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Deciding whether to proceed to Phase 2

TramsDiputs December 12, 2020 23:16

My husband and I had our first visit in January and were due to have our training soon after which was cancelled due to Covid. Instead, we had a two-hour online workshop which didn't feel like an adequate replacement for three days in-person training with other prospective adopters. After this and hearing we had passed Phase 1, we decided to take a break and now have a few weeks to make the decision of whether to continue to Phase 2.

In part due to the pandemic and other events in our lives, I have developed a strong anxiety that I am not suitable to become an adoptive parent. I suffer a lot from anxiety and am worried that my mental health would not be robust enough to adequately support a child, particularly if the child had complex needs. My husband would like to proceed to Phase 2 but is open to stopping the process completely, though he would find it hard.

Another issue is that we have been advised to gain more experience of taking care of children, but this is not possible due to Covid restrictions. The agency has indicated that this lack of opportunity to build up that experience would likely count against us in Phase 2 and yet hasn't proposed an alternative.

Did anyone go through these doubts and either decide to go ahead or not adopt? And has anyone had similar challenges to the process due to the pandemic?

I'd be grateful for any shared experiences or advice. I am finding it difficult to make a final decision.

Edited 17/02/2021
Safia December 13, 2020 11:24

My advice would be to get some counselling for yourself - which is always useful and looked on favourably by social workers - general counselling as to why / whether you want to adopt as well as around the roots of your anxiety and techniques to manage it. Also do some research around ways you could get more experience with children and reach out to organisations - maybe have something in the pipeline. They may not be taking on people now but will probably do so over the coming year. Think of friends and relatives you could help out in a regular basis. The problems aren’t insurmountable - just a bit more challenging than usual. Remember too that the assessment process is as much about you deciding if adoption is right for you as it is about them approving you for adoption. So going ahead just means you are starting that process not agreeing to adopt. Good luck with your decision

Edited 17/02/2021
TramsDiputs December 13, 2020 18:12

Thanks so much Safia for the response. I'm exploring the anxiety issues with a counsellor so I'm glad that would be seen favourably. That's also great advice to register with organisations where we might be able to volunteer, even if it might not be for a while. I'll look into that. Thank you again.

Edited 17/02/2021
Serrakunda27 December 13, 2020 19:19

Just to add that its perfectly normal to have doubts and worries, its a huge thing you are contemplating - why wouldnt you have worries at some point about whether its the right thing for you. Then add in the pandemic - I wouldnt usually describe myself as anxious but after 9 months working from home, I’m not in the best place as far as mental health goes.

I agree with counselling - SWs like it as well.

They do seem a bit inflexible around the childcare thing, all the usual options - scouts, brownies etc are all still on line, Maybe you could emphasise to them that you are fully aware that its important and you hope to be able to do something before you get to panel, unless of course they have any bright ideas?

Good luck

Edited 17/02/2021
TramsDiputs December 17, 2020 19:46

Thanks Serrakunda27, that's really comforting that these kinds of doubts are normal. Yes that's a good suggestion to say we'll commit to getting some more experience before panel, I have looked at volunteer opportunities but they're currently limited due to Covid. We have a follow-up meet with a social worker in January so will ask them then what might be possible.

Thank you again.

Edited 17/02/2021
March 23, 2021 21:37

Hi TramsSiputs.

My wife and I are part way through Stage 1, and I've got to say, when I read your post above, it described almost exactly how I feel. I've started seeing a counsellor, with a CBT slant to work on the anxieties surrounding adoption and negative thinking. I think it's going to be very helpful, so I would echo the other recommendations for counselling.

I'm also feeling anxious about the childcare experience, and being held back by covid is just delaying matters. I'm in exactly the same boat. I will be handing in my workbook next week with that section sadly incomplete.

I want to give the process my best shot, for both of us. Sometimes I'll read something from our workbook reading list that sends me into a spiral of doubt and anxiety, and other days I'll listen to a great podcast that makes me feel more optimistic. What a rollercoaster! I think the counselling will be the key. Maybe also the more in-depth conversations with our social worker, which are yet to come.

chestnuttree March 24, 2021 18:12

I am not sure if these things are on hold right now too, but you could contact your local primary and try to become a reading support volunteer. If this is on right now and you can manage the timing, check out Coram Beanstalk, Bookmark and Schoolreaders. You could also contact Adoption agencies and see if you could volunteer at activity days. I know there will be some soon and they take volunteers. If that is too emotional for you, they might have other opportunities. Or could you volunteer in a children's ward at a hospital? Or contact your local AUK group and see if they have adopters who could use support. We met adopters at our very first meeting and ocassionally babysat their children, which was great.

I think in the current situation it is very normal to worry.

I wouldn't worry too much about delays. In adoption delays are the norm. It took us 2.5 years to get from the first contact with an agency to the placement of our children and another year until the adoption was finalised. If you stick with it, you will get there. At the time I told myself that having a child biologically also takes many people a year or two, if not more.

Edited 25/03/2021
March 24, 2021 18:47

Thanks very much for the encouragement and new volunteer ideas chestnuttree!

I'm sure I will get there eventually with some perseverance.

Adoptedadult August 1, 2021 14:20

Hi Sun-ra, I know you wrote this post a while back but thought I would write just incase you are still having the same issues. I am a 38 year old woman who was adopted at the age of 2 years old. my adopted mother had a difficult childhood and although she had all the best intentions she found it hard to bond with me once I was adopted into the family and wanted to give me back. Due to pressure from the rest of my adopted family she kept me, but it led to her resenting me and I didn't have a very pleasant time and nor did she. I don't blame my adopted mother for this as she had an abusive upbringing herself and had a lot of issues that she hadn't dealt with and she had no idea that having me as a little girl was going to bring up a lot of her issues. I'm writing this to say that if you are really having doubts then it is good fo you to explore where they Stem from and really make sure that you are in a good place before committing to taking on a young child.

I think my mum felt trapped when I was adopted as she knew she couldn't give me back. An adopted child is already suffering from issues of abandonment, not feeling loved, self esteem issues etc so being placed with a family or mother who are going to reinforce these feelings can be extra detrimental. I think anybody who wants to adopt needs to be 100 percent sure that they have dealt with their own deep rooted issues as much as possible and that they will be able to treat the child with acceptance and love even if they don't feel love for the child straight away. Good luck with whatever path you choose.

August 2, 2021 08:26

Hi there Adoptedadult.

Thank you for sharing your experience. I can understand that you have witnessed first-hand the difficulties that can stem from not being fully on-board. That must have been a difficult time for you and it's admirable that you're able to talk about it with such clarity and sensitivity.

My wife and I are coming to the end of stage two now, with our PAR being written and a date for our approval panel pencilled in.

I can honestly say that I'm in a much better place than I was earlier this year. Despite the occasional wobble about whether we have what it takes, the process and positive encouragement we've received and spurred us on greatly. It is an intense process, and the realities of the backgrounds and needs of adopted children are challenging, but I am also excited and feel fortunate in many ways to be on this journey.

Best wishes, and thanks again for your advice.


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