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

Initial thoughts and questions

(16 Posts)
consideringadoption84 Mon 24-Mar-14 10:56:03

As my username suggests, I've started to think seriously about adoption.

I've just turned 30, single and have no children. Maybe I've seen my birthday as time running out, I'm not sure. But I've also always had the dilemma of really wanting children but not wanting to be pregnant or give birth. I'm also very happy being single and don't especially want a partner. So adoption seems like the ideal solution.

I have niggling doubts that I'm not suitable though. Could anybody give me advice on the following questions?

1) I don't own my own home. I'm currently renting a 3 bed but that is supposed to be temporary until I am found something smaller. I could be moved out of it at very short notice.

2) As I'm single I would obviously need to go back to work full time after adoption leave so I don't want a baby. I teach in a private school with wraparound care. Would it be considered inappropriate to send adoptive children to private school, even though it would be because I work there? The school is not selective and has many children with learning difficulties but there is a limit to the severity of additional needs that the school can cater for.

3) I would prefer to adopt a sibling group of 2-3 rather than one child but I'm afraid of trauma bonds. Are these very common?

4) Due to being single and needing to work full time I don't feel I could cope with really significant disabilities/additional needs (obviously I wouldn't be expecting 'issue free' children). Is it ok to say that or does it rule you out?

5) I have had fairly minor mental health problems in the past. Would that preclude me from adopting?

6) (and this is my biggest worry) ... I have read that 1 in 5 adoptions break down?? Is that true? That statistic terrifies me. I don't want a 20% chance of damaging an already damaged child even further.

7) How do you know when you're ready? Most of my friends are still either childless, pregnant or have under 2s so I wonder if I would be better to wait 3-5 years and see if I still feel the same way. But I don't want it to then take another 5 years to be matched with a child so maybe I should start now in order to complete the process by my mid thirties?

8) I would prefer 2 girls or a mixed group rather than 2 boys but I'm worried my reasons for this are pretty shallow. I have a sister who is my best friend, my Dad died years ago and all my biological relatives are female. I have what are seen as traditionally 'girly' hobbies and interests and would just feel very unconfident about parenting 2 boys. Is that really bad and likely to get me rejected?

Sorry for the epic post and thank you in advance for any help or advice anybody can give.

Meita Mon 24-Mar-14 12:28:32

a lot of your questions are similar to another very recent thread, see here:

One thing I'd say is that 5 years would be an exceptionally long time to wait. The approval process is meant to last no longer than 6 months these days, and then you may be matched 2 days later (very quick) or wait 2 years for your perfect match (very long) but even the 'long' end adds up to only half of your projected 5 years. So keep that in mind when thinking about 'feeling ready'. If you start the process now, you might have a child home with you this time next year.

KristinaM Mon 24-Mar-14 14:13:29

Juts a couple of points . I think your biggest issues might be

Working full time -it's often impossible for a traumatised child to cope with full time school and out of school care

Disruption -the disruption rate for school aged children is much higher than 20% , probably more than 30%

Many adopted children have additional needs .what will you do if your child turns out to have needs that your school cannot deal with?

You are unlikely to be matched with a sibling group of three if you are single. Especially if you are working full time.

Just some thoughts.....

consideringadoption84 Mon 24-Mar-14 14:30:18

Thank you Meita and Kristina for your honesty. I will definitely look for that other thread too.

Sounds like I have a lot more thinking to do - and certainly shouldn't do anything yet if matching can happen in under a year!!

If a child had more needs than my school could cope with then there is a small primary school a 1 minute walk away I could look at.

Do they match single people with sibling pairs? I don't know why but I just feel that 1 parent and 1 child is quite a ... restricted? ... social environment? I think they might need another child to talk to if there was only me at home. Maybe that's silly.

KristinaM Mon 24-Mar-14 15:53:08

A sibling group of two would be possible,but three very unlikely . TBH it's quite a challenge to parent three and work full time even when there are none with special needs.

Would you be able to go part time if your child went to the local primary, or would they still need to be in wrap around care? That's a very tough call for a damaged child.

I think you need to read more about the types of children that are needing adopted these days, then decide if you want to go further with adoption.

Have you thought about doing respite fostering? These are mainly children who are with their birth family or with a permanent foster carer, and need respite on a regular basis. So you might have two sets of children who come one weekend a month each, plus a week in the summer.

Given that time is on your side, you might want to do this for a couple of years first.

