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early stages of the adoption process

(43 Posts)
andie123 Sat 04-May-13 20:41:50

My partner and I (we are a female same sex couple) are just at the start of the adoption process. We have had our first visit from a social worker and are just waiting to go on an adoption course. I guess I'm just looking for some advice/support/encouragement. We really don't know what to expect, what kind of questions we'll be asked, so any heads up that anyone has would be welcome. We know that it will be a very intense and testing time, and while our families are very supportive it would be nice to talk to some people who have been through or are going through similar experiences. Hope to hear from some of you soon.

Italiangreyhound Wed 15-May-13 20:04:37

6 Months is not so lon, hang on in there. I am not sure but think any other agency or council would also want you to wait until she/you have explored your DPs adoption story. But others may have advice.

Moomoomie Thu 16-May-13 11:44:24

I know six months seems an eternity when you want to get moving. But, I think the agency have a point. There may be some issues that arise from your dp adoption paperwork that will need thought and time to work through.
Prep course in December sounds good. Once the ball is rolling it will be very quick.
Best wishes.

andie123 Sat 18-May-13 00:52:45

Thanks everyone, this place is so supportive! We've had a bit more time to think about things now and agree that the 6 months is needed. I spoke to our sw today and she reassured me that is was nothing we'd done wrong and it's just a case of dp having sufficient time to deal with whatever issues her own adoption throws up. She actually said she was really impressed by our enthusiasm and all the research we'd done prior to her visit, which was great to hear. We're both so busy at the moment I'm sure the 6 months will fly by!

Moomoomie Sat 18-May-13 14:19:00

The six months will fly by. If you can afford it, treat yourselves to a good holiday, somewhere you would never go with children.
Get all the silly little jobs that need doing at home sorted.
And....... Sleep .... Sleep and sleeeeeeeeeep!
Can you tell I've not had a decent nights sleep in nearly six years? grin

andie123 Sun 19-May-13 20:10:08

6 years?! Wow! How do you cope? That's good advice. We're going to Glastonbury next month, something we wouldn't really want to do with kids. And we're hoping to buy a house in a few months. So we have plenty to keep us busy in the meantime!
I was wondering what view sw take on both parents working full time? I plan to take about 6 months out when we get out child, and dp will take whatever adoption leave is available, but eventually we'll both have to work full time. Hopefully in a couple of years dp will start working part time, as we've both agreed that working the hours she does both the child and herself will miss out. I just don't know if the sw will see this as a problem?

KristinaM Sun 19-May-13 20:33:13

Yes I think you will find that it is a problem. Not with getting approved, but with getting a child placed. Unless one of you is black or you want to adopt a hard to place child, you will always be competeing with couples where one parent is stay at home or at least part time.

Also many adopted child don't settle with substitute carers. They have had so much upheaval alreday in their lives.

Happiestinwellybobs Sun 19-May-13 21:04:51

Our SW put a lot of emphasis on me going back to work part time. Whilst I knew of my rights to request flexible working, I didn't know whether work would agree or whether we could afford it. I did ask the SW change the paperwork to reflect that. I felt there was a lot of importance placed on the issue.

As it was once DD arrived there was no way I could envisage leaving her all week so made the decision to go back on reduced hours.

Italiangreyhound Sun 19-May-13 22:40:19

Andie I think these 6 months (and incidentily we had to wait 6 months after our fertility treatment so it might be six months is a kind of standard 'let the dust settle time'...) could also be a time to explore the 'issue' for you both with regard to work. When I first started this journey getting approved was the big hurdle! Now I see parenting this child (once we are matched with a child!) to be the real hurdle!

As mum to an 8 year old daughter I can certainly say that juggling a job and a child can be hard. My husband is supportive and certainly wants me to work but basically working out who will look after our daughter during school holidays such as inset days, half term, Christmas and Easter holidays and most of all the summer holidays, and when she is ill, has largely fallen to me. Because I work part-time I can juggle stuff around and it works out. I am also there to drop her off and collect her 4 days out of 5. When she was very small and at nursery it was not such a big deal and nursery was VERY flexible, although school is not. I've also found as she has got older that it has become increasingly important to me that she has the chance to go on play dates etc after school and also that we have the chance to do stuff together once school is over.

