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adoption approval and moving area

(30 Posts)
Melissa1771 Sun 12-Feb-17 09:35:30

Hi all, I was hoping someone could clarify something for me. My husband and I are now at the stage where we are planning to formally approach an adoption agency. The awkward situation with us is that, while my job is permanent, his job will end in 18 months to 2 years time as it is a specific training post. Our house comes with his job and so that would involve a house move too (his job is in a church in case you couldn't guess!)

We raised this at an info evening we attended about a year ago, and were told that they might agree to take us through the process but when it comes to matching they would not recommend a match if we couldn't stay where we were for less than a year. This makes sense to me and I'm not trying to bypass that. However, what I was wondering is whether, if we were approved as adopters, and we then moved within the UK - would that approval transfer with us or would we have to go through the whole process again? I imagine we would need a new home assessment at least. I have tried to find official information about what happens to approved adopters if you move area but haven't found anything useful.

Many thanks!

flapjackfairy Sun 12-Feb-17 14:18:27

You are normally approved by a specific agency or local authority so if you moved out of their jurisdiction you would have to go through process again .
A voluntary agency might be more national if you see what i mean and therefore a better option.
In my experience local authorities dont really work particularly well together and would probably want to do all their own assessments rather than using info from previous paperwork. And dbs checks etc would also need doing again.
Could you not start after your next move as then you would have a period of stability which would be in your favour ?

Melissa1771 Sun 12-Feb-17 14:55:15

Hi flapjack, thank you for your reply. We have considered waiting until our next move and in many ways that makes sense, but it just feels so painful to potentially wait enough 2 years before even starting the process. If that's the only option then I will have to make peace with that, but for now I am hoping we can make some progress forward before we move.

Melissa1771 Sun 12-Feb-17 14:55:42

Sorry...I meant "another" rather than "enough"

Melissa1771 Sun 12-Feb-17 15:28:11

Also, thanks for the tip about the voluntary agencies...having just looked on First4Adoption briefly, some of the ones near us have a very wide geographical coverage so that might be a better option for us than a LA.

flapjackfairy Sun 12-Feb-17 15:34:02

I get you! Waiting is so hard when you want something so badly! Good luck with it all x

Melissa1771 Sun 12-Feb-17 15:43:23

Thank you!

donquixotedelamancha Sun 12-Feb-17 17:55:15

Flapjack has covered a lot of it, the short answer is no, but I do think it's worth investigating some of the following options:

1. It there no chance the Church would agree to a longer placement in your current parish, or a guarantee of somewhere reasonably close?

2. An LA might consider matching for someone they have passed who's now moved to an LA within the same group, but I think it's very unlikely and difficult to make work. A VA (as suggested by flapjack) is a far better plan. Look at the ofsted reports, do some research and choose one which is very good. Standards vary wildly and you need one with the nous to navigate an uncommon situation.

3. How far are you considering moving? If its the same region I think things become more workable. Many VAs cover quite a big area and it would be easy to get approved and then pause matching for a while if a move comes up.

4. If you do get approved it could speed up a second approval significantly; if you get the paperwork transferred and if the second agency are effective. Our second approval took 3 months, but with the same agency.

5. We took 10 months from initial enquiry to placement of DD1, though you'd be very lucky to get it all done and dusted that quick. If you could nail down how long you will be at the current parish, it might be worth just going for it now. If you do that feel free to PM me about how to push things along a little.

Don't worry if you do end up waiting. Its worth spending time researching and getting your head around stuff. Good luck.

Melissa1771 Sun 12-Feb-17 18:52:27

Thanks donquixote for taking the time to reply, I really appreciate it. It's good to hear your experiences. To answer your points in turn (can you tell I'm a solicitor?!):

1. It's really unlikely that he could stay on, because it's a training post. He is a curate/assistant minister. Essentially, he is being paid while training under another vicar but that funding runs out once the training completes and he must move on to a new role, probably to be in charge of a church himself. There are rare exceptions - like if his current boss moved on and my husband replaced him, but I am not expecting that. As for staying close, there's not really a way to guarantee that - he just applies for jobs when his time is near up.

2. Yeah I agree that's a good idea. I am aware that going VA might change the profile of children available for placement with us (i.e. less chance of a younger child) and that is something I am discussing with my husband at the moment.

