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Length of time to process match

HappyPuffins August 25, 2021 19:52

Myself and my partner are currently in the process of being matched with a little girl. We first received her matching profile about 5 months ago and after meeting with her social worker it seemed very positive and that we would be put forward as a match for her. However we are now still waiting for the linking meeting that needs to take place before a Fostering and Adoption Panel can be organised to formally approve us. We didn't think it would take as long as it has and are finding the wait very frustrating and anxiety provoking, as we can't help worrying that something has gone wrong. I just wondered if anyone out there has had a similar experience with length of wait and also if you have any advice on how to cope with it!

Ouzel River August 26, 2021 10:10

It does seem to take an excruciatingly long time. The rhetoric is all "we want to do the best for the child" - but then children are left with their foster parents for months and months, growing older and getting more attached to them rather than their forever families.

The processes are so slow and bureaucratic. Our timetable has been - we were told about a possible match in early June; we didn't get to meet the social worker and discuss fully until early July; we had agreement that we all wanted to go ahead mid July.

But - then they needed to get a long form about us to the adoption panel. And they wanted the form 5 weeks (!) before the panel so they could "QA it" whatever that means. So despite general agreement on the likely match in mid July, the earliest viable panel date was late September. And then they need to wait for ADM approval, which is another 2 weeks, so the earliest date for introductions is early October.

I really can't believe it's in the best interests of the child to leave them in foster care for almost 3 months after being unofficially matched, just to get all the paperwork together and approved and the rest. I know everyone is under-resourced and stretched - but this feels glacially slow and stressful for everyone involved.

And it sounds like our 3-month process is better than what you are facing! 5 months?
(We've been in the matching process longer than this, as our first match ended up being multiple couples competing (!) and we missed out. But that's a story for another time)

HappyPuffins August 26, 2021 20:11

Hi Ouzel River, thanks for your reply. It's great to get some input from another couple who are also going through it. My friends are all super sympathetic but they're not experiencing it, if you know what I mean! I agree about your point about the delay meaning that foster children are left longer with foster carers and only growing ever more attached to them, and it seems to be counter productive for everyone concerned. You're right, it is soooooo slow and bureaucratic and stressful to go through. But reading your reply has made me feel a bit better today and that I am not alone, so thank you for that! Good luck with your panel in September! :)

Someone1977 August 26, 2021 21:48

We’ve just been through this all adopting a biological sibling and finally out the other end. She was born June last year. Court process took till April, but then they booked panel for July. She’s moving in tomorrow - finally!

Although it’s taken forever to get here, and you’re right about the attachment and definitely think speed is important, we do have the rest of our lives to make relationships and form attachments.

I realise this is easy for me to say now, but bearing in mind we said yes to adopting our child in July last year and we were constantly told it would happen in 3 months… we were told panel last December, panel on February, panel in May… it’s been infuriating - so I completely know where you’re at! But unfortunately there’s nothing you can do but wait and trust that it will happen eventually…!!

I do hope it all happens without a hitch for you, but unfortunately adoption is all about how long can you wait!!!

Ouzel River August 27, 2021 08:19

Yeah - it's the complete fictions about timescales that annoys me most. So much of this is opaque and unclear - during our initial training everyone talked like it might be 6 months start to finish! We even had a sample couple who got rushed through and I think it was 4 weeks from approval to introductions! If someone had said "of course, usually it will take at least 9 months to a year, and we are in a pandemic so everything is running really slow" - we'd have been upset, but at least would have had more ability to plan!
Transparency is a key part of good public services - there is so much need for transparency here. How many children are actually in the system, in our area? How many parents are waiting? What are real times people spend waiting for a match? What % wait more than a year? How much has covid-19 changed all this information?
For that matter, even some documentation of the process! So much of what we know comes from scribbled notes taken during conversations. If they have a standard process that requires particular panel meetings and lead times, that information should be available online!
(I am planning a considerable amount of feedback to the agency - but not until we have approval, I don't trust them enough to disrupt things now)

Donatella August 27, 2021 09:51

I’m sure it’s a little worse now because of COVID but we first adopted 20 years ago and waited 15 months post approval for a match. Second time took even longer - 20 months, so long waits aren’t a new thing. With our 3rd so much could have been done so much faster but social services were very slow and very much of a ‘this is the way we do it’ mindset. She was a child specific adoption as she’s our eldest’s sibling but even then they couldn’t pull their fingers out and move it along quicker.

When you’re dealing with SS unfortunately this is how it is and tbh it doesn’t much change post placement. They have their very own timescales! Patience is something you’re going to need by the bucketful when dealing with SS, particularly if you need ongoing support for your child.

