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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.

Has any one got a minute to talk to me about adoption please, ive got loads of questions.

(15 Posts)
gigglepin Mon 17-Oct-11 15:11:26

We have an 8 year old, and cant have an more children. Trying for years.
We ahve often spoken about adoption, but never seriously.
Now we are seriously considering.
I have had a cursory look on google and have seent hat you need to employ a solicitor. Does this then mean that the cost of adoption is high?
How long on avaerage does it take to adopt?
Do they tell you who you can and cant adopt, age/sex/backgrounds etc or do you get a child who has been waiting the longest?
Do you adopt a child from around your area?
How did you begin the process?
Is it worth it?

We both love children, love being parents and have a very stable, very happy home.We think we could offer a happy life to another child, but dont knwo where to start other than speaking to people who have done it.
So, could you tell me all about it please?
Manyt hanks,
Giggle x

Lin64 Mon 17-Oct-11 15:57:22

Hi I'm Lin, I've just joined this site and was just looking around and read your email my friend adopted a little girl in the last couple of years, if you want I could pass on your email. I'm sure she would be happy to talk to you, if you don't fancy that, not to worry. I hope it goes well for you. We are going to start the process of becoming foster parents in Febuary it fairly simular to the adoption proccess, I've heard its really intense. I'll let you know how we get on

best wishes
Lin

Maryz Mon 17-Oct-11 16:11:58

Hi gigglepin, welcome to Mumsnet.

There are a great bunch of adoptive parents on here who will come along in a little while and give you some good advice. My children are teenagers now, and I'm not in the UK so my advice is very out of date.

Can I ask, are you in the UK? Because if you are you certainly don't need a solicitor. It also doesn't cost anything (apart from time of work, and some documentation). There will be advice on Adoption UK as well.

As to whether it is worth it, in my opinion yes, definitely. I have two adopted children, one is happy being adopted, the other isn't and has been hard work over the years, but I love them both to bits and have never had any regrets about adoption.

Many children available for adoption these days will have had a tough start in life. It is unlikely that you will be able to adopt a baby (more likely toddler upwards), but since you have an 8 year old you have a quite a big window of opportunity to adopt a child who is still quite young, and is enough younger than your child to satisfy the "age-gap" rule - it is preferable that the child who is adopted into a family is at least a couple of years younger than the youngest child in that family. Because of the difficult start the children have, it is possible that they may have SN of some type, and what you feel you are able to cope with will be discussed as part of the assessment process.

As far as time is concerned, most people on her seem to take a year or so from first enquiries to approval, and then maybe another year to be matched with a child.

apprenticemum Mon 17-Oct-11 16:30:45

Hi, after 5 failed IVF attempts my husband and I set out on the adoption route. Having suffered the despair and stresses of IVF, we thought that we could handle the adoption hoops. However, we found the whole process terribly upsetting and although we were approved to adopt a pre-school aged child, our social worker failed to come up with anything in the three years that followed. During that time we felt as though we were in limbo as every decission had to be taken in the knowlege that everything could change at any moment. Eventually we identified two little girls on the national register and the process of applying for them started. We were one of 67 couples being considered and the process took over 6months. When we were one of the final two couples left in the running, we were contacted and asked whether if we chosen, would be prepared to take a newborn sibling along with the girls. We were overjoyed and immediately said yes.
Two weeks later we were informend that the Social Services chose the other couple. No reasons given. We were SHREDDED. By that time I had given up 13 years to trying to have a family and could take no more. Think very carefully before you put your family through the emotional turmoil that adoption can bring and consider that the child coming into your family may be quite emotionally damaged and experienced things that you and I would never wish a child to see. What impact would that have on the child you already have?
I felt that to the authorities I was nothing more than a resource. Other couples in my group found that once they had adopted, they were more or less on your own. All of them were childless and were able to totally focus on the child and cope with demanding behavior.
I hate to be negative and hope that others can give you some positive feedback but feel that you need to know that there is serious emotional fall out down that route.
Perhaps fostering would be a better idea to help you get the lay of the land and see how Social Services work. You would get to see the varied problems that the children experience and how they react to them. Your own child would also get an idea of how it would be to share parents.
It has been 12 years since I closed the adoption chapter but as you can see, it left DEEP scars.

