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Adopting - Ex Partner's Involvement - Advice Please!(18 Posts)
I am really hoping someone can help me as I dont know who else to ask.
I have no children of my own but have been wanting / trying for a child for nearly 4 years now. I have been told pretty much that I wont be able to conceive due to having PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) which I contracted via infection after having a colposcopy operation to remove pre cancerous cells from my cervix nearly 10 years ago!
DH has three children (21, 12 and 10). They live nearly 200 miles away from us and so because of this and DH's job (he is a police officer) we unfortunately only see them one weekend a month, plus a week in the Summer, a week at Easter and a week at Christmas. DH doesn't have an amicable relationship with his ex despite the fact that they split up nearly 10 years ago (her choice not his, no-one else involved). She never meant for them to "finish for good" and didn't expect DH to move on with his life (she's never moved on).
Anyway I digress, basically the reason I am posting her is because we dearly want to adopt and have looked into this for nearly a year now. We have had two meetings with social workers who have said that we are "ideal candidates" for adoption. The problem is, DH's ex will have to be informed if we proceed with adoption and DH is worried that she will say / do anything in her power to make it difficult for us. She already alienates the two youngest children against him and has used lines like (when we got married last year) "Daddy doesn't want you anymore now he is married" "Daddy loves his wife more than you" etc. etc. etc. There is no reason at all for her to say those things except to ensure that the children love her more than him (she has said as much)! I can hear her now if we adopt "Daddy has a new child now, he doesn't love you anymore etc. etc."
I understand and appreciate that social services have to check with ex partners when children are involved and the social workers have told us that they do "take into account" disgruntled and vindictive ex partners, but how much of an impact can one person actually have on our chances if she goes all guns blazing with her lies and venom? This has turned us off the idea a little bit, especialy as we have only just sorted out the harrassment and visitations of DHs children (through solicitors as she wouldn't be civil enough to sort it themselves, although even her solicitor gave up on her in the end!)
I am really struggling to accept that someone (who technically, is nothing to do with me) can have a major impact on whether I get my dream of adopting a child. Has anyone had any experiences like this or complications from someone else making the chances of adoption difficult for them? Any advice or help that you can offer would be greatly appreciated it as I really dont want us to build our hopes up too much if she is going to be able to scupper our plans!
Social Services are quite used to dealing with high conflict family situations and being able to determine what's bravado and what's an area of concern.
I really wouldn't worry about it too much. The process takes into account that former partners may not have a good word to say about another partner, but can understand that it feels like a huge invasion of privacy as far as your DH's ex having a say in your future. But look at it from the viewpoint of her being a box that needs to be ticked on the adoption process.
A friend of mine adopted children and there were some, um, problematic areas. I don't think that SS expect a rosy picture. In fact would suggest that a perfect family would cause alarm! What they seem to appreciate is that one acknowledges problems, discusses them and looks for ways of dealing with them.
divorce and re marriage is a very common thing now and many prospective adopters have had past relationships. SS have to contact and interview past partners to check that any prospective adopter is caring properly for the children they already have and also that there is no history of violence etc
I'm afraid that the whole adoption procedure IS an invasion of your privacy and there is no way around this
you say that your Dhs ex is nothing to do with you, but she is. she is the mother of his children and the person with whom they live most of the time. it IS relevant to whether or not he is a suitable adopter. SS also have to consider the existing children in a family and how any new child would fit in
this doesnt mean that if she is hostile you woudl not be allowed to adopt. but Ss woudl have to consider the impact this woudl have on any child placed with you
I'm sorry if they haven't explained this properly to you. I feel that a Sw who tells someone they are an " ideal candidate" after two meeting is being a little rash
you don't mention if you have considered assisted conception. if not i would urge you to decide now if you wish to pursue this way of having a family. You will need to have completed any such treatment BEFORE SS will even consider assessing you. You cant do both at the same time, not can you get approved and them have it.
you say that his ex os techncally nothing to do with you but she is something to do with your DH and you are adopting as a couple - he is as much being assessed as you are.
Some years ago a child was killed by thier adoptive father. When it was investigated it was discovered that he had a history of domestic violence and if his ex-wife had been contacted it would have been known at the time of the home study. I beleive it led to a changein procedures with past live-in partners npw contacted routinely.
I'm afraid its for the safety of children and the process quite rightly focuses on what is best for the childrne in question not the adults.
I agree with Kristina though about the intrusiveness - brace yourself if you this is the worst it will get!
I wasn;t ever told I was an ideal candidate (but then that probably because I wasn;t!)
Could the SW have meant that you were ideal to undertake the process?
Agree that two meetings isn't much but that they were maybe trying to give you some inclination?
brilliant post Kristina - says it all I think. The child who is placed with you is coming in to the whole family, not just to you and DH, and it would be most unfair on the child if the situation isn't investigated fully.
Having been a SW for many years (not in adoption I hasten to add!) I can say for sure that social workers have seen a million different types of family set up and are or should be, very used to information gathering and analysing that information. If the situation is not amicable they are not looking to apportion blame but to see how you deal with it and how you would protect any child placed with you from getting involved in adult issues, IMHO.
For the one weekend a month, easter ,summer and Christmas visits you would all be together as a family and they would I think be interviewing your DHs ex wife and the children since they would be involved in the life of any child you were adopting and would certainly add an extra dimension to the way you operated as a family. Yes it will be intrusive - very! maybe joining a local Adopt UK group might help at this stage so that you could meet other adopters and potential adopters which would probably help with the process.
