Talk

Advanced search

WEBCHAT GUIDELINES 1. One question per member plus one follow-up. 2. Keep your question brief. 3. Don't moan if your question doesn't get answered. 4. Do be civil/polite. More here.

Adoption: live webchat with Oona King and Jeffrey Coleman, Mon, 31 Oct, 1-2pm

(66 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 30-Oct-11 09:41:35

To mark National Adoption Week (31 Oct-6 Nov), former Labour MP Oona King, herself an adopter, and Jeffrey Coleman from the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF) are our webchat guests this Monday lunchtime from 1-2pm.

There's an urgent need for more adopters and foster carers. In a recent speech, David Cameron announced a new focus on the 65,000 children in care. He said: "This may not seem like the biggest issue facing our country, but it is the biggest issue for these children. How can we have let this happen: we've got people flying all over the world to adopt babies, while the care system at home agonises about placing black children with white families..."

BAAF is urging people to consider offering a secure, loving home to a child or children, especially harder-to-place children, including sibling groups, children aged 5+, and those with disabilities.

Our guests: Oona King has adopted two children, both at 13 months, and Jeffrey Coleman is the director of BAAF's Southern Region, an expert on the issues surrounding adoption and fostering, and a social worker.

If you have a question or comment about any aspect of adoption, or fostering, that you'd like to put to Oona or Jeffrey, please join them at 1pm on 31 Oct, or post your question here.

Thank you.

jaffababy Sun 30-Oct-11 10:57:58

Hi there. I'm glad there is more press around adoption at the moment. Can only be a good thing. I'd like to know 1. their opinion on concurrent planning and 2. whether companies could be persuaded to apply the same maternity policies to it as adoption? Thanks

BleedyGhoulzombiez Sun 30-Oct-11 12:01:23

Hi Oona, I've always had a very high regard for you, so it's great to have you here!

Did you adopt your two children separately? If so, how did you find the experience of 'blending' the family when you adopted child no 2? This is our main concern wrt adoption, as we already have children but would love to adopt in future years.

iMemoo Sun 30-Oct-11 13:00:48

I don't have a question but just wanted to say what an amazing woman you are. You're two children are truly blessed to have you as a mum x

iMemoo Sun 30-Oct-11 13:01:10

your

Littlezaltz Sun 30-Oct-11 16:41:57

Hi Both. Interest declared: I'm an adoptee. My question is a two-parter: 1. Do you support the Government's policy to support mixed-race adoption? 2. Do you think it's odd that it's taken so long to introduce this policy, given that "White" children from different backgrounds (Spanish, Greek, Italian etc.) have always been placed with "White" parents who may not share that particular background? Has something changed about the way Government thinks about race and nationality? Or is it just about numbers? Thanks.

travailtotravel Sun 30-Oct-11 17:03:03

Just wondering how we can persuade parents to adopt older children. Understandable that most families want to start with babies but the practical reality is that its more likely to be children over 18 months that need new families.

robbieheald Sun 30-Oct-11 17:07:04

I'm not a mum as I'm unable to have children after surviving cancer 9 years ago. However I have frequently thought of the love and security my husband and I could give to a child. Naturally it's important to ensure children are placed with appropriate families, but the timescale and stress that must go with the process worry me. Hence my question is are the times scales and overall adoption process to be within scope of this review? And when should it be completed by?

BartletForAmerica Sun 30-Oct-11 19:47:49

We are Christians and hold mainstream Christian views regarding, for example, sex outside of marriage, and would be very interested in opening our family and adopting children. However, I've heard that we wouldn't 'pass' the selection process because we hold those views and would bring up our children teaching them these values and hoping that they would become Christians too.

Are my concerns without foundation?

InWithTheITCrowd Sun 30-Oct-11 20:38:12

Hello. The current process for 2nd time adopters seems extraordinarily long, and too full of red tape, especially considering the fact that ss have already approved the adopters once (often relatively recently). Are there any plans to make the process easier and quicker for 2nd-time adopters?

hester Sun 30-Oct-11 22:00:09

Hi, I'm the lesbian mother of two lovely girls - a birth child and a mixed race adopted child, now aged 2. I've enjoyed reading your accounts of adopting your children, Oona. (I also met your mum once - nice lady smile.)

My question is about religious matching, which isn't talked about nearly as much as ethnic matching, but can still be a big issue in the system. We were assured during prep that the law requires religious matching - which is the first and last I've heard of it - but it's often an issue in matching. There was a rocky moment in our matching because the birth father converted to Islam while in prison, and I know that gay people with, say, Muslim heritage often have problems because they have only been able to adopt children with the same heritage, but then they have been found wanting on the faith criteria.

What do you think about it? Personally, I'm more convinced where the faith is part of a deep and enduring religious and cultural heritage. I got slightly irritated with looking at possible matches where the birth parents were specifying Christianity when they themselves appeared to wear any kind of faith extremely lightly...

