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


Just contacted our LA today, have a few questions :), literally at the very very beginning

17 replies

Ladyboluna · 12/06/2015 17:12

We've decided to adopt after having some fertility tests done which came back as saying we essentially had 0 chance of conceiving naturally and were recommended for IVF, that happened over December-January, and shortly after we moved house. I should have gone back for more tests but kept delaying it because I did not want to have IVF but felt like friends and family wanted me to. Eventually in April after being pestered by friends I went to my new GP about fertility but as soon as I sat down I just thought "I don't want this" and I never went for the blood tests. Had some mixed reactions over the last few weeks but I feel really relieved and like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. We recently told one family member we made this decision, and they said "I thought you seemed happier lately." Which is good. Smile

Anyway, here come the questions. I've spent a lot of time on Google but I'm wondering if anyone recommends becoming a paying member of AdoptionUK?
Also, does anyone have any books or blogs to recommend?
Are they likely to tell us to wait because of the fertility tests we had, and my reluctant GP visit? Will the SW be understanding?

We have pets - two cats, and two snakes. One cat is very sociable with new people and even tolerates our 'grabby' 1 year old niece occasionally, the other is a cuddly softy who likes to sleep upstairs all day. The snakes are only corn snakes (not venomous), one is in a padlocked viv and the other could be moved to one with a padlock with no issue (the padlock is only there because one snake is in a viv with glass doors that the cats have learnt how to open!) Cornsnakes don't get big enough to threaten children and are non-aggressive; their teeth are so small you'll get worse from a cat. I'm just worried a SW with a phobia will panic about it, they're so gentle and timid.

OP posts:
Devora · 12/06/2015 18:01

Hi ladyholuna, and welcome.

I would recommend joining AdoptionUK, at least for a year or so. I think that at the beginning of your adoption journey it's very useful to read around the subject as much as you can, and I always rather liked their magazine. A few years on, I am no longer a member but I do still visit their website from time to time.

I think it is highly likely you will be asked to wait until next year before embarking on the adoption process, and maybe having some counselling if you need it, before focusing on adoption. Many (if not most) of us here have had experiences of infertility, and I completely get the drive to push on as quickly as possible, after all the waiting and lost time. But there is a certain amount of loss that you will need to come to terms with, and it's best to do this before you're matched with a child.

You can still use this time well, though: research adoption, read books, get in some childcare experience. The social workers will be impressed if they see you've made good use of this time to get yourself adoption-ready.

With the pets, yes you probably will get questioned about this. People adopt successfully all the time with pets, but social workers will want to know you have talked through potential drawbacks and are prepared to resolve them. For example, what if you adopted a child who was allergic to cats? Or had a snake phobia? Would you put the child's needs first etc.

Ladyboluna · 12/06/2015 19:13

I've been coming to terms with the loss of not being able to conceive naturally since December last year, along with the knowledge that I could never put myself through IVF. When I've looked online the usual recommendation is something along the lines of 6 months, and it's been roughly 7 since I first told my partner I didn't want to do IVF. I've had counselling already so I'm not sure what it is about my post which suggests I would be told to wait, so I'm worried now.

Will sign up as a member to Adoption UK this month though. How do I go about getting the kind of childcare experience they might ask for? I look after my niece who is 1 sometimes, would that go any way towards counting?

OP posts:
Maiyakat · 12/06/2015 19:31

There seems to be a general rule that adoption agencies like you to wait a year after stopping fertility treatment to apply. However I have friends in a similar situation to you, who did not pursue IVF and applied only a few months after their last doctor's appointment. So depends on individual circumstances.

As for childcare experience, you could try contacting your local Rainbow/Cub group, I'm sure they'd be thrilled to have a volunteer!

Good luck - it's the craziest but best journey ever!

etsybetsy · 12/06/2015 19:39

Sounds to me like you've found the path you want to be on. It's always a good sign when other people notice that you're happier.

You shouldn't have to wait any longer than the 7 months you already have since deciding against IVF. 6 months is the norm. Most people don't have counselling, so you're already well ahead!

Varied child care experience always looks good. Looking after a family member is a great start, but also check out local nurseries or schools for some volunteering. Special needs experience is a bonus.

Regarding joining Adoption UK: I believe you have to be an approved adopter (or close to being approved) in order to access the subscription part because it relates to specific children. All the general adoption info should be free and not require a subscription. I could be wrong though.

