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

struggling to conceive - please come and tell me about Adoption

(23 Posts)
tiredfeet Fri 30-Oct-09 10:41:52

DH and I are currently trying to conceive but after 14 months of trying we're soon going to be making a visit to the doctors to discuss investigations. I realise this is early days and we might still be successful, but IVF is not available from my NHS trust until you are 36 (and I'm currently 29). I absolutely don't want to wait that long, and having thought about it, I think I would prefer to adopt than spend every spare penny on paying for private IVF. I just feel that I would be as happy to give non-biological children a home.

I spent a few university holidays doing playschemes with children from very difficult backgrounds (aged 8-16), many of whom were passed from one foster home to another, and I really feel that I would love to give a home to children that really need it. Its obviously something DH and I wiill have to think about really carefully, and I wondered if people had suggestions for good books to read as an introduction, to get us thinking and talking about all the issues?

also, are there things I could be doing to help ready myself, both for the process of getting approved and also for the reality of adopting children? I was thinking learning to drive would help? do you need to have recent experience of caring for small children (e.g. through work or volunteering) or will it be fine if you don't have this?

so many questions!

PoppyIsApain Fri 30-Oct-09 16:35:09

Hi, i have no advice but thought i would bump your message, hope everything goes well smile

NanaNina Fri 30-Oct-09 19:04:21

Hi tiredfeet - I am an independent social worker and retired a few years ago after spending 25 years in fostering and adoption.

I think the first thing is that you need to carry on trying for your own child for a while as 14 months as you say is not very long. However I think it would be wise to start investigations sooner rather than later as it may be something that can easily be put right. If you do need IVF is there no possibility that you could pay - though I know it is very exspensive.

Re adoption. I think that this is the advice you would be given by Social Services at this point in time. It would not really be right for you to be going into adoption until you had exhausted the possibilities of having your own children. If however things don't work out for you and you still want to consider adoption then here are a few things that might be helpful.

There are very few babies for adoption these days and mostly children awaiting adoption are older children (under 5s) although it is still possible to adopt a child of a few months of age and up to 2yrs. You will be encouraged to think in terms of taking an older child and can specifiy (up to 1yr/2yr/3yrs whatever) obviusly the older the child the more potential difficulties because of their experiences of abuse or neglect with thgeir birth parents. It's just that there aren't loads of 6 week babies available for adoption as used to be the case many years ago.

There is also a need for adoptors to consider sibling groups and children with a disability as these children are hard to place for adoption.

If you wish to pursue an application you will be invited onto a Preparation course where you will learn about all aspects of adoption (too numerous to outline here) and then you will have to undergo a very rigorous assessment by an adoption social worker looking at your suitability to adopt. There will also be CRB checks and health checks etc. Previous experience is not necessary as many adoptors do not have their own children. However what is important is to really get your head around all the aspects of adoption and the possible implications for you as a couple and how you will cope with an adopted child. You need to be realistic about this, and think long and hard whether this is going to be right for you. You should be helped by your social worker in this process.

You will have the opportunity to talk with other adoptors and hear about their experiences.

I suggest you google "Adoption UK" and "British Agencies for Fostering & Adoption (BAAF)" Both of these sites have a wealth of information and loads of reading material. You can join both organisations for a small quarterly subscription and in this way can be thinking around the whole issue while you keep trying for your own child.

If you do have your own children and over time are still interested in adoption, this is perfectly possible but an adopted child needs to be the youngest in the family so that they don't have to compete with younger children.

Do hope things work out for you. Incidentally it is not uncommon for people to adopt and then promptly become pregnant after years of trying. Life is a funny old thing at times!

KristinaM Sat 31-Oct-09 11:56:42

i agree that you should ask to be referred to assisted conception services. I think you need to check out the facts about what services are available - its very unusual for there to be a LOWER age limit on IVF. besides, you don't even know when you have not conceived yet and it might be something that is fairly easily treated.

