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finishing work

(17 Posts)
Char22thom Sat 30-Jul-16 16:48:04

My DH and I are about to start the adoption process (hopefully). We have lots of experience with chn through work and socially, including chn from difficult and traumatic backgrounds. We feel we have lots to offer an AC but our main sticking point is finances. We would really struggle for me to give up work completely for more than 2-3 months. My work is very flexible however and there is a possibility of working just a few hours a day, which would be after my DH gets home from his job. I would be home in time for 6pm, and although would have to work a few more hours in school holidays, my DH doesn't work at all during this time. Is it unlikely we would be considered on this scenario? Everything I've seen/heard suggests 9-12 months minimum off work, and there is no way we could manage anywhere near that. I feel its a real shame if that's the case as we do have lots to offer, and it would be always one of us looking after AC rather than childcare or friends/family. Thank for any advice you can offer x

RatherBeIndoors Sat 30-Jul-16 17:12:06

Have you looked into what paid adoption leave you'd be entitled to? Check at gov.uk for the latest legislation, because it has changed to bring it into line with maternity entitlements.

SWs will usually want one parent to be the (initial) primary caring parent, during the transition and building of relationships - that's why they recommend one parent takes the long period of leave, rather than too much change of arrangements to start with. I can see that you're maybe going to be able to set up consistent routines of splitting the leave - it's likely to be about how solid the SW thinks that plan would be.

I should also say that there is a good chance your adopted child will have disrupted sleep, so trying to work after a broken night and then a day of caring for highly distressed children, can be exhausting beyond belief weary experience

I adopted one child with "no significant concerns" and it was 18 months before DD could cope with me working very part-time, and I am still not back up to previous work level (of 0.8 wte) another year after that. The impact of another move to me, on top of other needs that came out, makes it really tough for DD to handle separation. Some will handle that better, and some worse - ours is just one story. When it became clear a return to work was impossible and the 12m leave had ended, the LA did stump up for a year's adoption allowance. That kept us skint-but-afloat during the second year, but things were very tight.

My meandering point is, it's not that SWs want people who are wealthy, but the SWs know from experience many children cannot cope with one or both parents returning to work / being inconsistently available, until the child has settled more into placement - and that deeper settling can sometimes take years, not months.

These are all things you'll explore with your SW as you go through the process, so you don't need all the answers now, but it's good you're thinking about it. I hope it all goes well for you smile

Char22thom Sat 30-Jul-16 17:41:01

Thank you for your reply, and so quickly. I had rather feared what you said as I suspected that I would need to take large periods of time off. I feel that prob rules us out for adoption, as there is no way we could afford this (please dont think this is due to luxuries or needing large suns of money, we are talking an income from my job of £600 a month maximum) I do support this if it is deemed in chns best interests but seems a real shame as lots of ppl with lots to offer who cant afford to adopt in this current climate x

RatherBeIndoors Sat 30-Jul-16 21:21:11

Sorry if I seemed to leap in with the reply - I just happened to see your post when I was supposed to be doing the child's tea. I totally understand that your financial plans are about getting the mortgage paid, not buying a second yacht - me too, sadly grin

I wouldn't rule yourselves out so early if it's something you're passionate about - everyone has to earn enough to live, and make it work somehow, but that first 12 months can be super-tough on the whole family, without adding in financial pressure. Maybe talk to a SW about how things work in your area, whether it's usual for an adoption allowance to be possible, or whether the route of foster-to-adopt might be an option for you (where for part of the placement you could be eligible for fostering payments)? Or I have known adopters where, a year or so in advance of applying to adopt, one of the them changed careers into a field that had really good adoption leave and pay, so by the time they had been through the whole process and their children were placed, that parent was able to take their full entitlement of paid time at home (and had a flexible return to work).

JustHappy3 Sat 30-Jul-16 21:25:29

It's a shame for you but (in the kindest way possible) it's not for the kids. They need someone who can focus on them for an extended period of time. It's really hard (see my selfpitying post earlier this week). Have you taken into account child benefit, tax credits etc?