Lilka Mon 17-Oct-11 17:39:09

I have successfully adopted three times - I adopted a 10 year old girl in 1996, then when she was 18, I adopted an 8 year old girl, and finally my DS (DD2's biological brother) arrived when he was 23 months old in 2007

I don't know what sites you were on (maybe an American one), but you don't need a solicitor. It costs almost nothing (you may have to pay the court cost at the end which is somewhere near £100 give or take a bit, but maybe your agency will pay for you)

The process works something like this
1. You contact a local authority or a voluntary agency. Private adoption is illegal, so you have to go through a licensed agency. You can go through your local authority, a neighbouring authority or a voluntary agency such as Barnados, I-adopt, Coram etc. You can contact several who are near you and then make a decision if you aren't sure

2. The time to get approved as a potential parent varies from around 1-2 years. To get approved you go to prep groups, then go through a homestudy. A social worker will conduct thorough interviews with you and your DH. You go through a CRB check and a medical exam as well, and will provide some references to the agency (they specify number and who may be your referee). The interviews and homestudy is very thorough. The point is for you to work out whether adoption is right for you, and what children you could adopt, and for the agency to work out whether you would be suitable for the children they have. It would cover you and your lives, difficult experiences, how you parent your DS, your relationship, your support network and so on. Then you go to an approval panel who vote on whether to approve you or not

As for the children available, you will be the ones who specify an age range, gender and what special needs you can handle. The child you adopt might be from your area, or from the other end of the country entirely. There is an age gap rule of at least two years between your DS and adoptive child. Some agencies have a greater gap of maybe 4 years. The homestudy will be the time you actually fully decide what you could handle, because it gives you the opportunity to examine your feelings, adjust your expectations, and work out which children could fit in your family

There are very few babies available in the UK. It would be a matter of luck getting a young (6-9 months ish) baby, the average age is 3 years old now, I believe

ALL children available are traumatised. Because relinquished babies are so rare, the children available are those who have been removed from their homes because of neglect and abuse. Those removed at birth tend to have been exposed to drugs or have histories of mental illness or learning difficulties in the family. They therefore need to be parented differently to your birth children. They have additional needs be they educational, social, attachment difficulties or physical needs like CP or downs. You have to think very carefully about which children you could parent, and how different childrens needs might affect your DS.

You will see profiles of children, and if you would like to proceed, you get more information then interviews with the childs SW. You aren't assigned a certain child. No one can say how long it will take to find your child, anything from a few weeks to a few years. The children you are open to will affect your wait time. There are barely any babies, lots of kids who are school aged for instance.

In my opinion, adoption is the best thing i've ever done. It's also the most difficult by a very long way. My kids are challenging to parent because of their experiences, which will effect them for life, and they are not like other children. But they are amazing as well. To succeed you need realistic expectations in my opinion, as well as the ability to seek help where necessary, and change your parenting style where necessary (far easier said than done!!). For me, totally worth it smile

Lilka Mon 17-Oct-11 17:44:58

The above only relates to UK adoption. If you are somewhere else the process will be different, and it will be different for overseas adoption as well

hester Mon 17-Oct-11 17:57:57

apprenticemum, that sounds like a devastating experience and I am not suprised you feel scarred by it. Sadly, I have talked to others with similar experiences. I do think there is a culture of disrespect to potential adopters deeply ingrained into social work practice. They justify it by saying the child comes first, but there is no excuse for the lack of professionalism and courtesy that seems to be so common.

I would say, though, that positive experiences are typical too. We adopted a 10 month old baby girl last year. We also have an older birth child. To answer your questions, gigglepin:

- if you are adopting within the UK, legal costs are usually paid by the adoption agency. We have never paid legal fees. Some people are asked to pay medical fees (you need a health check-up) but in our case these were covered by the adoption agency. You don't have to be wealthy to adopt, though you do need to be stable, not in financial crisis.

- Maryz is right about how long it generally takes to adopt. Govt targets are to get you to adoption panel within 8 months. We were slow-tracked becauase we had a young child, but I think we were there within a year, and then adopted within a year after that.

- You will be approved for a particular category of child/ren. In our case it was mixed race girl aged 0-2, but it might also be, for example, one or two siblings aged 1-7. The agreed category is agreed between you and the agency: they generally want people who are prepared to adopt older children, children with particular needs or sibling groups. But you don't have to agree to any of that. It is very important that you are clear about what you can reasonably take on, and don't feel pushed into something you don't want. On the other hand, you need to be realistic about why children become available for adoption: young babies will nearly always have a parental background history of drugs and/or alcohol, mental illness and/or learning disabilities. This means that the child is at increased risk of a range of learning, behavioural and physiological problems that may only become apparent as they age. Older children will have been neglected or abused. You can say, as we did, that you don't feel able to take on a child with known significant special needs, but you have to accept that they will be at higher risk.

Once you have been generally approved to adopt, you can then apply to adopt individual children. There is no automatic allocation of adopter to child: it is up to you and your social worker to find the child/ren and apply. This may be done through your agency: they may have children already on their books that need adopting, and for whom you meet the criteria. Or you can look at one of the websites that features children who need adoption, and contact their social worker. Or you can have your details entered on the national adoption register - this is how we found our daughter.

If you get taken on by your own local authority, they may well place with you a local child. But you could end up adopting from anywhere. Some local authorities will not place children within their area (because of risk of child being spotted by birth family etc). My own local authority wouldn't take us on, so we we went through one a few miles away, then ended up adopting from a third local authority a long way away.

