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a little advice for a newbie

(29 Posts)
TinkerBlue Sat 15-Nov-14 16:15:37

Hello, I am totally new to these boards - still spending most of my mn time over on conception but would tentatively like to test the adoption waters as it were.

Dh and I have been ttc for 6 years. We are fairly sure ivf is not for us. Having been told I was probably infertile 12 years ago I always assumed that adoption would be on the cards at some point.

We contacted our la last winter and had an initial phone conversation and were sent the forms to fill in. We also attended a fostering open day to explore that option. Armed with relevant info we decided to take our time and give my body one last chance.

Unfortunately it seems to no avail as I am not pregnant and my burning desire for children seems to have well and truly taken over my life!
We are having a final round of fertility tests this month so that we have it clear in our heads exactly where we are with our fertility. Then it is decision time.

My heart tells me that adoption is for me, although I am a complete newbie to the process and the system. Even if we were candidates for ivf I have a morbid fear of miscarriage which almost rules it out.

Could anyone please advise on timescales between ttc and making an adoption application. I read that if you have had fertility treatment you are obliged to wait a year before you can be assessed? Or does this depend on the la or agency? Or type of treatment?

I will be in receipt of our fertility results by the end of this year and feel a need to have a plan of action in place, so that we can get the ball rolling asap.

I'm hoping there are ladies that might have been through similar that can offer their advice? I am reluctant to contact our la again at this stage as I'm aware how precious their time is and want to be making that call to say - here we are, ready to go. Rather than talking almost hypotheticals.

Many thanks in advance.

OP’s posts: |
Barbadosgirl Sat 15-Nov-14 16:44:48


Sorry to hear you have had a tough time. In my experience most agencies ask for a minimum of a six month break between treatment/investigations and starting your adoption journey. They want to see you have grieved for and moved on from the birth children you will not have. The wait can be frustrating but you could spend the time thoroughly investigating agencies to see which one is the right fit, unless you have defo decided to go with your LA.

Welcome to these boards, everyone is very welcoming. X

KristinaM Sat 15-Nov-14 16:47:23

Welcome tinker, and sorry to hear about what you have been through

Short answers -yes it depends on each agency, but most make you wait at least a year

If I were you,I woudl want to find out more about adoption and the types of children available , before ruling out IVF.

Although of course there is no risk of miscarriage with adoption ,there are many stops /starts /delays and upsets in the process . So if your issue with miscarriage is the distress and disappointment ( rather than the pain and bleeding ) , you will face the same in adoption .

Some people come to adoption aftre infertility saying " well at least in adoption you are guarenteed a baby" . It doesn't work like that .

There are no guarantees
There is no " waiting list " that you stay on until you are allocated the next child
You won't get a newborn
It's hard even to get a child under 2
They all have special needs of different types

It's not a more reliable form of IVF. It's totally different . Yes, you may become a parent through either route , but you don't get the same type of child or parenting experience .

Lilka Sat 15-Nov-14 17:09:54

Hello and welcome Tinker

I'm sorry you've been through all this
I would say from my experience, agencies tend to want either 6 months or 1 year, between finishing TTC/investigations and beginning adoption, sometimes that's a blanket rule, other times they will vary it slightly depending on people's individuals circumstances.

I didn't come to adoption through infertility, but I think nearly all of the adopters I've ever spoken to who did go through fertility treatments/investigations, have mostly felt that this 6-12 months break was helpful and a good thing. Adoption is itself a stressful emotional and demanding process, as is TTC/fertility treatments, so having a period of time where you aren't going through that stress is often helpful. Time to recuperate and solidify your thoughts as to what you really want to do next.

You can however use that time to research adoption and also research agencies. I think most of us adopters would recommend you search out all the agencies who will take on adopters living in your area (the government website First4Adoption has an agency search feature), and you can go to as many information evenings/events as you want. All agencies are different, and it can be very helpful to speak to several and find out which one is most enthusiastic about you, and which one you prefer. So that could be a plan of action.

TinkerBlue Sat 15-Nov-14 17:10:23

Many thanks, barbados and kristina. I appreciate the quick responses.

We have done some research (probably not quite enough yet) on adoption agencies and our la. When we contacted our la last time it was a reasonably informed decision as we were encouraged by their ofsted report and some online research we had done. I'd certainly like to spend some more time looking into our options regarding this choice. Are there any books/websites you could recommend?

Regarding the ivf vs adoption conundrum we have researched alot of the preliminaries regarding adoption and are currently satisfied that this option is preferable to assisted conception in our circumstances. Should assisted conception be an option (we have previously been told we aren't strong candidates).

I feel I want to point out that i, in no way, disagree with the principles of ivf. I just don't feel it would be right for me. That said, I realise that adoption is no walk in the park either.

We have as much knowledge on the UK adoption system and the types of children waiting as we can find on the internet. If there are further resources that you can recommend I would be much obliged. I'm well aware that much of the online stuff is bs, hence me posting here grin

Thanks again for responding - 6mths sounds much better than 12!

