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Should we give up?

21 replies

snoozy1973 · 26/06/2012 11:35

Hi, this is the first time I've posted on Mumsnet despite being on here for years, so excuse me if I start rambling!

My DH and I have been together for 10 years and have a birth child who is 7. Despite trying to have another child, we have been unsuccessful as I have had miscarriages with various complications and, now I'm in my late thirties, we decided to give up and look into adoption. We are a close family and our child is very happy and well balanced, but he desperately wants a sibling, plus we would love to be able to give a child who has had a bad start in life a loving and stable home.

We are trying to adopt through our LA and were due to go to Panel in May but, for various reasons, it was delayed until June. When we finally went to Panel at the beginning of this month (after 8 months of assessments and home visits), we were called in for approximately five minutes and asked a couple of questions, which we answered to the best of our abilities. However, the Panel decided to defer our application for three months as they felt we weren't ready. They had concerns about our expectations and felt that 'more work needed to be done'. I was devastated by this and am not sure whether it's worth continuing - surely if we're not ready now after all the work we've done and the effort we've put in, will we ever be? The Panel seem to have taken the few comments we made completely the wrong way and have come to the wrong conclusions as far as we're concerned, so my worry is that if we go back to the same Panel are they going to realistically change their negative views about us?

I'd be really interested to hear from anyone else who has gone through a similar experience and how they dealt with it as I'm totally at a loss as to what to do now! Many thanks.

OP posts:
funnychic · 26/06/2012 12:21

If you tell us your comments it might help us to advise you why the panel might think that? Did you have a chance to reply and put your side to whatever they had said?

cornishsue · 26/06/2012 12:37

Hi Snoozy,


I am sorry the panel took your words the wrong way and asked to defer your application. I know what you mean though, how sometimes just the way you phrase a reply can make the panel assume things different to what you had intended. Do you know what their concerns are? Can you talk it over with your social worker and plan what to say next time? I am sure they cannot have had major concerns or they would have refused your application. Actually were there concerns your social worker would not have taken you to panel at all. I have heard of many couples who are asked to defer by the panel - usually for very minor things - and providing the couple do not give up, it has been okay in the end.

I do understand how you are considering giving up though, I know after more than a decade of miscarriages, infertility treatment and adoption, a part of me wanted to give up too. But what I didn't know then was that the children I was meant to have were such a few short months away from joining our family. Maybe the sibling your child so desperately desires is out there waiting for you too! So I would urge you to tackle the issue head on, discuss with your social worker and hang in there just a bit longer.

Message me directly if you think I can help. I really do understand. I wish you good luck and hope it isn't too long before you are a family of four.

Hang on in there!!!

snail1973 · 26/06/2012 13:24

I second that, don't give up. We have good friends who were deferred at panel and now have a lovely DD. For them the deferment was because the panel felt they did not have enough info in their paperwork so they were allocated a new SW (better one perhaps?) and got a lot more detail down on paper, went back to panel a few months later and were approved.

It is really important to have a good talk with your SW now and find out from him/her what is going on. The panel members will probably have said a lot more to him/her about why wanted to defer. What kind of 'not ready'? Do they mean your knowledge or experience or what ??? Then you will know how easy will it be to 'get ready'?

Try to think of it as just one more hoop they make you jump through to test your resolve Grin

Good luck, and don't give up now, it will be worth it

Lilka · 26/06/2012 14:09

I'm sorry snoozy, what a horrid thing to happen

Don't give up

Talk to your SW, find out more about what panel asked and said when you were not in the room. If you have to do a couple more sessions with the SW, do that. If expectations were their concern, can you do something about that? Could you get down on paper more specific conversations on that with your SW? Document a visit to an adoptive family to assess your expectations? Anything you can use. It can be done. People do, snail said, have things like this happen, and still succeed

snoozy1973 · 26/06/2012 17:00

Hello everyone, thanks so much for your speedy replies! Obviously there is a lot more to it than I wrote in my original post but I was being deliberately vague in case the wrong people saw me paranoid but my experience of SWs has not been particularly positive. We have since had a meeting with the team manager and she outlined their concerns, some of which totally contradicted each other! I will PM you separately and give you more information...