I'd recommend that you also check out your other options in terms of having a biological child.

MyFeetAreCold Mon 24-Mar-14 16:00:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Mon 24-Mar-14 16:10:04

I'm a single adopter of 3 (but I adopted them one by one not all at once!)

I don't personally think that social services would like the idea of a single adopter adopting 3 at once. Going from 0-3 children at once is incredibly overwhelming at the best of times, as a singly it would be even harder. I don't personally think that most agencies would be prepared to take the risk, and most sibling groups of 3 are advertised as needing 2 parents by their placing authority

Some single adopters do adopt sibling groups of two though - if that was what you really adopted and social services thought you would cope with that, then that is very achievable

You need to be planning to take 6-12 months off work when your child/children is/are placed

After that, it's fine to have "work full time" as Plan A. You may want to think about what might happen if your child isn't coping with that, and try come up with a Plan B. Most single adopters do work though, many full time. I couldn't work for many years, but I now work part time

It's fine to have your children attending your school as Plan A as well, with the other primary school as Plan B. I would make a point of telling social services that you will make your final choice based on your childs needs. It being a private school is not a problem as long as (and obviously yours isn't) it wasn't a super selective or similar - in that case social services would have said that your expectations are too high I think. But you work in a school that can accomodate children who have some additional needs, so it doesn't matter that that happens to be a private school IMO.

Your housing situation is an issue if you could be told to be moved at any time. Renting is not an issue, it's absolutely fine to rent, but it needs to be more than a stop gap house, it needs to be more long term.

Given that the process is NOT 5 years long (as short as 10 ish months maybe, but it could well be 18 months+), I would suggest that you move into your planned 2 bed house and get settled there first before making enquiries

If you are in a 2 bed house, then you are restricted to sibling groups who are both the same gender, opposite gender siblings can't share. Social services may want you to consider what happens if they can't cope with sharing a room as they get older.

The disruption rate is 2% before finalisation (children have to live with you for some time before it can be made legal in court), and there are no accurate statistics kept about what happens after that. I suspect that if you take ito account the teenage years and teens who have to return to care, the disruption rate is higher - I would probably guess 20% I suppose but I wish we had more to go on than pure guesswork based on our experiences. The majority of adoptions do work out and do not disrupt though

It's fine to say that you will not consider children with serious needs. It depends on age of child you adopt. With a baby, there is more uncertainty and you have much less idea of what their needs in the future will be. You need to have an open mind about certain additional needs and more minor needs, but when it comes to thing like moderate-severe physical disabilities, and already identified significant emotional/behavioural needs etc, it's okay to say 'no'. Social services would be concerned about someone who wanted to say yes to any need, they would think they weren't realistic or seriously thinking about what life would be like with some of these needs.

Hope that helps smile

OneOfOurLilkasIsMissing Mon 24-Mar-14 16:11:10

Third paragraph should say "if that was what you really wanted"

consideringadoption84 Tue 25-Mar-14 00:11:05

Kristina - I don't see how I could manage financially with even one child if I went part time as a lone parent. There's no financial assistance with adoption is there? I mean, if the child/ren couldn't cope with after school club then I would have to manage part time somehow but I'd be interested to hear from single adopters how they can afford it.

The respite fostering is worth looking into and yes, I definitely need to do more reading (I'm obsessed with reading all the profiles on be my parent at the moment!)

re biological children I don't know how I feel about deliberately creating a child to be brought up without a father. Old fashioned of me I know but I think, in my situation, I'd prefer a child who already exists and needs a family.

My feet are cold - thanks for the pointer towards the siblings thread. This board is so interesting!

OneofourLilkas - thank you so much for sharing your story and for all the very useful reassurance/information.

I do suffer from being over impulsive (4 years ago I was working in an orphanage in Brazil and fell so in love with 2 little girls there that I asked about adopting them and actually got part way through a very poorly put together process before someone realised I was actually British and couldn't just take their children home with me!!)
so it is so good to get a reality check and put the brakes on before I do something I regret.

I think this is probably very much a pipe dream and something to keep thinking about for at least 3 years but it's great to be able to get insights early on and, if this does stay as something I want to do, then I can't be too prepared right!?

KristinaM Tue 25-Mar-14 10:16:04

So the whole adoption plan only works if you are able to work full time? So any child/ren you adopt has to be a girl AND school age AND able to cope with full time school ( either in your own school or the local primary ) PLUS wrap around care?

