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Could my sister adopt?

12 replies

PenguinBear · 21/02/2014 10:31

My sister would like to adopt and wondered if anyone who's been through it could give me some info please.

My knowledge on adoption is limited. I know I've heard through various discussions etc over the years that you need to be a healthy weight. Is this correct? If so, she would need to lose weight before applying I'm assuming?

Would it go against her that she is single and never had a serious relationship? She's very career focused and now wants a family but doesn't seem interested in finding a man. She said she'd love to but in her line of work she doesn't come across any apparently!

Would I be able to be a referee for her? She's great with my 4 children and has looked after all of them for on her own numerous times.

She currently lives in a one bedroom flat. She's looking for a house at the moment, would she need to have moved before applying?

Thanks to anyone who can answer these questions :)

OP posts:
Marraskuu · 21/02/2014 11:30

Being single is not a problem. Others will probably also advise on here that it's likely to be about finding a local authority or a voluntary agency that you feel comfortable with. All have different atmospheres, and it's worth visiting more than one information evening.
Being healthy is important and there will be a medical - weight doesn't have to be perfect, but there will be a chat about it and you'll need to be willing to talk about being a good role model around food, etc. Some people's agencies have asked them to lose weight, and some don't seem to take that approach.
The only issue that jumped out at me from your message was the one bedroom. It will be a requirement that the child has their own room.
Single adopters are grilled understandably hard about how they will cope, and how they will balance working and childcare. It's worth doing some thinking about this, and being able to show you have genuinely reflected on your situation.
(Sorry - realise this is advice for your sis, not for you, so ignore the "yous"!)

BlueHairedFreak · 21/02/2014 12:01

I'm not an adopter but I do work for a voluntary agency (I'm not a SW though!) and these are questions we are regularly asked so your sister isn't alone in wondering about these issues.
First 4 Adoption, the national gateway, has some good advice here
In terms of weight, the advice I give is this:
Prospective adopters are expected to be in good general physical and mental health. You do not need to be a super athlete, but we need to be reasonably sure that you will be in good enough health to be around for a child’s growing-up years. Whilst this includes consideration of lifestyle-related issues such as weight, smoking and alcohol consumption, these factors are not in themselves contra-indications to adoption. We consider all medical information and if there is a particular health risk either to you or to the children who may be placed in your care, we would then discuss these matters with you carefully before proceeding further.
Hope that helps, and good luck to your sister!

BlueHairedFreak · 21/02/2014 12:03

Also - your sister would need 3 references: 1 family and 2 personal. She could ask you to be her family referee.

PenguinBear · 21/02/2014 12:59

When you say personal would you ask your boss? Or friends?

OP posts:
BlueHairedFreak · 21/02/2014 13:45

Personal referees are usually friends and cannot be related to you. Your employer is always asked for a reference and any previous employers where you have worked with children or vulnerable adults.
If your boss is your friend but not providing the employers reference (ie she could be your supervisor but the CEO is the employer) she could provide the personal reference.
We would also ask for references for any voluntary work, and your Local Authority - Social Services, Education & Probation.
Does that make sense - I hope so!!

drspouse · 21/02/2014 14:24

The number of references does depend on which agency you are with - our VA asks for the same as you, but others ask for more, or different combinations of family and personal.

We've asked one relative that we're very close to, and two friends that live locally. One has children, when we adopted DS we asked a different pair of friends who both had children (not a couple), because we didn't have our own children then so it needed to be someone who knew how we were with children. But this time we've asked a friend we're very close to who doesn't have children because obviously she's seen us with DS.

BlueHairedFreak · 21/02/2014 15:29

An agency can ask for more checks, but the family, personal, LA, employers and voluntary are all statutory checks rather than best practice, so all agencies and LAs will need to do them.

Devora · 21/02/2014 19:47

The thing that jumps out at me from your post is that she is very career-focused and single. Does she work very long hours? Are her working hours flexible? Is her employer supportive? Or is she planning on reining in the career a bit once she's a mother?

You can of course have a career and be an adoptive mother - I do and I am - but your sister needs to think through how she will make it all work. The adoption agency will want her to take a year off work, and she may find that the child needs her to be around a lot more than you might expect with a birth child.

crazeekitty · 21/02/2014 21:02

I'm single. I have no wish to find a man in the future. Not been a problem at all for adoption process. Can't comment on the weight issue I'm afraid. Only thing I would add is that I took a significant pay cut before adoption so I could work sensible hours, not 14-18 hours a day. Couldn't maintain that with a lo

Kewcumber · 21/02/2014 22:20

Single overweight previously career oriented adopter here! (Though I had had significant stable long term relationships)

I had also put in place a much less demanding flexible job prior to adopting - I certainly couldn;t have coped with my previous job and being a single parent.

Whether weight would be an issue would in my experience depend on a number of factors:

How overweight is she? BMI under 35 doesn't tend to invoke more than a chat about healthy eating, showing some commitment to losing a bit and showing you know what foods a child should be eating and promising not to feed them McDonalds non-stop. 35-40 into more serous territory and I think you will be expected to show some weight loss during the process and a very healthy attitude to food. Over 40 I think you would very often be expected to go away and show weight loss before starting and may also have a medical up front to explore what medical issues there might be.

How supportive is her GP - a supportive GP who doesn't think your weight is an issue is worth their weight in gold (no pun intended) whereas a GP who doesn;t approve of single adopters and certainly not overweight single adopters is an absolute disaster (bitter experience)

Social workers attitude - if your social worker is supportive then that helps too.

Weight is in my experience a bigger issue in single adopters than couples because its so much more important that you are fit and healthy and the strain on you can be immense.

PenguinBear · 21/02/2014 22:45

Thanks for all the info.

I have no idea what her bmi would be but I will pass all of this on to her :)

I think she was planning to take the equivalent of Maternity leave from work. Although due to the nature of her job she has to give about 12 weeks ( if not more) notice. I don't suppose she'd know that far in advance if she was going to be matched though would she?

OP posts:
Kewcumber · 21/02/2014 22:49

Its not about adoption leave (and I think legally she has to give notice when she's matched which they might not like but she can't do anything else) it when you go back to work... she might want to think through how to handle her job and being the sole carer of a child. Very often long days in nurseries (for a very small child) are not suitable for an adopted child and an older child will probably need to be picked up by their new parent from school for quite a while - you can;t rely on the child being able to handle after school clubs initially.

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