Good luck if you decide to go ahead
Thank you all for your comments, greatly appreciated and I will take it all on board. I perhaps didn't clarify a few points as well as I could.
Firstly, when I said "DHs ex is nothing to do with me". I did actually say "technically nothing to do with me". Perhaps I didn't explain it properly, but I am fully aware that when I got with my DH, his ex and the children would become a huge part of my life and I accept that, always have. By my comment, I meant that I just find it hard to accept that someone could try and ruin my chances of adopting too just because she wants to hurt DH when she actually has no axe to grind with me (DH and I got together three years after they seperated).
DH and his ex were never married and I feel that she has got worse since we got married last year. She has never managed to "move on" and I think struggles with the fact that DH has, hence why she is so vindictive.
Secondly, I do know that SS have to do these checks and I did say that I understand why and appreciate why (my husband is a police officer and deals SS and cases of child abuse all the time). Im not trying to "get out" of these checks, I just dont want to build my hopes up to only have them dashed because she decides that she will try and do anything in her power to stop DH having another child. I also dont want to risk her turning the children against DH anymore than she already does. I know DD (10) would love another child in the family to play with as she loves other (especially younger) children. We think DS will also be fine about it, he is very sociable, although we are not sure if he would be a bit jelouse to start with, as he is a real daddys boy, although lately (hes 12) he is starting to favour his friends more as they do at that age.
The second time we saw the SS he said to us "you seem ideal candidates for adoption". That was his exact words and although I know there would still be a very long way to go, I feel that we have so much to offer a child.
DH is a wonderful father, he has never so much as told his kids off verbally let alone smacked them (their mum is the discipliner) and they know they can wrap him round their little fingers. Personally I dont always think that is a good thing as they get away with things with us that they wouldn't get away with at home.
Incidentally, does anyone know if when interviewing their mother, they would look at her history? She has been done for benefit fraud three times (she hasn't worked legally for 21 years), banned from driving for three years for drink driving (with the children in the car), got with a guy who brought drugs into the house then ended up in hospital when he beat her up and he also attacked the children. She also leaves the children on their own quite a lot (normally whilst she is "working"). She is certainly not a perfect mother, but all that a side, I wouldn't want them to look at her history and start investigating her. I dont condone what she does, in fact I hate what she does, but she is their mother and they love her and need her and all in all she isn't a bad parent. I wouldn't want her to get into trouble or be investigated as it wouldn't be fair on the children to lose her.
Thanks again for all your help.
I don't know. Has the Social Worker given you a flow chart as to all the steps?
I wouldn't mention it at the moment, unless you know she is about to be interviewed, and only then mention to instances that can be verified, such as the benefit fraud, and drink driving offences. Leaving the kids on their own starts to get into the realm of 'your word against hers' etc.
You don't want to appear vindictive, but at the same time, you don't want SS to rely on her word.
Think if it was me, I'd mention casually to SS, 'well, take what xxx says with a grain of salt; she isn't the most honest person...'
Thanks. I have no intention of telling SS about her bad ways. Im not vindictive (even though she is). As I mentioned above, she is at the end of the day, their mum and she isn't a bad mum, shes just easily led into the wrong things! I just wondered if SS would start "investigating" her before interviewing her. I wouldn't want this to all turn around on her and get her into trouble, that would make me feel pretty guilty.
Hi sussex, i had to tell ss about my mothers physical abuse of us and we still passed! ss also interviewed her and she has close contact with dd.
dh wrap sheet also came back, crb checks, and it was 4 pages long! was in his yoof and long spent but did get me worried.
i wouldnt worry too much about her but how you deal with her. they will ask you how you will handle her in certain situations so start thinking. things like what will you do if she denies any contact with her children and yours? they are just interested in how you would cope .
Sussex Girl your husband's parenting style and your view of it will come under scrutiny. So you two might want to have that discussion before the homestudy.
As for his Ex- her criminal past wont affect you. But if you can't be positive about the mother of his children, they will question how you will approach discussing birth parents.
Im in a similar situation .... i am trying to adopt as medical issues is stopping us getting pregnant ourselves.... so my fiance was married before and we are told they will need to interview his ex wife.... we owe her nothing, we have no ties with her however she has tried to come between us a few times, why should us being able to adopt have anything to do with her they had a divorce no children together so whyyyyyy
Very best of luck to all of you in the process, it is tough but so worth it. I type this in bed listening to DDs playing next door! I
just wanted to say though that as a couple that have been childless or mostly childless for years the biggest shift that has to be made mentally is how little your feelings count. I know that sounds harsh but the children are at the centre of everything, so ex partners have to be approached, lives probed etc. You will have no privacy from your children and they will see the worst (and the best) of you and how all aspects your life has affected your attitudes and actions. Our SW told us that the process has to be hard, adopting is hard and they are trusting us with very hurt little people who have had a really rough start, it shouldn't be easy, it hasn't been for the children.
Also if you do have children placed some of the conversations you have to have about birth family etc will make contacts with ex partners seem like a breeze!
Anyway, just my HO - very best to everyone.
Massive zombie thread this one. Just do we all know...
Oh dear goodness - just noticed that!
Sorry to jump on the thread.
I am seeing if anyone as got any advice for me. I would love to adopt as I feel I could give a child a good home and caring upbringing but I am not sure if I would be able to apply due to my ex-H being an alcoholic and being aggressive. For these reasons I left him. Would this go against me as I'm worried they will contact him for a reference?
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