It’s important to remember that information, preparation and patience is key in the adoption process and we can help with at least two of those by guiding you through the process and giving you our professional advice to help you prepare for a huge milestone in your life:
Do your research
In the beginning it’s mainly about gathering and understanding as much information as you can possibly find. It’s the time where you can ask questions, discover the full process and to listen to the various experiences other adopters wish to share.
There are so many different ways to pull together this information. Various adoption websites like First4Adoption and Adoption UK have a huge amount of resources to ensure you’re well prepared for the initial stages of your adoption venture. Whilst conducting your research, be sure to look into a wide range of agencies – this will help to refine your choices.
Registering your interest
Once you’ve found your perfect agency, you can then formally register your interest. This will be followed by you undergoing their background checks. Patience is important here as this can take up to two months to complete – in some cases perhaps longer.
Remember that although it may be unfortunate if you are turned away from the adoption agency, you can see it as a learning curve. Take note of all of their constructive criticism and you can then use it as a starting point to build a better profile for the next time around. Adoption agencies also have their own needs and priorities to consider and just because you are not a perfect fit for them, it’s doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unsuitable for adoption in general.
Once the registration and all background checks are complete, you may be invited to attend a preparation group. This can be your main support throughout the stages of adoption and long after the formal stages are complete. Covering specific topics relating to skills, adoptive parents will need to learn about the forms of abuse and neglect the children may have been through. The preparation groups are another valuable resource of information where you can speak to people who have been through it themselves, or simply just to support each other through your journeys, building the skills needed for the future.
The second stage is a four-month long part of the process that involves you completing an assessment that will determine whether you’re ready to become an adoptive parent. Using the various resources already available to you like the preparation groups, websites, contacts within the agency and various adoptions books – like Adopting a Child and An Adoption Diary – you can keep on top of your own study and fully prepare yourself for this period.
The main area of assessment will be when a social worker visits your home and family over a set period of time. This will present to them the strengths you can bring as a household as well as areas of improvement that can be communicated in a constructive way. Conversations with your personal referees will also be undertaken, so they need to be prepared for any tricky questions. You can help them to be ready by involving them in your primary research and making sure everybody involved is honest with the assessor. Once this is all complete, a Prospective Adopters Report will be written, and you have five days to make comments on it before it’s then handed over to the Adoption Panel.
The panel is made up of various experts and experienced adopters. They will be in charge of reviewing all the evidence that is presented to them in order to make a recommendation. With the recommendation arriving towards the end of the four-month stage, it’s not actually those people that make the decision, there is a legal body who is responsible for granting you approval to move forward in the process.
Whilst this is the part of the adoption process that is the most exciting, it’s vital that you do not get ahead of yourself. Whether it takes three months or three years, these things will take as long as they need to. There are many ways which you can help yourself to fully prepare though. Attending various adoption activity days, online searches and by creating a personal profile, you can expand your appeal and have opportunities to meet some of the children seeking families
The next big adventure
Once you’ve found the missing piece of your family puzzle, the panel will return to review your living conditions. They will ensure that your lifestyle is a suitable match to the adoptive child’s background and experiences. If this is approved, you will then begin to share short visits with the child in order to get to know them better. Throughout this whole process, it’s important to remember that this is all about finding the ideal home for the child/children in care and if you can provide that, it’s even better!
The next steps are all about being yourself and using the skills you have gained over the previous months to ensure the safety of your adoptive child. It may take a bit more time, but you’ll soon build a bond to the stage where you and they want to go through the official adoption through a family court.
Here at Lysander Law, we specialise in Family Law, Personal Injuries and Serious Injuries. If you’re looking for the right people to support you through family court, get in contact with us and we can discuss how we can help you.