Many thanks again x

OP posts:
Moomoomie · 26/06/2012 21:33

What an awful position to be in. I'm sorry you are having to go through this. I too would say, don't give up, you are so close to the finishing line.
Do you have a good relationship with your SW? Could you talk to her and ask her straight, and ask her to be totally honest with you.
Fortunately our assessments were straight forward. I don't know how I would have coped.
Remember though, they have not said no, just come back again later.
Good luck.

Italiangreyhound · 26/06/2012 21:34

Snoozy I sorry to hear of these problems for you.

I am not yet an adoptive parent but like you have had years of problems with fertility and have a child (mine is a DD) aged 7.

I very much hope you will carry on and see it through. The few months they are asking for is not too long a time. Maybe in that time you will feel calmer, more relaxed and maybe it will prove to be the right thing/OR they will have been totally wrong about you but you will have shown your resolve to withstand the latest thing and be calm in the face if the wait!

Really hope it works out.

DH and I am hoping to start the process in a few months.

All best wishes.

If you feel able to let know how you are getting on, or to be PM me, please do.

All best wishes, Italian.

FamiliesShareGerms · 26/06/2012 21:56

Oh, that sounds grim, OP. I would say don't give up now, have the conversations to work out what their concerns really are, and decide whether they are things you can address.

You might have to work out how to give them what they want. We found SS took things said by us and family members very literally and weren't very skilled at seeing others' views (eg they heard my parents say "we're concerned about the impact of an adopted child on our grandson", and translated that to "Families' parents do not want an adopted grandchild and are not supporting their decision to proceed"...). Sometimes we had to spell things out for them (eg "my parents understand that adopted children these days often have a tough start in life and can display challenging behaviour, and it's impotant to be aware of the implications this might have for our family and particularly for our son, but completely support our decision to adopt and are very excited to become grandparents again".)

Good luck with it, however you decide to proceed. (We adopted after having a birth child, so feel free to PM me if you have any Qs or want to explore anything a bit more)

NanaNina · 27/06/2012 18:58

Snoozy I think you have been treated appallingly. I spent 30 years of my career in LA SSD specialising in fostering and adoption and for the past 15 years I was a team manger in a F & A team. I retired 8 years ago but have since chaired Fostering Panels for other LAs.

The assessing social worker's assessment should have been checked by his/her team manager and if there were issues that weren't covered or not fully explained in the assessment then these should have been taken up with the assessing soc worker and she should have returned to get more clarification or whatever was ommitted. Then the assessment should go to the Panel Advisor (I was also the Panel advisor for the fostering panel) and again if there was still need for clarifications or whatever, the panel advisor should have spoken with the team manager and the chair of the Adoption Panel, and the assessing social worker would have been asked to do further work with you on the issues of concern.

Only when everyone was satisfied with the assessment should you have gone to panel. I don't mean that the panel are there to "rubber stamp" the assessment and for many years, applicants did not attend panel. The multi disciplinary panel would raise issues with you pertenent to their specialism. It is meant to be a discussion not a Q and A session although I appreciate it can sound like that. I realise I worked for a very good LA.

After I had retired I applied to chair the Adoption Panel in a nearby town and was offered the post. I sat in on one of the panels and I was appalled bythe way it was run. The chair was the only person who spoke to the applicants, so the rest of the panel could have been cardboard cut outs, and the way you described what happened to you, was also the case with this LA. One couple had been deferred twice and there wasn't time to deal with it, so they were asked to attend the next panel the following month. After seeing how this panel was run I advised them I would not be taking on the job. They wanted to know why, so I sent them a 4 page typed letter of everything that was wrong with that panel and Lord help them when they were OFSTED inspected!

I think you are the innocent victims here and I hate to say it but does it make you worry about this LA if this is how applicants are treated. Do you have any faith in your assessing social worker? Do this LA adhere to the law as far as post adoption support is concerned?

If you want to PM me that's fine.

NanaNina · 27/06/2012 19:06

Familiesharegerms have only just seen your post. It makes me feel quite ashamed that there are social workers out there who are not experienced enough to carry out this important task. If grandparents had made that comment eg "worry about the impact on their grandson" there should have been a discussion about it, and in any event I think that is quite a normal worry for grandparents to have, though the of course the way you explained and re-phrased it should not have been necessary. No wonder you are sighing!