As nina says, SS will not even consider you until you have completed all your treatments in this regard

but that doesn't mean that you cant find out more about being an adoptive parent, to get an idea if its right for you

good luck

hifi Mon 02-Nov-09 11:28:27

hi tiredfeet. have you been on clomid yet? there's loads of things to try before you give up on a birth child.
i started trying for a baby at 27 and finally adopted dd ten years later after 3 failed ivfs.
definitely learn to drive, do some babysitting it will all help. adoption is not an easy route and i would strongly recommend you exhaust all ways of trying to conceive naturally.
doctors usually want you to have been trying to conceive for at least 18 months before they begin investigations.

tiredfeet Mon 02-Nov-09 18:08:38

thanks Hifi, babysitting is a useful suggestion. and thanks everyone else too. I will be planning to exhaust all options to conceive naturally, but I guess I am accepting it might not be an easy process. I realise there is IVF / clomid etc that we can explore. I just have this huge, overwhelming, desire to be a mother, and if I can't conceive my own I would actually be really happy to adopt, and I would rather start realy thinking about this now, and plannign for it, alongside the fertility processes. I think adoption is something that should be considered really carefully, and thats why I want to start thinking about it now.

I do appreciate that many of the children coming up for adoption may be very challenging to say the least, I have worked with these type of children before so I am not totally naive, I would say I know just enough about the type of issues to feel that I would like to know a lot more about adoption so that I can prepare myself and my husband in case I am not able to become pregnant. I wasn't trying to make light of the idea at all, I'd just like to do some reading about it and learning about it, to help me (and DH) to think about it and discuss it as an option in the future

hifi Mon 02-Nov-09 18:22:13

are you in london?

tiredfeet Mon 02-Nov-09 22:29:04

no, the south-east though...

Kewcumber Mon 02-Nov-09 22:31:29

angling for a babysitter hifi? grin

hifi Tue 03-Nov-09 09:22:11

lol at kew, well i had to try!
just thought if you were in london area you could contact Corum, they are a fantastic adoption agency.

tiredfeet Thu 05-Nov-09 11:06:29

ah, thanks Hifi. so do the agencies give advice etc for people thinking about adopting then?

hifi Thu 05-Nov-09 11:47:42

yes, you can go for a talk.

tiredfeet Thu 05-Nov-09 13:59:25

that's useful to know, thanks hifi

NanaNina Thu 05-Nov-09 18:15:29

Don't know what Corum is, but just a little word of warning about voluntary organisations as opposed to local authorities. The voluntaries will not doubt carry out an assessment much quicker than a l.a. because they have the time as they do not have any of the statutory responsibilities of l.a. SSDs and much more money! If however you get approved by a voluntary you may well wait much longer for a placement. This is because local authorities have to "buy" placements from voluntary agencies when they can't place children with their own adoptors, and they obviously only do this when they absolutely have to because of financial reasons. All l.a.s are short of money!

Some of the voluntaries don't explain this to prospective adoptors and this is unfair. The voluntaries don't have any children for adoption, they have to rely on local authorities buying placements (prospective adoptors) from them.

NanaNina Thu 05-Nov-09 18:16:22

meant to say that "the volunataries will NO doubt carry out as assessment much quicker etc"

hifi Fri 06-Nov-09 11:11:18

the good thing about corum over la is you do get the suppotyou need for your child thru childhood. they run parenting courses etc. dont know about other charities but everyone i know has had a child placed with them in under a year.
look int concurrent planning as well, you could get a child from birth.

tiredfeet Fri 06-Nov-09 18:22:27

I'm not sure whats so terrible about that NanaNina though, at least it means the potential adopters get found somehow?

NanaNina Fri 06-Nov-09 19:45:03

I didn't say anything was "terrible" tiredfeet - I was just trying to advise of one of the difficulties of being approved by a voluntary organisation. I am a few years out of l.a. SSD now as I'm retired and it may be that more children are placed for adoption via the voluntaries now, but I know in the l.a. for whom I worked for 25 years, placements for adotion were only "bought" from the voluntaries as a last resort because of financial reasons. The first choice is always to place with adoptors approved by the l.a. who is seeking an adoptive home for a specific child(ren) and if this isn't possible, then an inter-agency placement is the 2nd choice, (placement of a child with adoptors who have been approved by a different local authority) this involves an inter-agency fee but not as much as buying from a voluntary organisation. And voluntaries were used as a last resort.

