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Money and dreams(21 Posts)
I'm a single parent to a toddler and am looking into adoption (and potentially fostering further down the line).
I've been feeling drawn to this for years but to be frank, am completely skint. To be clear, money is tight and some months there's an overspend if the car breaks for example but I'm not drowning in debt, just running a very tight ship.
Am currently on benefits to support me and my son, don't own my own home (and at my age that feels so, so depressing but that's another story). I was self employed and don't see a problem returning to work when possible but it's mega low income so am busy looking at alternatives.
So my question to adopters is do you think I'm being unreasonable to consider adopting? I could offer a child a safe loving home with a sibling in a beautiful part of the country. But holidays abroad would be a rarity and we'd all be frequenting chazza shops and in hand me downs.
Some days I think surely that's better than a life in care and other days I think a social worker would laugh me out of the office. The result is total inertia at making a decision.
Any advice welcome, thanks xx
I don't think holidays abroad are a necessary part of parenting, a happy, secure home is. I think most whole live month to month and don't have lots of wiggle room for one off emergencies. In your shoes I'd be looking at whether I could afford to take time off/out of business to spend with little one after placement and to cover start up costs etc.
Social Workers do a fairly comprehensive check on your finances. I think if it's tight for you in that area you would need to be able to prove how you would provide for your adopted child.
We had to list all our outgoings, in comings and break down how our disposable income was spent/saved.
I think they won't want to place a child into poverty, so as long as you can prove that your situation wouldn't be that, then you'll be fine. People from all walks of life adopt, you don't have be rolling in it.
However, I would gently suggest that you consider the impact upon you, your son and your potential adopted child of bringing them into a situation where you already struggle in emergencies for cash.
All adopted children are traumatised in some way or other and it will be a really difficult adjustment for all of you without adding financial worries into the mix.
There are also a lot of families waiting for children atm. I wonder whether you would ever be at the top of the list in terms of family finding due to your finances? I say this only because these kids need the best possible chance at making a life and if you're really hard up, could you offer that?
Those points are made without judgment btw, I'm not suggesting you would not be able to offer a loving home, just offering an insight into how competitive family finding is at the moment.
If you make an initial enquiry with your la they should ask you if you have any concerns, you can then talk them through your situation and get their feedback.
I certainly wouldn't advise you to give up on your dream, you just might need to give yourself some time to adjust your situation before you proceed.
I think before taking on another child I would want all my ducks in a row.
I think too it depends on where you are in the country, family finding is a much less competitive process in some places than others and while we did go through financial checks they weren't too onerous.
Talk to the LA about their expectations - I agree financial stress is the last thing you need when adopting but you'll know how much pressure you're currently under.
Proudtrout, just curious but what is the appeal of adoption for you?*
My story is, I had wanted to adopt for ages but wanted a birth child too. So we ended up having DD and then I felt I wanted to do it all again!
We ended up trying for number 2 for ages. Then adopted.
It's worked out very well. There is almost a six year age gap between dd and ds.
Just curious but could you build up your buisoness now in reddiness for a new child, or retrain for work?
Children who have come through the care system do not need foreign holidays, in fact they may not enjoy holidays. But they do need stability. So having to move or downsize etc is not good for them. They also need their own bedroom.
My advice is - don't be put off, keep reading and listening and asking questions if this is what you want. But also find out what is needed, and see if you match what is needed on your area.
Thanks for the support everyone. jellycatspyjamas thanks- I live in quite a privileged area and forget it's not necessarily the norm to take your 4 kids to Disney world every year 😂. Might put me at the bottom of the list locally though!
bitchfromhell that insight is especially useful, aspects there that I hadn't considered (like it being competitive- this makes me quite sad for people desperate for a child but happy that children are given the best possible placement). And you're right that at the moment I'm not in a position to go for it as my son's stable home life comes first.
italiangreyhound my story is I am a single parent to a 2.5 year old and still waiting on yet more surgery to repair the damage done during a horror show birth. Even if Johny Depp dressed as captain jack sparrow arrived, proposed and begged for children I'd be tabling adoption! I would love my son to have a sibling but age wise I don't have much time to date let alone give a relationship time to prove it's stable enough to procreate.
