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

I dont know how to start...

(10 Posts)
OrangeSquashTallGlass Mon 13-Jul-15 20:26:13

Me and my partner are both female and for a few years have thought about starting a family with a sperm donor. However a year or so ago, when we started looking seriously, started doubting that it was the right thing for us and adoption looked more and more like our path.

So... What do I do? Where do I start?

If I call up my LA will they offer advice or will they want to start organising visits etc straight away? And should I even go through the LA or use an agency instead? We're both in stable jobs (teachers) but would like to become a little more financially secure before we adopt so one of us can stop working for a while. But as the process takes so long should we just start now with the aim of 'being ready' in a year or two?

I just feel incredibly, tremendously uneducated and out of my depth. I guess what I'm trying to say is... help?

JamHoneyMarmite Mon 13-Jul-15 20:42:35

Hello, welcome! Loads of help available on here, no question too small grin

If you call your LA, they will give you a bit of a general picture, and usually ask if you want to come along to an information evening. If you go to one of those, at the end they tend to suggest you go away and also investigate VAs locally, and then choose which you want to go with.

There's no harm in getting more information, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with then taking your time before deciding if you want to register your application and move things forward.

In terms of things taking "so long", have a good think about your preferred timescales. The process to become approved adopters has been hugely expedited and can take around 6 months. In theory, you could be matched to a child soon after approval, although in practice many people are waiting much longer than that. But you never know.

etsybetsy Mon 13-Jul-15 20:52:38

Our first step was contacting our LA to find out when their next informational meeting was. They usually hold them monthly and we learned everything I needed to know at that meeting in order to proceed. Some people check out both LA(s) as well as VA(s) but we were happy with our LA from the start.

We had to complete and send in a number of forms to register our interest which got the ball rolling officially. For us that meant taking a 6 months break before doing so to make sure we were really ready to go for it.

Your finances will be looked at during the (on average) 6 months approval process, so you might want to have them where you want them to be by then. New adoption leave rules came into effect in April and adoption pay is now available (in line with maternity pay) which makes taking time off a lot easier.

I could go into a lot more detail but this should hopefully get you started!

OrangeSquashTallGlass Mon 13-Jul-15 21:16:56

Thank you jam & betsy, an information meeting sounds just the thing.

I'm trying to be sensible and take my time but part of me would be so so happy to rush into the excitement of it all! One-step at a time though, first I'll find out about information evenings.

Big huge thanks!

Devora Mon 13-Jul-15 22:57:07

Lots of information on the new family social website, which is a national charity for lesbian and gay adopters. Too tired to write more now but welcome - it's always nice to get new lesbian adopters here smile

OrangeSquashTallGlass Thu 16-Jul-15 22:20:16

Me again. I've applied to attend a local information evening (one for my city's LA) but have just found out there's also one for my county's LA. Should I go to both? Or am I supposed to pick an LA and stick with it? The stats on First4Adoption say that my county LA has a lot more children waiting than my city, but a lot less families approved and matched than the city. The city had more family approvals and matches than the county but less then half the children waiting. Is one of those sets of stats 'better' in any way?

Also, technically, I'm on the border between two counties so maybe I should look at my neighbouring county too?

And actually if I was approved I wouldn't be matched with a child from the same LA, or would I? So should I be ignoring the stats about how many children are waiting in various LAS? I thought children were adopted from different areas... Or have I got that wrong?

All this thinking of children as statistics makes me feel uncomfortable!

I'm very confused! confused

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Thu 16-Jul-15 22:36:22

You can adopt a child from same LA you are approved in, many people do. However, there are some LA's, I think, who are small and say they'd rather not do this, there will also be some children in an LA where they will specifically look further afield for child protection reasons. We are in a big LA so we were considered for all children in the south while those approved in the south generally get considered for children in North.

Personally I would attend all the information evenings before picking which one (you can only pick one) and then use the stats to help you decide between ones you felt more positive about....IF IT WERE ME.

JamHoneyMarmite Thu 16-Jul-15 22:36:25

If you are approved through an LA, they will be looking to match you against one of "their" waiting children if possible; if that isn't appropriate, they will look more widely, either across a consortium of LAs, or nationally. However, as you may have seen in the news recently, efforts are being made to streamline the process of making sure approved adopters and waiting children can be matched more easily, regardless of area boundaries. Many approved adopters then actively search for their match nationally, using a number of things like Adoption Link, or attending BAAF activity days.

Thinking about the stats you'd been looking at, the city might have less children waiting precisely because they have a higher rate of families approved and matched, so they may just have a higher "throughput" if you see what I mean!

If you live in a small LA, then I think it's worth checking out your neighbouring one as well. You might like the feel of the first one you visit, but it's useful to check out more than one and see which feels like the best fit. Also, each agency will be looking to approve adopters for the children that are waiting locally, so that may affect who they choose to take through the approval process - for example, if all their waiting children are over 3, they might not want to invest time and money training and approving adopters who were fixed on adopting a baby aged under 12 months.

Have I made you more confused or less?!

OrangeSquashTallGlass Thu 16-Jul-15 22:39:44

I'm so glad you guys are here!

Right, I'm going to go to all three.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Thu 16-Jul-15 22:39:53

You sign contracts to stay put with an agency once you register interest to start stage 1 with them, so you should be free to gather info about each before you decide which one smile

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