Category Archives: Things to think about before applying

Meetings and things

Amongst all the excitement, I forgot about the official bit. Since LO moved in with us, we have had to have fortnightly vists from LO’s social worker (I can’t believe I haven’t named him yet – I shall call him Richard). As Richard is from out of town, Denise and Richard will be doing alternate visits. After 4 weeks, we are due to have a LAC (looked after children) review held by an independent reviewing officer. S/he will come to our house and ensure that everything is as it should be.

Once we are 10 weeks into the placement, we can apply for the Adoption Order which is the court order to make LO legally ours. If we don’t get this within 3 months after the LAC review, we will need another LAC review. Hopefully though, we aim to apply before that!

In the meantime, Denise has to write a summary about us to give to the birth parents. It is like a profile of us but with no identifiying features. This is so the birth parents know something about the people who are looking after their birth child. We were happy to do it and looked over at what Denise had sent through.

Richard is really nice but this is his first adoption case as he has moved from a different part of social work to the adoption team so there are a lot of questions that he doesn’t have the answers to. However, unlike Denise, he is honest about this and tries to get answers from his manager. I do find it odd however, as it is quite a journey for him to make, and when we do see him, he doesn’t really have much to say or ask. Maybe he is satisfied with the way we are caring for LO – or that’s how I like to see it!

How to survive the matching process

I read somewhere that the matching process is very difficult. This is definitely true. As an adopter, the control is really out of your hands. You can try and help yourself by looking for children on Children Who Wait or Be My Parent or on AdoptionLink. However, it still boils down to the social workers being proactive themselves by listening to you and contacting a child’s social worker. The child’s social worker then weighs up whether they think you would be a good match for their child. Then the long drawn out wait to hear if they do, then a home visit and more visits. It’s a trying time for any person’s patience. Waiting to start a family and putting your life on hold is a terrible thing to feel and can be very frustrating. I’ve noticed that before we went on holiday, my posts were getting increasingly negative. We were definitely reaching the end of our tether which is why we went on holiday.

So to stop being negative and letting this process dragging me down, I have been doing a few things. Firstly, I started another blog about reading. It’s completely unrelated to adoption and it’s nice to write other things for a change. Secondly, I’ve unofficially started doing the 100 days challenge in which you have to find something positive every day for 100 days. I say unofficially because I do not have a Facebook account or a Twitter account or any other social media account apart from this one and I didn’t want to bore anyone else with a third blog.

In terms of preparing for a little one, we had our nephews to stay over a weekend without the parents. A social worker told us that matching panels like it if potential adopters have had children stay with them in their house. It was a daunting prospect to have two boisterous boys running around but everything went okay and it made me feel more confident that I could be a parent after all.

As I said in my last post, we are trying to save up some money too so hopefully our finances won’t be too damaged when we get a little one. I am also trying to get into shape (very slowly – it’s a long term project!) so I will have more energy running after a small person.

So there you go, my survival tips for this horrendous process. I’ve only recently started this tips myself but I think they’re helping.

Choosing children – what an odd thing

Since we have Denise as our social worker, things have really moved on. We enquired about a few children from Children who wait and passed on Denise’s details. It is very strange looking at children and surprising at how fast you become accustomed to looking at a catalogue of children and then being quite dismissive about them. It feels quite heartless, scanning a page of young faces and turning the page. But then it’s about self-preservation in a way and time. We have to be honest about how we feel about who we see. It’s even more strange to try and decipher what it is about a particular child that you feel drawn to over another child. I, for instance, seem to be drawn to children who could potentially be my child, e.g. same hair colour, mixed race (I am not White British but my partner is). If I see a child that potentially looks as if they could have come from the region my family are from, I am more drawn to him/her. Race has never been an issue for me and I don’t walk around, feeling like a particular race. However, race has really come to the fore during this process and I never really knew it would play such a part in choosing children.

We also received a form that should have been done a while ago (surprise, surprise) to put us on the National Register so children’s social workers can see us. Denise sent us the form and it is very harsh in the way that it asks you matter-of-factly, what kind of child would you consider. It is a check list stating various mental health issues e.g. schizophrenia etc., learning difficulties and mental and physical difficulties. We had to go through each one, ticking whether we would be willing to adopt a child with these needs (yes, no, need more information). Surprisingly, we did this quite quickly and we seemed to agree on what we could take on.

Finally, we also enquired about two boys (separate boys, not siblings) that we saw on Children Who Wait. They are both mixed race and under a year old. We aren’t necessarily looking for a baby but it so happened that they somehow ‘called out’ to us. We shall wait and see what happens.

No news

Hello all. It’s been a while since I’ve posted but that’s because nothing much has happened since panel date. Christmas has been in the middle of it but I’m not holding my breath with our local authority. We emailed to ask about having a new social worker and the deputy manager said she would let us know. We have heard nothing so far.

I’ve seen a programme advertised about adoption which implies that there aren’t many adopters out there for the amount of children in care. However, it seems to me that it isn’t necessarily the lack of adoptors or potential adoptors, but more the lack of social workers. Most people in our prep group have been approved, some are still waiting. Some people have had more than one social worker during this process due to one thing or another and some have had students complete their home study due to the lack of staff. However, no one have been matched so far and we started prep groups in February last year. It is really sad that this is the case and the media and government should focus on the lack of funding for social work posts.

