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Q&A about adoption with First4Adoption's Head of Service, Gemma Gordon-Johnson - ANSWERS BACK

(76 Posts)
RachelMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 12-Apr-13 16:24:59

We're running a Q&A this week with First4Adoption, the new information service for anyone interested in finding out more about adopting a child in England.  If you have a question about your suitability to apply to be an adoptive parent, or if you want to know where to begin the adoption process, First4Adoption's Head of Service Gemma Gordon-Johnson will be on hand this week to give you the information that you need. Post your questions by lunchtime on Monday 22 April and we'll post the answers up on Monday 29 April.

There are more than 4000 children waiting to be adopted in England. Recent research shows that 1-in-7 people would consider adopting but they are held back by a lack of information and myths about who can adopt.  First4Adoption is run by the charities Coram Children's Legal Centre, Coram and Adoption UK, and funded and supported by the Department for Education (DfE).

To find out more about adopting or for information about adoption agencies in your area, call their friendly trained advisors on 0300 222 0022 or visit

ControlGeek Fri 12-Apr-13 19:41:53

I'm currently waiting for IVF treatment at the moment, so I'm possibly jumping the gun a little bit. DP and I have been talking a lot about this recently though. I've read on my local area's adoption website that prospective adoptive parents need to have recent experience of non-related (to them) children of the age range in which they are looking to adopt. The website's suggestion is that prospective adoptive parents volunteer with a nursery, school or similar to get this experience. DP and I both work full time, which makes this pretty much impossible.

I'm beginning to feel scared that lack of recent experience (I am a qualified teacher, but over 10 years outside of the school environment) will mean we are not considered suitable. DP has two adult children, but lost contact with them when they were 9 and 10, having been a resident parent up to that point.

So my question is, how much weight is given to recent experience, normally, and can it be negated in cases where both partners work?

Phineyj Mon 15-Apr-13 16:53:07

How common is it for birth parents to contact their children post-adoption via Facebook or other social media, and is there any research into the impact this has on the long term success of adoptions?

UnbearableRuth Tue 16-Apr-13 15:07:16

If a person had previously voluntarily surrendered a baby for adoption many years ago (more than 10 years) having at the time felt unable to be a parent, and had then grown up a bit and much more recently had another child and is living a pretty normal settled life - would that incident in their history be likely to make them considered unsuitable to be an adoptive parent?

What kind of age-gap between an adoptive-parent's biological-child and and adoptive-child placed would be typical in households where there were a mixture of biological children and adoptive children? Are such mixed families encouraged or discouraged? Do social services assume that the parents will hold their biological child as a favourite and therefore avoid this kind of situation?

Also, would you always be expected to have sufficient income for there to be one stay-at-home parent to be considered suitable?

LaVitaBellissima Tue 16-Apr-13 15:11:38

I saw a link to a website on here, be my parent? I think and it had photos of children waiting to be adopted. There was a family of four children who were very close and wanted to be adopted together. I just keep thinking of them sad
My question is do siblings often get adopted together, and how likely is it that four children would be adopted together?

randomtask Tue 16-Apr-13 15:49:58

How much importance is placed on the child's history before adoption? I adopted my stepson (his DM/DH's first DW) and it seemed that they were more interested in checking they had a file he could read about his past when 18 than they were checking I was suitable. Assume this is because of being his step parent but found it worrying.

We have talked about/considered adopting in the future and wonder would religion go against us? DH will be a priest. Also, would the fact I have already adopted help/hinder us? Social worker in DSS case recommended we foster as 'they need people like you' but that was before priest stuff and I fear it changes all the time.

JeanBillie Tue 16-Apr-13 17:09:42

My question is about ethnicity - I'm mixed race (black African and English) and my husband is white - what considerations would be made for us, if any? Thank you

rabbitonthemoon Tue 16-Apr-13 17:33:44

Is it always the case that ex partners have to provide a reference? I lived with an abusive partner for 6 years and the thought of having to get in touch with him, tell him I've not been able to conceive and then let him get his hands on a reference - it brings me out in a cold sweat. As a primary teacher I have many other people that could act as referees?

marjproops Tue 16-Apr-13 19:06:34

1-I pmd OP so awaiting a pm reply.

2- why does culture and colour come into it? first and moremost a child needs a family.

my sis is white and bIL black and their child is mixed. so if its 'normal', then why not for adopted children?

and why dont adopters get more support and help? adopted children will have more instabilities and traumeas that dna children.

JacqueslePeacock Tue 16-Apr-13 19:21:47

I am interested in adopting in future. I have a toddler (biological child) already and no fertility issues, but feel it would be better to adopt an already existing child in need of a home than to create another new life. Would that be thought an inappropriate reason to adopt? People look at me as if I had two heads if I say that in real life. Would I be deemed less suitable than those with fertility problems? And how old would my biological child need to be before I could start to apply? Thanks very much.

marjproops Tue 16-Apr-13 19:56:13

jac thats lovely. what a lovely thing to say and do. so many children need parents and a loving stable home life and while theres nothing wrong in bringing a child into the world out of your body, a child is truly born in the heart.