Good luck!

iwishkidslikedtomatoes · 12/06/2015 19:48

In the year prior to adoption I was told in March we couldn't conceive naturally. Attended hospital appointment in June and said didn't want to do IVF, thinking about adoption. Started adoption process that December. I think it was pretty obvious to talk to me that I'd accepted everything and moved on but what that meant was the focus was firmly on DH. We were approved 6 months later so all fine but I guess what I'm trying to say is, it is possible to get accepted to start after 6 months with some LA's but make sure your partner is as certain as you are and doesn't need longer to grieve the loss of birth children. Not that your post suggests they aren't Smile Don't know if they require a little less time when you haven't been through IVF, it seemed that way with us when speaking to others on our prep course but that could have just been coincidence.

researchbookworm · 12/06/2015 20:23

Just one thing to add, our LA paid for us to be members of Adoption UK so you may find that others offer the same. I have to say that I haven't actually made very good use of it- I much prefer asking my questions on mumsnet ;-)

Ladyboluna · 13/06/2015 19:44

Thanks for mentioning that the LA may pay for membership to Adoption UK - I guess at this stage there is plenty other things I can do for an hour or so every evening; lots of websites to be found via Google and some stuff on youtube like old documentaries and interviews.

So if I was to contact a local nursery or children's hobby group (like scouts or an after-school club) they'll take me on as a volunteer? After the obvious CRB checks etc. I didn't think that was possible. Or would my LA refer me to an organisation anyway if they felt I needed it?

Also, what kind of questions have people been asked in the initial interview with a SW?

OP posts:
SponsoredByTheBadFairy · 13/06/2015 20:01

Welcome! You'll 99% certainly be asked to sort out your own voluntary experience with children, so you are free to choose that and set it up. People from my prep group did all sorts of things: helped at Sunday school, volunteered as mentors with an autism charity, did a few hours a week helping out with a primary school class, etc etc. Have a think about the age of child you may want to adopt, and try to choose a volunteer position that broadly matches. It doesn't need to be exact, but you know, choose something with children under 7 if that's who you hope might join your family, rather than a teenage youth group... Have a think about what sort of commitment you are able to make to volunteering too - be realistic (the adoption approval process will tire you out!) but if you can, try and offer a regular commitment for a certain amount of months, because that's likely to be far more use to the group you're working with.

Re Adoption UK, I think you can read their forum(s) and register to contribute, without joining yet. They can be sobering reading sometimes, so I would dip into them and remember that people posting may be doing so at extreme times. They are useful and pertinent, but can be eye-opening.

Re questions at initial interview, with luck it should feel like a chat. They are trying to get a sense of who you are, and despite your nerves, do try and be as honest as possible, because it helps them understand your motivations and where you are in your life. They won't expect you to have all the answers, but might expect you to have started thinking about the bigger issues such as which of you would take adoption leave, and how you will manage financially during that period etc.

Kewcumber · 14/06/2015 11:24

I've had counselling already so I'm not sure what it is about my post which suggests I would be told to wait, so I'm worried now.

Without wanting to put words in Devora's mouth, You mentioned seeing your doctor in April (hence the 1 year wait) and you didn't mention counselling and many SW's like you to be able to show you have come to terms with the loss of a potential birth child as the adoption process can be very draining.

Local authorities vary quite a lot as do individual social workers, I applied to adopt the month after my final IVF failed (to be air there were unusual reasons why this wasn't a problem) and I never had a minutes counselling! Mind you the adoption process itself was in the days when the process took a lot longer (3 years door to door) so you did have time to ruminate about things a bit more.

I can't imagine the pets being a problem and if they are just be open to the SW that you would put the child and their needs first at all times including rehoming the pets if necessary.

ALovelyTrain · 14/06/2015 13:10

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Devora · 14/06/2015 23:07

I'm sorry if what I wrote worried you, Ladyholuna. Of course, I don't know whether any agency would want to delay you starting and if so, by how long. My reply merely reflected that it is common practice to ask people to wait awhile after TTC, to ensure they have truly closed that door and are ready to move on. 12 months is commonly cited, but of course the precise length of time would depend on many factors (to do with the applicants but also with the agency). Everyone on here is talking from their own experience, and of course that experience varies. So don't pin hope or anxiety on any one post - read the range of views, then talk to your local agencies (more than one if you have a choice) and see what they advise.