Thingsfallapart Sun 30-Oct-11 23:03:40

Hi Oona,
I would be really interested in your views on how prospective adopters of different ethnic backgrounds can be supported to avoid where possible issues around negative self identity and self esteem that may arise if adoptive parents do not have some experience of the culture that their children are from?
Also on a personal note, your Mum taught me for the last 2 years of my schooling and the last two years before her retirement, and she almost singlehandedly changed the course of my life. She remains to this day the greatest teacher I have ever come across and when I graduated from both my BA and MA inside I dedicated it to her. (Also your lovely brother gave up his free time to help me with my maths GCSE.) So a massive thank you to her thanks

MotherInWaiting Sun 30-Oct-11 23:57:09

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our [[http://www.mumsnet.com/info/netiquette Talk Guidelines]]. Replies may also be deleted.

hester Mon 31-Oct-11 07:42:34

MotherInWaiting - that is shocking. All sympathies.

BartletForAmerica - can I comment on your situation? My social worker - a lovely, sensible woman - would have taken the stance that all prospective adopters need to consider the implications of raising a child who started off in another family, another family that may have held very different views, values and cultural traditions from our own. That doesn't mean that we have no right to stay true to our own values, and pass them on to our children, but we do have to be sensitive and avoid creating internal conflict for the child between their old and new families. We also have to help our children make sense of their past, being honest about the situation they came from without increasing any sense of shame about their origins or negative feelings about their birth family.

I had to discuss - with the social worker, and at panel - what it may mean for my child to be raised with two mothers, and how I would prepare her to negotiate this with the outside world, developing confidence and pride in her family without cutting her off from the 'normal club'. You may have to discuss how, for example, you will talk about extramarital sex without inducing shame in a child who may have been born as a result of it.

Of course, you may have to deal with social workers who are prejudiced against christianity, as you would find in the general population. I had to deal with social workers who were prejudiced against homosexuality. In adoption, social workers have a great deal of room to exercise their particular bugbears, IME.

utterlyslutterly Mon 31-Oct-11 08:26:17

Hello. I'm a very lucky mum to 2 wonderful adopted children (one placed at nine months and one at three months). I think I am the exception to the norm though, as many parents are having to wait years to be matched with children and increasingly the children seem to be much older.

Whilst my husband & I were going through the process of being placed with our second child, there were a few weeks (whilst seeking parental adoption consent) where we may have had to become foster parents to allow for a faster and smoother transition to adoption - concurrent planning? If the system is slowing down in terms of children placed for adoption and the age of children placed for adoption is going up, then surely it makes sense to pursue concurrent planning. This would allow children to be fostered and then adopted by one set of parents at a crucial and vulnerable age. I know there are risks to the foster / adopted parents but the children would surely benefit.

What are your views on concurrent planning in adoption (such as the Coram Project) and what do you think has to happen to speed up the adoption process for children and parents in the UK?

SallyDon Mon 31-Oct-11 12:19:31

I would like to ask Jeffrey Coleman and Oona King about the support available to children and families post-adoption. Many children, including my own, adopted from the care system are profoundly affected by past neglect and abuse and yet the education and mental health services don't seem equipped to support, or to even understand the need for support. The all-pervading myth is still that these children's problems are 'solved' once they are placed.

What hope is there to provide a robust package of support for our children?

Wouldn't better support save money over the longer term (reduced adoption break down, lower school exclusions etc)?

Thank you.

utterlyslutterly Mon 31-Oct-11 12:37:24

Oona, would also like to add that you are spot on when you stated that you love your adopted children to the point that you are grateful that you are infertile so that you have them in your life. This is exactly how I feel until they become teenagers and hate me wink .

Adoption can and does work for so many families.

JaneEjackson Mon 31-Oct-11 12:37:37

It is time that Grandparents are considered for adopting their grandchildren, if appropriate and safe for the children.
It can give continuity and stability for the children.

Shangers Mon 31-Oct-11 12:51:30

I've just been through the adoption approval process for adopting abroad (while living in the country so slightly different but we're British so it's through the UK). We've been struck by how much simpler and more positive we found the process here than we have heard it is for people adopting in the UK. My question is, how can families be convinced to adopt from the UK when the process abroad seems so much simpler and the chance of getting a younger child is so much higher? Is the process going to be made simpler? Are fewer restrictions going to be imposed? (sorry - all part of the same question!)

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 31-Oct-11 13:02:05

Hello everybody, thanks for your questions. Oona and Jeffrey are here, so without further ado, over to them....

JeffreyColeman Mon 31-Oct-11 13:03:09

I'm entirely in favour of concurrent planning on two conditions, birth parents are properly prepared and advised of what's at stake. Second adopters are prepared to lose or gain the child .