I know someone like that. she saw a child, (through a friends contact with hers) fell completely in love with him, she's single, and was allowed to adopt him. I have never seen (apart from me and DC!) a mother and child as close and loving as them. And she could conceive if she wanted to.

Dont EVER let people look at you and think you're bonkers. they could do with educating and compassion lessons.

you go for it, I hope you are successful, with a heart as big as yours there should not be any negatives about it.

(if DC didnt have disabilities and be such hard work Id do it myself, but its all i can do to cope with her).

JeanBillie Tue 16-Apr-13 20:32:23

Marjproops is your second point in response to my question?

I'm interested to hear the answer from an expert - but yes, of course ultimately what's needed is a loving family environment.

As someone, for example, with Afro hair and a white mother who had never looked after Afro hair before, there are cultural implications (some fairly trivial, like hair, and others more serious) so I'd be keen to know what approach is taken from someone who knows.

marjproops Tue 16-Apr-13 20:44:19

jean yes it is. How many white mums do you see with black/mixed kids, or black mums with white/mixed?

my nepphew looks all black, has the afro hair, the wide nose, the full lips. and sis hads no probs with that.

im saying if its okay in this multi-cultural country for 'regular' couples to have mixed race (could even be Indian/Chinese. Italian/greek etc for example) then there should never be an issue with adopters with different cultured/coloured children.

i dont know if sometimes its the 'culture' thing and not the a muslim child with Christian parents or whatever, but as in my case, sis is a non-believer and BIL is a devout catholic anf they compromise with their child. (if that makes sense)

and 'experts', with all their degrees, fair enough, but as you and I have agrred at the end of the day its the welfare of the child, not the politics.

marjproops Tue 16-Apr-13 20:45:54

I think this thread is about asking questions to the HQ-sorry to hijack, HQ-but maybe as well seeing peoples question and if any mns can identify/answer/share.....and some people maybe speaking from experience?

hhhhhhh Tue 16-Apr-13 22:04:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WeeNoggi Wed 17-Apr-13 04:02:42

My husband & I live in Vietnam and we can adopt here legally. This would mean bringing our adopted child to the UK and getting a home study done after the adoption process. Is this fairly common or would we be perceived as attempting to bend the rules?

If that's too specific for this forum, could you give tips on preparing for a home study by social services in general? Is renting vs owning a house a big factor?

Notsoyummymummy1 Wed 17-Apr-13 06:07:32

Are most children waiting to be adopted older than toddler age? Are there many babies waiting to be adopted? Do many suffer with health problems due to their natural parents' lifestyles?

Gobbolinothewitchscat Wed 17-Apr-13 06:50:38

my nepphew looks all black, has the afro hair, the wide nose, the full lips. and sis hads no probs with that.

Gosh - that's big of your sister to have no probs with your nephew's appearance hmm. I do hope this is just a poorly worded OP.

Hayleyh34 Wed 17-Apr-13 08:38:17

Please remember that it's "birth family" and not "natural/real family". This matters greatly to some of us who have adopted. There is nothing unnatural about us and we are certainly a real familygrin

marjproops Wed 17-Apr-13 13:30:12

gob yes was poorly worded blushi mean, she never takes any notice if anyone comments that her son looks diff to her, its none of their business.

still poorly worded, cant think of right way to express (i have this prob, excuse me), but someone was asking about adopting a child of a different colour/culture to them and it shouldnt be a prob for anyone.

marjproops Wed 17-Apr-13 13:32:43

gobif you read all my posts here you'll get the bigger picure...again, im not brill at expressing things prop though, but the other posters seem to get it.

GotMyGoat Wed 17-Apr-13 14:57:19

I'm another with no fertility issues, and have an existing child, but am interested in adopting in the future.

My concern is with income - although we bought our dd to this world, I've got the feeling that to adopt you need to be able to own your own home and have a lot of money, especially if someone needs to stay at home full time. Are families who recieve any amount of housing benefit/tax credits be allowed to adopt? How much income would you need to be considered a good enough family?

It's the only thing that puts me off asking tbh, will make me feel like a bad parent to our current dd if we are told we're not rich enough.

Lilka Wed 17-Apr-13 16:15:10

Okay I know this is a thread for the expert...but GotMyGoat, I have a low income, rent my home and claim several benefits on top of that. SS have never had a single problem with renting and low income, and I have adopted 3 times. In my experience, they are not at all worried by renting or lower income, only large debts are a concern

Lilka Wed 17-Apr-13 16:21:23

Actually, I have a couple of questions about this service if that's ok:

How are 'First4Adoption' going to make themselves visible to the public, and what other reaching out to the public are you doing? I'm wondering this because although I have heard a little about this service, most people have not heard of it. So how are the general public who might have an interest in adoption to know where to go? Are you planning advertisements like LA's/VA's do? And are you doing any work with people to 'myth bust' eg. you can't adopt if you areover 40 etc.

Also, I'm a little confused about the governments intentions for 'First4Adoption'. Is this an optional information/guidance service for interested people, or is this intended to become the official mandatory first point of contact for prospective adopters, so they can't go directly to agencies?

Lotta1234 Wed 17-Apr-13 19:02:57

I'm interested in concurrent planning. Is this possible in Hertfordshire please?

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