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Here are some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on adoption.

I am thinking very seriously of adopting - but not for several years. Can I get some expert advice please?

(24 Posts)
longtermfamilyplanning Sat 05-Sep-09 15:55:33

I have one DC, 3yo. Am married. We have just enough money at the moment, certainly not comfortable but get by if that makes sense. That is one huge reason I dont think we should have another child right now, it would be too much of a strain on our finances. Also we only have a 2 bedroom house and DS would probably not want to share a room he is very possessive over it and I would want to respect that.

I am thinking somewhere like 5 years maybe? My heart wants to do it sooner than that but I dont want to make a muddle of things and I know our situation at the moment needs a hell of a lot of work first.

My reasons for adopting... I have no desire for another pregnancy really but I have so much love to give. I do a lot of work in relation to different charity things so I am well aware of the hardships people face in the world and I would like to do something to alleviate that for a child, to love them as my own and give them a wonderful life.

My concerns: I had terrible PND after DS and my GP and I have been at loggerheads ever since. She still insists I cant have various meds etc because it will conflict with my psychiatric prescriptions and each appointment I have to remind her I havent been on them since DS was 1. Long and short of it, I'm scared I'll be rejected on mental health grounds although I know I am no more a basket case than your average woman.

Money, does it cost a fortune to adopt? Does it take years? What unseen pitfalls are there?

I am happy to adopt from any country. I am happy to have a boy or girl. My only real concern is that I have a baby. I know that might sound hard or selfish, it isnt meant to be, but I want to have the child from the earliest possible moment if that makes sense. So I can love him/her.

Right - I have to go out food shopping but will be back and I will so much appreciate some advice! Thank you!

VeronicaMars Sat 05-Sep-09 16:09:27

I think from talking to dd's friend mom it takes years, a lot of financing and I don't think you'll get a baby. Their lo was 12 months when their decision was made but she was 18 months when they finally got to take her home.

hester Sat 05-Sep-09 18:34:13

Hi, I'm not an expert, but am in the middle of the adoption process myself (and have a birth child).

First, getting a baby. Not in this country. Even when babies are given up for adoption at birth, it still takes several months to get them through the system. So they are usually one when they get adopted; the youngest I've heard of is eight months, and that is really unusually young.

There is one exception to this. In some areas they do something that I think is called concurrent adoption, where you basically foster a baby with a view to adopting it later if the birth parents can't get to a position where they can take the child back themselves. The risk, of course, is that 'your' baby gets taken back off you, and most agencies still don't do this.

So if you want a small baby, you are best off considering international adoption.

Money: it doesn't anything to adopt in this country. You have to be financially stable but not wealthy; the agencies pay all costs. If you adopt from abroad, however, it will cost you many thousands of pounds (you will have to pay for your assessment here as well as in the country where you adopt).

Your mental health issues: this is something that will be considered very seriously in the assessment, but is not necessarily a barrier. If your problem was PND, and now you are fine, so there is no reason to suppose it will recur, there should be no problem. You will have to have a medical assessment and they will probably want a letter from whoever treated you for PND. I don't know how overseas adoption agencies respond to mental health issues.

How long does it take: you will have to be assessed as an adopter in the UK first, before applying in whichever country you want to adopt from. Expect it to take a year to get through the system here.

As I say, I'm not an expert, though there are some people on here (Kewcumber, where are you?) who have adopted from abroad. I would strongly urge you to look at a specialist website: or one of the international adoption websites.

Best of luck.

longtermfamilyplanning Sat 05-Sep-09 20:29:28

thanks very much for your replies. It's really helpful because if I know its going to take 1-2 years I can start a bit earlier than I would otherwise. I'm looking at adoptionuk now.