PoppyStellar Sat 30-Jul-16 21:32:47

Finances were a big worry for me too. I was a single adopter which made it even harder. To give you some hope (hopefully!) I have had my DD for nearly 4 years now.

We are broke pretty much all of the time and very much live month to month, but I work (flexibly, although for significantly less than I used to earn) and we survive. I also know that as she gets older and more independent I will be able to work more and we can begin to build up some savings.

Finances came up as a major flag / concern / area of interrogation during my assessment. SWs went through my finances and plans for returning to work with a very fine tooth comb. It was intensive scrutiny and I remember crying. A lot. Like you, I felt very disheartened that it seemed as if a lack of money (or in my case a lack of money and no savings) would be what stopped me from adopting.

My SW advised me to think about the following:
1. Age of child I wanted to adopt (toddler age upwards would have some free nursery funding which could give you some time to work)

2. Do some calculations around tax credits and any other benefits you may be entitled to. These might help you to see if it would be possible to take longer off.

3. Ask wider family if they could support you financially - my family are not well off but I borrowed my parents savings (£3k) to support me through adoption leave and have been slowly paying them back ever since. They are lovely and kind hearted people who were happy to help, haven't asked for interest and talk about loaning me the money as an investment in their granddaughter and I know not everyone's family could do this but if you know someone, family or friend, who might be able to help it might be worth asking.

4. Is there any possibility of voluntary redundancy coming up where you work? This happened to a friend of mine who was able to take almost another year off after adoption leave because the company she was working for were doing a VR exercise.

My advice would be to talk to your agency and use their knowledge and experience to reflect in detail on how you could juggle finances to enable one of you to have a longer period of adoption leave.

I also want to second rather's point about disrupted sleep. I have a DD with officially no additional needs but sleep has been a major issue for us. My original plan was to do a few hours work in the evening a couple of days a week 6-9 months after placement. Luckily my very experienced SW said no way would this work. I thought she was being a bit over dramatic at the time but the reality has been that it would have been utterly impossible for me to work in the evenings when my DD was first placed. Even now, nearly 4 years in sleep can be a major issue and I can find myself planning to do some work in the evenings and then finally getting my dinner eaten at 9:30pm and not being in the slightest bit fit to start work.
I realise that might sound a bit doom and gloom and I planned to post to give you a bit of positivity and see that it may be possible despite finances being a worry!

I really hope things work out for you.

Kr1stina Sun 31-Jul-16 09:55:58

I know lots of adopters who Saved up for several years to allow them to take time off. Others moved house to a cheaper area to have a smaller mortgage .

I'm guessing you don't have any children right now so perhaps you could work more hours or get another party time job.

Alternatively, if you are able to parent a child with significant SN there may be an adoption allowance available .

tinks269 Sun 31-Jul-16 19:09:31

My husband and I had a number of reasons for adopting an older child and one of those was financial. We both work with children and so have the summer holidays off with him.
Introductions were just before these and so in total I took a week and a half maternity leave (on top of the 2 mandatory weeks).
When school started back our son went to school and I went back to full time work. My husband took an extra month off to ensure he was settled and could get to the school asap if our son needed him. E then returned to full time work just with slightly changed hours to allow for the school run.
When questioned we just said that we could take time off of needed. Everyone was happy with that. If we had wanted a much younger child then we would have had to have agreed to longer time off.
Good luck

pleasemothermay1 Sun 31-Jul-16 20:04:53

Children whom are over two get 15 hours free so I would look for a flexible nursey

My daughter dose 2 full days and 1 half day

Could you do your work then also on a reduced wage you should get tax credits

And may I say as Somone with 3 children they are pretty much as cheap or expensive as you. Want

I am a sham my husband works but is not that well paid he's a nurse and we have a mortgage to pay are children don't always have what they want but always have what they need were not jetting of to jamica any time soon but we always have a Hoilday in the south of France it's. Cost us 600£ for 5 weeks Hoilday camping we have our own tent and its lovey

My food shop is only £80 so I guess it's just about keeping focused on the pennies

Kr1stina Sun 31-Jul-16 20:37:23

I don't know many adopted children who cope well with 15 HR a week childcare as a toddler . Lots of them can barely cope with school at four or five .

