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question for any caseworkers please(11 Posts)
Hi Im new to this group but Im looking for answers as feeling a little deflated at the moment and can't find a solid explanation. I apologise in advance for the long post.
So we have tried to start the adoption process on several occasions with our local authority, but keep being knocked back and i dont understand the rational.
I have always wanted to adopt. Although there is no one in my immediate family who is adopted Ive had close friends since i was a teenager who were either adopted themselves or their brothers/ sisters were, or they are adopting themselves; so its felt like something i wanted to do. Ive always wanted biological children too.
My husband has been married before and has two now older teenagers, who Ive helped raise since they were 7&9. He is very open to adoption too.
When we first attended an open evening, 6 years ago, we were told that unless I was prepared to give up work for 12 months then we could not apply as the child needed stability and could not go to nursery. At the time we couldn't afford this much time off work. So we went away, i changed jobs and got myself into a financial position where i could take 12 months of maternity.
We went back 4 years ago, this time we were asked about our desire for biological children. We said we were trying, but nothing was happening but still felt that we had space in our hearts for an adopted child. we were asked to come back when we had either finished our biological family, or we had completed Fertility treatment as we would not be considered until then. We were not told why this was the case, just that biological children had to come first. So we went away confused and disappointed again.
Unfortunately it turns out my DH has issues, so we went for IVF. We have had a decent cycle and lots of frozen embryos made, but unfortunatley non are yet to stick after 3 transfers- thats been the last 18 months. We are slightly fed up of the process and want to take some time out from all the drugs and injections, and to be honest the cost. i called our LA again about adoption/ foster to adopt and keep being told that until we have totally finished fertility treatment they will not consider us. Given we have 8 embryos left and its an average of a 3 month cycle window thats possibly another 2 years, without any breaks.
i guess my question and very long winded way of saying is why?
we are 6 years since we first went to that open evening. i feel like im being told that we can only adopt as a 'last resort' and that's not what i want. i want both and i dont see adoption as a 'fall back' if we cant have our own children (so sorry if that sounds offensive, i cant think how else to word it). it feels, rightly or wrongly, that that is the way the system is setting things up .
There are so many children in care/ waiting for adoption in my LA that i just dont understand it- im not being given any reasoning and im getting frustrated. If IVF never works for us then it never works, if it does it does- i dont understand this approach, or at least this flat no without ever meeting us to discuss it properly? i feel like we are being told no without even getting to know us. there are plenty of places and people who have mixed families of different ages and background, it doesn't mean were going to love them any less.
my best friend lives in the USA, she has 3 bio children and 1 adopted child. they were not in that order and its never been an issue for her.
I get that if we start adoption and are accepted we would need to put IVF on hold to focus on the child- i totally get that. But why cant we adopt before having biological children?
sorry if that was a rant, i just keep thinking after 6 years we could have made made a difference and brought one or two children into our home and family. instead my LA has a tonne of kids in care and not enough fosterers or adopters.
Hi adoption in UK works very differently from the USA.
The majority of children have experienced trauma and neglect and have varying additional needs as part of their recovery from this.
It can be very hard to parent an adopted child and it takes a long time to fully adjust as a family and for attachments to develop- therefore a year off work for 1 parent is recommended.
It can be hard for adopted children and birth children in the same family. There can sometimes be resentment or jealousy ( as with all siblings but it can be more challenging in adoption. Many adopters also have birth children of course and this can work well but there have to be clear age gaps and assessment and matching with adopted children to make it work for everyone.
Being an adoptive parent is hard and going through IVF is hard. In my experience it is best to have finished one journey and had time to recharge from the pressure before beginning the next journey. Adoption uses all your emotional reserves and then some.
It sounds very disheartening for you but in my opinion the right decisions have been made for justifiable reasons. Maybe you could talk this through more with the local authority.
We were told that we had to be fully committed to the process and to have had 6 months between end of fertility process before starting with the adoption process. They won't let you do both at the same time. They don't want to get through part/all of the process for you to then go back to the IVF again.
It does make sense. We gave upon IVF and gave it the 6 months. We were then allowed to start adoption.