All I can say is once your child is home all of that is forgotten about. Mine are now 20, 17 and 15 and all those delays are in the past. They’re home, happy, settled and all doing really well

SCHeart August 27, 2021 12:35

Ouzel River I completely sympathise with where you are coming from. My partner and I have currently been going through the adoption process for 15 months and don't appear to be any closer to a match. We have found many Social Worker's to be incredibly unsympathetic and unrealistic in their approach to prospective adopters. We have been in a situation on 3 separate occasions where the family finder has found us to be a good match and then the Social Worker simply says no for the most ridiculous reasons. When we clarify information we either get no response back with additional notes, or they're simply uninterested. Which just further proves their initial reasons weren't legitimate to begin with.

I'd rather Social Workers were more honest. Don't make up rubbish excuses as to why we may not be a match. "Your support network isn't big enough" Parents, Grandparents and Close friends are not enough? I didn't realise that Adoptive Children required 50+ family members and friends to be considered a good match. As far as we're concerned it's more productive and beneficial for children to have a relationship with a smaller and stronger network of people that they will see on a regular basis rather than a huge number of people coming in and out of their lives, that to me is just confusing. And also the support network is for us, and we feel perfectly supported by our strong network, so surely only we would know what we need personally.

I have found that what is advertised by agencies sadly isn't the facts. You don't need to be in a relationship to adopt, you don't need to own your own home to adopt, you don't need a job to adopt, you don't need thousands in the bank to adopt etc. Perhaps not, but they'll certainly show zero interest in you unless you have absolutely everything going for you. We're in a long term relationship, own our own home, money in the bank, both in stable jobs, and we can provide a loving, nurturing home for a child/ren. Yet we're finding that we get knock back after knock back or literally no response whatsoever. I completely understand that the children come first, 100%. And that we won't be a match for every child, however is it unreasonable to expect legitimate reasons rather than the generic responses that are frankly bogus and not reasons at all?

My partner and I are fully committed to adopting children and that will not change. However the excitement and enthusiasm about the process itself has literally been sucked out of us as of late. It's so frustrating, emotional and draining. We certainly don't feel prospective adopters are treated with very much respect or understanding. And also these lengthy timescales certainly aren't in the children's best interest.

HappyPuffins August 28, 2021 16:30

Thank you so, so much everyone for your replies on this. I'm definitely getting the impression that slow processes and huge waits are an issue for everyone, not just us! Which has been really helpful as it lets me know that this is maybe just what I need to expect. SCHeart, I found myself nodding my head as I was reading through your reply as it all felt very familiar, particularly the despair of having to "measure up" to the criteria wanted for a child. I absolutely feel for you and just hope your long wait comes to an end and you get approved for a match soon.

SCHeart August 30, 2021 08:33

Thank you HappyPuffins, It certainly isn't the easiest process for anyone involved. I wish you all the very best for your match to be completed soon so that you can bring your little girl home.

Ouzel River August 30, 2021 10:56

> I'd rather Social Workers were more honest. Don't make up rubbish excuses as to why we may not be a match.

One theory I had about what is going on is, they have a shortage of kids because of covid - social workers were/are flooded, people were isolating, evictions were paused (which is a good thing! but probably delayed a lot of 'normal' crises), agencies had struggles moving to online/remote (and still do). It's not that there are less kids in crisis needing help - but they are probably building up a wave of kids who are going to have interventions happening later.

(There are probably also a few more potential parents than usual - certainly for us, we'd been talking about adoption for a while, but being in lockdown with a bored 3-year-old was definitely a strong motivator to act!)

But instead of being up-front and transparent and telling us "it will take longer" - they've just left us in limbo. Instead of saying "you are great parents, but we have to make a decision and it's hard" they say "yeah, we're not sure you are a cultural fit / we worry about your match with the parents' backgrounds / you really need to show us you are working on losing weight (!)" or other bullshit.

Note this is pure speculation - I don't know the actual stats.

Fudge November 9, 2021 15:45

Hi, we are in the post approval pre matching stage and have been since February 2021. I just wondered whether any of your circumstances have improved yet? Thank you

Ouzel River November 9, 2021 16:23

We were finally matched, with an extra last minute delay due to a medical report that came in the day before our panel! It's a long saga and I have no time to detail it now. Because we are 1 week into having our girl here :-) which is marvellous if exhausting.

HappyPuffins November 10, 2021 11:33

That is fantastic news for you Ouzel River, we are so pleased for you! It must feel so good to be at the end of the wait and have your little girl placed with you. You are at the start of the rest of your life :)

Thanks for your post Fudge, I do actually have an update on our circumstances. Our linking meeting is tomorrow for the match with our little girl, and hopefully all will go well and they will put us forward to the matching panel. We found out probably about a month ago now that a circumstance had cropped up, which I can't really go into, but anyway it put a halt on progressing our application to adopt her until it was resolved. Which thankfully it now is! It was a hard road during the delay but hopefully there won't be any more and things will go smoothly. The waiting is really hard so I feel for you if you were approved in February and haven't been matched yet. If you are comfortable sharing I would like to hear more of your story, have you had any possible matches, seen any children on Linkmaker etc that you are interested in. But if not absolutely fine!


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