I totally understand that money can be tight and that is the reason why I work and why many people do, and it might be worth working out how much you will pay in childcare costs etc verses the money you will make in work. If you are thinking of adopting two children then of course your child care costs would be more!

I think it is worth working all this out in terms of finances and logistics before you start the process. You may find as you go along the process that your thoughts on things do change to some degree and when your little one comes home you may again feel things are not necessarily going to go the way you had planned!

I think this 6 months could actually be a great time to save up, work things out and talk things through.

Do you and DP have experience of being around kids? Again this time could be a great time to get some experience of being around kids.

All the very best.... hope you don't mind me suggesting these things. I had lots of stuff worked out in my mind before I became a parent and I must admit as things have gone along there have been a few surprises! wink

andie123 Mon 20-May-13 13:27:20

Thanks everyone. Kristina my partner is mixed race and we are hoping to adopt a mixed race child so I don't know if that will make a difference. We have a lot to think about! Before our sw visited we did sit down and do some calculations, and we could manage on my partner's salary alone, along with the help we'd get from the state. Being reliant on the state is something we've never done though, and it makes us both feel a bit uncomfortable. I have a higher earning potential than my dp, however we both feel I would cope better with the stay at home mum role. Half way into my phd I decided academia wasn't for me, and what I really want to do is be a primary school teacher. I'm going to look into whether or not it's possible to do a pgce part time. Although it's not my main motivation for going into teaching, obviously it would also mean I would have school holidays off to spend with our child.
Italiangreyhound all your suggestions are gratefully received! We have quite a bit of experience of being around kids. My little brother is 12 and he frequently stays with us at weekends and school holidays, and had done since he was about 8 years old. Also my dp has two nephews (aged 4) and a niece aged 7 who we see fairly regularly. We're going to try and get some more experience though, however that might be a bit difficult as only a few of our friends have kids.

KristinaM Mon 20-May-13 22:15:54

Andie, it will make a huge difference being a mixed race also might influence which authority you apply to, as you want to go with one which has children of the " right " ethnicity. I'm not suggesting that you are wishing to only adopt a child of your partners background, but ethnic matching is a really REALLY big deal to SWs. There are other mixed heritage families here who will be able to advise you better.

Devora Mon 20-May-13 23:18:41

Hi Andie, yes having a mixed race partner will be a huge asset to you in the marketplace that is adoption. My partner is black, and frankly it made our journey far easier in all sorts of ways. I doubt women of our age would have been able to adopt a baby under 1 if we were both white. And dual heritage children are the hardest place - so your wait is usually shorter.

I'm not defending this, necessarily. Just stating it as fact. But as Kristina says, do try to make sure you adopt with an agency that has plenty of mixed heritage children on its books.

Kewcumber Tue 21-May-13 10:07:21

ethnic matching is a really REALLY big deal to SWs though the prevailing wind is that they're unlikely to admit this these days! Transracial adoption is now deemed officially to be a Good Thing, will be interesting to see any change in numbers coming through to back that up!

andie123 Tue 21-May-13 11:20:50

How do we go about finding which agencies have lots of mixed race children needing adoption? Just ask them? We live in Liverpool which is quite a diverse city (obviously not on the scale of London) so we were hoping there would be plenty of mixed race children looking for a home, will definitely ask our sw about their agency specifically though. We did tell out sw that we were interested in a mixed race child and she was very happy about this. As far as matching my dp's ethnicity she said it wouldn't matter that that they were exactly the same race, as she said that would be nearly impossible as many children are a mix of several different races. It's extra complicated for us as my dp doesn't yet know what her ethnicity is exactly. She thinks she's Asian and white, but has never really been told explicitly. Obviously that will be cleared up when she gets her file. Her adoptive parents are both white, so I'm guessing back then it didn't really matter about the ethnicity of the child and the parents. It's really sad that there are lots of mixed race children waiting for a family and lots of excellent white families waiting for a child, and just because their ethnicities don't match they can't adopt them.