One thing that was made painfully clear when we talked to the deputy manager after the panel was that we were the ones who had to be proactive looking for children. This is difficult as we can only see a very limited amount of children on ‘Children who wait’ and we are not allowed to see the national register. Hopefully, some children’s social workers will contact us instead.

I shall get off my soap box now and hopefully, I’ll be able to post some news soon.

Adoption UK

We joined Adoption UK as recommended by Sandra. It is a great resource as there are training courses, a forum and other useful things online and in print. We also subscribe to the magazine version and online version of ‘Children who wait’. I’ve mentioned this before but if you have not heard of it, it contains profiles of children who are looking to be adopted. (I can’t remember if I mentioned this magazine, I think I have so apologies if you have heard of this before) It’s very sad and horrible as you feel like you are shopping. However, looking at these profiles makes the whole process real and made us realise that race is not such a big thing after all.

If you are going through the adoption process, I thoroughly recommend joining Adoption UK.

Third home visit, family references & medical forms

Well a lot has happened since I blogged but I haven’t had the time to write until now. We had our third visit the other day which was technically not at home. We went to Lucy’s office as she is heavily pregnant and it’s easier for us to go to her straight from work. The third visit was supposed to be about our childhoods but as we were naughty, we didn’t get our homework to her until late the night before. Instead, we talked about our relationship and how we met, what are we like, what is the other person like, etc. etc. It went well, apart feeling like I repeated what my beloved said (as we had to tell our own version of how we met and what happened from there).

We definitely get the feeling that Lucy is not going to get us to panel before she goes on maternity leave. She was referring to ‘handing us over’ for other sections of the form and saying that she wanted to get some sections ‘complete’ before she leaves. Oh well, it was a very ambitious idea!

It is so strange because after every visit, we pour our hearts out and give so much of ourselves away to effectively a stranger and then the stranger goes, leaving us feeling empty and spent, and not quite knowing what to do with ourselves. The best thing I think is to meet up with friends and talk about something else with a nice glass of wine!

Another thing that happened is that my beloved’s mother and my sister met with Lucy and talked about us. It was quite exciting for the family to be involved and quite a nice feeling to know that the process is going through its motions. I think our family found it quite interesting to find out more and to meet Lucy. It sounded as if both visits went well and now two more references to go! This will be our two close friends who have known us a long time. They both have received the form so I guess we wait to hear when they will meet our SW.  

Another thing that happened (it was a while ago but I forgot to add it) is that we had our medicals done. Well, when I say medicals, I really mean a doctor who went through some notes and asked some questions. We met the same doctor on different days and times and it sounded as though he was having a bad day when she saw him as he was quite rude and inefficient. He didn’t check her weight, height and quite insensitively asked ‘can’t you have children of your own?’. Luckily, my beloved is made of stronger stuff and didn’t feel upset by this. However, this would be quite upsetting for someone who was infertile. So after hearing about her horror story, I was fully prepared to fight my corner. However, he seemed to be in a better mood and his so-called subtle version of asking me if I was infertile was ‘do you have any children of your own?’. After I had said, ‘no, not yet’, he looked at me for a moment, pondering whether he should push it any further but wisely, chose not to. He did some ridiulous medical check on me by bending and flexing my arms and legs. It’s quite astonishing that such a lack lustre approach could warrant him getting paid by our LA to write this report. I suppose it has to be doe but really, the doctor could have had more of a sensitive approach. I’m glad it’s done and over but waiting to hear back if the medical advisor from the LA wants to discuss anything further, which wouldn’t be surprising as the form is shoddily completed.

So now we are left with the question: who will we get when Lucy goes on maternity leave and will they be as nice as Lucy? I hope so!

The search begins and the first home visit

Soon after our budgeting talk, I get wind that there is a managerial role at my old company. This role would be perfect for us as it would mean that my beloved could be primary carer and I would bring in not just enough bacon, but a whole gammon back home. I await eagerly for the job to be advertised.

At the same time, we complete the enquiry forms for the new local authority, not expecting a quick reply. Two weeks later, however, I get a phone call asking when they can send round a social worker and that they would like to do this straight after Christmas (we were in the beginningish of December at this point). Flabbergasted at their efficiency, I managed to arrange a date with them soon after the Christmas period.

The manager job is advertised and I apply and wait for the first home visit.

We weren’t so scared about the home visit as we were last time. I expect this is because we knew what to expect. As you would imagine, we cleaned the house and got the spare room ready to receive a tired traveller (so they didn’t have to imagine it being a bedroom). Luckily, we already had the furniture left over from having a lodger in the past.

The social worker was one of those typical “salt-of-the-earth, nothing phases me” characters which was great as the previous social workers were fascinated that we were two women. This social worker didn’t bat an eyelid which should be the right way to look at it. To me, my sexuality is just one facet of my character just like having brown eyes and you don’t get people fascinated by that do you (well, if you have lovely eyes of course, then lucky you).

