Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.
My DH is VERY keen on adopting. This isn't a pipe dream by any means - he has been talking about it for a while.
We have two birth children and to be honest my main concern - well I have multiple concerns actually but will come to those later - is for them, and the potential impact adopting a child would have on them.
Dc2 is still little and so we wouldn't be looking at adopting (if we do decide to) until she starts school which is still 3 and a half years away (she is 9 months.) However I think DH wants to start things when she turns 1 because of the time it takes.
My other concerns are to do with bonding, to do with relationships between the siblings, birth family links and ties (having a brother or sister who is theirs but not the brother or sister of our DC) - the likelihood of special needs or disruptive behaviour.
Any pearls of wisdom?
With regards to the timing, the approval process these days is meant to take no longer than 6 months. And in fact that seems to be working quite well, judging from posts on here. From when you make your first inquiries, it will probably take a couple of months (or more) for you to start assessment; so think about 8 months from you making that call until (all being well) you are approved.
Adoption agencies won't assess/approve you 'now' (or when your BC is 1) with the view of you waiting another year or so after approval until you actually become suitable (due to age of your BC). They will most likely tell you to come back later.
Though you can plan the timing for the approval process, after approval (the matching phase) is very unpredictable. You can be matched within days of approval panel (sometimes a child is identified 'for you' whilst you are still in the assessment phase) - so you need to be 'ready'. But there is also the possibility that you wait a long time - a year or more.
When your youngest BC is still very little, you are VERY limited as to age range of any potential AC. Most agencies require an age gap of at least 2 years. So if you'd start the process when your BC turns 1, she'd be 1.6 or maybe 1.8 by the time you were approved, giving you a potential age range of erm... nothing (hence why no agency is likely to assess you yet). Even if you started the process when your BC turns 2, you'd be limited to an age range of 0-8 months by the time you were approved. That would mean that you probably had to wait a long time for a match (in which time your BC is growing older, so your age range is extending upwards, so you are more likely to find a match - but you could just as well have delayed the start of the process rather than waiting at the end of the approval process). Or you would have to be happy to do concurrency/fostering to adopt. With two BC already, agencies are likely to be very sceptical about you doing concurrency (with good reason). So again, most agencies probably won't assess you when your BC is just 2.
In fact, most agencies will tell you to come back when your youngest is 4. By the time you are approved you will have an age range of 0-2.6 years - still very narrow in adoption terms - but a lot more realistic. Though if you shop around you might find some agencies willing to start assessment a bit earlier (when BC is three).
So long story short, you still have lots of time to think about all those other things!
Just to say that our agency welcomed us with open arms when our bc was 2 and we were approved 8 months later when bc was 3. It has left us only open to children under a year (to date) so we are expecting a fairly long wait.
There are children that age needing adoptive families but the younger they are the less you know about them. Children are in the system for a reason and could be affected by alcohol or substance abuse along with a whole host of other issues that you would be less likely to encounter with a birth child. Some of these can be quite severe so make sure you and your husband understand what you could be signing up for.
The adoption process allows you to stipulate that you could or couldn't cope with certain conditions but the more you rule out the longer it will probably take to find a match. Also, going back to the age issue, many conditions are not evident until a child is older so you have to accept that you could adopt a 'healthy' child only to discover later that there are a lot of extra issues facing you. There are plenty of people on this board who have done exactly that !
I'm not trying to put you off- after all, we made the decision to adopt rather than have another baby too, but you do need to appreciate the potential issues and accept how different it would be to having another bc. You've got plenty of time to mull it all over though!
Our agency would have taken us when DS was just shy of 3 - so technically still 2. We delayed a bit for our own reasons and officially started the process when DS was 3.3 - DD was placed with us before he turned 4.
The approval process is fast these days. The matching process is as long as a piece of string, unfortunately. Though you have to be aware of the possibility that it may take a long time, you can't 'count' on it.
You've got quite a long while to think about it, because agencies are very unlikely to consider you until your youngest child is at least 3, and with many agencies it will be 4, some it will be 5. No agency will take on a couple whose youngest child is 1 because approval doesn't actually take very long (can be ~6 months or a few months more) and they need a 2 year age gap between your youngest child and any new child. Enigma is very unusual IME with being accepted with a younger BC, I rarely hear of other adopters in the same situation.
By the time you do come to apply, agencies will be looking for a couple who are both very committed to adoption, so your DH wanting to start ahead of when you are really ready to committ and feel comfortable with adoption, is also a non starter.
So you have time to think and research as much as possible about what adoption is like now, and what it might mean for you as a family, and hopefully a couple of years and more information will give you more clarity and enable you to work out whether adoption is something that you want.