KristinaM Tue 21-May-13 13:04:14

Just a warning about your partners file-often it doesn't contain a lot of information about the birth father. So if her bio mother was white and her dad black, you might not get a clear answer.

Although the lack of certainty may be distressing for your DP, it might play into your hands on the adoption issue. It's all politics.......

andie123 Sat 25-May-13 13:05:58

Hi everyone, so looks like my dp will be getting her file on Friday, she's just waiting for confirmation regarding the appointment. She's quite nervous about the whole thing and wants me to go with her, but I've made sure she knows if she changes her mind about me being there, even at the last minute I'm absolutely fine with it. I think it's important that she does this whole thing on her terms. I'm really scared for her, but I know this is something she has to do.
Kristina, she's pretty sure it was her birth mum that wasn't white so hopefully it should answer her questions regarding her racial background. She isn't expecting much information regarding her birth father. He apparently died before she was born. From what she has said to me though she isn't really bothered about finding out about him. She's really close to her dad, he's a really amazing person. However her adoptive mum passed away when she was 8, and while she has no desire to replace her mum, I think she really wants to know more about her birth mum.
Fingers crossed it all goes well!

KristinaM Sat 25-May-13 13:55:09

Hope it goes well for her andie. It can be surprisingly emotional, even when you think you are prepared. Sometimes the language in the files can be very upsetting in itself -my file had a heading " how disposed of" which referred to how the baby was " disposed of" ,which made me feel like a used nappy :-(

I also saw a file which used language which blamed a teenaged girl for the breakdown of her parents marriage, and another which discussed what most people would think of as sexual abuse as if it were a consenting relationship between adults. I'm reminded of this when I think how young your Partners birth mother was sad

Lilka Sat 25-May-13 19:35:46

I hope it goes well for your partner Andie

I'm another of the lesbian adopters round here, although I'm single. I'm also in the North, but a couple of hours from you as I'm way up East. And this lot keep meeting up in bloody London! grin <a bit annoyed>

Good luck to you both smile - the 6 months really will go by quickly and then it will be pretty quick from there. As the others said, being a mixed race couple should be helpful to you

Kristina, that's awful sad

andie123 Thu 30-May-13 19:51:27

Kristina, that's an awful use of language. So you were adopted yourself? (Sorry if that's a stupid question, just wasn't sure). We met with my dp's social worker today. They haven't been able to locate her file yet, I think she was disappointed but a bit relieved at the same time. She has got her original birth certificate now though. The father section just had lines through it, so I think you were right about her not finding out much information about her birth dad. Since you have been through it yourself do you have any advice of how I can best support her? I'm really careful not to say anything like I understand what you're going through, because the reality is I don't have a clue. I know it's never black and white but the thought of her birth mum giving her away just makes me really sad because she's such a beautiful person (does that sound silly?). In the last week she's found out bits and pieces from her family about her adoption. She was given up pretty much at birth and was in foster care for two years. When her mum and dad got her she couldn't walk or talk because her foster carer had neglected her so badly. Her mum and dad were actually told that she would probably never walk or talk and that she had special needs, turned out there's was absolutely nothing wrong with her. It broke my heart hearing that, and made me wonder what would have happened had she not ended up with such fantastic, loving parents. My dp hasn't wanted to talk about it with me much since finding all that out, so I'm just trying to be patient and be here for her when she's ready to talk.
Lilka thank you for your kind words. Always great to hear from another lesbian adopter! How many children do you have and what age are they? Where in the NE are you? My dp's family is from Cumbria (not the NE I know but closer than here), we visit quite a bit so maybe next time we're up there we could try and meet up somewhere if you like?

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