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

Would we be crazy to adopt?

(21 Posts)
tom57 Sun 01-Nov-09 12:29:58

I'm 40 my DH is 52 and DD is 10.We always hoped to have more children but I've had three m/c's and have had ME for the last 7 years.Would we be crazy to consider adopting? I spent yesterday reading all the posts here and feel rather overwhelmed.We have an amazing time with our daughter,we have the space,the time and would love another child......DD is apprehensive- she is quite happy as an only child.Normally I have a gut feeling for something but I just feel totally out of my depth

Kewcumber Sun 01-Nov-09 12:38:54

I have no idea. Really its down to you and your family to decide that. HOwever you have to want it deperately to get yourself through the process... being a bit crazy does help as well smile

You would also need a supportive GP if you have a long term condition

chachachachacha Sun 01-Nov-09 12:42:33

As part of the process they would really examine the impact that it would have on your daughter and her views would be taken seriously.

Would you be looking to adopt a baby or child?

bigTillyMint Sun 01-Nov-09 12:46:58

It could be a most fantastic thing to do - for both your family and the child. But remember that many children (even really littlies) who are available for adoption can have a myriad of difficulties, and their behaviour and readjustment to living with you could be very traumatic for all concerned.

Or it could go spectacularly well, with no insurmountable difficulties.

Good luck with whatever you, as a family, decide to do smile

wannaBe Sun 01-Nov-09 12:48:50

I have no experience of adoption, but I would say that if you're not sure it's the right thing, then it probably isn't.

Adoption is a very long and difficult, emotional process, and unless you're 100% committed to doing it then it probably isn't the right thing for you.

Also bear in mind that they will take things such as your dh's age and your illness into account.

tom57 Sun 01-Nov-09 12:49:45

Thanks kew,ME is managed now and GP is supportive.We are pretty determined people-just about to start building our eco house that feels quite crazy.I know it's a bit of an odd post,not even sure what I,m asking-think It's just such a big decision and if I,m really honest I'm out of my depth and scared(felt like that when preg with our daughter but that just happened and was wonderful)

tom57 Sun 01-Nov-09 12:57:58

I think that's it TillyMint it could be wonderful or very,very tough. I'd not thought Chachacha DD adores baby's and young children so I guess we would try to make the best decision for her.

wannaBe Sun 01-Nov-09 13:16:04

but will she still adore them in two/three years time when she's a stroppy teen? Which is roughly how long the adoption process takes.

As someone above said, you have to do what is right for your family, but also bear in mind that the LA may have different ideas as to what may be right for your family than you do. So you may decide that you want a baby/toddler, but your LA might be more inclined to place babies/toddlers with younger couples and have more of a policy of placing the more difficult to place children with those who don't have as much time to wait (if age is a factor to them). Would you be prepared to take on a child with challenging behavior? Or special needs?

It's also worth finding out about their policy towards illness/disability. I've been told that the disabled are not allowed to adopt in this country, so for me it would be pointless even trying, but not sure whether the same policy applies to long-term illness?

NanaNina Sun 01-Nov-09 15:53:28

Tom57 - I have some 25 years as a social worker in fostering and adoption, though am now retired and work independently assessing prospective foster carers and adoptors.

There are some helpful posts here and I agree with them. Your ME would I think pose a problem as you need a "clean bill of health" for obvious reasons. Your GP may be supportive but all prospective adoptors have to undergo a medical (with your GP) but then the results are sent to the medical advisor for the speicific l.a. to where you are applying and he/she makes a decision based on your medical history on your suitability to adopt. I don't want to say that your ME would absolutely rule you out, but I think it could be a problem.

Most children awaiting adoption are older children, sibling groups and thos with disabilities and almost without exception these children will have emotional difficulties and possibly behavioural problems because of the abuse/neglect that they suffered with their birth parents. Many people think that to take a child into your home and offer love and security is enough, but unfortunately it isn't really like that. Many of these children have been so traumatised in the past that they are unable to trust adults again adn this can lead to all kinds of difficulties. Sorry to sound so negative but I am just being honest.

Re your daughter - at aged 10 years she will of course have been used to your undivided attention I guess and she may find it very difficult to adapt to a younger child, especially if that child has behaviour problems. Adoption is a gamble and there are no guarantees. On the other hand it can be immensely rewarding and fulfilling, BUT you have to go into it with your eyes open and know about the possible pitfalls and the effect that can have on your own family. The thing is with children of your daughter's age they can't possibly conceive of some of the problems that traumatised children can bring into your home and so can never be fully prepared.

Maybe you need to think in terms of fostering to see if in fact you can cope with caring for someone else's child - you could start by applying to become respite foster carers (which means that you care for a child on specific occasions e.g one w/end per month, part of the school holidays etc) tto give the foster carers a break. There are also some schemes where you can care for a child from a family who are struggling again on a respite basis. In this way you would be "dipping your toes in the water" without getting soaking wet!!

Why not talk to your local SSD who will be able to discuss all of this with you and advise you about schemes they are running.

You could also google "British Agencies for Fostering and Adoption (BAAF)" "Fostering Networks" and "Adoption UK" - there is a wealth of info on these sites which may take yyou a little further forward SO to sum up my advice would be .............proceed with caution!

Good luck with whatever you decide.