Best of luck Smile

CloserToFiftyThanTwenty · 15/06/2015 10:59

Very briefly...

we never joined AdoptionUK, though it could be a useful source of info

We never went down the assisted conception route either - in part because getting pregnant wasn't a problem (staying pregnant was), but also we both knew that it just wasn't for us. We never had any push back from SS on that, though the fact we already had a birth child may have been helpful in that regard.

The best first practical step is to phone a few local agencies. When we did this we found out: one wouldn't look at us until our DC was much older; one wouldn't look at us because we lived in the same small borough and they only placed out if borough; one wouldn't look at us because we didn't live in county and they only placed in county; one was very reluctant for us to pursue things because we were white with a DC (I forget exactly how they put it but that was the bottom line - this was a little while ago). Finally, one said that they had just finished a recruitment round and didn't know when they would be doing the next one - but a neighbouring borough was just kicking a round off, which is how we ended up with the agency we did.

We have pets too, BTW - we were positive about the benefits of pets for DC but said we would rehome if a problem arose (and crossed everything that the situation wouldn't arise)

Ladyboluna · 15/06/2015 12:35

Partner is very keen on adoption - it's something he said he wanted to do before we even knew we couldn't have birth children without ivf. He encouraged me to try ivf just because of how upset I used to get when friends announced pregnancies etc. However as we felt ivf was something we would find too hard and it was something I didn't want to do - and of course ivf would result in one birth child and we couldn't afford to have others via ivf (we want a big family)... so we decided on adoption.
We're kind of hoping the process from start to placement will take some time as like I said we moved house and of course it would be better if we could decorate and update as many rooms as possible.
I sent off an online request form thing with a neighbouring LA rather than our own one as a friend of a friend used the neighbouring one and had a positive experience.

I like reading does anyone have any books at all? To recommend.

OP posts:
RaspberrySnowCone · 15/06/2015 12:52

Hi Lady,

You sound very similar to us in terms of feelings towards IVF except we did actually give it a go. It didn't work and although we still have embryos decided to leave them and that we wanted to adopt.

I think we finished treatment in October, I started counselling the following February which I had for a month and a month off work for exhaustion. We rang the LA at the beginning of June, they asked lots of questions about our journey, established why we wanted to adopt and that we were both completely committed and put us straight forward to stage 1 training.

We had to read a few books by Dan Hughes, building the bonds of attachment is a popular one and it's very very good. There's also one called first steps in parenting the child who hurts and another called Big Steps for Small Children I think it was called. Excellent books.

We haven't signed up to Adoption Uk, our Social Worker gave us a big pile of magazines and so did a friend who had recently adopted and I tend to steer clear of the forums, it seems to get quite aggressive, this board is much much nicer.

In terms of volunteering, half way through our process I asked why we hadn't been told to do it and what should we be doing as we were aware of another couple who'd been told to do all sorts and we were told it's really dependent on personal experience and circumstance so just ask when you meet them what they would suggest as you might invest a lot of time volunteering somewhere then find you either didn't need too or they want you to do something else.

It's an exhausting process, you learn a lot about yourself and the waiting post approval is as anxious a time as the approval process itself. We are in the process of being matched but waiting for courts to do their thing with paperwork and every day feels like a lifetime but we hope to have LO home with us soon.

Good luck whichever path you take. I have a few friends who've adopted and all have found it a positive and incredible experience :)

RaspberrySnowCone · 15/06/2015 12:58

Oh and we have a dog. Didn't bat an eyelid but did ask what would happen if child and dog don't get on.

RaspberrySnowCone · 15/06/2015 13:05

I should also add that the best thing to do is speak to an agency, everyone's journey is very individual and different, with the best will in the world, the responses you get from maybe 15/20 people on a forum can give you a general idea but every agency has different expectations and requirements and every couple is very different. Give them a ring and have a chat.

JamHoneyMarmite · 15/06/2015 19:18

Books (since you asked) - Unofficial Guide to Adoptive Parenting by Sally Donovan, anything by Bruce Perry, Dan Hughes or Amber Elliot. Parenting the child who hurts - Caro Archer. Just my favourites, sure others will have theirs to add!

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