We started the process by ringing round a number of local authorities. You don't have to go with your own local authority, but you probably need to be within a hour or two travelling distance. Equally, you don't have to go with a local authority - there are voluntary sector adoption agencies who do a wonderful job (Barnardos, Coram etc - www.adoptionuk.org has a full list). The key thing is to go with a local authority that wants people like you, and that will be based on their knowledge of the children they have coming up for adoption. In our case, we got turned away by one local authority for not being white enough, then by a voluntary authority for not being black enough, then we wrote off a couple of agencies that were just really inefficient. In the end we went with a local authority that was efficient and welcoming and has a local population of a similar ethnic mix to me and my dp. They were very enthusiastic about us. So don't be put off if the first agency you ring isn't keen on you - listen to their advice and try another. And then another. You really can shop around.

Finally, was it worth it? Well, I'm only a year in - ask me again in a decade or two. But I will say that in our case it has been fantastic. Our new daughter is the most wonderful child and I love her hugely. She and our birth daughter adore her each other and their growing relationship is one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed.

Good luck and I hope this helps.

hester Mon 17-Oct-11 17:58:28

Agh, just seen I have posted just after Lilka. I probably just repeated everything she said!

2old2beamum Mon 17-Oct-11 21:07:26

Have adopted 8 children sadly 3 have died but found trying to adopt children who no one else wants is easier (my cousin has adopted 10 damaged children) Our beautiful children all have learning disability 4 Down syndrome 2 cp and the youngest emmanuel syndrome. I am now 68 and DH is 64 our youngest is 6yrs What I am saying is do not look for the perfect child. He/she will always be perfect to you. Good Luck, all my children are fantastic. xxx

ChooChooWowWow Tue 18-Oct-11 12:44:28

2old2beamum your post has made me teary. What an amazing couple you and your dh are. How wonderful that you and your dc found each other.

op Hester said it all really I will just second that it is so very worth it.

SallyDon Tue 18-Oct-11 13:21:52

We have two children adopted from UK social services. It has been both wonderful and difficult. I write/blog about adoption, infertility and related issues and you can contact me through my blog if you want to. (I'm a mumsnet blogger.)

http://www.sallydonovan.net/

Spero Tue 18-Oct-11 13:28:22

Brill thread. I am applying in Jan once I am settled in my new house. I am 41 and single and work full time - have live in au pair who is lovely, but she probably won't want to say forever.

Sorry for hijack, but would those things work against me?

I have a 6 year old and she would love to be a big sister, I would be hoping to adopt a little girl from 4 years up.

snail1973 Tue 18-Oct-11 13:36:08

I can be a good news story! Adopted DD when she was 10 months (thats how old she was when she moved in with us) having been told all the way through the process there are no babies etc etc.

Then 4 yrs later we applied again (different LA because we moved) and on the day we were approved to adopt another child we were informally told they had a 4 month old baby ready for us. We were so shocked but less than 4 weeks later he moved in with us.

So.... it is a hard process, many children have mental health and/or drug+alcohol issues in their life. However, we have somehow managed to end up with 2 lovely kids who really were babies when they arrived, no real 'issues' with either of them and I would say Go For It!

The assessment process is loooong, draining and very intrusive. And despite whats been in the news at the moment I don't think that part should be speeded up. It takes you quite a long time to get used to some of the keys things about adoption: not biologically yours, mental health/drug issues, contact (has anyone mentioned this, they may have meetings or letters exchanged with birth family each year) etc. But once you get into the adoption mindset it all makes sense.

Good luck xx

snail1973 Tue 18-Oct-11 13:42:31

Spero: I know one person who adopted as a single parent. Her LA said they would only approve her for a school age child as clearly being on her own she would have to go back to work at some point and it would mean she could work while the child was at school. IME SWs are not keen on you adopting a baby/child and then putting them in childcare so you can go back to work.

So, looking at a child 4 yrs plus would fit in with that criteria. Most LAs want a min 2 yr age gap. Some want more, but realistically if your DD is 6 yrs now then there would be more than 2 yrs between them once you were approved anyway as that would probably take at least a year.

As for the au pair, I don't know how they'd view that. I suspect there may be concerns about the transient nature of au pairs and how a child would cope with the changes.

What you should consider is that a child of 4 yrs or more who is being placed for adoption is likely to have suffered some significant trauma in its life. This means you may well be in for a bumpy ride and their behaviour may impact on your DD.

But phone your LAs and ask. And then have a look on the forums of Adoption UK for other peoples experiences.

Good luck

Spero Tue 18-Oct-11 16:46:39

I can't give up work so I know it's got to be a school age child and I know that might mean she's been through a lot. I can't go throu with it unless my daughter is on board - if she is 7/8 at time I am assessed, I assume they will want to talk to her about it as well?

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