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Advice on referees and interviews(13 Posts)
We have reached the point of choosing the referees but we are a bit confused as to who to choose. Can someone give us a bit of info regarding their process, who they chose, why, what the format and process was like and what things are good to say and not to say, pls?
Can family be chosen, can you choose friends that are close but you just have not seen regularly for a while?
any info is really appreciated.
I have recently been through the process as an application to be a Special Guardian which is similar to adoption. We had to choose 3 referees quite fast so we chose 2 friends who we had been close to for a number of years, the people who knew us very well and we would turn to in a crisis. We also chose a friend of my partner's family: she knew his family well, and babysat him when he was young and later he babysat her kids.
Crucially they all did jobs that involved doing assessments and filling out forms (jobs in education & healthcare) - other friends of ours would have been intimidated by the forms and the fear of getting it wrong. I think there were 13 questions. Two filled them out on their own and one with me (not sure if she was supposed but there you go). I would have found it hard to fill them out about myself but they had lots of phrases to hand.
I think it really important that the referees know you well enough to have seen you in bad times as well as good as several of the questions are about how you deal with stress, examples of how you have handled difficult situations (I've already forgotten the questions!).
About what to say and what not to say: I reckon it is important that the referees answer honestly and in their own voice if you see what I mean.
Being a referee is a big thing and I bought them big presents afterwards!
Have you seen the questions they will be asked?
I hope this is useful...
Oh - forgot to say - interviews - I asked one if she was willing to be visited mainly because she does home visits for her job so I thought she would find it less intrusive. I steered the sw towards that one by saying she worked from home one day a week so could be visited in office hours. I told the sw the other worked FT and the 3rd lived miles away. In the end the sw didn't visit any of them, don't know how usual that is.
And another thing (sorry, goldfish mind) - our 3 referees were among the few people we had told about our special guardianship application. They had all had in depth conversations with us about it so I reckoned they were the people in our lives best placed to be answer all those questions.
Your SW should give you some guidance.
- someone who had known me for a long time, and who knew us both and had seen us interact with their children
- someone who had known DH for a long time
- couple who knew us both and had see us interact with their children
- 1 family member from each side
Ours sent a questionaire to them all and then interviewed 1 family and 2 other referees. I know the non family were asked 'would you be happy for them to look after your children should the need ever arise'.
I think they want to check things like
- are you stable as a couple
- do they think you will make good parents
Oh, they will want people who live reasonably close or who will travel to see them. The SWs will not pop on a plane to visit your best friend in Australia!
We had to choose 1 family member, which was MIL as she knew we needed to have a family member, and probably would have been put out not to have been asked.
One was a friend of DH who had known him for 20 years. The other was a friend of mine, who I met when she worked with me a few years earlier. Not someone I saw loads of, but she has a great insight into people, wasn't fazed by it and would be honest. All 3 were sent questionnaires and interviewed.
It is a big ask to be a referee and I will be eternally grateful to ours for helping bring DD to us.
Hi 3kings we were told we could have two families members so chose one from my side, who has kids and who has looked after our birth child (DD aged *) and whose kids we had looked after and a parent from other side of the family. We were somewhat limited on parents as my father is no longer alive, my mother is not capable of doing such an interview/form etc and my mother in law did not feel she wanted to (possibly because she might feel a bit shy, not because she has any reservations about us!) so it was left to my dear father-in-law, which was fine. We then picked 4 friends, all people who live locally, who we see fairly often, who we have known for between 4 and 10 years and who all have at least one child. Most of the people were people who have looked after our daughter and whose kids we have either looked after or had contact with. I know that if you do not have birth child that may be harder but I think what is useful is if you have friends who have kids and they have asked you to look after them or babysit then that does show that they trust you with children! The person we picked who we had known the shortest time was a guy, a family man, who we fee quite a lot of and who knows my DH, and we felt it was quite important to have someone who knew DH as well as the people who knew me! (I am more sociable than DH!).
I would suggest asking the social worker for guidance and taking it but if they provide none I would go for:
People you get on well with
Who you have known for quite a while
Who live reasonably close - so they may be/become part of your support network, if they live a long way away they may not be useful for babysitting etc, so if you have one friend who lives far away make sure you have others who do not.
Obviously, ask them first and make sure they are OK about it, give them a chance to say no, if they either feel unable to do it or have their own reasons for not wanting to. I had one friend who is lovely but finds being interviewed very stressful and did not feel able to do it. Even though the interview is not about them, it is about you, if a friend does not feel comfortable might not make for a good interview.
I tried before my friends were interviewed to have at least one good conversation with them about adoption and to explain a bit about what it means and how prepared I was for it. So if they are asked do you think Italian has thought about it and get ready for it etc, they would be able to say so honestly.
see quite a lot and not fee!
PS Don't assume they will not interview people who live far away. My social worker is going on holiday to an area near one of our referees and is interviewing them on her hols! dedication. They might interview or not so referees must be prepared for that.
Had not thought of buying the referees a present!!
1)my mum - cos she'll be a big part of DC's life
2)my much younger brother - ditto but also because he has had the experience of being a child I'd taken care of so I thought that would be a good perspective
3)my next door neighbour/friend - because she sees me everyday and knows me well
4)a friend I worked with in a job with children - because she'd seen me interacting with children with emotional/behavioural needs so could comment on that
5)a friend who is a single adopter - thought SW would be happy with reference from another single adopter whose child I'd looked after
6)a friend whose children I'd cared for a lot when they were small - because she could say she felt happy with my ability to care for DC.
I second not assuming SW will not interview referees who are far away - mine interviewed 3 of my referees in 2 different counties and did a phone interview with my 6th referee who now lives in Africa!
My mum and step dad, they are a big part of dds life and do child care for me when at work.
Mil i thought she might feel a bit left out if we didnt ask her!!
Dh best friend and his wife. He has known Dh since he was was 7! I am good friends with his wife and see her at least once a week. We are god parents to there children. We look after each others children.
Dd best friends parents who we known for 6 years and are quite good friends. Look after each other kids etc. We have been on holiday together.
Our social worker interviewed all of them. The main thing she asked about was our relationship as a couple and with dd. She asked my mum about how we had dealt with the fertility treatment and how we dealt with problems as a couple. They were all asked to describe us. She spoke Dh friends kids about us aswell ! As i looked after one of them quite a lot.
I warned the social worker that Dh friend is quite shy luckily his wife can talk for England.
We chose 2 close friends and my DH sister. Both of our friends live out if the county so our sw agreed to visit our house on the weekend to meet them. We had to make ourselves scarce.
My sil will also be our guardian
great! many thanks for all the info and advice. will seek some more guidance and think about who to suggest. Thank you.
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