How to start the adoption process: Top ten tips

April 17, 2013 0 Comments

For those of you who have made the decision to adopt, it can be a minefield of information. The adoption process is not clear cut, and can vary from agency to agency, so I hear you ask – how do we start the adoption process?

Start by contacting Adoption UK, BAAF, or your local authority to make your intial enquiry, then start to apply the list below.

This list of top ten tips is based on my own experience, I hope you find them useful.

Read books on adoption:

There are a host of adoption books available and having read several, I would strongly suggest that you do the same. They can be an invaluable resource when learning about the adoption process, and all that goes with it.

Have a look at essential reading – adoption books on the right of the blog. There are ten books here that I found very useful at various stages of the process.

If you are looking for somewhere to start though, I would highly recommend these three:

What to Expect When You’re Adopting…: A practical guide to the decisions and emotions involved in adoption How to start the adoption process: Top ten tips

Twenty Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew How to start the adoption process: Top ten tips

Why Love Matters: How Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain How to start the adoption process: Top ten tips

Read adoption blogs:

Obviously by reading this, you are already on board here. Bloggers communicate on a daily basis about the wins and loses with adoption. Some of the advice I could not do without.

Here are some of my favourite adoption blogs:

The Puffin Diaries

The boy’s behaviour

Sally Donovan

There are many others, so check out the blogroll at the bottom of the page.

Talk to friends/family:

Gauge their feelings on the subject of adoption, and listen to their arguments if they are against it, but don’t let them decide for you. You will need a great deal of support through the process, so I found it very useful to be open and honest with those closest to me.

Think to the future:

The domestic adoption process in the UK can be a slog, and you may have times where you are having second thoughts. It was very difficult for us at times, and I felt the pressure, but now our wee lad is with us, in the words of Atomic Kitten – I feel whole again.

I hated hearing this when we were going through IVF, but the end result is worth it.

Look after friends kids:

We owe a huge debt of thanks to our friends, who effectively lent us their two boys, and later their daughter, every other weekend. The practical experience was essential and it reflected really well when talking to social workers, and going through the home study.

Scrutinise the adoption team:

Ask questions. Social workers are humans, and they are not fonts of knowledge on every aspect of adoption. If you are unsure about something on your home study, if you are unsure why something is happening, don’t assume it is supposed to be that way, ask the team. I am a bit of a softie, but my wife kicks ass when it comes to this sort of thing – if she doesn’t understand something, she won’t move forward until she does.

Pressurise the adoption team without annoying them:

Our social worker won’t appreciate me saying this, but there is an element of ‘who screams loudest shall be seen first’. That is not the case when being matched, but there are times; blank periods where you don’t hear anything. Don’t feel guilty for picking the phone up and asking how things are going with your application – if only to set your mind at rest.

Gain knowledge of local amenities for children:

When the home study starts, be sure to know what your local area has to offer in terms of schooling, doctor’s surgeries, and dentist facilities, as well as play grounds, play groups, nurseries etc. We were asked a lot about the local area, so we had to get some answers quickly. Do your research, and the social worker will appreciate it.

Look at your support groups:

Another big topic during the home studies was the support group. A support group is the group of friends and family who will support you during the process and after the child is placed. This includes emotional support as well as practical support.

Ask yourself these questions:

If my partner or I cannot pick the child up from nursery/school – who will do it?

If I feel I cannot cope with the child’s behaviour, who can I phone?

Who can I talk to about the terrible twos, or the horrible teens?

If you can cover as many bases as possible before the home visits start – again the social worker will love you.

Stay Healthy:

The adoption process is hard work. The social worker will ask questions of you that few people have ever asked. They will dig memories out that have long been buried, and scrutinise you for weeks at a time. It takes its toll. I am not a dietician, so do what you can in your own way to stay as healthy as possible, and when you get the chance – put adoption out of your mind, and just enjoy life as it is – if only for a day.

To see a list of FREE downloadable PDFs of the UK adoption processes CLICK HERE

If you are starting the adoption process, I wish you all the best, and again, hope that this post has helped. Feel free to email me if you have any specific questions, I will gladly answer them.

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About the Author:

Andrew is an adoptive father, and stay at home dad. Having adopted his son in January 2013, he is a new adoptive parent, but well versed in the adoption process. He is a married, coffee drinker, Xbox addict, and a Marketing graduate. Andrew McDougall is an alias he uses to protect the identity of his adopted son.

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