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Adoption questions?

(7 Posts)
TataClaire Fri 28-Sep-12 22:29:31

Hi, My partner and I are planning to start the adoption process when we have moved house and settled in a new area - within the next year essentially we would hope.

Once and adoption order goes through do you get support - or authorities interfering? Or is it as though they're you're birth children and they just let you get on with it? As the process leading to getting a child, seems to be fairly invasive?

We're new to the process and have questions - for instance regarding contacting ex-partners - who/how many years back do they go - is it only people you've lived with or do they trawl your life to speak to every guy you ever went on a date with?!

Also - we're not the kind of people to have much of a social life, neither of us drink, or smoke, or go to the pub or to festivals etc....we're homebodies and like it that way, though obviously will be happy to take children to school and parties and sports/brownies etc.... So would it go against us not having a network of backup people? We're planning to live near my boyfriend's sister and partner so would this be enough to start off with?

Will they speak to our parents - or everyone that will have an impact on the childs life?

Regarding pets, we have two dogs and a cat, as well as assorted ducks and a couple of horses - would this have a major impact on an application?

Sorry for the barrage of questions, just so excited and so much going on in my head!! smile

Devora Fri 28-Sep-12 22:42:29

Hi TataClaire. Some answers for you:

- when a child first comes to live with you they are still in the care of the social services. You are, in effect, an unpaid foster carer at first. You can't, for example, just take the child out of the country, or get them christened, or get their ears pierced, without LA approval. This stage is to make sure the adoption is going to work. Social workers visit you (initially weekly, then gradually more spaced out) to check you are doing ok and there are regular review meetings.

After about 6 months (was 12 months for us) the court gives a final adoption order and after that your legal status is like any other parent and child. They leave you alone and it is up to you to ask them (or beg them!) if you want any help.

- ex partners: it depends. Generally, they seem to want to talk to anybody you have had a significantly long relationship with. This is because that person might have important information about you (I think there was a terrible case where it turned out an adopter had hurt a child or something - and their ex knew about it but was never asked). Having said that, I had a previous dp who had been with me for a decade, and they never talked to her despite me being happy for them to do so.

- they do seem very keen on you having a support network. This is a bit of an odd one as it seems to me that most parents' support networks are largely made up of other parents, who you meet once you have children, not before. I think your SIL is a good start, and they will want to hear you talking about the importance of making friends with other parents and developing a support network.

- will they speak to your parents? They certainly didn't talk to mine. They will talk to people who are often in your home or will be very much part of a child's life - in my case, this meant my birth child's father (who is very involved). They also will take references - we had to suggest 3 friends who were interviewed about us and what kind of parents we are.

- pets: can work for and against you, I reckon. On the one hand, lots of children love animals. Others may be scared of them (especially dogs) or allergic. Social services will want to be sure that (a) taking care of that many animals doesn't prevent you really being there for your child, and (b) if you adopt a child who turns out to be scared of dogs, or allergic, are you prepared to rehome the dog?

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any other questions - it IS exciting smile

WendyGx Fri 28-Sep-12 22:51:46

Excited is good and congrats on making such an important decision!

I'll try and answer what I have experienced - bearing in mind I'm approved and not yet matched so don't know past this point. please bear in mind agencies differ and SW's differ, so it may not be exactly the same...

I understand that after order goes through we'll be left as if we were birth parents but could have access to support when we need it.

Ex partners - our SW was only interested in those we'd lived with/been married/considered important relations. So its not years its significance.

We too are not super social, but our SW implied our single friends may not be the friends we'd need anyway!! So childless people would not longer be in our circle (we took this with a large pinch!). You've hit the nail on the head - its more about your support network. Being near siblings, parents, friends and having others on tap who can support you will be important. Its great being near some family - but maybe you can look into how you can expand your support network further...other adopters / nursery/kids groups etc?

They did not ask to speak to our parents nor others in the family, only 2 referees, however we asked our SW to speak to my MIL as she had loads of questions.

Pets - it sounds silly but they will 'interview' them. There was a pet assessement form! I guess just checking they are good around children. They may just check you have time and money for everyone and everything. You will disclose your major outgoings and income which will do this.

I really hope this helps and I'm happy to help if I can. I'd recommend you get reading up - some good books by BAAF. Which can help answer questions.
Best wishes!

