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Very New, looking for advice to prepare

Jellytots March 28, 2021 23:57


We have begun the process this week and are currently waiting for our information event before progressing to the next stage.

We are looking for any advice on what to expect from the process and if there is anything we can do to prepare whilst waiting for the information event at the beginning of May, e.g. any resources we could read up on, any evidence we could gather for next stage etc?

Thank you in advance for your responses.

chestnuttree March 29, 2021 17:49


Introductions: You could have a look at "What to expect when you are adopting" - Dr. Ian Palmer, "Preparing for Adoption" - Julia Davis, "Want to Adopt?" - Helen Oakwater.

Parenting and trauma information: Sally Donovan's books are very popular, Sarah Naish on therapeutic parenting, Daniel Hughes, Bruce Perry (The Boy who was raised as a dog), Karen Purvys (The Connected Child), Celia Foster (Big Steps for Little People).

You can find interviews of many of these experts on youtube.

Podcasts: There is a BBC4 podcast called "The Adoption" which gives a very good overview of all perspectives

Personally, I liked listening to the podcasts. They are American, but most of the information is relevant for UK adoptions too.

Short courses: If you want to dive in deep, you could do the free futurelearn short course "Childhood Adversity: The Impact of Childhood Maltreatment on Mental Health". Sounds dry, but is very interesting and easy to understand.

Good luck!

Safia March 29, 2021 18:20

Just wanted to add Bryan Post to the above - from fear to love - and Caroline Archer - there used to be a good series of books from baaf (which is called something else now) which were peoples personal experiences which is nice to read as a novice - you could look at the archives (but that might put you off!) - or google ACEs ( adverse childhood experiences) and maybe also resilience at the same time. Lots to learn!

Sally March 31, 2021 19:34

A strange one to advise but we went through the training sessions and happened to watch a film called "instant family" don't get me wrong it's not true to life from our experience but the steps are similar and it gives you a lighter view and will make you laugh. Another thing we found was a show called "trying" that went through it too... We have read the books and done the research and would definitely advise you do that but at times it can get heavy. We found these 2 programs made it a little less heavy.

chestnuttree March 31, 2021 19:48

Great suggestion Sally! We love Instant Family too. Of course it is a comedy and a movie, but they managed to fit a huge amount of very common themes and situations in there.

Safia March 31, 2021 20:42

It’s the most realistic film I’ve seen!

Overseas April 5, 2021 14:08


I have my initial interview with social worker coming up and was hoping to get some advise.

What sort of questions to expect? How much detail to go into for answers.

Appreciate any pointers



Edited 05/04/21
lilih78iv June 11, 2021 10:18


we are looking to adopt. we got in touch with the Council, where we live and we have been told that they will not be taking further our request due to not having experience with children. They require as part of the process to sit through a brief, and give you the opportunity to ask questions within the time limit. we couldn't find on their website that if you do not have experience with children this will be automatic rejection.

We find this, looking for experience, very hard, even if I made inquiries and some of the nurseries have been providing this, some of them, reason being that during this there isn't any help from the Council in the sense that if we have questions, we cannot go to them; or they are not able to say for how long you have to do this, when you suppose to start.

our understanding was and is that they will help you and guide you through all of this, sort of holding your hand in case you need some help. we really find this hard, to get experience to approach people and tell them we are thinking to adopt, we need to do this however the agency might be rejecting us again. I know there isn't any guarantee in getting approved, however we expected to have some help or to start the process of getting experience in the same time as first stage.

do you know how long before we approach them again, we need? do you have any examples, where people started to gain experience and they have been told no by the agency?

We really don't want to waste anyone's time, or to have our harts broken by another rejection.

thank you

chestnuttree June 11, 2021 14:45

Hi @lilih78iv,

I would expect your council to be able to tell you what kind of experience and how much of it they are looking for. Have you considered approaching another LA or a voluntary agency? You can go with any agency, as long as they agree to take you on.

Did you mention everything you have ever done with kids (eg. babysitting family/friend's kids, taken care of younger siblings)? That will not be enough for approval panel, but might be enough to get you accepted into the first stage.

Regarding the hand holding, that is a common misconception. You acency will guide you, but not help you through the process. So they will tell you about the steps you need to take, but they do not help you to resolve any issues. Their job is to make sure that

  • you will be fit for purpose of being safe and loving adoptive parents,
  • you do not have any unresolved issues that might get in the way of that purpose,
  • that you have the necessary resilience,
  • that you have the necessary knowledge and childcare experience
  • etc.

Their job is a quality assessment of you if you like. They want you to succeed, so usually they are on your side and will point you into the right direction, but they do not work through anything with you.

Edited 16/06/21
Remy2 June 16, 2021 02:43

I know it's a struggle because of covid for some people to volunteer and gain experience as normal but we had experience through volunteering at our local junior parkrun, football coaching and a young people mentoring scheme. You could see if there's any of those in your area?

Good luck in your journey x

lilih78iv June 18, 2021 10:47


thank you for reply. we do not have close family with children. ( this is difficult to get the experience that they require and exposure). my family is abroad and their kids are teenagers. my husbands, are all over UK. ( same as mine, teenagers). we both do not have a big family. we do not have friends with children, as when you are childless, these friendships are lost, due to parents priorities, don't want to hang out with childless people as there isn't much in common.

We started to get in touch with scouts, due to everyone's availability takes longer. ( we are waiting to hear from them) fingers crossed! this will be soon.

chestnuttree June 18, 2021 14:06

We also did not have any family in the UK, but we did have friends with kids and got a lot of exposure through them. We listed pretty much every time we ever spend time with a child and some of the experience was historic and / or sporadic. Currently you just want to be able to start the process. That's why I asked if you had mentioned really everything, even it was from 10 years ago.

Scouts sounds like a good start. Good luck!

lilih78iv June 25, 2021 13:47


thank you. we did say not much and i think they haven't taken as we do not have experience at all. we did spend time with parents and kids ( our friends) like you say it was along time ago, not recently. however they have given us some time, around 6 month where we can volunteer, etc. fingers crossed.

do you think its better to go with agency opposite to the Council?

thank you

chestnuttree June 25, 2021 17:18

I would try to meet a few VAs (voluntary agencies) and LAs (local authorities) to get a feel for them and then go with what you feel is the best match. Not all of them might offer to take you on - don't take that personally, it is very common.

The major difference in LAs and VAs is that LAs have children in their care who they need to place, while VAs don't. LAs first try to match their children with their inhouse adopters and if they cannot find a match, they look elsewhere. That's when VAs come into play. Some people say that if you want a low-risk white baby you are better off with an LA. If you are open to sibling groups, older children, children with a BAME background etc, VAs might be a good choice. However, I know people who had babies placed by a VA, so that's not set in stone.

One thing to look out for is the post-adoption support they offer. Our VA has an open door policy, which means I can go back any time and get support on top of the support I am legally entitled to by my LA. That has been incredibly helpful.


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