Any information for starting r journey would be greatly appreciated we have found it really difficult to get information of the process and what it intails!
Just starting r journey
Have you told family and friends? It helps to find other people who have already adopted, to chat about experiences and give the inside view. You may be surprised at how many friends of friends have adopted and are willing to chat by phone. You may find that you get a very different picture from real adopters than you do from the media.
Apply as early as you can because it's a time consuming process. But at the same time start building your resources, (practical, emotional, support network, childcare experience, theoretical knowledge, finances, bedrooms, safety features - whatever you need!)
Shop around for the agency that is most likely to have a match for you (not necessarily the nearest or fastest). You can attend several different information presentations at different agencies to find out and compare them. Ask them about the children they place. Some voluntary agencies specialise in "harder to place" children (larger families, disabled children, school-aged children etc.). Some local authorities have "early permanence" adoption pathways, where they place very young babies with ongoing legal ties and connections to their birth family. Adopter recruitment is quite volatile and unpredictable. Different agencies have different priorities.
Here's a checklist of the main steps in the process.....
Good luck with your journey!
I agree with everything Lettice said and I would like to add only one thing: be prepared for the process to be really long. When we started our journey we were being told that it could have take 6 month to one year from start to match with a child but then Covid happened and everything slowed down and now, almost 2 years after we start we are FINALLY being matched and almost at the end of the process.
So be patient 😅
"Preparing for Adoption" by Julia Davis is a very good guide. It is quite dry, but covers a lot.
There is an old, easy to read book called "What to expect when you're adopting" which I found helpful at the time. Some of the information is outdated, but most of it is still relevant.
CoramBAAF have also published books for those considering /in the early stages of adoption. I think they are called "Adopting a Child" and "The Adopter's Handbook". I have not read them though.
I’m just wondering how far in to your journey You’ve got over the last 2 months?
I am just also starting out but haven’t had any official contact with an agency/authority yet to formally express an interest. Im trying to do research online but there is so much around. On a more boring practical side I want to get my home in order first and have some building work completed.
Do you have any tips or suggestions on websites to check out? I have found an agency online that I like the look of but now having read some other comments I don’t know whether I should look at a private agency or local authority? Any tips here?
My advice is to shop around, go to information meetings at seversl agencies, talk to the SWs, see who you feel comfortable with.
LAs and agencies both have pros and cons - better to get a feel for them to see who suits you
There are a lot of stories on these forums which suggest nothing much happens (or happens extremely slowly), so just wanted to give you another viewpoint, as it seems that maybe some of the more positive stories aren't shared as much and could suggest that everyone has a really laborious process - although it seems that many do unfortunately.
We started Stage 1 in May 2021 and we were recently approved at Approval Panel almost two weeks ago on 4th November 2021; since then have had the following activity:
- We have shown interest via our social worker in 3 children on LinkMaker - all of these have resulted in discussions started, 1 of which is slow and hasn't progressed much, but for the other two we have entered fruitful discussions an have a preliminary Q&A Zoom meeting arranged for next week with the child's social worker. The other one has said that they will be aiming to get the CPR to us next week also.
- We have had interest shown in our LinkMaker profile from 4 different family finders. Three of these children we did not think we were a good match with so swiftly declined the interest and stated the reasons why, and one we did think was potentially a match, so we opened a discussion with her family finder. After sending them our PAR the family finder felt that actually there were better matches.
- We attended a Profiling Event with our adoption agency where a small number of Local Authorities attended to showcase some children's profiles to prospective adopters. From this event there were around 10 profiles being shared, and we felt a potential match with three of them - a boy, a boy, and a pair of sisters. After expressing interest and asking our social worker to being dialogue, one boy's family finder said they had found a better match and the other boy's has been pretty unresponsive! The sisters' family finder felt we were a good match so wanted our PAR, and after reading still felt the same. Disappointingly, she also said that they had offered the profile to one of their own adopters and had given them first refusal basically and we would have to wait until they decided whether they would go ahead with these children or not; this was surprising to us because, while we knew that LAs prefer to go with their own adopters where possible, we were of the understanding that the child's needs would always come first - and so why, if the family finder felt we were potentially as good a match as the their family, why we wouldn't just be considered alongside them rather than only coming to us if their family didn't want them.... anyway that's another discussion I guess!
So in these last two weeks a lot has been happening both ways, so hopefully that gives some of you a bit of hope that stuff can happen quite quickly.
Out of the 10 potential cases we have been involved with so far, 5 are still open, of which 3 in particular are looking good and progressing well. I suppose it's all circumstantial and will depend on the children available at any given time. I don't suppose I'm qualified to give any advice, but here's what we have found so far in this very short amount of time:
- We have been extremely measured and selective about the profiles we show interest in - 3 profiles out of the 400-odd we have access to on LinkMaker - and have only done so after a few days worth of really considering what we can offer the child and why we think we would be a good match; it's always had to be much more than a gut reaction which was a surprise! There have been a number of children we've fallen in love with, from their video or photos or description... but really analysing the profile information, for some we could see that we just didn't match. I have spoken to a lot of other adopters who say they express interest in huge numbers of profiles (30, 40, 50 +) and don't hear anything back, so maybe for some that is the issue? It's hard to show how you meet needs if applying for every other child.
- We have outlined in our expression of interest messages how we feel we meet the specific needs of the child/children, and tailored this to each profile rather than a blanket email. This way, as above, we can demonstrate that we have read and understood what the child needs, and indicate how we meet these and articulate them fully
- We have ensured our profile is a 'mini PAR' - and tried to include as much relevant information as possible that gives a good insight to us. as a first introduction.
- We have made use of other channels outside of LinkMaker, such as the Profiling Events, which have brought us 2 of the 5 profiles we are still in discussions with.
It seems a lot of people on here are having a hard time getting responses from family finders etc, and it seems we have been lucky so far in that most we have dealt with have been good at getting back to us, so it definitely is a case of luck. But hopefully this gives some of you a bit of hope that when it happens, it can turn around really quickly when you least expect it, and that it will happen for you when the right child comes long - the right match will come along eventually, so good luck!!!
Our experience was over twenty years ago - but there are a few points in the above post that I think are really important. We enquired about a mixed race baby pre approval (we are an ethnically mixed family) - not the same ethnic mix - and were told to get the assessment done first. After that I think we were cautious to only enquire about children who were a good match ethnically - as well as more generally. During our search for an agency we rang our LA and they spoke to us about a little girl who was a good match who was 7. I said we were looking for a much younger child. Thankfully they accepted that as if they’d pushed it further I’m sure we’d have been drawn in. When we enquired about our daughter during the assessment process there were several children in the CWW magazine (AUKs form of linkmaker) we were interested in but we only enquired about the one who was a very close match. Luckily it went ahead. We were approved in November and the match was approved mid December and intros started at the beginning of January. I think it’s really important to think exactly what you are looking for in a child - what makes you a good match - and convey this and your strengths. It is important as said above to keep your enquiries limited and targeted. That way you are likely to get more of a response and less likely to feel disheartened
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