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I have absolutely no clue what I am doing. Or how to do it. Or if I ^can^ do anything(68 Posts)
I am clueless and I would be over the moon if a nice person could help.
Basically DHs niece is pregnant. She is in a violent relationship, drugs and alcohol are involved, SS are involved, I think, I don't even know what's going on.
All I know is, her mum, DHs sister came to our house last night with DN and has asked us to "take the baby" when it is born.
She doesn't want the child, her partner doesn't want the child but they do not want SS to take the baby away.
My head is spinning. I mean, surely we can't just go to SS and offer to take this child, can we?
And what if she changes her mind? Or wants to take the baby to stay with her or..oh I just don't know, my head is a fucking mess.
Can someone just explain to me how this works? I am so overwhelmed I don't know where to start.
Don't try and start this. This is for the girl, her partner and their parents to sort out. "She doesn't want the child, her partner doesn't want the child but they do not want SS to take the baby away" - so is the baby going to vanish, or feed itself??
I would keep well away from this. Do you want a[nother] baby in your family? Do you know what you'd be taking on with a possibly drug addicted baby, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and a birth mother who may be unpredictable - turn up and accuse you of taking her baby etc.
I know it's hard to walk away when there's a vulnerable baby involved, but don't be involved in this until the baby is here and with a foster carer.
I could not read and run so just wanted to say stay calm, talk to your DH and see what is possible and what you both wish to do. I am sure a wise person will be along soon to help you out.
Can I ask (you don't need to reply) do you have children? Are you ready to take on a new baby? How do you feel about it?
If social services are already involved I am sure they will be trying to work out what is best for this baby, who can care for them. If your niece cannot then they will look for someone else, a family member is great if they are willing and able to take the baby on and love them and care for them etc. It might be good to think about why your sister-in-law chose you, are there others who could have been asked etc?
You and your DH will need to think and talk about this and obviosuly if social services are already involved then there may be a social worker you can talk to about all this who can explain the situation as it is.
Whatever you choose to do, good luck. Try not to feel too overwhelmed by it all. Just work through each stage of discussions and get as much information as you can. Ultimately whether you can take on a new baby will be your and your DH's choice, and whether your niece is not able to parent the baby will be something decided by her (if she chooses to relinquish the baby) or social services if they feel she cannot parent the baby, so you would not be being asked to make that decision, if that makes sense! BUT I am not yet an adopter (approved and matched but our little one not yet moved in yet) so I am sure more experienced voices will be along soon.
Sorry PeterParkerSays when I started typing your reply had not come in so when I said I am sure a wise person will be along soon to help you out I had not yet seen your reply.
That's the thing peter I don't anything.
Do I want another baby in the house? Well, tbh I had never even thought about it until now. But, can I just walk away?
I don't know.
I don't even know to what extent SS are involved, I don't know if they are going to remove the baby when it's born, I hope to god that they are. I know that sounds horrible but the relationship is horrific, she is still using drugs at 4.5 months pregnant, so I don't see why she would stop after the baby is born.
Is there any way i can find out from SS what will happen? I don't suppose there is..I just don't know what to do.
Yes we have 3 DCs, 16,15 and 10.
And yes, we would be willing to open our home to this baby. But I don't know what to do. I know I keep saying that but I don't.
How do I find out if there is a SW involved?
I know some kinship adopters
It is certainly doable if you want to and SS assess her as an unsuitable parent
It can be done legally so you would have parental rights
SS usually look to the family before putting the child into the care system
Would you want to take the baby?
There probably isn't a SW involved yet. You can apply for family fostering. Social Services will be in charge and control contact etc.
Just scrolled up and saw she is using at 4.5 months. Makes this urgent. Can you go to your GP? They will know what to do. The procedures etc. Can you ask other family members about SS involvement?
Can you ask your sister in law if you can speak to someone from social services, if they are already involved and your sister-in-law is asking you to be involved, you should be able to talk to someone official about the situation.
Try and stay calm; whatever you decide to do is your choice, you should not be pressurised by anyone into taking the baby. You probably have several weeks/months to talk and think this through so you do need know what is involved.
You have not yet mentioned your dh and what his feelings are.
Ultimately, if you would be the one doing the bulk of the care you do need to feel able to do this, if you wish to. It is a massive thing to consider. If it is right for you, then you may feel able to do it. Remember that there are people out there (just read these boards), prospective adopters, who are looking for children and babies to adopt. So you do not need to feel that you are the only hope for this baby, if that makes sense.