I watched an awful film when I was a teenager called 'no child of mine' and it shattered my world. Had a pretty sheltered upbringing and I just had no idea abuse like that happened. So for most of my adult life there's been a seedling idea about adoption and also a seedling doubt about whether I'm emotionally (and now financially) robust enough.
Irritatingly my home comes with my job (no spare room) so if I want to ever start the process I'd need to find a new job and home (rented) so it'd all be quite a stretch.
My son is young and a delight and I'm just enjoying him for now with a view to hatching a game plan and working towards it for when he starts school.
I am sorry for horrendous birth. Hope you heal well and soon.
The fact you want another child but may not be able to have one, due to medical situation and age, I think actually puts you in a better 'category' than if you could have a bio child but simply wanted to 'rescue' a child.
Social workers are sometimes suspicious of people who just want to rescue or help a child. I think the best reason to adopt is because you want to parent/parent another.
I think you will find children available for adoption but not small babies or toddlers possibly. So your son will need to be at least 2 years older than a child. So if you could adopt a three year old (as I did, at 48) you would be looking for your son to be at the very least 5, maybe a bit bigger.
That gives you at least 2-3 Years to ensure a level of financial stability and get into a three bed property. You need to have an established circle of supporters, which parents tend to have, especially (I would imagine) lone parents.
Good luck, remember to save for a rainy day now, enjoy what you have with your son, and IF Jonny Depp shows up you can incorporate him into your future adoption plans ! Good luck.
Time to get serious about planning, I just find it worrying working towards something which may not work out...I'm a bit of a control freak 😉.
I was in a very similar position, as a single mum with a toddler. I made inquiries to the LA, and decided to wait until a) my toddler was older, and b) my finances were better. Both of which were good decisions. I made the most of the time raising my birth child with a good grounding in empathy, and doing some of the things it's hard to do once a traumatised child lives with you.
I don't think you need a 'motivation to adopt' beyond wanting a child, a lack of sperm, and seeing adoption as what it is- a good way to make a family, albeit one that starts with loss for all involved.
Give yourself time to grieve for the family you'd perhaps originally planned- that of 2 parents, and secure children. It sounds obvious, but adoption as a single parent isn't that, and you need to be ok with that if the children are going to be.
Don't feel you can't adopt a very young child, while most children are in the 18 months-4 bracket, and it can be 'easier' as a single mum to be matched with an older child, your birth child will be viewed as a 'risk', rightly, and it may be easier for them to manage a younger child. There are younger children, even through VAs, and not all with 'significant' problems- although it all depends what you call significant.
I adopted my second child, a baby, when my birth child was 7. It took that long, and I'd glad it did. Spend this time enjoying life with your current child, and preparing for the child you may welcome through adoption, but keep an open mind. But I would wait a few years, until the finances are well sorted. I thought my finances were fine, but adoption leave, and childcare fees, have left me much shorter than I'd envisaged, so I'm glad it didn't happen any sooner.
Proudtrout "Time to get serious about planning, I just find it worrying working towards something which may not work out...I'm a bit of a control freak"
I may be talking out of line here but I really think if you get your three-bed home and your finances in order for a more stable future, as long as you do not sacrifice anything too dear to do it, you will not regret it!
You may not get to adopt a baby or toddler but if you are willing to adopt an older child (our son was almost 4 when he came to us and has settled in really well three and a half years on) you may well be successful. Or you may choose to foster a child/children. Or you may choose to fill your spare room with toys or books or whatever.
You cannot guarantee the result, you can just work towards what you feel is right.
