The sheer excitement felt was undefinable, as we finally embarked on our adoption journey, knowing there had to be some resolve this time around. Unfortunately, for us it possessed a somewhat lengthy timeline, almost two years in total - from registering to finding a suitable profile match.
Registering to adopt
Even going back 20 years there were some choices on offer, as to the adoption path you undertook, whether adopting from abroad or from right here in the UK. We were extremely apprehensive about adopting from abroad, therefore for us, it was an easy call to our local authority to discover what the process entailed. There were other adoption agencies around at that time, but the internet was not as resourceful back then. So, we opted for what we thought was the best, safe option. As soon as we registered, we received a prompt visit from a couple of senior social workers. They noted our basic details and advised us to enrol onto a 6-week Adoption Awareness Course, which was deemed compulsory.
We were scheduled in for every Friday morning for 6 weeks. On this course, there were couple who have been through the fertility treatments and IVF already and you could not help but sense the looming desperation in their faces. We were educated as to the true reality of adoption, focusing on the process, tuning us in to what our expectations should be of children in care, the timeline involved, as well as the abundance of both risks and rewards attached to adopting. One of my most compelling recollections from the course, was when a female attendee openly shared, that she could no longer bear to hear of anyone’s happiness of falling pregnant, be it family or friend. Witnessing this level of bitterness was at first saddening but then disturbing, left me questioning ‘was it a matter of time’ before I would reach that same ugly juncture.
After the 6 weeks, we were still determined as ever, to continue with our pursuit for happiness. The next stage was the Assessment - we both participated in an individual assessment, then family members and lastly friends (from both sides) were interviewed. Not forgetting the police and medical checks. These activities along with the write up took approximately 6 to 8 months. We felt we were slowly edging towards the finish line, just the approval to go then finding a suitable match – all the time hoping and praying this would not take long at all!
Our case eventually made it, to the Panel board. It was music to our ears to hear we finally received the approval to adopt. Reaching this milestone took us approximately a year. Fortunately, adopters across the UK will be thrilled to hear, this process takes half this time, its nearer 6 months in total. THANKFULLY!
With so many children up for adoption, we thought the ‘search and match’ would be super quick and painless. We could not have been more wrong! Our profile was to find a baby or toddler (up to 3 children) to whom we could offer a healthy and happy secure life. However, we hit a brick wall – our faith being the stumbling block. Hinduism being our faith was what we had to offer. Unfortunately for us, it was rare to come across any Indian (Hindu faith) babies/children up for adoption. In most cases the extended family stepped in and adopted. Ultimately the birth mother or father, who would stipulate the chosen faith for the child. We simply could not believe our luck! The odds felt solidly stacked against us.
Months passed by, as we anxiously dreamed of getting that call to say a match has been found. The other lifeline was the monthly Adoption Newsletter. Pages and pages of (children) photos along with profile details gave us a glimmer of hope, though it was very short-lived.
Our frustrations lay with Social Services, who we felt were simply not doing enough, not searching hard enough. The anger and frustration building, we found ourselves looking for something and someone to blame. We began to question what we were doing:
Should we have tried abroad?
Should we have tried IVF?
Should we have stuck to the fertility treatment?
WAS THIS DESTINED NOT TO HAPPEN?
Approximately 11 months after being approved we heard news of 2 toddler brothers being an ideal match – HALLELUJAH!! The turmoil of the past 2 years seemed to suddenly be forgiven and forgotten, as we got news of our potential gorgeous toddler boys. The boys were full siblings and just 15 months apart in age. We were shown a handful of photos and provided reports on the boy’s background. At this point, realistically I do not think anything negative appearing in the reports was going to change our minds. We were completely smitten after seeing their sweet little faces, in the photos.
It took almost 4 months for the actual placement to happen. All the bureaucracy along with the (once a month) panel sittings (where the decision to place children with potential adopters is made) played a huge part in lengthening the process further. The only positive was it gave us time to prepare our home for their arrival!
Points to note:
This is undoubtedly the MOST REWARDING thing we have ever done! For those of you considering adoption, we think it would be beneficial if you possessed certain qualities:
Secure within yourself.
Flexible in your thinking.
Ready for challenges.
Good with change.
Able to accept and express emotions.
A good team player.
A holistic view of the family and child.
Able to make and maintain commitments.
A good communicator and problem solver.
- The adoption approval process is now a lot shorter, approximately 6 months. The matching should hopefully be quicker too, aided by the collaborative working of many agencies (could be within 3-4 months).
- More options available with whom to start your adoption journey: it could be a Local Authority (LA), or a Regional Adoption Authority (RAA) or an independent Voluntary Adoption Agencies (VAA’s). These are non-profit organisations which are smaller than most statutory agencies but do work in partnership with local authorities and regional adoption agencies across the whole of the UK. Lastly there’s international adoption, this is probably the most complicated, due to having to satisfy laws of the land, in question! Note the process may differ slightly within the countries of the UK.
- Useful resources available: websites, podcasts, books and newsletters. Here are a few useful websites:
- https://www.gov.uk/child-adoption - UK Government guide to adoption, including links to other relevant Government resources and services.
- https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/adopting-a-child-your-health-and-wellbeing/ - The NHS guide to the health, well-being and support available to adoptive families.
- https://www.adoptionuk.org/ - is the leading charity providing support, community and advocacy for all those parenting or supporting children who cannot live with their birth parents.
- https://www.adoptionuk - A dedicated information service for people interested in adopting a child in England.
- https://www.adopting.com - A large US-based internet resource on adoption and adopting.
THE VERY BEST OF LUCK TO YOU!
My next blog will be focused on our first meeting with the boys, to ultimately bringing them home and settling them in. It was somewhat different to how we had imagined it!