OP’s posts: |
TinkerBlue Sat 15-Nov-14 17:13:52

X post - Thanks lilka too!

I guess doing some more research is a firm plan!

OP’s posts: |
Jameme Sat 15-Nov-14 17:29:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

UnderTheNameOfSanders Sat 15-Nov-14 18:28:45

Sorry to hear what you've been going through.

We came to adoption after not succeeding with IVF. We first looked into it around 6mnths after we stopped. DH wasn't ready. A year later (so 18months after stopping) we came back to it and proceeded. I was so much more ready by then.

In the 'waiting' time there are a couple of things you could do.
- read up on adoption so you become aware of the issues, and you can start to think what type of child/children you might be interested in
- if you have limited experience with children, try to get some. They seem to need more now than when we were approved a long time ago now. You could do a tentative enquiry to your LA to ask what sort of thing they consider useful.

Oh, and don't be scared off by online boards for adopters like Adoption UK (and another better looking one that I'm not sure I'm allowed to mention). It is the families who are struggling who tend to post most.

We adopted girls over 7 years ago. Today I have been helping DD1 fill out applications for 6th form college. smile

UnderTheNameOfSanders Sat 15-Nov-14 18:30:29

Oh, I forgot to say. Adoption is mentally exhausting, so it is very sensible to have a good break between ttc/fertility tests and kicking off adoption. If you are young enough to be ttc then waiting a year won't make you too old to adopt.

TinkerBlue Sat 15-Nov-14 18:49:26

Thanks again all, the "experience with children" note is definitely of importance. Neither of us work with kids and although we have friends and family with children I think we'd make a better case if we did some volunteering or somesuch.

I am 33, dh is 43 so although I know time is on our side really. We also sometimes feel so ready for a family after all these years that impatience and frustration creeps in. Although I'm sure you've all been there too and have your children now. I suppose I just need to keep the faith and put some hard work into it!

and perhaps book a holiday for January!

OP’s posts: |
UnderTheNameOfSanders Sat 15-Nov-14 19:18:38

Time is definitely on your side. Definitely book a holiday for January!

I was lucky in as much as I was working part time (having dropped from full time while doing IVF), so I volunteered at a pre-school for a morning a week, and an after school club one afternoon. It was invaluable and I believe we wouldn't have been placed with our children without it.

I understand that expectation have increased since we were assessed ~9 years ago (help has it really been that long??) so well worth checking what your LA will want. I think they are more fussy now about both partners having some experience, plus covering preferred age group. Babysitting a friend's child just doesn't cut it any more I don't think.

Jameme Sat 15-Nov-14 19:27:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TinkerBlue Sat 15-Nov-14 20:16:52

Ooh, great - thanks for the link! It's these practical things like volunteering etc that I think I need to start doing in the new year. At least I'll feel like I'm working towards something.

Many thanks again for all the invaluable advice. smile

OP’s posts: |
64x32x24 Sat 15-Nov-14 21:02:27

As to 'plan of action': IMHO the assessment timescales are so short these days that it really, really is important to have been preparing yourselves before you start the process.
Also, if the trend from the last 6 months continues, then adoption agencies are quite likely to be very picky about who they agree to assess, in another 6 months time. So, anything that would make you a strong candidate would be helpful.
So, yes to experience with children; but make sure you get experience with the right age group. Think long and hard about what age range you could be happy with, and inform yourself about the specific issues that come with that age. So that when it comes to it you can tell the SW eg that you have experience with children aged 0-2; and understand about the difficulties they may have despite their young age; and are informed about issues such as FASD/ effects of drugs in utero; and have soul searched and a fairly good idea that you could deal with a certain degree if uncertainty (many issues aren't diagnosed until much older). Rather than just saying 'we'd really like a baby'.
Also, read! As much as you can smile

Good luck!

Italiangreyhound Sun 16-Nov-14 00:25:53

Sorry to hear of all you have been through.

We have a birth dd, and tried to have another for six and a half years. We got in touch with our local agency and were told we had to wait six months. You can use the time very effectively to deal with any 'issues' you need to. I had time to:
Read up on situations about adoption
Get fit (I had weight to lose)
Get child care experience, of whatever experience, help the local authority feel you need

Good luck.

Italiangreyhound Sun 16-Nov-14 00:43:54

Sorry - We have a birth dd, and tried to have another baby/child for six and a half years.

Also, not suggesting you have weight to lose, I had weight to lose. And I did not lose it all, but I kept on trying to get fitter because that was one of the things I knew social services would be interested in.

Can I also say that you need to be sure you are ready to move on from fertility treatment. I think you and your partner need to be on the same page, so lots of talking etc to make sure you are.

