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Looking for advice on adopting

(22 Posts)
Acinonyx Thu 02-Aug-07 20:54:41

I am 45 and dh is 47. We have one bio-dd age 2 and would like to adopt a second child - but younger than dd. Obviously our age is a problem, and I'm unsure how best to proceed -domestic or overseas - if it's even possible at all? I am half Pakistani and adopted myself. Dh is American. We have no family in the uK.

I called my local social services and someone was going to call me back about the age issue but they never did - I will call again but they can't be too interested I guess.

Anyone got any thoughts or advice? jill

KristinaM Thu 02-Aug-07 23:34:42

I would write a brief letter explaining your circumstances and send it to all the adoption agencies which cover your area

It doesn't matter that your DH is American as long as you are resident in the Uk

Your being mixed race is a plus point, as many children available for adoption in the UK are back or mixed race

If you are Muslim then its even better as not many Muslim families come forward to adopt children from the care system

the age of your DD IS an issue as they like to have a 2 year age gap and there are not many under 2s available for adoption. Your age woudl generally preclude you from adopting a baby.

re overseas adoption - you need to check out teh rules for the country you are interested in re age etc

Acinonyx Sat 04-Aug-07 07:32:47

Thanks Kristina - I finally talked to my local SS and they said I should wait as the process should only take 1 year and they would not place a child before dd turned 4. However, finding a younger child could be a problem, especially given our ages.

I'm not muslim - which makes my ethnic background less helpful.

O spoke to PACT wrt overseas adoption and they were not very positive since the process is very slow and we are already beyond the age limit for most countries.

So our plan for now is to revisit this whole issue when dd turns 3 and then decide if we want to try domestic adoption on the understanding that nothing might come of it. jill

Kewcumber Sat 04-Aug-07 08:53:37

PACT are notoriously unhelpful and I know who have given up during home study becasue they were so obstructive. You don;t have to use your local SS for a domestic homestudy - if other voluntary agencies operate in your area I have heard good things about Coram and Catholic Society

KristinaM Sat 04-Aug-07 11:51:56


I am really confused by the advice from your SS.Are they saying that if you come back to them in a year, when you are 46 and your Dh is 48, that they will place a baby with you ( a baby in SS terms is under 2) in a year from your enquiry???? So you will be 47 and your Dh 49?????

If that's the undertaking they have given you, I hope you have it in writing from someone senior! I am really astounded . ( BTW please understand this is not my personal view on your ages - in fact you are the same age as us and we have a 3yo and a 1yo - i am just talking about SS usual practice and the usual prefences of birth parents)

i also do not understand what they are saying about " finding a younger child could be a problem, especially given our ages". They will not place a child with you who is older than your DD who will then be 4. They will not place a chilc who is less than 2 years younger than yours, so you cant get a 2-4yo. And you are too old to get a baby???????

Sorry i dont knwo anything about PACT but kewcumber is VERY knowlegable about the London situation and you should take her advice. If you are serious about adopting you shoudl appraoch some vol agencies to get another opinion. I'm afraid that time is not on your side and you might regret waiting another year.

Good luck whatever you decide

Acinonyx Sat 04-Aug-07 12:54:11

I think you have misunderstood the timeframe. Since we can't adopt a child under 2 and dd needs to be 2 yrs older the margin we are looking at is adopting a child of around 2 when she is 4 - at the earliest and youngest. Obviously that might not be possible. There's nothing to be done about the fact that we will be even older - starting now will not change the fact that we won't be eligible at all until dd is 4. It's not an undertaking - just a general framework.

I will keep making enquiries and see what people say but my feeling is that our situation is just not viable - we are too old and dd is too young.

I really don't think we can afford to adopt internationally. I was very surprised that SS were more positive than PACT.

Kewcumber Sat 04-Aug-07 13:05:48

I do htink that you being half pakistani may work in your favour though. I don;t beleive that it would take a year to be approved and matched - they are supposed to take 6 motnhs from appliaction to panel theses days but that would imply 6 months to match which seems very short. Would strongly recommend that you get a second opinion from someone like Coram.

Wihout wanting to be libellous PACT are PANTS!

bran Sat 04-Aug-07 13:11:20

Have you investigated whether you can adopt from America as your dh is an American citizen? The process there is quicker (although I believe it's expensive) and you are more likely to be able to get a young child/baby.

