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Ever Thought About Adoption?

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In the UK, there are almost 3000 children in need of an adoptive family and the number of adoptions has fallen by a third in four years.

National Adoption Week aims to bust myths around who is eligible and In response, a new national recruitment campaign has been launched, #YouCanAdopt, to bust myths around who is eligible to adopt and explore what the adoption process involves as well as to highlight that especially during the coronavirus pandemic, there are still children out there who are looking for their new family.

One of our largest divisions at Service Care is our Social Work Division, who have many roles for people that work with families and children to take them through the adoption process. Our Legal Division also recruit Childcare Lawyers and Family Solicitors who deal with the process too. To mark this week, we take a look at some facts around adoption:

  • You don't have to have a 'traditional' family unit to adopt: Same sex couples do not face any discrimination or prejudice, in fact, in the LGBTQ+ community positively encourage adoption (if it is right for the couple).
  • The social worker is on your side:  they will want to speak to you about your finances, who you are as individuals, what your interests are, about your relationship, how you operate and how you work through problems.  You need to be very open and honest, but you shouldn't feel threatened or that you need to put on an act, because at the end of the day the social workers are going to be the ones that present you to the adoption panel, so they need to know you inside-and-out so that they can best represent you.
  • Ex spouses or longterm partners will need to be consulted in the process: If you already have children then they'll have to be involved in the process as well, as will any ex-spouses or long-term partners. For a lot of people that might be quite concerning, especially if that relationship wasn't very good or there is animosity. The social worker will need to contact these people, so it's always best to talk it through with them, so they can manage the situation sensitively. Social workers are trained to be aware of any references that might come in written to jeopardise the process for the prospective adopters and they'll be able to whittle through that.
  • Unlike with a new baby, you can't be inundated with visitors: For the first two weeks they advise you to keep the child from meeting anybody else, as this helps them to bond with you. That's quite difficult because your family and your friends will have been as much a part of the process as you have, and you'll be desperate for them to meet your child but it's important to only introduce people really gradually, because the last thing anybody wants to do is create extra anxiety for the child. Bless him, he's just been taken away from the family he's known for all his life and he's with a new family, so when he first meets someone new he might not be sure whether they're going to be taking him away again.
  • You can adopt a child of a different ethnic background: One couple said, 'We're a mixed heritage couple. I'm white British and my partner's black Caribbean, so from the outset we wanted to adopt a child who reflected both of our heritages.​ 'We were lucky in a sense, as due to our heritage mix the process was quite quick for us, because there are a lot of children within the system from BME groups, particularly boys.  You can adopt children from a different heritage to your own, but your social worker and the child's social worker will really want to understand your motivations and they'll want to ensure that you will be able to meet the needs of that child.  It's not as simple as just making sure that you talk to them about their place of origin and feed them food from there, it's about making sure that their heritage is embraced and promoted as part of your everyday life. 'It's important to recognise that people will potentially respond differently to your child than they would do if your child was white and that his experience of the world might be different to your own. If you've got people within your family from a different heritage or you've got close friends from a different heritage that will be taken into consideration.  The social workers will also want to make sure that you are able to cope with any potential conversations that will come out. 'For example, my son's now three-and-a-half and at the moment he's having quite a lot of conversations about his skin colour. He recently said to me that he wanted to have white skin like his mama.  I replied Your skin is absolutely beautiful. You've got beautiful brown skin and you should be proud of that and we talked about all the different people in his life who have also got brown skin, and he seemed quite happy with that. But I know it is a conversation which will come up many times over the years, and so it's always important to be prepared to talk about these issues in an age appropriate manner.'
  • The age of the child you want to adopt may affect how long the process takes: During the home visits you will also be asked about the kind of children that you would be open to adopt. A lot of it comes down to age - would you want to adopt a child under three or over three? The under three category is the most sought after, so adoptive parents will be up against quite a lot of competition to adopt children from that age group. But there are a lot of older children out there who also need their forever home, so it is important to consider whether you would be well placed to adopt an older child or a sibling group, before making your decision.
  • The adoption panel are unlikely to turn you down: It will take a maximum of six months from your first contact with the local authority to the date that you go to adoption panel. There are approx 14 people on a panel, which is made up of experts in the field: adopters, adoptees, representatives from education and children's services, doctors, solicitors and possibly local Councillors.  They read a report from your social worker (which you will have already seen, so there won't be any major surprises) and come up with a list of questions that they'd like to ask. These may be just about expanding on something that was in the report or just talking through the process with you. Try not too feel too nervous as they approve the majority of cases. If you've got to this stage, then the chances of you getting turned down are low (although it is not unheard of), as there's plenty of stages earlier in the process where the social worker would have told you if they thought you wouldn't be approved.
We are recruiting for a variety of adoption social worker roles across the country and are always on the look out for new candidates. If you are looking for a career in this area or are looking to recruit, please get in touch with us today to see what we have available.
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