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Is there anybody out there?

Laura222 November 27, 2019 12:38

Hi!

My husband and I would like to adopt and after having our first home visit from the agency social worker it's apparent that we need to be more prepared to stand up for ourselves as being as capable as any other couple to care for a child. I have a physical disability and so the way that I provide physical care would be very different to your average able-bodied parent. I'm confident that although care would look different, it would be no poorer in quality. However, when faced with the scrutiny of a social worker I lost my confidence and I'm determined that it won't happen again.

So I'd like to find other adoptive parents with disabilities for advice and support, or even just as positive role models. Perhaps adopters with disabilities are shy creatures, but they must be out there somewhere!

Thanks.

Mother2019 November 27, 2019 20:19

I am partially sighted. My first social worker was very concerned that I would lost my child hahaha. I had to stop my adoption process because I was in treatment for macular degeneration. My husband and i were in this process for 3 years until adoption panel. We had 3 social workers. We were approved and 4 months later we accept to foster for adopt a new born girl. Dont be intimidated for the social workers. They are going to doubt you until they see you are capable. I can say it was very difficult to care for my daughter until she was 3 months old. She had NAS and was difficult to feed and to sleep. She is 11 months old now and doing well. I was thinking about give up adoption because it was very stressful. My husband said he'll be there and he was. I have to say I am very glad I decided to go ahead. In fact only one social worker doubt about me. I believe it will be good for you to read about children with NAS and FAS because you have to be prepared for the adption process. You need a strong support network, be prepared to show you have many friends and family to support you and everything will be fine. Good luck.

John November 29, 2019 08:24

Hi. I don’t have a disability, but I think that in many cases social workers will make you question yourself and your ability to care for a child as a way of seeing how you react to difficult situations and how you deal with those situations. After all as an adoptive parent you need to be a resilient person who is able to deal with challenging situations and emotions and find a positive solution to move things forward. During our adoption process (including just after the home visit) we also found a couple of challenges posed by social workers, however we were proactive about it and showed to them that we were resilient and took steps to overcome those challenges. This was a stressful period to us, as we thought we were ready to take care for a child, but looking back I can see how social workers were trying to assess our resilience as future parents.

Edited 29/11/19
Laura222 November 29, 2019 09:04

@Mother2019 Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. It really has been so valuable to know that there is indeed somebody else out there with a disability who has successfully adopted. There is definitely a gap in the information available to adopters who identify as having a disability, so we really are grateful to hear about your experience and it has helped me to move on with our application to the next agency. What we hadn't thought about is that we should be looking for an agency who will not only let us prove ourselves but also has experience of adopters with disabilities. I spoke to an agency yesterday and immediately asked them whether they had experience with adopters with disabilities; which they do. Hooray! They also said that on thinking about it, they've never included a talk about being an adopter with a disability in their events and is something that they'd like to start doing. Double-hooray! It was a really positive phone call and they said that they could match us up with couples with a disability who had adopted so that we can get more information etc.

Thank you for your advice about looking into NAS and FAS, this is certainly something which is on our VERY long to-do list! It sounds like you and your husband are exactly the kind of strong team that make excellent parents and we're so glad to hear that your family are doing so well.

Laura222 November 29, 2019 09:21

Hi @John. Resilience is definitely a key word! You're right that a major part of this process is demonstrating how we deal with difficulties and proactively address them, so we're taking steps to do that. It isn't the first time that somebody has said that I'm worth less because of my disability, and I'm positive it won't be the last!

I'm going to be volunteering, we're stepping up our babysitting game, trying to nourish and expand our support network and seeking out every opportunity for more information and to learn about other people's experiences. So thank you for sharing yours - whether somebody has a disability or not, we all have challenges in life!