We are thinking of adopting a second time, and we are filling out the forms already. But it was such a painful process last time that I am quite reluctant. I would consider moving abroad for a year and adopting if dh were willing to do that. I would even move to Malaysia (dh's home country) which I always swore I wouldn't do as the humidity really doesn't agree with me.

bran Sat 04-Aug-07 13:52:50

Also, I don't want to spread doom and gloom on this thread but I really feel that being a mixed race asian/white couple without being Muslim/Hindu has really worked against us and we are harder to match with a child than a white couple. In our local authority most of the asians are also Muslim, so we can only be considered for children from a white birth mother who's paternal parentage is unknown but the child 'looks' part asian.

Acinonyx Sat 04-Aug-07 14:03:54

Kewcumber - have to agree with you there wrt PACT. I am thinking that maybe we could squeak through playing my dubious ethnic card - pity we're not in London where I was born (illigetimately conceived in a bedsit in Shepherd's Bush...)in fact this is a very whitey white area unfortunately.

We did have some initial meetings with Coram about 5 yrs ago but didn't go ahead with a homestudy. Later we had dd via IVF and we ran into the Coram lady one day, when dd was 3 mo old. I definitely felt waves of disapproval and am not comfortable approaching them again. As soon as you mention IVF to a SS, it tends to get chilly!

Am I right in thinking you can only go through one agency eg Coram or local SS, not both?

Bran - Yes, we considered it, although I am uncomfortable with the private adoption industry in the US. We would have to actually be in the US to swing that, however, which would be very difficult to organise as it would mean a secondment for dh which might not be possible. We've never planned to live in the US.

Now if dh were something more interesting like Malaysian - I'd be over there in a shot! Shall we swap?? Jill

aloha Sat 04-Aug-07 14:05:27

I find it really bizarre that it is considered so important to force a religion on a tiny baby that it is more vital than finding the child a loving family.
Do they also only put the children of, say, Arsenal supporting parents with Arsenal supporting adoptive parents?
Good luck to you all anyway.

Acinonyx Sat 04-Aug-07 14:14:52

Aloha - this is a very interesting topic to me as I was raised fundamentalist Christian at my bmom's request. It didn't agree with me at all unfortunately and I often wondered why they bothered to match something so non-hereditary.

But then I have come to see a useful aspect to this. In my case - it was my bmom's religion anyway so I was destined - in fact you could say - doomed in any case. But why should some other innocent be lumbered with a crackpot set of beliefs? The only possible justification is in fact matching to the bmom/parents. Jill

aloha Sat 04-Aug-07 14:18:15

I can totally see the point of matching skin colour/race if it is easy/practical to do this (though I think it is madly over-emphasised sometimes, as in Bran's case) but as you say, religion isn't inherent or inherited any more than politics or a love of sport (less so than the latter!).
I think it is a shame to think of children languishing in care who could have homes if it wasn't for this rule.
I know adopted children being brought up by parents of a totally different race and religion to their birth families and they seem very happy.

Acinonyx Sat 04-Aug-07 14:24:06

If the bmom has not requested a match for religion I don't think it's held to be important - I think for many children in care it's not actually an issue. But in the old days it was much more so - catholics for catholics etc, especially since many adoptions were facilitated through church-affilitated agencies.

Also - some religions do consider their religion to be heritable - Islam and Judaism for example. I have been told numerous times that I *am* muslim, whether I acknowledge it or not. Very tedious. jill

Kewcumber Sat 04-Aug-07 19:38:12

I adopted a (probably) muslim child in a predominantly moslem country. Religion (or race) was defintiely not an issue to them anything like as much as it is to us in the UK but they are a much more mixed race country than we are.

I do think that race is a big factor in childrens lives and matching them with parents who have a similar racial mix is a tremendous help to them when dealing with racisim and diference. However, in the absence of a suitable racial macth any loving family is better than none IMHO, particularly as there is little emphasis placed on race for foster placements which is where they will end up without an adoption.

bran Sat 04-Aug-07 21:16:53

I think the whole religion thing probably varies from area to area. In our local authority there is a large cohesive community of Bangladeshis, and no other asian community (just the usual London mix). The Bangladeshi community is represented on the adoption panel and those panel members feel very strongly that 'their' children shouldn't leave the community/religion unless there is no other option.

DS's birth mother is white and wouldn't reveal anything about his birth father, but because ds looks part asian social services assumed that he is half-Bangladeshi and initially wanted to place him with Bangladeshi adoptors (because of course no woman ever has sex with someone who lives in different local authority ). We were lucky that ds was considered too pale to be a good fit with an all asian family, so we got him.

At the matching panel the chairman of the panel emphasised several times that ds's paternity was unknown and therefore there was no onus on the panel to place with a Muslim family or on us as adoptors to bring him up with an understanding of Islam. Which made me think that religion was quite an issue for that panel.

