Jun-11 11:44:12

I would add my voice those asking you to consider all your options in terms of assisted conception. There are many other treatments before ivf or surrogacy and one of these may be right for you. Please get medical advice and do your own research before writing this off

You need tp know that you will not get to adopt a young baby. Unless you go for concurrent planning, most will be at least 6 months at youngest. All will be higher risk than a child you give birth to. There is often a family history of addictions, mental health problems and learning disability. You probably won't know anything of half the childs background. Many babies have been exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero.

All have been traumatised by losing their birth family and then being placed with at least one if not more foster carers. Even young babies are sometimes physically or sexually abused and /or neglected.

Adoption is not an easier or more reliable route of getting a healthy baby.

I'm sorry to be so negative, but you are very young and you still have many other options for adding to your family and I urge you to consider them carefully

waitingtobeamummy Wed 01-Jun-11 20:57:23

Thanks KristinaM for your advice, I fully understand that we will not be having a tiny baby- we are happy for a child full stop whether it be 6 months or 6 years, I woud never ever think that adoption is the easy option, but we are trying to find out whether it is the best option for us.
We have a meeting with our doctor next week to discuss all options but this is what we keep coming back to.
I appreciate your honesty and advice.

walesblackbird Thu 02-Jun-11 10:00:33

"I need to come to terms with everything first, but at the same time I so desperatly want a child. Thank you all for your advice,"

I think, for me, this is the part of your thread that stands out the most. And whilst I can understand how you must be feeling you need to understand that adoption isn't about fulfilling your desires. Adoption is all about finding a family for a child - it's not about finding a child for someone who desperately wants one. Your needs will come an awfully long way down the list for a social worker looking to place a child.

I adopted because I wanted to be a mother - the pregnancy thing wasn't that important to me. I did feel that I had a lot to offer a child but by this time I was in my 40s and had gone through the ivf route and had come to terms with my inability to concieve and had grieved for my loss. You really will need to come through this first. Whilst you're still considering other options then right now I don't think adoption is the right course for you.

A sw will need to be very sure that you have come to terms with your inaibility to have a birth child and they will expect you to have fully explored that loss. Adopting can throw up all sorts of emotions. Adopting a child - whether it's a baby, toddler or older child - is tough and adopting a baby gives you no guarantees of a smoother life.

I've adopted three babies, who of whom are functioning reasonably normally. My other child has terrible difficulties and his behaviour (no fault of his own) has had a huge impact on the lives of everyone around him.

Maryz Thu 02-Jun-11 18:24:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

waitingtobeamummy Sun 05-Jun-11 13:28:34

Thank you Maryz for your very kond message. I do truly hope that Adoption is something we will be good at, and also something that would suit us. I think of myself as a very practical person and I think this is why ivf is not an option for me. I feel it would potentially let us down and once I have fully come to terms with infertility I would not want to get my hopes up to go back to square one again.
Walesblackbird thank you also for your post. I do fully undestad that this is about the child and not about the parents need, maybe I worded it wrongly and should have said how I feel is that I want to be a mother and for us to be a family rather than that I wanted a child.
You have all helped me see the bigger picture so thank you.

KristinaM Sun 05-Jun-11 16:11:04

Don't worry about wording it wrongly, its ok. most of us here became parents ( in one way or another) because we wanted to, not because we were being charitable. it was about meeting our needs to be a parent

you are right to say that IVF and other assisted conception has the potential to let you down, because it is often unsuccessful. but sadly so is adoption

some families do not make it through the assessment. others are approved but are never matched with a suitable child after waiting for years. many children are placed and the adoption breaks down - this is particularly the case for the adoption of school aged children , where the disruption rate is estimated to be between 30-50%.

although you want to be a mother, some children are just so damaged that they cannot accept being parented and will reject anyone who tries to mother them. Its not about the parents capacity to love but about the child's ability to attach and to tolerate let alone thrive in a " normal" family

in other cases the strain of caring for a special need child means the marriage breaks down, or other children leave the family home

i am not saying this to scare you, but to reinforce the point i made in my earlier post. adoption is not a more reliable way of getting another child. all the things above can and do happen with biological children. but they are much MUCH more common with adopted children because they are often high risk.

adoption is a much MUCH more risky business than IVF. its not a matter of " well as long as we wait on the list long enough we will get a child in the end"

it doesn't work like that. there is no waiting list. you might be one of the lucky ones, as many of us here are. but you need to have some idea of the risks you are taking.

all the adoptive parents on these threads love their kids. but many will admit that loving them has sometimes cost them their marriages, their careers, friends or family or very nearly their sanity. it can be very VERY hard to parent a special needs child

you describe yourself as being a practical person so i hope you do not mind my being so blunt

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