To speed up the process we need to massively reduce court delays in care proceedings and increase the number of adopters for sibling groups and children with special needs by promising and providing more support of all kinds.

utterlyslutterly

Hello. I'm a very lucky mum to 2 wonderful adopted children (one placed at nine months and one at three months). I think I am the exception to the norm though, as many parents are having to wait years to be matched with children and increasingly the children seem to be much older.

Whilst my husband & I were going through the process of being placed with our second child, there were a few weeks (whilst seeking parental adoption consent) where we may have had to become foster parents to allow for a faster and smoother transition to adoption - concurrent planning? If the system is slowing down in terms of children placed for adoption and the age of children placed for adoption is going up, then surely it makes sense to pursue concurrent planning. This would allow children to be fostered and then adopted by one set of parents at a crucial and vulnerable age. I know there are risks to the foster / adopted parents but the children would surely benefit.

What are your views on concurrent planning in adoption (such as the Coram Project) and what do you think has to happen to speed up the adoption process for children and parents in the UK?

JeffreyColeman Mon 31-Oct-11 13:05:25

I think we need a more streamlined process in the UK that moves faster for adopters and for children. It still needs to be rigorous and regulated but the average of two point seven years from entry into care to adoption is far too long.

Shangers

I've just been through the adoption approval process for adopting abroad (while living in the country so slightly different but we're British so it's through the UK). We've been struck by how much simpler and more positive we found the process here than we have heard it is for people adopting in the UK. My question is, how can families be convinced to adopt from the UK when the process abroad seems so much simpler and the chance of getting a younger child is so much higher? Is the process going to be made simpler? Are fewer restrictions going to be imposed? (sorry - all part of the same question!)

JeffreyColeman Mon 31-Oct-11 13:07:40

I'm in favour of more grandparent adoptions, US style than we have at present, for situations where you need complete legal permanence and security for a child. You're probably aware that most special guardianship orders are made to grandparents, and that's fine, but in some cases adoption may have been preferable.

JaneEjackson

It is time that Grandparents are considered for adopting their grandchildren, if appropriate and safe for the children.
It can give continuity and stability for the children.

OonaKing Mon 31-Oct-11 13:08:33

Hi there, congratulations on your wonderful family. I'm in the process of adopting my third child, and the first thing I asked my social worker was if we could look at concurrent planning. She said the biggest problem is that it is very resource-intensive, and that means her adoption agency (my adoption agency) won't be looking at it. I think that's really disappointing, but not surprising, as a lot of problems in the care system come down to a lack of resources. I think the Coram Project is a great example of how to reduce the heart-breaking waiting time when there are babies that need homes, and I wish it was more widely available. I might change my mind, though, if I was given a baby that I thought was my child for life, and then after six months had to hand the baby back again. That would kill me... I think good foster carers are the most wonderful and incredible people in Britain.

Overall we need a national approach to a national problem (the Government is looking at introducing regional agencies so that prospective adopters in one borough aren't turned down, when the Borough next door needs adopters). And we urgently need to speed up the courts and prioritise adoption cases. These cases change people's lives.

utterlyslutterly

Hello. I'm a very lucky mum to 2 wonderful adopted children (one placed at nine months and one at three months). I think I am the exception to the norm though, as many parents are having to wait years to be matched with children and increasingly the children seem to be much older.

Whilst my husband & I were going through the process of being placed with our second child, there were a few weeks (whilst seeking parental adoption consent) where we may have had to become foster parents to allow for a faster and smoother transition to adoption - concurrent planning? If the system is slowing down in terms of children placed for adoption and the age of children placed for adoption is going up, then surely it makes sense to pursue concurrent planning. This would allow children to be fostered and then adopted by one set of parents at a crucial and vulnerable age. I know there are risks to the foster / adopted parents but the children would surely benefit.

What are your views on concurrent planning in adoption (such as the Coram Project) and what do you think has to happen to speed up the adoption process for children and parents in the UK?

JeffreyColeman Mon 31-Oct-11 13:12:00

This is an excellent question. Most children who are adopted have endured neglect or maltreatment pre or post birth. So there is always the probability of significant support issues arising. The adoption support REGS 2005 enable adopters to ask for reassessments of their adoption support needs at any time . This is a legal obligation that adoption agencies have to respond to. Problem is adoption support is still a post code lottery and needs significantly more resources e.g. no long waiting lists for therapy.

SallyDon

I would like to ask Jeffrey Coleman and Oona King about the support available to children and families post-adoption. Many children, including my own, adopted from the care system are profoundly affected by past neglect and abuse and yet the education and mental health services don't seem equipped to support, or to even understand the need for support. The all-pervading myth is still that these children's problems are 'solved' once they are placed.

What hope is there to provide a robust package of support for our children?

Wouldn't better support save money over the longer term (reduced adoption break down, lower school exclusions etc)?

Thank you.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now