Have you had counselling for your infertility? I really think this is useful. We had treatment with donor eggs and had to have specific counselling for this. All the counselling I had was very useful. It just helps to show you are able to move on from things. You do need to be able to do that and it can be hard, we had a false start about 5 and a half years ago when we wanted to start adoption process but I was not ready. we went away and had one last go at IVF with donor eggs, a fresh and then a frozen cycle. The whole process plus the 6 months wait afterwards took us about two years. So we actually started the adoption process about 2 and a half years ago. Anyway, I don't regret it as we adopted our little boy and if we had gone through it years ago we would have him! So although I felt annoyed that I had delayed things by 'needing' one more attempt, which turned into two more attempts because of a frozen cycle, I am now very happy things happened as they did!

Oh and also have a great time going out and doing all the stuff that is harder to do once you are a parent, and do any minor home renovations and also save money! The last one not compatible with the first two!

Italiangreyhound Sun 16-Nov-14 00:48:13

Sorry, am loosing marbles and can't add up! ....we had a false start about 4 and a half years ago ...


Anyway, I don't regret it as we adopted our little boy and if we had gone through it years ago we would not have him!

TinkerBlue Sun 16-Nov-14 08:25:49

Ha ha! Thank you Italiangreyhound like anyone, a couple of lbs wouldn't hurt, also getting fit would be great (I am fairly slim but don't move much!). Dh is a streak!

It's great you say to do all the things you can in preparation now, rather than after the application goes in (I would probably have steamed ahead). One thing I have my concerns about is our dog. She's lovely but shy. I might try and find a course that would enable her to be a petting dog. That would be good for her and also might tie up with the volunteering with children idea.

As for counselling, the simple answer is no, we haven't. So I'll ask my gp when I see her.

Many thanks, it's really kind of you to share your stories and offer advice!

OP’s posts: |
KristinaM Sun 16-Nov-14 12:42:42

A petting dog scheme is a great idea, lots of SWers are funny about dogs . They work from a lot of stereotypes about pets being substitute children etc etc . And they are obsessed with the idea that a child may be allergic to dogs . Which of course many of them are. But many more will get huge benefits from being part of a pet owning family and loving and caring for a pet .

So a petting scheme would show that your dog is healthy, well behaved and well disciplined and safe with children .

But , and it's a big but, before you get caught up in getting yourself approved as adopters, please make sure that you know enough about the minds of children that are available to adopt and that you can see yourself parenting such a child .

Nearly all children are removed because the parents are unable to care for them safely .

And their whole extended families are also unable or unwilling to care for them .

Please think about why that might be .

All children placed for adoption have suffered loss and trauma . They have lost their birth mothers and then at least one, often many more, sets of foster families .

Many have also experienced neglect and abuse. This leaves life long scars. All children are affected to a greater or lesser extent .

Most children also come from families affected by drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence , mental illness , personality disorders and learning difficulties . Some of these things are hereditary . Others have effects in utero .

I know that " getting through" the approval process seems like a big deal . But in the overall scheme of things it's just another box that needs ticked. The child you adopt ( as with the child you give birth to ) will affect your lives and the lives of your whole family for generations to come .

The stuff on adoption UK and other support groups isn't BS. It's just not representative, in the same way that the TTC threads on MN are not representative of couples TTC.

Tinkletwinkle Tue 20-Dec-16 16:59:11

Resurrecting a zombie thread because under a name change after the Jeffrey scandal I am the op.
Almost exactly two years on from my first post here we have just started our adoption journey with our la. We met our (rather lovely) sw this week and all being well will begin stage one in January smile
I've been trawling through the adoption threads here for some time and came across this old thread of mine and wanted to say thanks for the advice that you all gave me, and to see if anyone had any further tips now we're 2 years down the line? smile

exercisejunkie Tue 20-Dec-16 18:10:26

Hi tinklettwinkle,

I'M also at the start of my adoption journey.
Plannning to adopt as a single adopter.
I'be worked with children my whole career, currently as a Nanny and mainly within the SEN sector.
This is something i'be said I want to do for years so it's no surprise to family and friends.

Tinkletwinkle Tue 20-Dec-16 18:16:48

Ooh, congratulations exercisejunkie maybe we can compare notes as we go through the process smile
Being a Nanny will tick a lot of boxes for the assessment I'm sure.

exercisejunkie Tue 20-Dec-16 18:30:03

Thanks! I hope so! If it's helpful, Southwark LA have their stage 1 workbook online, it's useful to see the depth that they go into in the workbooks.

I'll officially start stage 1 on the 12 Jan. Foundation training day. I'be also ordered a couple of books from a recommended reading list they gave us.

donquixotedelamancha Tue 20-Dec-16 18:43:48

Intriguing. What's 'the jeffrey scandal'?

Congrats on going for adoption- good luck.

Tinkletwinkle Tue 20-Dec-16 19:02:59

Jeffrey scandal was the Mumsnet hacker, my old username was on the list of hacked accounts. Thanks for the luck!

We think we'll do all our checks in Jan, then training course over a weekend in Feb. This will delay stage one by a week or two but my annual leave allocation is limited so going to wait for the next weekend dates.

Our la don't post their work book online so you are lucky.

I'm also working through the reading list ATM. The ones I've enjoyed most so far have been the Sally Donovan ones, I really liked her writing style.

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