Wise words indeed termoonator - I am most definitely grieving and nursing one very broken heart for the family I thought I was going to have. A degree of my inertia is knowing I have to work through this fully before embarking on a (from what I understand) pretty brutal assessment process- and rightly so, those kids have been through enough without a placement failing. It's just such a painful topic it's taken me a while to talk about it. MN is becoming a real lifeline.
italiangreyhound without boring you with too many details, I don't think you're speaking out of line at all. It's just all a bit of a head mangle. Have spent years working towards my dream type of life and I'm living it and able to share that with my son, think Tom and Barbara in The Good Life (sadly without a Tom!). To move would break my heart but staying and knowing there's no room for a sibling is too.
I'm thinking some counselling would be money well spent tbh.
Am so grateful to you all for taking the time to reply, have some real food for thought and new angles to think about 😊 Xx
Counselling may well help. Please aware you may find what you want but be prepared to look hard. When dd was born I had to leave a job I loved.I now have an even more ideal,and more flexible role, on a really similar organisation.
Can you persuade your landlord to convert the loft/garage/garden I to a third bedroom?
Some good points already made - I'd add to bear in mind that if you do adopt you may find the child can't cope with child care, and needs a high level of time and attention and have all sorts of needs you didn't predict at placement (or the opposite of course, and everything runs smoothly!)
I've gone from a FT senior management NGO job with lots of travel (!) to a part time, local admin job where my employer is willing to be flexible because they get my skills and experience for the cost of little more than a school leaver. That's fine with me - DD is the priority and I can take her to appointments and go to meetings without feeling that my job is at risk (having lost one job because I couldn't give it the time and attention they expected - despite me being clear with them about my constraints at interview, but that's another story!). It pays the bills.
What has allowed me to do this was living in a cheap place so I could pay off most of the mortgage before DD came home. So having a low income is balanced to some extent by minimal living costs. But we don't have holidays (except when my parents pay for us to visit them, they are very generous ). DD does need to feel that we're financially secure, she worries about anything and everything and the slightest mention of not being able to afford something will set her offering to do without birthday presents/ lunch in order not to lose our home (it's nowhere near that bad, but she sees looming disaster everywhere bless her). So financial security is important, rather than wealth as such.
So, I would suggest looking at a 5 year+ plan. What are you willing to sacrifice to be able to adopt? How can you get yourself into a better financial position?
Or would long term fostering 'fit' better?
The older and more independent your son the better, he will be more resilient physically and emotionally. Of course, the best case scenario is they have a good sibling relationship, but you can't count on that.
Allington good points too. Plus fostering is paid, not a lot, but some to cover child's costs.
I'd also say that if you are able to get into a housing group to buy even over a long time this could make life easier long run since one day you will not be paying rent or morguage.
My friend got a flat via a housing association and has gone from one bed flat to two or three bed flat to three bed house. It's taken him years but it means now, with two kids, hey are in a house and paying a mortgage instead of rent. Housing associations are something I do not know anything about but what is interesting is that they help people on different criteria, e.g. maybe ones for single parents. I know some ethnic groups can get help with this. Anyway, if you decide to move, explore all options and think long as well as short term.
Thanks italiangreyhound. Unlikely I could change the current set up as already dodgy from a planning permission point of view, I'm on borrowed time already I think 😂.
And allington yes I've also been whittering away on fostering section as there're many avenues to consider!
I live somewhere beautiful and my son and I are lucky to be here...getting myself into a position where I'd be financially robust enough to support another child means temporarily depriving my son of a lifestyle I believe is the healthiest for a child and potentially means I can't give that life to my son or another child...aaarrrggghhhhh! Round in circles!
Thanks for the input, has definitely given me a jump start and have begun to look at plans in a more realistic way xx
"Round in circles!" there may be other options, think outside the box.
Thanks, yes, good point. Have begun mega brainstorm mission 😊
your determination to solve these puzzles will make you even more of a brilliant mum.
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