CheerfulYank Sat 05-Sep-09 20:48:04

Wow, I could have written that post! I also had PND (or PPD as we call it here) and am hesitant about another biological child though I do plan to have another at some point. DH and I also plan on adopting and while we know that we wouldn't get an infant (unless the child had disabilities, which is something we've considered) we do want a child younger than our DS. (He's 2 right now.) Good luck!

longtermfamilyplanning Sat 05-Sep-09 20:52:44

thanks I guess I dont mind so much about a baby - but its based in fear, perhaps I need to work through that. I want to bond as thoroughly with an adopted child as with my DS and I just thought it would be easier to do that if I had the child from very young. But of course I could be wrong never having done it before!

hester Sat 05-Sep-09 22:22:28

Just to add: in the UK, they will usually only allow you to adopt a child at least two years younger than your birth child. (My dd is coming up to 4, and we have been assessed for a child aged 0-2, in practice 1-2.)

As I'm sure you know, there is a 'shortage' of very young white children for adoption. So if you and your dp are white UK, and you want a very young child, and you have a birth child, you might have a very long wait. Another reason for considering international adoption.

But don't let all this put you off taking the first steps. If I were you I'd ring round some agencies and talk to them. (Every local authority has an agency, and there are voluntary sector agencies. You don't have to apply to your own local authority - in fact my local authority won't place children in the immediate area, so they don't assess their own residents. But you'll need to be close enough for their social workers to visit your home easily.) They will have a chat with you, send you some information, maybe invite you to an information evening. This will give you lots of useful information and help you start making the right choices.

longtermfamilyplanning Sat 05-Sep-09 22:35:06

hester, would that all apply even if I dont think we would be ready to formally apply for another 2 years (i.e. when DS is 5)? Or is it too soon to do anything now?

I dont mind what race the child is and would be happy to raise it with understanding of its heritage. DH and I are both white, he is British I am American with duel citizenship as is DS.

jenny60 Sun 06-Sep-09 16:47:25

If you are American, I would look at options there first as it's MUCH easier for Amerians to adopt than it is for Brits (Madonna etc...). I'm not sure if the rules extend to you as an American living in the UK, but it might be worth looking at if you really want to adopt a very young child.

I'm going through it at the moment, have a birth child and some depression in my past. SS have been very sensible and sensitive about it. We were told that there must be at least a 2 year gap between our bc and ac and we were not taken into the programme until bc was 5.5. This makes sense as you really cannot bank on a child under 2. It might happen, but it's not worth waiting for unless you prepared to wait for ever. SS told us that they were not prepared to accept potential adopters who only wanted a white, healthy child under 2. But this may vary.
Good luck.

Kewcumber Sun 06-Sep-09 18:51:52

Hi ltfp - I adopted from overseas and even tehn its unlikely you'd get a small baby. Youngest I know of is 7-8 months but more commonly 12-18 months.

Time frame for the majority of overseas adoptions (including Uk assessment) is around 3 years.

hester Sun 06-Sep-09 18:54:31

I'd agree with Jenny that it is worth investigating if you can adopt in America as a US citizen - you will definitely have a better chance of adopting a baby there.

I applied when my dd was 2 and we were 'slow-tracked' so that we wouldn't be approved till she was rising 4. This was for a child aged 0-2. Our case is slightly different as we are an interracial couple and there is lots more demand for parents for dual heritage babies and toddlers (by the way, it doesn't matter that you're prepared to take on a child of any race - it's the adoption agencies that wouldn't place a black child with you.) You may well find that it tougher than us in the UK system.

I would advise that you start now, though, even if it is with a view to not applying for a couple of years. They will send you useful information that can start you thinking and talking so that, when the time is right, you know what you want to do. Oh, and don't try just one agency - this is a market and they all have different ideas of what kind of parents they want to recruit. Ring a few and talk to them all; you want to go with the one that is really positive about you and what you have to offer.

Longtalljosie Sun 06-Sep-09 20:23:11

It looks as if you could - read this story about David Miliband's second son - it looks to me like he and his wife were in precisely the same position as you and your DH...

longtermfamilyplanning Sun 06-Sep-09 22:27:49

Right - I am so overwhelmed with confusion of information!!! I'm happy to investigate the American route too, and also really a young toddler or child is fine too it is not a deal breaker at all.

