Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
My partner and I are looking into adoption for a couple of years time. I’m 32 and he’s 30, we have been together 3 years and prior to that I was married and in that relationship for 9 years...
The reason we are considering adoption over biological children may sound strange, but I believe that it is vitally important to care for children that have no one and I don’t believe in increasing the population of the planet myself (ethical and climate change reasons).
I’ve had some information packs sent from various organisations about adoption, the recurring theme seems to be having a close family network. My mother died when I was 30 and my father was killed in an accident when I was 5, I relocated to the Midlands 4 years ago and my only remaining family are dotted all over the U.K. I’m close to my younger brother, but he’s in recovery from being an alcoholic, he attends therapy and group sessions throughout the week and holds a full time job, so he’s not off the rails. My partners family live 200 miles away so are also not close by, he has a good relationship with them but suffered past abuse from his mother as a child, like I did. Both our mothers were abusive alcoholics.
We have a very small number of friends locally, 3-4. Most of our closest friends live back in the South where we moved up from.
Does anyone know if any of these things count as blockers to the application process? Does having lots of close friends and family improve chances?
We are financially stable, own our own home with no mortgage, both hold full time jobs but can afford to work part time or flexibly for care of a child. We’ve both had counselling in the past for MH but no current on going issues.
We are planning on going to an open evening info session to find out more but there isn’t one near us until July.
Any info or tips appreciated from anyone who has been through or is going through the process!
Hi Im a single adopter in the midlands , my family live about 150 miles away in the North west,so whilst very supportive not much good for school pickups or babysitting. I don't have too many friends locally either and some of my closest friends live way down in the south west.
I did have some issues over this with my first social worker and I did end up moving agency, but this wasnt the only issue. My second SW/agency were happy with my support.
But if you are worried, if you arent thinking about adopting for a couple of years you have time to develop your support.
You probably have more than you think anyway - think laterally, support can come from surprising places. What about neighbours, work colleagues? If you can find a local group for prospective adopters - instant support. Obviously real friendships take time to develop but if you can show you are open to new friends and finding support when you need it you should be ok. Your friendships change when you have children anyway. Some of my closest support comes from a grouo of mums whose children all have ASD/AdHD, I met them because my son has ASD, but of course I didnt know I would have a son with ASD. I also know dozens of adopters so have way more friends than I had pre adoption.
Think about what support your friends can offer. The local ones can be helpful with practical stuff but emotional support is just as important and Friends who don't live locally can still give you that.
Often missed is Knowledge of Support available in your Local area and not understanding how systems work, for children who may need it, so a little prior ground work may be of help.
Availability of play therapy., Understanding of Local Community SEND and referral's., lots of areas you could explore, support groups, baby massage. Do not have too disclose all this but may be helpful if services be needed in the future. Wish you all the best
It wasn’t an issue with our Va.support networks can mean having someone at the end of the phone/Skype/FaceTime as well as physically there.
We had moved to a new area knowing no-one immediately so was asked to consider things like what to do in an emergency could be child/children for a few hours extending to a few days.
We also chose to adopt rather than biological as a first choice which actually was more of a problem for our local authority. The VA we went with were more open but this was asked throughout and at panel so be prepared to repeat yourself. It obviously wasn’t too much of an issue as we our 2Lo’s moved in with us 12months on from our open evening. X
Also if you don’t find open evenings, you can always call the agencies and speak to the duty social worker
Thanks everyone for the replies, all really helpful. I'll definitely do some more research and get along to an event with my partner and speak to some of the agencies in person.
I haven't spoken to my sister for 8 years, my OH's sister is in Scotland and his other sister is in Wales (along with his parents). This wasn't an issue.
I think you will be quizzed more on your Mother and Brother, and the alcoholism/abuse you both suffered as children. Just to prepare you for this as it will be something they go into in detail.
The reason we are considering adoption over biological children may sound strange
Doesn't sound at all strange. I felt similar. Making a positive choice to adopt was a selling point about us. Emphasise your desire to provide a home for a child and de-emphasise your desire to reduce the surplus population (sharing motivation with Thanos is underappreciated).
Not all agencies are equal- dead right PP about speaking to them and being a bit picky. An agency which sees this as a negative is perhaps not for you.
Does anyone know if any of these things count as blockers to the application process?
Hard barriers, no- but they will be hurdles. To minimise the wait in matching you want to be as attractive to Children's SWs as possible. Perceived support network is a significant part of this. The time before you apply would be well spent getting as much experience with kids as possible and following Ted's advice about building support.
I would note that friends who could really provide practical support when the kids are being demons are rare.
We’ve both had counselling in the past for MH but no current on going issues.
Make this another selling point- you've experienced hard times before and know how to deal with it; you know how to ask for help and take practical steps.
There is a recent post by someone (in the last week) who was recently rejected as their partners family member was an alcoholic who they had only sporadic contact with so I'd be prepared for some tough questions about your brother and also parents but good luck and hopefully everything will come good x
Thanks for the responses. Regarding my brother, he's only 28, holds a stable full time job, is in a relationship and has his own place and financial stability. His mental health should really hold no bearing over my ability to care for children. I'm very close to my brother and I support him 100%, he goes to counselling 3 times a week and has no problem with alcohol since he went for treatment. The only things he suffers with really is depression which he has treatment for and now manages. I would imagine there's no real blocking issue there as he's not drinking anymore, he has no criminal record and he's a stable person, he was high functioning alcoholic so no one honestly really knew until one day he asked for help with it.
My partner used to be a nursery practitioner and worked with kids aged 1-5 for years so he's experienced with caring for children. My best friend had a baby as a teenager so I helped her a lot growing up, I also have a few family members with young children that I interact with when we see each other. So I think we have some experience in that side to list.