I feel quite angry at the way applicants for adoption and fostering are being treated by LAs though I know that they are horrendously short staffed and some of the inner city LAs are running at around 30% vacancy rate plus high levels of stress related sickness. I suspect too that they are using young inexperienced soc workers who have no children of their own, as there is no other option. Of course budgets have been slashed again and things can only get worse. It is all very sad. Assessing applicants for fostering and adoption is a highly skilled task and calls for experience, competence and understanding of what adoption is all about.

Sorry I hadn't noticed that you'd said a PM was fine (but don't want you to think I know better!!) So long as the OP gets the advice and support she needs it doesn't matter where it comes from.

minceorotherwise · 27/06/2012 19:10

Sorry, if this has already been said. But friends of ours had a similar experience and went to an alternative LA. not sure how feasible that is for you, but apparently they differ widely and they were successful
Good luck!

Happyasapiginshite · 27/06/2012 20:22

I adopted internationally and live in Ireland, so have gone through a totally different process to you so I have no advice at all about what you're giong through with your panel. You have got some great advice here though.

I just wanted to post though because last February I wanted to pull out of the adoption process. I was worn out and worn down by years of hope and disappointment. My dh dragged me through and persuaded me to give it another few months - we had a June 30th deadline.

We are now home 6 months with our beautiful dd and at times I look at her and shudder when I think how I wanted to pull out.

What seems awful now, yet another hurdle to jump over, will fade into the corners of your memory. DON'T give up, you've all the hard work done.

snoozy1973 · 27/06/2012 21:15

minceorotherwise - thanks for responding. Funnily enough I looked into that today! The one I spoke to said it would be best for us to stay where we were as otherwise we'd have to start all over again and there was no guarantee we'd be approved by them either! (yes, she was a pleasant woman too, I'm seeing a pattern emerging here....!)

More importantly, they don't have a social worker to allocate to us as they're all at full capacity, so we'd have to wait even longer. The team manager said that if we've only been deferred for three months then there's a good chance we'll be approved. Hmm, wish I had her confidence!

OP posts:
minceorotherwise · 27/06/2012 21:25

I don't have personal experience only a variety of mates who have gone through the process.
Deferments and delays seem to be the norm, rather than the exception. More down to cuts in the system than the people applying as far as I can see (sorry, many many more experienced people here!)
But, from what I can gather the overwhelming inference, from those with a successful outcome, is do whatever it takes. If you are not getting the response you want, then go elsewhere, the LA's differ enormously. And your particular LA is not about to recommend you go elsewhere as it would not look good for them. Having said that, if you are just suffering (for that's what it is) from a deferrment down to management and cuts and people) then stay with it for what may be, with time, a successful outcome. If you really feel it's the end of the road with a particular LA then try a different one, if that option is available
I really wish you every good fortune, and some balls of steel getting through the process !!!

savage100 · 04/08/2017 08:05

Hi I've not posted on here before either, my husband and I are going through the process of fostering, we have our panel booked for November. I'm wondering if anyone knows if it would be frowned upon if we deferred our panel date? Would it go against us? We have still to do a lot of the training, and my husband has taken so much time off what with all the meetings at home etc we just feel under a lot of pressure financially. Our borough are very desperate for foster carers and are running stages 1 and 2 at the same time, but I feel this is throwing us into panic! I do want to continue with the process but feel we have too much to do before November .... any comments welcome

luckylucky24 · 04/08/2017 08:16

Savage, if you start a new thread you will get a better response.

sparklybuttired · 04/08/2017 08:21

Savage I a foster carer pm me ... if you want some
Advice or add this on foster care topic

savage100 · 04/08/2017 08:33

thanks I'll try - not been on here before!

savage100 · 04/08/2017 08:37

I've started a new thread not sure how to pm thanks

dharlie99 · 07/08/2017 18:55

This reply has been deleted

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

fasparent · 11/08/2017 16:12

Agree with NanaNina lots of young inexperienced SW About bless them
thrown in at the deep end , Its the system which is loosing experienced
worker's.. who guide them.
We have seen many changes in our 40 years of fostering, many young social worker we know were not even born in our early days. Had too guide many through their 1st ever Adoption cases, one just a few months ago, though not difficult. Too many old hands are leaving quite a few surprisingly for reasons of the new Electronic formats and computer systems which baffles many including myself. Will take time for thing too settle., possible many years.

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