I would say that concerns about the effect on your existing children are shared by everyone who is adopting after BC, or adopting after adopting. I never stopped having thoughts or concerns about that, I got to a point where I felt it would probably work out and I felt comfortable with going ahead. And my existing kid/s were comfortable with going ahead too, they were older and it was a family decision to adopt again.
What is concering you about birth family ties? Is it your BC's feelings, or you wondering if an AC would love their birth siblings more than their adoptive siblings? My 3 children have birth siblings as well as each other, and they have varying degrees of contact, ranging from nothing to letters, to visiting each other a few times a year, and my DD2 is living with one of her sisters right now. It really depends on the child and their siblings, there's no way to predict how a relationship will turn out. My DS is closest to DD1, and they have no blood connection at all. DS and DD2 are half siblings by birth and they love each other very much but their relationship is fraught with difficulties. DD1 counts all of her siblings as equally her siblings no matter how they became that, on the other hand DS says he only has two siblings, DD1 and DD2, and doesn't count his other birth siblings. IME it's not about a birth or adoptive connection, it's largely about how their personalities fit together! And about growing up together. My 3 all love each other fully as their brother and sisters, regardless of whether they are related by birth. That doesn't mean they get on with each other, but there you go!
I would say that the most children available for adoption have additional needs of some description, which are very often emotional or behavioural needs, because of what they've been through. I think to adopt you should be comfortable with the idea of parenting a child with some additional needs and also with adjusting your parenting style as necessary because of those needs. Some children also have diagnosed special needs. As the others said, you can choose whether or not to go forwards with specific special needs. But there is obviously uncertainty, especially with the youngest children.
Hi farmers, I know from your adoption thread over on AIBU that you have some deep concerns about whether adoption is right for you and your family - and you are right to explore further.
Do you want to share what your main worries are and we can (hopefully) give you some viewpoints?
Thanks for such lovely replies.
Primarily my concerns are the impact on my birth children, the complications of the birth family (particularly siblings.)
I'm not sure I have much to add particularly as I have no birth children.
But yes as others have said you won't be able to start the process in a few months more likely in a couple of years.
I've read your other thread as well and I don't think there's an easy answer for you, because in all honesty you don't really want another child by adoption and trying to reassure yourself about what impact it will have on your existing children is really window dressing! The fact is you don't want to adopt because of the uncertainty involved.
I think that's quite normal and I'm pretty sure if I had two birth children that I would feel exactly the same.
Your bigger problem as I see it is trying to get that through to DH without causing a problem between you (or at least making it a manageable one). The difficulty is that he would expect you to be the stay at home parent of this child and therefore its much easier for him to gloss over the potential problems you might have to deal with.
DS has some issues at school and it was stressful last year for me - of course he is my child now so it doesn't feel any different to anyone else who has a child with additional needs but I can't imagine how difficult it would be to bond with a child with additional needs that in your heart of heart you didn't really want.
I feel for you because I think you are in a very difficult position. My only "pearl of wisdom" is to make DH do all the research into adoption and the issues of children today being adopted from the care system.
Has your DH considered that at present there are more adopters approved for younger children than there are younger children available for adoption?
So by adopting you wouldn't be "saving" a child from not having a family - you would be taking a child away from another family who desperately want that child?
Maybe he is still in the mindset that there are loads pre-school children waiting to be adopted and not enough adopters. Depending on your area - you may even find that SS are not interested in a family who can only consider a very young child (because of the age of your youngest) with no diagnosed special needs and not a sibling group.
In terms of the relationship with birth families - the majority of contact with birth families is via letterbox (normally one letter per year). For siblings, it can be varied - sometimes there is specified contact, but in other cases (my own for example), there isn't any contact at all. However, it's worth factoring into your thinking that birth families don't completely disappear from the picture and there is an expectation that you would facilitate a child's understanding of their background and heritage.
One of the things my dh and I both struggled with was the birth families relationship and we both felt we couldn't deal with direct contact so we didn't progress with any profiles where that was being discussed. It's a strange feeling in some ways - I'm connected with another woman via my son. I don't particularly like her but she is often in my thoughts and emotions.
In terms of impact on your children, you are right to consider carefully. An adopted child may need huge amounts of time and focus - it won't always be a fair distribution of energy to all the children.
Kew has made a really good point - I agree, it's not so much rescuing a very young child from care as they are hugely in demand. It may be worth looking at your local authority's website to see what the % of adoptions where at the various age groups.
I can recommend Sally Donovan book "no matter what" if you wanted to see some of the possible issues that you may face as adopters.
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