Even though your brother isn't currently drinking he will always be an alcoholic, and that will be something the SW's will investigate further, and at length. Along with your parents alcohol and abuse history.
Even though this doesn't have a bearing on how you would bring up children, if you are in contact with these people it effects you and your child. They will also want to go into detail about how you dealt with things when they happened, and also now.
They may also ask if you would be prepared to cut contact with your brother if he does start drinking again. They will push your buttons and see how you react, they will want you to put the child first and see if you would in that situation.
Regarding childcare experience, they will probably want to see recent experience, and not with family members or friends children. That's what they told me anyway. I had to volunteer at a school one afternoon a week.
Interesting, I guess when I can ask these questions I will. I would never consider cutting contact with my only living sibling, that's insane, it would put a huge strain on his own mental health. If he was ever to have relapsed, I presume the more appropriate response they look for is that you won't be bringing the child to go visit an addict, which I would not, but I would maintain my own independent contact which I presume is fine? Otherwise the adoption process doesn't sound very suited to the modern world and realities in which we live.
If you work full time how is it possible to volunteer at a school? Did you have to agree this with your employer?
There are other options than volunteering in a school - brownies/guides /cubs/scouts are popular options.
Many organisations now do give their employees a certain number of days for voluntary work so its worth asking, or use annual leave/flex time
Sorry, I didn't mean for it to come across as harsh. I totally get where you're coming from, it's more that they will want you to prioritise the child, so might push you on this to see what you say you would do. There's a lot of hypothetical situations that crop up when going through the process, and they will also likely speak to your brother.
I have my own business so it wasn't a problem for me. My OH works with children so he didn't have to do anything.
But then saying that, I worked at a school one afternoon a week, with 6 year olds, and our age group was 0-2 years! They also never checked I had done this!
There are places like Brownies, which do a lot of things on a weekend, so people do that.
I'd maybe get in touch with the previous poster who was rejected due to alcoholism in the family - i think SW are very hot on it because a lot of children come from families with alcohol abuse? I think that poster only had limited contact with the family member and it still went against them so I would definitely find out sooner rather than later whether your SW will also consider it an issue as you may have to make some very tough decisions x
Thanks for the info guys. I read the post about the rejection because of alcoholic parents. I'm pretty confident this doesn't apply here. My brother only has had this problem in the last year and a bit since our mother died. He's completely clean and tee-total. I notice the other poster also mentioned violence, my brother is completely non violent and passive. He just suffers from depression and his coping mechanism at the time was to drink, now he's doing so much better and is walking the length of the U.K. for the charity Mind. He does lots of other good and positive things like this, so to be honest if I'm explaining these things I can't see it being an issue. My brother also lives 150 miles away from me so he would never be considered for things like child care anyway.
I'm hoping to get some time when I have a day off work to actually speak with one of the organisations, they seem to only open their phone lines when I start and finish work!
My uncle happens to be the current chair of Barnardo's, but we don't want to start telling wider family about this stuff until we've considered everything.
I dont think it will stop you adopting. We had a fairly strong network on paper but when it came down to needing help no one was willing to. So have more or less struggled along. Post adoption SS in my area is good though which has helped a lot. When you are Post adoption make friends with others adopters possibly though local adoption support group as that is much more supportive in lots of ways.
The reason we are considering adoption over biological children may sound strange
To be honest yes, a little bit.
but I believe that it is vitally important to care for children that have no one
If your main motivation is not increasing the population, well, you can not have biological children, that doesn't mean you have to adopt.
If your motivation is to give a child a home, well, as far as I know there are more families wanting to adopt than children in need of adoption. If your motivation is humanitarian there are many ways to help children in need (through sponsoring, donating to associations, etc).
* I don’t believe in increasing the population of the planet myself (ethical and climate change reasons).*
Forgive me for being blunt, but that seems a little bit hypocritical to me. It's like saying you don't kill animals to eat for ethical reasons, but you'll eat animals killed by someone else. It's like you're trying to "shift the guilt" upon someone else, but you still want to enjoy the "forbidden fruit", so to speak. You don't believe in increasing the population of the planet, but you still want to raise children.
I apologize if I seem blunt, my goal isn't to make you feel bad but to open questions for you. It's very possible the SW would raise those issues with you as well ; I don't know how it works in the UK but in my country they generally are wary about adopters who have ideological or humanitarian reasons to adopt.
My dh and I were required to have child care experience, despite already having a relatively young child. Luckily, we both had had experience with kids outside the family in voluntary settings and that was enough. I think we just had to be willing to do more if asked.
One woman here did something really clever, she volunteered at a local school (near her work place) one lunch time a week. I think she was good at gardening so offered to run a lunchtime gardening club.
If you did anything like that I'd be honest about why you wanted to do it.
I think wanting to adopt for altruistic reasons is great but I also think adoption agencies probably want to hear about how much you want to parent a child. I know it sounds obvious but I think altruistic reasons can be challenging for some agencies.
I hope these responses are not too tough. You do need a bit of a thick skin for the process.
All the best.
the gardening club was me @italiangreyhound , and yes I was very upfront about what I was doing. The school benefited because I set something up for them which they were able to continue, so it was a win win.
I think it was also helpful that the school concerned was very inner city. Lots of refugee/asylum seeker children, lots of children whose English was their second language, a lot of children were known to social services. I had a core group that stayed with me for three years - they were all in counselling. So a very diverse and demanding group of kids. My SW came to observe one of my sessions.
It was a fabulous school and I sent my son there
Ted27 that ingenuity really impressed me.
Very clever thinking.
Please login first.