Acinonyx Sat 04-Aug-07 21:23:03

Kewcumber - that was Kazakhstan, yes? If we were doing international adoption, that would be a country we would be interested in. Muslim countries vary, just like Christian countries, in how stricly they interpret and follow 'the rules'. Many muslim countries would not allow a Muslim child to be placed with a non-muslim family (in fact the whole concept of adoption is problematic in Islam as strictly speeaking, only guardianship is permissable). It also very much depends on knowing the faith of the bparents with some certainty - the mixed culture of central Asia does lend itself to being more flexible (it's also a legacy from former soviet times which totally played down religion and ethnicity).

Unfortunately it can be very difficult for children of one ethnicity to be raised in another - I speak from experience and also from talking to many other transracially adopted people. I definitely agree though, that this is small potatoes compared to being in care or in an orphanage overseas. Also, these days, adopters are so much more informed and aware of the issues. In my day, SS were totally clueless so there was no hope really.

I saw a link to your blog but I haven't had a chance to check it out. Jill

KristinaM Sat 04-Aug-07 21:32:43

bran - if you adopt a child through a voluntary agency you would go through the matching panel in the area where the child lived, not where YOU live. It wouldn't matter a jot what the asian community was in your LA - the agency would be searching nationally to find you a child with a similar backgroud to yours eg white european/ chinese ( i'm assuming your Dh is chinese malaysian and not malay as you are not a Muslim family)

The panel in your LA are intertested in placing THEIR children ( in their community). A voluntary agency is interetesd in finding you a child anywhere in the country, otherwise they don't get paid and they go out of business. All the preparation and assessmnt work they do with you is " at risk" until they get you a child.

i find it incredibly sad that there ARE mixed race families out there who woudl love to adopt and yet you are getting such a negative or mixed response from agencies

Acinonyx Sat 04-Aug-07 21:33:09

Bran - it's always an issue in the UK, especially knowing that the muslim community expects to keep children in the faith. But this does seem a very zealous.

Very sensible of the chairman. I am also very pale and would not fit comfortably in a full-Asian family. Also, if the bmom is non-Muslim, then that should really settle the matter - in fact - I am shocked that it didn't - that dores seem a bit extreme. My bmom was xian (a totally wacko kind but I digress...) and that was the deciding factor - not my bfather even though he was actually involved in my placement.

I've met a few people who don't know their ethnicity for the same reason. Totally infuriating. If it becomes an issue for him when he's older, DNA testing is becoming useful in pinning down ethnicity and I know some adult adoptees are making doing this.

Having been over-zealous, did they then think all Asianess is the same ie Malaysian and Bangladeshi? Jill

KristinaM Sat 04-Aug-07 21:41:16

my personal experince is that white SW only see white and non white. They also seem very confused between religion and ethnicity.

We are a mixed race family and because our children look white and are Christian they totally disregarded their ethnicity.

bran Sat 04-Aug-07 21:55:19

DH is actually Indian Malaysian, so looks pretty similar to a Bangladeshi.

KristinaM, I am sort of wavering about not going through the local authority this time. The trouble with going through a charity is that all children are placed by LAs, who will always try to use their own approved adoptors first. So the children that they are using outside agencies (charities) to place often have very significant issues.

Also, because we had a long wait to be matched we were on the open market a year after our approval and I found that potential adoptors treated quite badly by other LAs. Several times we were an obvious name on a list for a particular child rather than serious contenders, which is such a waste of time. If we went through an independent agency then we would be straight into that cattle market.

KristinaM Sat 04-Aug-07 22:30:02

...... So the children that they are using outside agencies (charities) to place often have very significant issues.

i agree completely

but many La around the counrty are very white Or they have lots of black kids in care and they cant place them. There are far fewer approved mixed race families than there are waiting children. You are a very very valuable resource . you need to make the race card work for you. i agree the system sucks but you need to work it to find YOUR child

..........Also, because we had a long wait to be matched we were on the open market a year after our approval and I found that potential adoptors treated quite badly by other LAs. Several times we were an obvious name on a list for a particular child rather than serious contenders, which is such a waste of time.

I agree completely. You are just a resource to them, a littel less than human. its very upsetting. But your agency shoudl put you forward for several children at the same time so you dont waste time. you can also appraoch other agencies dirctly about children they have advertised

...........If we went through an independent agency then we would be straight into that cattle market.

indeed you will be and its horrible i knwo. you would need to find an agency and a worker who will handle this for you and suport you through it all

Have you joined Adoption Uk and got their journal which had information on waiting children. you will be

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