We adopted 2 children as a first choice rather than try for biological children. The difference with you is that we were not actively trying to have a baby- we have actually since gone on to have a biological child and this order has worked for us, but during the adoption process we had to accept that biological children may never happen because we chose to adopt first. It certainly would never have been possible for the first couple of years our two older children were with us- there was just too much trauma and attachment issues to work through with them. They (and us!) would never have coped with a pregnancy and then a baby.
It does make sense that you need to be settled on one or the other for now- imagine the impact on an adopted child if you were pregnant just after you brought them home for example.
Not a SW, but I think I can give you a pretty reasonable answer. Quite a bit to break down, so forgive the length.
we were told that unless I was prepared to give up work for 12 months then we could not apply as the child needed stability
This is not true, but it's true-ish. Adopted kids often have greater needs than other and the period after adoption can be very difficult. It's important to have lots of time to bond. I know lots of adopters who have adopted school age children to avoid the need for a full 12 months off, but they are the exception- it's much better if you can.
So we went away, i changed jobs and got myself into a financial position where i could take 12 months of maternity.
Make sure this goes in your PAR. You want to build a narrative of how committed to adoption you are.
i feel like im being told that we can only adopt as a 'last resort'...... i dont see adoption as a 'fall back' if we cant have our own children
Wonderful. We positively chose to adopt (no issues having kids) and it was a real selling point in matching. Don't apologise for wanting to give a child a home- it's the whole point of the process. Not all SW feel like this, some do see it as a last resort. You need to be able to overcome those objections.
i want both
This is your issue. No agency will touch you at the moment and they are right. Two main reasons:
1. The largest cohort of adopters are probably people who've had unsuccessful IVF and for whom adoption is a last resort. Those parents wanted biological kids- they need time to grieve their lost child and to accept that a non biological child is different. Where this doesn't happen properly it leads to big problems later.
People are different but because this is one of the big predictable risks of disruption SW will be very careful about it.
2. If you adopt you may never have biological children. Adoption carries risks. Your child may have such needs that you can't have any more because you need to devote all your energy to them.
Adopters all start off with a rosie image of what it will be like. You'll see lots of threads on here warning of the bad side, not because its all doom (it's brilliant); but because the uncertainty is huge and you have to be able to give unwavering commitment in the face of terrible difficulty.
If I were you, I would.
1. Read the threads on here about hard times. Then have a stiff drink and read similar threads on the Adoption UK forums. IT IS NOT ALL LIKE THAT, but it will give you an idea of how bad it sometimes gets.
2. If you still want to go for it now you need to ditch IVF. Adoption needs to be your only plan and you need to communicate that to the agency. If you are asked: you don't want to have birth children and have actively chosen to adopt (that needs to be true, even if it may one day change).
3. If birth children are important to you, do it now. All that practice will be great when you come to adopt.
4. Why do you keep going to that LA? Have a serious look at all the agencies in your area and find a good fit.
i just keep thinking after 6 years we could have made made a difference
The bureaucracy here is frustrating, but largely necessary. It's all about making sure children get good parents, which unfortunately means that adopters needs come last. Your time has not been waster- everything you've done has been good prep for kids.
Personally I think you sound so committed, you should go for it, but it must be right for you. You have to get your head around that uncertainty and that potential of not having biological children.
I've adopted twice and have two wonderful happy, healthy little gits (sorry they've been awful tonight). it is the best, and hardest, thing I've ever done.
The only thing I would add on dons fab (as usual) response is re. Ditching ivf and telling an agency that adoption is your only plan. My concern here is that you have 8 frozen embryos. I assume you would have great difficulty agreeing to having these destroyed. If you keep them frozen then an agency will probably find this out. They will likely take up reference/info from the IVF clinic (I know ours did). They basically wanted confirmation that we had closed the door to fertility treatment. If they do this they will be told you still have frozen embryos and this will be an issue. I don’t think it is as simple and telling the agency you have moved on. There is absolutely nothing to stop you in the future returning to IVF (i suspect once you have an adopted child placed you won’t want to) but I can’t see them being happy to let you move on while you still have frozen embryos.