Do social services have a counsellor or adviser you can speak to about all this?
Stay calm. Good luck with a very big decision and I hope you will get all the information and support available before making any big decisions.
I have to go now but will look in later.
I think I just need to know where to start.
Getting information out of DH sister or niece is incredibly difficult and I don't know what's going on.
Where do I start? Without actually saying yes, no problem, we will adopt your child, where do I start to find out what is happening right now?
I mean, don't you have to be approved to be adoptive parents? God, you can see how clueless I am, can't you?
I just need...I need to know the truth of what's going on.
When I say... "You probably have several weeks/months to talk and think this through so you do need know what is involved." I am meaning that you may have time to consider making a decision but I do not know who else is involved or how long you would be given to make this decision so best to check with social services the time frame, how long you would have to make a decision like this. Please ignore my "You probably have several weeks/months to talk and think this through so you do need know what is involved." Because I really do not know (I was just thinking little one is not born yet). Apologies if that comment was misleading!
So, if there is SS involvement, which I am led to believe there is, should I ask DN for the name of her social worker and speak to them?
I think I'm in full flight panic mode and need to calm down.
It's a knee jerk reaction to say yes of course we will do it. Because, it's a vulnerable baby who needs help.
I need to think practically. And find out what it all involves etc etc
Do they have a social worker and can you get in contact with them directly? That's a good start.
And thank you to everyone that has taken the time to reply, I really appreciate it.
This baby is likely to be damaged by the drug use. So far far harder to care for than your babies were. Why is the niece's mum and dad not taking the baby?
You would have to be assessed. SS will happily talk you through the process. If DN is asking you to take her baby you have every right to ask her who her SW is. Clarify that you want her cooperation. If she won't do cooperate now, she never will and you are heading for a road of heartbreak.
If you decide to get involved then do it through the social workers. Perhaps they would rather the baby stay in the family rather than go to be fostered by strangers. But think carefully before you commit yourself.
The best place to start is phoning your local duty team (look on your council website to find them). Explain what you have said on here and ask if it would be possible to speak to your DN's social worker. If she's in a dependancy situation and pregnant she will have a social worker. Then go from there.
You can't do this as a casual family arrangement - children's services will take control of the situation. They prefer family adoptions but they won't just give you the baby - you'll have to go through the adoption panels.
May I ask why DN is not having a termination as not she, not the father, no-one wants the baby?
Tantrums, you need MrsDeVere, she knows about this.
The point is, no-one has to decide anything now. Nothing will happen until the baby is born but in the event it is taken into care they will look at placing it with family first. If you feel it's something you might consider getting involved with, you can contact social services to state that you should be considered at that time.
But you need to do it properly. Don't, under any circumstances, agree to an informal "fostering" arrangement. Either go the whole hog and adopt the child, or step away and let him or her to to another family who can.
In my experience, the very worst thing that can happen to a child (even worse than being brought up by abusive/incapable parents) is being moved from such parents, to a place of safety, then handed back, and becoming a pawn between two lives. I've seen it happen (between parents and grandparents in the two cases I know) and it's just awful for everyone.
And don't do it as a knee-jerk reaction. This baby will more than likely (sadly) have more problems than most children, and being pressurised into parenting such a child has wider issues.
Quite apart from the fact that you will have some difficulty, even if you legally adopt, protecting the child from wider family because they will know who and where you are. You need to consider what will happen when this child is a teenager and finds out who their birth parents are, and can you deal with the issues that may arise then? Or whether you will have to deal with the father's family, who may not want you to take the baby.
It's a lot more complicated than appears on the surface. It isn't at all the same as, say, taking in a baby when the parents have died - there will be ongoing issues of contact and arguments about who has parental responsibility.
I'm not (of course) saying "don't do it", but I am saying "think very, very carefully".
Thank you everyone.
I have to go out. Ill be back tomorrow to read everything
Its difficult to see perhaps but just because you know/are related to this baby does not make you any more responsible to her or make her needs any greater than another baby in a similar situation.
Take a step back and give yourself some time to think. Don't let the emotions of others drive your decision making.
Get more information from SS if you can about the process of what is involved, but I would seriously recommend taking some time out/away from the situation for a bit first.
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