After two hours of intense questioning, we showed her the flat and she commented on liking a bit of furniture and asked about the locks on the windows (of course she looked at everything but I am just being facetious), told us that the next stage is the preparation group which was next available in May and that we would hear in two weeks if we could progress to the next level. We felt a bit stunned but felt it went better than last time. Due to last time however, we weren’t very hopeful.

Budgeting for adoption

So further on from my backstory, I thought it might be useful to include a bit about budgeting for adoption… no, no, please come back! Or if it really doesn’t get your blood pumping, I’ll post a more interesting post next time! So if you’re still with me, please read on, otherwise see you at the next post…

My beloved and I were trying to work out who was going to be primary carer and how much money to save (if we can!) for adopting a child. Surprisingly, there was hardly any information out there so I turned to the informative and helpful friends at Newfamilysocial forum and got some great answers. This is how we did it (credit all due to the trusty fellows of New Family).

Essentially, you need to start one of those usual budgeting spreadsheets so include all your outgoings and incomings now and work out how much you have left over (if there is any) to save. See what you can reduce in terms of spending and increase in terms of incoming, which seems difficult at the best of times!

Then on seperate worksheets, work out how much you would have in each scenario i.e. if I was the main carer and my beloved was working and vice versa. We also looked at our organisation’s benefits (or lack of in my case) and it soon became apparent that my beloved had a better job than me in terms of salary and adoption leave. However, she would like to be the main carer and for now, that seems appropriate for me too. Which can only mean one thing. I need to find another job.

Some back story and choosing a Local Authority

Two posts in one day? Yes indeedy. To confess, I did start this blog back in October and got confused by this whole blog lark and then gave up. However, things are now progressing and I can fill you in on the back story.

My beloved and I have read books and joined New Family Social which is a great and supportive website. We have talked to one Local Authority adoption agency and have some knowledge about the process and what it entails. A couple of years ago, We applied to one local authority but our flat wasn’t suitable so we moved to somewhere more suitable.

We have now moved and decided it was time to start again. This time, however, we searched around for a local authority (LA) instead of going to the one we lived in. I don’t know why we didn’t go with a charity, going with a LA just seemed right for us.

Anyway, we went to a consortium open night which is basically lots of LAs all in one room, offering information about their service. It was very helpful to be able to talk to all of them at once. We were one of the last to leave! Most of the LAs were very nice as we interrogated them about same-sex couples, how long the procedure is, what kind of children they have at the moment (which sounds a bit horrible and consumer like but hopefully, you understand what I mean) and other stuff. We got a great feeling from one LA and after reading their literature and OFSTED report, we were convinced to choose them. I think choosing your LA/charity is very important as they will be assessing you and can affect your adoption process.

why adoption?

The first question is why adoption? Why not do it the ol’fashioned way and use a turkey baster like Jacqui off of ‘Brookside’? Well this question is quite difficult to put into words. When I was young, I never really liked children and never thought about having kids. However as I got older, my views started to change. I met the love of my life and the idea of having children crept up behind me like a mugger in the night. However, I never had strong feelings on being pregnant and never really gave it much thought to be honest. I somehow assumed that my beloved would bear the fruits of her womb rather than me. This was not what she planned however.

My beloved was quite adament about not having children for many reasons: 1) There are so many children in the world that require a loving home, 2) We can’t have children naturally, 3) She can love children that aren’t biologically hers and 4) The world is already overpopulated and its resources are at breaking point.

Something you need to know is that I am quite laid-back and take life as it comes. I’m not really a forward planner (which is strange considering forward-planning is a major part of my current job) and this obviously has to change when thinking about children and our future. So I knew I wanted to have a family with my beloved but the ‘ins and outs’ (pardon the pun) were somewhat ambiguous. What I had to think about was ‘is this what I want or what she wants or that we both want?’. One not-so-handy tactic I have when having to think about something difficult/life-changing/important (which I suppose is one thing really), is to avoid it and distract myself with unimportant tasks. So I became engrossed in the TV and put that question aside for a rainy day. Well, it rained. And it rained and the only thing to do on a rainy day is to watch more TV until my beloved sat me down and had a grown-up conversation with me and the question has been pushed to the forefront.

The weird thing is, is that we started the adoption process with our previous council but our flat was unsuitable for a child and so we put it on hold to save up and buy a flat, which we have done. No more distractions, we were going to start the process again and I had to be sure that I could confidentally answer the question ‘why adoption?’. This question is probably why I started this blog, to give myself a chance to put my thoughts down without any interruption.

The answer to this question is that I want to have children with my beloved. I think we would be great parents who would give a child a loving and stable home. I have no strong desire to be pregnant but I have a strong desire to be a parent and I can love any child, regardless if they share my genes. Adoption is not something I would have thought of before when looking into the future but neither was me giving birth. I think I just saw us having a child but how that child came about was hazy. My beloved feels strongly about adoption and if this is the way to give a child a home, then this would be the way for me. Finally, we would both be equal in the child-rearing and one of us would not be left out if we had a children biologically.

I hope that answers my own question and it has given me clarity about why. Thanks for reading my stream of consciousness.