PaintedLady December 3, 2019 07:05

My husband is disabled and there have been many questions along the way. There has been additional medical information sought from my husband’s GP. But there seems to be no issues. My few bits of advice would be to try and get in as much childcare experience as you can. This will enable you to prove to your social worker of your abilities, work out things you struggle with and this should help you to find ways to combat it and take it back to your social worker. Be confident in yourself. You know your abilities better than any social worker/medical advisor so stand your ground. Make sure you have an amazing support network around you and make sure there is always someone on hand if you need them. Do your own risk assessment. What if you can’t do this? What would you do? It all shows determination and that you have thought about it. Plus you are proving that you take it seriously and are thinking about how you can meet the needs of a child. The best piece of advice I can give is to find an agency that understands you. One that wants to work with you and not against you. I hope this helps

Laura222 December 5, 2019 09:38

Thanks @PaintedLady, that really helps. I've started listing all the things that might be difficult and finding ways to do them. Be that with techniques, equipment or both. I like your idea of doing my own risk assessment, that's an excellent way to think about it!

Did you find that you needed to 'shop around' to find an agency that suited you both?

PaintedLady December 7, 2019 18:05

We didn’t really have to find an agency that suited us from the disability side as the adoption process is pretty much the same with every agency. The medical side of things is dealt with you GP/specialist and the agency’s medical advisor. The medical advisor will be in charge of collecting all the information and any additional information that they may need to make a decision. I hope this is some sort of help

Laura222 December 12, 2019 17:33

We were hoping that this would be the case, but unfortunately our first visit from a social worker came with a lot of 'interesting' views on disability. Certainly from reading the SWs report it seems like a decision will be made before medical information is collected.

Hoping that the next one is different; but even if they're not, we're feeling much more prepared to stand up for ourselves (excuse the pun! Haha!).

peartree January 11, 2020 02:36

Hello :) I have a physical disability and our adoptees arrived over 18years ago now.

We have known and supported several adoptive families who live with impairment and there are often ‘interesting’ responses from Social care. Most families end up going through Barnardos or similar where they are more understanding of difference.

there’s a perception in society in general that disabled people and parent aren’t compatible and social care tend to see disabled people as folk that are ‘done to’ rather than actively seeking something. Moreover many see that children would automatically be your carers... I know! Loada crap!

I don’t know what the social worker said but once you’ve collected yourselves together maybe think about the problems the SW had. Reconstruct Them as challenges and work out what you’d do in the situation.

I can’t say what to do but try and read lots and think very carefully about it all.

Laura222 January 17, 2020 12:36

Hi @peartree!

Thanks very much. :) It's always good to know there are other people out there with similar experiences.

I really didn't expect that the registering interest part would be so difficult. I anticipated having to really prove myself in order to be approved to adopt of course, but it feels like I have to show that I can climb out of a big hole in the ground before anyone will even let me try climbing the mountain. Sigh. I'm just having a bit of a mope.

Will pick myself up and keep trying... after a bit of a cry and a coffee maybe.

3girlstogether February 8, 2020 08:27

I am an adopter who has become disabled. It is a shame that some SWs have such a limited opinion of people with disabilities. I have been dealt with very badly by post adoption 'support' unfortunately. It sounds like you are doing all the right things to prepare yourself. Personally I think going with someone like Barnardos or another VA rather than an LA may be more helpful. Others may disagree though.

Laura222 February 9, 2020 11:18

Hi @3girlstogether.

I'm sorry to hear that you're not getting the support that you should. If you need any advice as a disabled parent then I found an amazing group on Facebook (search UK Disabled Parents). They all have great tips and advice on practical matters as well as on accessing particular services and are really supportive. Of course this can't replace adoption-specific support but I've found it so refreshing to see other people 'like me' doing an amazing parenting job. I'm toying with the idea of setting up a group for disabled adopters since it's so difficult to find any advice that's specific to people with disabilities.

I agree with your thoughts on the VA/LA comparison, we've found a VA to be much more open-minded (although still not as open-minded as I'd like!).

Angelface August 5, 2020 17:06

i have glaucoma that affects my sight in one eye i didnt have any issues going through the process we are at the matching stage now, they did ask if it got bad how would deal with it and i said well i know the signs of it and i would go to the hospital immediately if it flared up which touch wood it hasnt as long as you can prove that you can manage your disability then they are fine with it

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