Kewcumber Sun 01-Nov-09 19:03:27

st wanted to add that it might not be a problme getting a panel to approve you as adoptive parents with ME (or any other long term condition) but when it comes to persuading a social worker of a child needing placing it may be more tricky particularly if its a younger child with fewer problmes and they have a choice of parents.

tom57 Sun 01-Nov-09 21:11:38

Thank you all SO much for taking the time to respond to such a seemingly random question.You've given me much to think about.

NanaNina Sun 01-Nov-09 22:28:47

Sorry have to disagree with Kewcumber. The issue of a prospective adoptor's medical history is as I said before, decided by the medical advisor to the local authority. He or she will give an opinion on the suitability of the adoptors based on their medical history. The medical advisor is part of the Adoption panel and his/her decision will be discussed with other panel members. The panel will not go against the advice of the medical advisor as they are not medically qualified to make such a decision.

Hence the applicants are either approved or not. It is not up to the social worker placing the child to start trying to make decisions about the health of the applicants as this will have been decided at the Adoption Panel. The social worker will accept the decision of the panel.

KristinaM Sun 01-Nov-09 23:52:30

nina - i think you have misunderstood kew's point

i understood her to be saying that even if this couple were approved, they might find it hard to find a suitable placement. while the panel have the benefit of a medical advisor, placing Sw s will make their own decisions about a family based on their Form F. They might immediately rule out an "older" couple with long term disabilities as a suitable placement for a demanding child

It doens't matter how much "their" Sw or GP/consultant is on their side, or if the medical advisor is particularly well informed about ME and recommneds that they are approved. They are at the mercy ( and sometimes prejudice) of placing SWs

Kewcumber Mon 02-Nov-09 10:16:19

Kristina is right. Whatever the panel has decided - the placing social worker often does use their own judgement as to what is in the best interests of the child particularly if there are other prospective parents without any medical conditions available. You may not have approached it this way but many social workers do.

Kewcumber Mon 02-Nov-09 10:17:26

ie Kristina is right about what I meant - though of course she is right in general as well!

KristinaM Mon 02-Nov-09 10:50:54


shockers Mon 02-Nov-09 10:59:41

Have you considered fostering?

NanaNina Mon 02-Nov-09 12:38:11

Kew and Kristina - yes I absolutely agree and sorry Kew if I misunderstood your point. I am of course aware that the actual choice of placement is the decision of the sw for the child or children, as it is he or she who has case responsibility. So much depends on individual cases of course and yes I can accept that if there is a choice of families then the sw may well opt to go with one without a long term medical condition. This shouldn't be the case of course if the family is approved but that doesn't of course mean that this does not happen.

IME a lot depends on the actual social worker and their experience. For many social workers placing a child for adoption may be a very rare occurrence and some will be guided by more experienced adoption social workers and others (a bit too "knowing" sometimes) will want to go it alone. It also depends on the r/ship between the child's sw and the adoption sw and whether they are good at working together. So yes prospective adoptors are as you say Kristina
at the "mercy" or "prejudice" of individual sws. However I honestly think that the vast majority of sws want to find the right match for children, and it can be a daunting task, especially for older children and visits around the country are sometimes needed. Mind I have found as an adoption sw that this works quite well beause the sw is usually keen to be accompanied by the adoption sw on such trips and then you get the "2 heads are better than 1" thing.

Some years ago in the la where I worked we had a policy of letting foster carers caring for the child for adoption, see the Form Fs for couples for potential matching, and making comments based on their knowledge of the child. Can't remember why it stopped but it did.

Kewcumber Mon 02-Nov-09 13:22:30

thats odd nana, I would have thought that some foster paretns would provide valuable input into the choice of adoptive parent.

shockers Mon 02-Nov-09 14:34:11

It's 9 years since we fostered but I was able to see the form Fs and go on the first visit to a matched couple with the sw ( without the children)I was asked my opinion but I don't know if it would have made a real difference if I hadn't thought couples were right for 'my' children. Fortunately that problem never arose.

( I say couples because they were all I saw, not because I am against single adopters)

NanaNina Mon 02-Nov-09 16:54:13

Kew - yes that's what I thought at the time and I know the foster parents thought it a good idea, especially if they have fostered the child for a significant period of time. I honestly can't remember why the practice ceased but have a very vague idea it was something to do with a particular foster carer not observing the confidentiality rule. As you will know a Form F is a very confidential document, giving all sorts of info about the prospective adoptors. I think some social workers were uncomfortable with the practice too.

I championed the rights of foster carers all through my social work career but I'm afraid there is a feeling among some social workers that foster carers are not "professionals" and should not be given access to this kind of confidential information. My argument was that we trust foster carers to do the most important job of all - caring for some very vulnerable children and we should work in partnership with them at all levels. However that is a whole other issue - another thread maybe?

Agree with shockers that it is debatable how much difference a foster carer's opinion would be taken into consideration. Again I suspect this depends on the relationship between the child's sw and the particualar foster carer. These relationships varied enormously from ones that were sometimes too close for comfort to ones where there was active dislike and mistrust between the carer and the social worker. Our job was to try to resolve any difficulties, try to find some middle ground and on one occasion I had to advise a sw that it wasn't on to tell the carer all about her personal marriage problems. Sorry I'm rambling on, so I'll stop!

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