Lilka Fri 28-Sep-12 23:00:50

Hi and welcome

Don't worry about asking questions, no question is a stupid question

Having pets houldn't hinder you, they will want to know your pets are cared for and immunisations up to date etc, and that they have a calm enough temperament to be happy living with a possible traumatised child. How would the dogs be if child grabs them and squeezes them because they want a hug? Or child pulls tail? And ultimately, they want a reassurance that if the child and the animal couldn't live together you would definitely rehome the animal. On the plus side, pets can be very helpful and healing for traumatised children

Who they speak to depends on the authority, they do different things. They may speak to your mum or sister, especially if you intend them to be core in your support network later

The support network is one of the important things however. Two people wouldn't be enough. This network is the one that provides you and your partner with the emotional support you need, not necessarily people who would provide childcare. If you have just moved in to a new area, they may have some concerns about that - you need a network quite close at hand, and they may want you to build up some support in your new area before going through the adoption process

Ex partners are generally contacted if they are quite recent and significant -eg. lived together, were married, or had a long relationship, or had children together. They wouldn't be interested in someone you had one date with

You also need people to provide you with references - Different LA's/Va's require a different number - somewhere between 3-6 references needed. Only one or two might be family references. Others might be your employer, close friends etc

After the adoption order goes through, if you don't require support, it will be mostly as if they are your birth child. You won't see your SW again. You will probably have a tiny amount contact with the LA which placed the child, through their letterbox service. This is where you write to the childs birth parents (or siblings/grandparents etc) once or twice a year (in most cases) updating them, and they hopefully write back to you. The LA vet the letters and act as an intermediary. If you were having direct contact (visits), you would have more involvement with the post adoption support team

If you do need extra support because of your childs issues- well, honestly it's variable and a post code lottery. An on the ball agency who know what they are doing can be invaluable as can CAHMS, doctors and schools who know what they are doing. However sometimes the post adoption support is lacking (or very bad). In that case, they might be suggesting useless things or refusing to fund things you do need

Hope that was helpful, feel free to ask anything else

Lilka Fri 28-Sep-12 23:04:39

Ooops - took so long writing that Devora and Wendy said it all already!!

Italiangreyhound Sat 29-Sep-12 21:01:56

TataClaire I am also very new to the process so can’t advise you on all your questions (although it looks like the others have done a good job of that). I have a birth child so got a circle of supportive friends through the whole antenatal class thing. I am not sure but adoption preparation may also give some supportive friends.

I wonder if making friends with people with kids will be a help in terms of support in the future when you adopt. It will also give you experience with kids (which you don’t mention in your message, you may have tons, I don’t know).

If you do want to get to know local parents in advance I would recommend doing stuff like toddler group (if you are hoping to adopt a young child) – weekday mornings are not so good if you can’t get away from work but some happen on Saturdays and are kind of aimed at dads (but I am sure all would welcome helpers to set up toys, run crafts or make bacon butties!). If you think it’ll be an older child you adopt then Rainbows, Beavers, Cubs, Brownies, church clubs, environmental or other clubs like maybe gardening etc are all good places to meet other parents (who may be volunteering to help too) and to get experience with the children. You’ll find that often the parents have got kids at different stages so someone you meet helping at Rainbows might also have a younger child and so if you make friends through your joint volunteering and you do adopt a younger child then you’ve got a readymade friend with a young kid. There are courses like Henry, healthy eating course for parents, again a source of getting to know people in a new area. Once you get to the point of looking at adoption social services or an adoption charity could advise you the kind of experience with children that would be most helpful if you need any. I just wanted to mention that experience of helping at a group alongside other parents can also produce some of the people who may be your support network, future babysitters, person to chew their ear off when things are hard etc etc. Sorry if that is overly obvious already.

If it is red herring – IGNORE!

Good luck.

Karaokemamma Sat 13-Oct-12 03:16:30

Hi,

The process is intrusive and frustrating, especially if you get a crap SW, but you have to just swallow it and smile. Stay in touch with your adoption training group they are great support, and saves you moaning at hubbie...lol... Or use the forum.

Its a bit like a lottery, 2 of the couples in my group had a very easy time and were through and matched within 9 months. One couple waited a year post approval, hubbie and I will be waiting 2yrs In November. The wait is the hardest bit (yes really) however it will be worth it.

Also when they send you the completed form before your panel ensure that you read it v closley and check for mistakes.

Have a really nice holiday together too (v important).

If you ever need support - do message me and good luck

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