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would I be eligible to adopt?

15 replies

jnmum · 15/11/2008 20:44

Hi, I am a single parent of a lovely 7 year old girl. I would love to adopt but would I be eligible as a single parent. I am 39 years old and unlikely to have another child of my own. I work 3 days a week and am able on that to financially support another child. Would I need to stop working? Would the age gap be sufficient? and am I too old?

If anyone here has any idea I would be really grateful.

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hester · 15/11/2008 21:37

Single parents are eligible to adopt, but obviously they'd want to be sure you had sufficient resources (physical and financial) to support another child. They're very hot on support networks; they'll want to know that you have enough support and back-up so that, for example, if you get ill there is someone else to step in.

You are not too old. I'm currently being assessed for adoption and I'm [ahem] a few years older than you. The sw doesn't see my age as an obstacle at all.

I also have a birth child, and have been told they like an age gap of at least 3-4 years, so you shoudl be fine.

The only issue you raise that I think may be an obstacle is about working. They do seem to like you to take a year off, if possible, to settle the child. You don't mention if time off is possible - does your employer offer good adoption leave? Of course, once the adoption is final there is nothing they can do about you going back to work, but it is wise to be prepared that an adopted child may take longer to settle and bond than you anticipate.

Why don't you ring an agency to discuss it? I would advise you don't just contact one agency - as you probably know, you can apply to any local authority or voluntary agency - and in my experience you can get widely varying responses depending on what kind of children they have coming up and therefore what they are looking for.

jnmum · 15/11/2008 22:11

thankyou for your message. I could have adoption leave of up to a year from my job and would do that. If necessary I could afford to not work for a couple of years but couldn't be sure to be able to get another well paid part time job afterwards so would be nervous to do that.

A major obstacle though to me would be that I don't have a big support network. I have my parents but they are in their 70's and two brothers but they don't help out much/at all. I also have some friends but not many I can really rely. When I have been ill before I have found it difficult. If it makes any difference at all though, I could afford paid help if I was ill and intend to do that in future if I get ill again anyway?

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hester · 15/11/2008 22:48

Well, the work situation sounds good - most of us aren't in a position to take off more than a year.

I would think about the support situation, though. When you're applying to adopt they want to be sure that you understand the problems an adopted child may have, and that you are resilient and have enough support to help you cope with that. I don't know how much support counts as enough support, but you could start thinking about, for example, support groups for adoptive families etc.

Saturday night may be a difficult time to post this question. I'm sure others with more experience than me will be along soon with better advice. Kewcumber is always great on this sort of thing.

hifi · 16/11/2008 22:15

I know a few women who have adopted as lone parents, none have birth children has had a child from birth but gets a living adoption allowance because of the child's problems. the others have children 4+ with lots of physical and mental problems.

the eldest i know was 45.
im not sure how you will get on, i seriously dont think you will get a child without significant problems, this will have a huge impact on you and your daughter.

you will probably have to have ar least 6months or until the adoption has been finalised off work.

contact your local authority first to get a better idea. good luck.

jnmum · 16/11/2008 22:29

I would be happy to have a child with difficulties depending on what they are and to have an older child. I think probably up to the age of 5.

I think I would find it difficult to have a child with severe physical or mental problems as I don't have any experience of that. However, I understand that nearly all children who are to be adopted would have come from very difficult circumstances and had to deal with enormous upheaval and consequently would be traumatised and probably have behavioural issues.

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jnmum · 18/11/2008 23:19

Also how long is the adoption process likely to take if successful?

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jnmum · 18/11/2008 23:28

Another thing that makes me really sad is that my neighbours had a little girl staying with them for a while as his mother was a drug addict. It was so sad and she has now been taken into care. I could have given her a good home but I know it doesn't work like that.