Fab advice already. From ss point of view also there is the hypothetical what happens if you go through all training, approval, matching and have child, maybe with additional needs, placed when 3 days later you find you are pregnant? They have to be a thousand percent sure that you wouldn't 'send the child back'. They have to be certain that the child will always come first.... for example as a single adopter I had to state that I will not think about enter ing a relationship for about ten years (not a problem at all.... am not actually sure how single parents find time to date!). My child won't have siblings as really really needs the attention. Ivf (i know only of friends' experiences, adoption was always my furst choice) is emotionally and phtsically draining. So is the adoption process. I don't think one would be in a fit state to function themselves, if doing both let alone a baby/ child from care or possibly both ! Ss need to know you are ok with all of this; show 100% commitment and i am sure they will be happy.
Stupid phone... first, physically
thank you everyone for your replies.
Whilst i do genuinely understand what's being said, and in a lot of instances i do fully agree. i guess i just feel like- and appears to be backed up by what some of you are saying- that SW put everyone in a box and if you don't fit the mould your out. Its frustrating rather than getting to know the individuals - which again i appreciate is a time consideration and they are stretched.
Donquiote, thank you for your breakdown. We keep going to our LA as we want to pursue concurrent planning and our LA only does this directly not through agencies. My LA has one of the highest rates of children in care under 3 in the country so actively pursue concurrency. (We are well aware of they risks that comes with this method of pursuing adoption)
the thing i dont get -and more of you have said it than i expected- is that if IVF/ bio children are ever on the table we should not be considered. I really strongly disagree that it has to be one or the other. Im not naive i know the risks, 6 years is a long time to do research Some of those arguments could be said about adopting a second child, or not adopting and having a second biological child who may have challenges or dont get on; with any children you just never know. My youngest step child (now a late teenager) has aspergers and severe anxiety, so we are used to dealing with the challenges they had growing up and the impacts this had on their older sibling, us and their mother through the last 10 years of co-parenting.
We would never consider destroying our embryos, and if we are lucky enough for it to work out for us, we agreed any remaining embryos we would turn over for adoption via our clinic rather than destroying.
We are a pretty resilient couple, i guess we will continue with IVF until our embryos run out and then see where we go from there.
It just seems such a shame that sw dont get to know us and our circumstances/ strength before deciding we cant possibly manage both.
thank you again for your comments and insight. x
I'm not sure that it's whether you could manage both birth and adopted kids. I think the issue is what your adopted child could manage.
I can feel your frustration, but I think you need to really get your head round the depth of insecurity that a child with attachment issues can have.
Best of luck with your journey.
Great response from donquixotedelamancha
The adopted child needs to be the priority. Your adopted child could have a lot of problems from the BM drinking, neglect etc, so LA's need to know you will focus all your attention on giving that child the best you can. If a birth child came along then your focus wouldn't be 100% on the child you adopted, as naturally you would need to spend more time with a younger baby, and what if the adopted child struggled with that?
What if you adopt, then have a birth child and because they are a birth child you then treat the adopted child differently?
Even your comment of 'I get that if we start adoption and are accepted we would need to put IVF on hold' just shows that you don't get it. You don't put IVF on hold, you stop it, forever.
You also have to grieve for the birth child/children you will never have, which many of us have done, and is why you'd need to wait at least 6 months from the last fertility treatment to start the process. We waited a year.
If you are still going through fertility treatment then you're not in the right head-space to adopt. Even now, after the comments, you still don't understand why you can't do both.
You said adoption isn't a 'fall back' but for many of us it is. We have been through unsuccessful fertility treatments, can't have bio children, and for us the only way we can be parents is to adopt.
The LA's know our yearning for a child, know adoption is our only way to get this, and (rightly or wrongly) wants adopters where they know the adopted child will be the No 1 priority.
The other factor is cost. It costs money to get adopters approved. It costs money to get them matched. I believe (but don't quote me) it's around £20k.
What if you were approved, cost the LA £20k, and then found out you were pregnant so didn't go ahead with adoption? As harsh as it sounds, that cost could have been put towards approving people who can't have children naturally.
Adoption is very very competitive. On our training days there were 12 couples. Only us and another couple were approved. Only we have actually adopted.
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