3. We really have no idea! But I would, all things being equal, prefer not to be too limited geographically, as there are other considerations that would need to be weighed. I have noticed that some VAs cover for instance all of the home counties plus London, which is quite wide. One (Jigsaw) seemingly covers all of England and Wales! But I haven't really researched into them yet...

4. Can you clarify why you needed a second approval with the same agency? Sorry to be thick.

5. That's encouraging to hear it can be that quick - though I am not expecting that.

Thanks again x

donquixotedelamancha Sun 12-Feb-17 19:16:11

@Melissa1771. Most welcome. Teacher here, another anal retentive profession :-)

2. DD1 was 10 months at placement. DD2 was 5 months. You may wait a longer for a baby with a VA then an LA, but I doubt it will induce a 2 year delay. Some VAs do specialise in older kids, so it's another question to ask.

3. Don't use jigsaw. They have one office in buckinghamshire and they are in 'special measures' with ofsted. I think you'd probably be best choosing one with a big reach, and limiting hubby to job searches in that region. Ours covers Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester and are not one of the biggest- so you can get a pretty good range.

4. Second adoption. So they used the same info, but looked at out capacity to adopt again. Similarly, a lot of your info will be the same.

1. + 5. The other solution (if you don't want to limit area) is for you not to uproot once hubby finishes training, and to manage on your salary for a year or so. You are very accomodating to move your life and career anywhere in the UK, perhaps he could wait a little while?

My VA tell people to assume two years; if you are pushy, under 45, comfortably off, have lots of experience with kids and are open to additional needs it's typically a lot quicker, but there is a huge element of pot luck.

Melissa1771 Sun 12-Feb-17 20:11:24

Thanks donquixote. I did just look at Jigsaw's Ofsted report after my last message and no, it doesn't look good...I am also going to look into Adoptionplus and IAC which are home counties and London.

I don't really mind moving - I've not lived anywhere more than 3 years since I was 14, though I'll be ready for the next move to be more long-term. I'd actually be quite happy for his job to take us somewhere more urban than we are now, or nearer my parents, so that's part of my reason for not wanting to be too limited to the local area (home counties). Also, I would want to be the one taking adoption leave and having the option of being a shm for a couple of years.

Thanks for the advice re the two years...that's good to know. =)

fasparent Sun 12-Feb-17 22:54:48

Would sound out Action for children is a roots faith agency largest in UK sure they would be one of the best too advise you and experienced.

Melissa1771 Sun 12-Feb-17 23:56:15

Thanks fasparent. I think we might be just outside their catchment area, but I might contact them anyway

Maximummonkey Mon 13-Feb-17 09:15:43

Once you husband got a job as a vicar, are you planning on staying put ? As the last thing an adopted child needs is to be moving house every three years.

Kr1stina Mon 13-Feb-17 10:28:40

i think that give all your other requirements

- DH must be in a permanent job elsewhere
- neither of you willing to limit search area
- DH unwilling to put his career on hold
- you wishing to take adoption leave and not him

That you need to wait until you are settled in your medium to long teem home.

Agencies will be very reluctant to place a child with you if you are just about to move. What happens if there's a delay in the granting of the adoption order ? I don't need to tell you about legal problems and the court process.

Melissa1771 Mon 13-Feb-17 10:59:30

Kirstina That is a good point about the possibility of delay with the adoption order, I must admit I hadn't though of that.

Maximum yes generally vicars in our denomination stay in role for quite long periods.

Maximummonkey Mon 13-Feb-17 11:57:15

I know you are not really going to want to hear this but I think the best idea is to wait until your husband is in his new job before you apply to the local authority were you will be.
I understand that you really want to get the ball rolling but the assessment is so intrusive that if you have any other stresses I. Your life it can be dreadful to cope.
Good luck in whatever you do.

Kr1stina Mon 13-Feb-17 13:50:53

Can I ask what your plans are longer term? Are you and your husband both going to work part time or just one of you? It's hard to adopt with two busy careers with lots of evening and weekend work and many adopted children don't cope well with childcare .

The other problem you face is that if you are looking for a baby or toddler, you will be competing with families who can offer a lot more time and commitment to a child than you can.

I'm sorry to ask such a tough question, but you will face it sooner or later .