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KristinaM · 19/11/2008 11:37

jnmum - first question - are you white ? if not you have a lot more options as many children in care are of mixed heritage .

dont worry about your age - you are not too old

as a rough guess i would expect the process to take about two years, once you have found an agency to assess you. i would be surprised if you can find an agency willing to assess you for a pre school child, unless you can take a child with SN

my advice would be to find out as much as you can about school aged children in care are likely to have. then you need to think very seriously about how these would impact on your DD and your family.

who would watch a child when you are at work? during the school holidays? if you have a child with challenging behaviour, most child minders or out of school clubs will not take them. what if the child is excluded from school? if you are a foster carer then SW will step in. if you are an adoptive parent its your problem

what if you get a child who doesn't like parties, clubs, family visits or holidays? how will that affect your DD? do you have someone else who can take her to these while you stay at home with your other child?

if your new child is violent, how will you ensure the safety of your DD and neighbouring children?

what if you have a child who has been sexually abused? can you cope with that?

i am not trying to put you off, just to get you to be realistic about the IMPACT that adopting such a child will have on your family. Its one thing to say

"oh i understand that they may be have behavioural problems or have been abused or neglected"

it quite another to appreciate the affect that such experiences will have on a child and subsequently on you as their parent

jnmum · 19/11/2008 23:18

yes I am white. I realise that means I am unlikely to be able to adopt other than a white child. I didn't mean for my post to sound flippant, I really know that I don't understand the issues or experiences that a child may have but would try my best.

I don't how suitable I would be, I hope I would be. I know that I have alot of love and patience and would provide as much as I could.

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KristinaM · 20/11/2008 09:27

no i didnt think you sounded flippant at all. I'm sorry if my post seemed like a criticism of you, i was just trying to suggest that you think through all these issues and find out as much as possible to see if such a child might be right for your family

of course you cant know what its like until you have lived it. its like reading a book on childbirth and thinking you are an expert . but you can make plans for possible outcomes

eg you dont know if you might end up with an emergecy cs. but you can think through - if i did, then this person can look aftre Dd and this other person can help me at home etc

or you can decide that if you are a single parent with X amount of income, you wont have 6 kids because you cant afford them or care for them

and childbirth is a LOT more predictable and easier than adoption

i know these issues are unpleasant to think about and its easier just to say " oh go for it, i'm sure you will be fine". But if you are truly unwilling to consider these things then i think you woudl struggle to adopt in your situation

jnmum · 20/11/2008 12:28

thank you for your message. I hope I would be a suitable person am would be totally honest with a social worker. I have read a fair bit about adoption and have spoken quite a bit to friends of mine who have adopted. But their circumstances were totally different to mine, they have adopted two babies, one two years ago and one a few months ago.

I realise that it would be unlikely I could adopt a baby and would anyway like to help an older child and would think that perhaps a 3-5 year old child would be best placed with me. I am aware that the older a child is the more likely they make have suffered terrible trauma. I don't know what kinds of trauma I can best help a child with and therefore how old a child I could help. I would like to discuss it with a social worker/adoption agency though and see what they feel. I would really like to help an older child as they are so difficult to place but I understand that an adopted child must be several years younger that your own child and my daughter is 7, plus I don't know how/to what extent I would be able to help a severely traumatised child or how my DD would cope having had me to herself all these years.

I actually have a job interview with the council's adoption service (I am a marketing officer) next week. Maybe working within this area if I get the job will help me to understand some of the issues better.

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PheasantPlucker · 21/11/2008 13:02

Good luck with the interview, and with finding out more about adoption. I hope things work out well for you, whwtever you decide.

KristinaM · 22/11/2008 09:27

I see now [light dawns ]

If you had said that you were in fact researching for a job interview I wouldn't have wasted my your time with irrelevant questions

Good luck with your interview

jnmum · 22/11/2008 21:07

no, I didn't ask all that because I was researching for a job interview otherwise I would have said. I am going for a job interview as it is a field I work in and a job I am interested in. BUT I also want to adopt...two separate things! I have actually now booked onto a training day in February as a result of talking to a social worker on Thursday so I am serious about adopting. Really I can't believe I would be so dishonest...

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jnmum · 22/11/2008 21:08

I mean I can't believe you THINK I would be so dishonest!! I would have just said that. I actually find it quite insulting to be honest.

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