How do I find an adoption agency? Do you pay them all up front to get "on their books" as it were? So would I be paying hundreds to a dozen different agencies on the off chance? I dont know where to start. Thank you so much for you r help.

longtermfamilyplanning Sun 06-Sep-09 22:34:29

sorry, I meant to say. I know we are actually unable to do it til I get a job and we have a house with another bedroom. I'll still phone round for info packs etc though

I am desperately looking for the job which is they key to the house and so on!

KristinaM Mon 07-Sep-09 09:10:11

overseas adoption for Britsh families is pretty much a non starter ATM. China is looking at waits in excess of 5 years ( thsi is after your papers are sent to china, so woudl be at least 7 years from when SS here start your assessment)

Thailand placed less than 20 children last year with Uk families and there are LONG waits

If you want a baby your best ( only??) option is to adopt under the US system. You would need to find a good agency there or arrange a private adoption in the USA

Adoption through a US agency is expensive - i am just guessing, but i woudl imagine around £25K or more. i think its cheaper if you will adopt an older child or child of mixed heritage. I woudl advise joining the American adoption boards for more info

good luck

hester Mon 07-Sep-09 19:13:31

Kristina, that is really interesting. Purely to satisfy my nosiness, can you tell me why overseas adoption is drying up? Is it because of a growing distaste with the corruption and exploitation involved in some countries, or is something else going on?

KristinaM Mon 07-Sep-09 20:25:15

I'm not an expert hestor, but i think its for different reasons in different countries. ,many overseas countries have good well regulated and ethical systems that are at least as good as that in the UK, so its not that all foreigners = corrupt, the Uk system is not exactly lily-white, but that's another story......

in China, it is suggested that growing prosperity and domestic solutions have let to the slowdown. also there is a huge backlog of approx 20,000 applications

Russia works well for British families but is very expensive and you wont get a newborn - the youngest children are about one year

MOst children adopted last year into the UK were from Etheopia and there is a high demand for baby girls. There is an increase in abandoned ( as opposed to relinquished) babies, which soem commentators take as a sign of an increase in unethical practice.

Thailand has a good ethical adoption programme but has seen a high increase in demand due to the problems in China. There are very few children matched with British families each year and there is a quota system in place. the offical waiting time is 3 years, but less for boys

The Phillipines has a well regulated system but has suspended foreign applications due to long waiting lists

Swaziland looks like it might be opening up but is just in the early stages

Vietnam and Khazakstan have placed only a few children with British families and require long stays in country

These are some of the factors in the " sending countries". There are also problems created here by the British authorities, with very high fees, long waits and difficult paperwork.

Then there are the problems getting approved that also face domestic adopters - lack of information and support, poorly trained & inexperienced staff, long delays, reluctance to approve adopters who smoke, are overweight, have a history of mental health problems or women who do not intend to be SAHMs etc etc etc

Kewcumber Mon 07-Sep-09 20:53:59

Vietnam and Khazakstan have placed only a few children with British families and require long stays in country - tee hee - never a truer word spoken.

I was the longer ever stay in country at 3 months! Through the siberian winter!

longtermfamilyplanning Mon 07-Sep-09 22:43:47

Kewcumber - wow! adoption cred to you!

nelliesmum Mon 07-Sep-09 22:57:40

You can have my 6-year-old if you want...

hester Mon 07-Sep-09 23:16:14

That is really fascinating, Kristina; thank you.

So far, and touching lots of wood, I have found the adoption process far easier than I expected (I am about to go to panel, though - all that might change!) Hats off to all of you who have had to go through the UK process before undertaking international adoption.

longtermfamilyplanning Mon 07-Sep-09 23:39:14

hester, whereabouts are you? I mean if you didnt have to go through the UK process before the international one? Or oh duh do you mean you are adopting within the UK so the process stops there for you?

hester Mon 07-Sep-09 23:53:56

Yes, sorry for being confusing. I am adopting within the UK.

longtermfamilyplanning Tue 08-Sep-09 07:38:42

its ok I surely would have known that if I'd been a regular on these boards.

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