Melissa1771 Mon 13-Feb-17 17:26:48

I don't mind the question, though it seems like it might be moot for a couple more years.

I work 4 days a week for a charity, one of those at home. It's pretty family friendly and flexible. Even so, my intention was to cut down my hours further when I had children and I have purposefully moved into an area of law which is more open to that. If that wasn't possible or was not best for the children then I would be willing to stay at home. As the house is provided with my husband's job that is possible if we are frugal. If we don't have children, then I'll keep at the rate I'm going.

My husband's role is quite family friendly in that many of his hours he sets himself, and his office base can be from home, which I gather from his colleagues has downsides as well as upsides with small children. His colleagues find they can usually be around for tea, bed time etc even if they have to go out later, and in theory can help with school drop offs and pick ups and appointments etc.

Obviously I know life will change, but we're open to that. We have quite a few friends in similar positions who've adopted so we are able to learn from them in the meantime.

Kr1stina Mon 13-Feb-17 19:00:24

That all sounds very positive , I guess your current job is much like working in house? I agree, much more family friendly . I thought your reluctance to move outside a certain geographical area was because you were in a magic circle firm in the SE ( usual reason people say that they " can't " move, by which they mean they can't move with impunity )

Glad to hear DHs proposed job is so flexible too. It sounds like you've already thought through a lot of these things.

Melissa1771 Mon 13-Feb-17 19:56:43

Kr1stina - sadly no, the money would be great! But I think overall I'd prefer my work life balance. That said, it's frustrating in its own way to be in a "family-friendly" role and then not be able to start a family!

I might not have been very clear above in the thread, but the issue for us isn't that we want to limit our geographical area but rather than we can't practically commit to one. I would be quite happy to say to a VA that say covered the home counties (where we live, ish) and London that we will prioritise jobs in that area. That would be true and would be our preference in terms of friends and extended family being accessible and the possibility of me keeping me job part-time. But in practice, I guess like anyone not in a permanent job, you can't guarantee it. At the time my husband is looking for a job he may find that all the suitable posts are up North or in Cornwall for all we know. I don't know whether a VA would be willing to accept us on that basis, knowing that our plans to stay within their area may not come off.

I suppose my hopeful plan had been that we could get through the assessment and approval process while we're here, and then in two years time ish when we move be transferred to another agency to deal with matching after them getting an update on our circumstances and house etc. But I guess that doesn't seem possible. =(

Maximummonkey Tue 14-Feb-17 10:11:51

Your hopeful plan does seem very reasonable, and in a lot of other circumstances would be fine, but when it is social services we are talking about its not so simple.
Basically, a lot of it comes down to finances. If a LA spend the money on training and assessing a couple, they really want to place one of 'their' children with that couple once approved.
I reckon the best thing you can do is read, read read all about adoption, attatchment difficulties. FASD, therapeutic parenting etc and get as much experience of working/volunteering with all ages and abilities of children, you will then be prepared and ready for the assessment once you have moved and settled.

Melissa1771 Tue 14-Feb-17 10:45:01

Thanks Maximum, I think those would be good practical ways to prepare. I have lots of experience with children of all ages but more limited experience of children with complicated needs, so maybe I'll focus on that.

Kr1stina Tue 14-Feb-17 11:52:24

What maxi said. It costs a voluntary agency thousands to recruit, assess and train you and they only get that money back from a LA when a child is placed with you. Most are registered charties and that's how they finance their service.

Some will also have an inter agency agreement for post placements support, espically if the placing agency is some distance away.

So no, they won't agree to approve you in London and then you bugger off to Cumbria. This would be foolish , a waste of the charity's money - I'm sure you know all about they legal responsibilities of charities in this regard.

And Cumbria County Council would presumably then be reluctant to reasses you in case you did the same again to them ( I'm just guessing here) .

So given that it seems that your accommodation is tied to you husband's job (either literally a tied dwelling or at least located in the parish ) , then I can't see a way around waiting until you are settled.

The only alternative would be for him to be more flexible with his career plans, but I can see that's he's not willing to do that.

Best wishes to you both .

Melissa1771 Tue 14-Feb-17 12:13:50

Thanks all - that all makes sense. Except I should clarify - it would make no difference if my husband was more flexible, that's not to issue, as we couldn't live on my salary.

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