Of course that technically possible. But it limits your options a lot.

One advantage you have is that fewer families are interested in schoolaged children , so there is less competition from families where one parent is around more. Although more families want girls.

You might want to look for ways you could be more flexible. Eg can you reduce your living costs so you could go part time? Do you have family who could care for your child aftre school? Could you change your working patterns ? Can you get promoted /train for a better paid job? What about permanent fostering, which has a fee and an allowance?

KristinaM Tue 25-Mar-14 10:23:48

You asked how many single adoptive parents manage to work part time.
Well there are lots here and I'm sure they will give you some suggestions.

I think the basic answer is that they learned to manage on less money

Some work a lot of overtime /take on an extra job and save hard for several years to build up savings or reduce their mortgage payments and pay off other debts

Some move house to a cheaper area to reduce monthly outgoings

Some arrange flexible working with their employer or move to another job which allows this

Magslee Tue 25-Mar-14 19:51:09

I'd just add a couple of things re finances - some single parents work part-time and can claim tax credits to top up income and also help with childcare - you can also claim tax credits when you are on adoption leave from work (assuming you don't get loads of money from your employer during that time) - the benefits system changes constantly though so you'd need to check nearer the time

You've got time on your side so start paying off debts and saving as much as you can now. Most of the single adopters I know are closer to 40 rather than 30, probably mainly because it takes that long to get in a position where it's possible financially (although I am sure there are younger single adopters too)

Depending on what sort of lifestyle you have, you might find being a single parent is not as expensive - you'll rarely have a chance to go shopping or for evenings out so no expenses there and you can get a lot of kids things second hand. Mind you, my DS is only 3 so he doesn't cost much yet - once he realises that the world contains things like Ipads I guess it's going to change. If you're friends are starting to have kids now make sure they hang onto their stuff so they can pass it on when your time comes.

You might need to think a bit more about the not deliberately creating a child without a father issue - you would be creating a family without a father and you need to be completely happy with that, not just for you but for your child also.

I nearly agreed to a request to take a child home from an orphanage many years ago and eventually ended choosing to adopt later when I had got my life sorted a bit so those impulses can turn out to be right idea wrong time kind of things

Sorry this turned out a bit long, just also wanted to add that I understand the desire for siblings but you may end up deciding 1 is enough - I always thought I'd have a big family but I actually love it being just me and DS and I realise now I actually couldn't have coped with more than one child - all of those things would be explored fully in your assessment anyway so there's no need to have any firm ideas now really.

consideringadoption84 Thu 27-Mar-14 22:45:58

Thank you again for your experiences.

Realistically I now know I shouldn't be taking any action on this for at least 3-4 years. Now that thoughts there though, I'm obsessing about and constantly looking at profiles, blogs and articles. I should try and forget about it for now. Not that there's anything wrong in learning I suppose.

Italiangreyhound Fri 28-Mar-14 21:46:03

consideringadoption84 learning is good and you can save up too. Good luck.

Mummra13 Mon 31-Mar-14 02:50:31

I have to agree with lilka. One is hard enough, two can sometimes be a challenge, and three or more is something I have only had to handle when taking my kids and their friends out to the movies and what not.

Have you thought of fostering with the option of adoption? A sort of test to see if you able to do so.

Kewcumber Mon 31-Mar-14 14:35:48

I think the basic answer is that they learned to manage on less money

Single adopter here.

DS adopted young (11 months), I went back to work quickly (too quickly) 4 days a week. I regret going back as quickly as I did now as I suspect that it may have headed off later problems if I had invested more time up front.

AS it was I ended up giving up work completely when DS started school for a couple of years and have really only gone back about 20 hours a week since. I don;t think he would have coped with school so well if I hadn't been there to pick him up and drop him off. Being part-time also allows me to go on school trips, volunteer at school etc which all reinforces his security. It has also become obvious that no-one else can handle him in the way I can (hopefully thats true of most parents) and as school has found him increasingly difficult to handle I have been called on to be much more present in helping him manage than I even was when he was little.

I was able to take such a long time off for two reasons -

1 - I'm a saver and had a good buffer to rely on (which is now decimated!)
2 - I sold my nice posh house in a nice posh part of town and downsized to a perfectly adequate but not at all posh house in a not at all part of town.

I am a financial shell of a woman!

Don't regret it at all, mind you.

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