How old were your children when they were placed , mother may I ?

PoppyStellar Sun 31-Jul-16 23:42:41

Kr1stina makes a very good point re 15 hours nursery. My DD had been home for about a year before going to nursery for the free 15 hours. She coped okay with it but this was in no small part due to two excellent teachers who I was very open with about adoption and who had very relevant experience of adoption attachment issues and did lots to support DD. I know from talking to others that this is not necessarily the norm. DD could in no way have coped with 15hrs nursery before this, and even after a year with me and good attachment there were still plenty of issues around separation. I was off work in the end for two years in total. DD couldn't have coped with me working whilst at nursery and I couldn't have coped with the added pressure of a job during what was a pretty stressful time.

I guess the point i'm trying to make is don't let finances put you off without fully exploring all the options with SWs, but do be aware of the impact of separation. It's potentially massive.

Hopefully, with two of you, you will be able to work something out.

Char22thom Mon 01-Aug-16 07:56:17

Thank you for all your replies. I had already looked into all the suggestions made before posting on here, we would qualify for tax credits if DH reduced his hours but TC wouldn't be enough to replace loss of income from him doing that and me leaving work, as we would be about £400 a month short to pay bills, mortgage etc. We are not in a position to move house/downsize as our income has decreased since buying last time and we would no longer get a mortgage large enough to buy anything! With regards to childcare I had already ruled that option out as I realised that would be inappropriate, hence trying to make a plan with little impact, such as me working for 2hrs a day and LO with DH 4-6pm daily at most, we would then be able to still claim tax credits and would have very close to our current income. I guess we will have to ask Sw about that scenario, just don't want to waste anyone's time if its never going to happen I guess I need to accept that too.

Kr1stina Mon 01-Aug-16 08:07:46

You are not wasting anyone's time to ask . Remember that each agency has their own rules about things like this So although one may turn you down, another may be fine .

Of course getting approved is only the first stage. And if your circumstances are a little more complicated it will be harder to find a child. I know it seems unfair but it's a sellers market .

If you want a child for whom there is high demand , they are very very fussy but they are more flexible if you want a hard to place child . For example, if you want a school aged boy or two , they will bite your hand off whether you are working or not .

So basically , the families with the most resources get the easiest to bring up children . And the families with the fewest get the kids who are hardest to raise .

Again it's unfair but that's how it is . If life was fair there would be no adoption

PoppyStellar Mon 01-Aug-16 08:50:00

Please don't be put off asking, as Kr1stina says every agency is different. Do talk to a few, and please know you're not wasting anyone's time by enquiring. It sounds like you have given the financial situation a lot of thought. I wish you the very best of luck.

Rainatnight Mon 01-Aug-16 13:12:28

I agree with definitely asking your agency. Have you decided who you're going with yet? Different local authorities have very different numbers and kinds of children coming through and some may be more relaxed than others.

Our SW said from the off, 'I get it, you need to earn a living'.

The only thing I wonder is, just to make your lives a bit easier, whether there's any possibility of one of you re-training or going for promotion to something slightly more well paid?

pleasemothermay1 Mon 01-Aug-16 13:20:38

poster Kr1stina Sun 31-Jul-16 20:37:23

She was 1 and has taken it like a duck to water its about finding the right nursey

RatherBeIndoors Mon 01-Aug-16 17:12:09

A year after placement, LO started building up to doing 3x2hrs per week at a kind, experienced nursery and it was hard work, but I saw it as a gentle necessary precursor to starting school the following year.

Here we are, after a year of nursery then a year of school, and it has taken ALL the talents of a small, nurturing, highly skilled school to build LO up to coping with 5 mornings per week, so she has become classified as part-time schooled. We hope to gradually increase things next year, but my illusions about the pace of this have been thoroughly removed!

Transitions, and separation, are just enormously difficult for so many (not all) adopted children. The only "childcare" that works for us to cover school holidays is close relatives looking after LO for a couple of hours within our home, while I work from home in a different room. We make it work, but it's intense, and when I'm tired, can be overwhelming.

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