I recall my agency advertising 2 children in "Be My Parent" and I took calls from people who were interested, and a particular couple stands out in my mind who had been approved by a voluntary agency, who were very distressed because they had not been matched. They had absolutely no idea of the reason and thought they were just unsuitable for some reason. I told them the real reason and they were very angry that this hadn't been made clear to them at the time they were assessed and approved.

I know that many approved adoptors have a long wait (dependent on their offer) for a suitable child to come along, but thought it worth sounding this note of caution.

RE Concurrent planning. I am unsure how many l.a.s run this scheme. I could never get my l.a. interested even though I think it a very good idea. For those who don't know about it, it involves taking a baby or young child on the basis of fostering initially, whilst the birth parents are being assessed as to whether the child can be returned to their care. If it safe for the child to return to the birth parents, then this is what happens. If however it is decided (and agreed by a court) that it is unsafe for the child to return home, then the foster carers are able to apply to adopt the child. In this way the child has the advantage of remaining with the same carers and so increasing the opportunity for secure attachments to be formed etc.

The carers have to go into this knowing that the child could return home and they have to agree to work with the l.a. in ensuring that
all efforts are made to try to re-unite the child with the birth parents............so a big risk, but excellent for the child if he is not returned home and can stay with the same carers.

tiredfeet Tue 10-Nov-09 14:26:17

ah, that makes sense to me now, my fault I didn't quite see the implications of what you were saying before. I can see why people could get frustrated who signed up through an agency if what you are saying is that essentially they are at the bottom of the pile when it comes to an LA being likely to place a child with them?

so why do the agencies exist separately from the LA's, if all they do is act as a second tier? why don't people just register with teh LA?

sorry for all the questions, I am just genuinely curious to find out more about how the system works?

NanaNina Tue 10-Nov-09 23:25:06

Tiredfeet- A lot of the big voluntary organisations like Barnardoes, National Childrens Home The Catholic Society etc started out as children's homes but once children began to be fostered and adopted and the custom of having young children in children's homes for most of their childhood ceased (thank goodness) they changed their function to providing other kinds of services for children. One of these functions was to assess people for fostering and adoption, but of course (as I explained before) they don't have access to any children as they don't actually take children into care. It is only local authorities that have the statutory responsibility of taking children into care.

I'm not sure they would see themselves as acting as a "second tier" but it is actually quite a fitting description in my view. NSPCC and some of the other voluntaries do run projects for children, teenagers, young mothers, parenting classes etc and I wouldn't knock this, but they are so much better funded than Social Services and have the luxury of being able to run these sorts of projects because they can pick and choose what they do and don't have any statutory responsibilities. I've just watched the NSPCC advert and it always makes me a bit cross because they don't actually deal with child abuse. If child abuse is referred to them, they simply pass it on to social services and not many people realise this.

I think people register with the voluntaries for assessment for fostering & adoption because they are likely to be dealt with much quicker (again because they have more money, more social workers etc) whereas there is often a long wait with a l.a. - maybe a wait to go on a preparation course and then a wait to be assessed. As I said before many people don't realise how the system works and some voluntaries don't explain to people either.

As I said it may be that more children are being placed with the voluntaries by local authorities but yes I still think people assessed by them will be likely to have a long wait for a child in some cases, though this of course is dependent upon their ethnic origin and what their offer is. Social workers refer to "offers" as what kind of child people say they would be interested in e.g. a young child, an older child, a sibling group, a child from an ethnic minority, a child with a disability etc.

I don't mind helping in any way I can, so don't worry about the questions!

tiredfeet Wed 11-Nov-09 14:14:18

thanks for all that information, it has really helped me understand the background.

one more, possibly silly, question - do people / can people register with more than one authority and / or agency - to increase their options? Or, given what you've said, is there not really any point?

KristinaM Wed 11-Nov-09 21:32:30

you can make enquires of as many agencies as you like. but you can only be approved by one

tiredfeet Thu 12-Nov-09 13:41:30

thanks Kristina, thats helpful. gosh there's a lot to find out about!

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