Thursday, 1 January 2009

Adoption Process

This post is for those of you who would like some detail on the process and where we are:

  • Contact the Local Authority or private agency
  • Have an initial meeting for both parties to agree to go ahead
  • Send in a formal application
  • Attend 4 - 6 preparation groups, learning about the adoption triangle and abuse issues, over about two months. It is very emotional and thought-provoking
  • Have a social worker and have 10 home study sessions, over about 20 weeks. The social worker uses the information to prepare a 30-40 page document of your entire life history! It is very intrusive and sometimes quite emotional
  • Prepare for 'panel' to approve you for adopting, decide what you can offer children, e.g. how many children and of what age range /abilities / disabilities / gender and so on
  • In the background your social worker is finalising your paperwork. This can take about 2 months
  • Go to panel and be approved! Yay! This takes a couple of hours and you are advised of the provisional outcome on the day, with the official decision verbally a few days later and in writing a week later.  The process is supposed to take no more than 8 months from official application to panel
  • Family-finding - now the fun and emotional roller-coaster really kicks in! Search for children using literature sent out every 4 weeks. The information contains a picture and two to three paragraphs about the child(ren)
  • Notify your social worker of your interest, who then contacts the children's social workers
  • Receive a profile - an A4 sheet of paper with basic details of the children, sometimes with a photo
  • Swap paperwork - the paperwork is the outcome of your home-study and the papers that the panel used to approve you - about 30-40 pages of your entire life history. The same paperwork has been written about the children's life including graphic detail about their history of abuse and how they came to be taken into care. Shocking stuff
  • Identify potential links - the social workers will look at all the interested prospective adopters and choose two or three that they may be interested in
  • Being linked - you will then be interviewed in your home and the social workers decide which, if any, prospective adopters to go with. This is then an official link
  • Being matched - once you are linked all system are go to prepare for matching panel, you meet the foster carers and the children's Local Authority's Medical Adviser. If you haven't already had them, you will receive the foster carer's / nursery / school / medical reports. These are over and above the paperwork already provided
  • Matching panel - as with the approval panel, you attend panel, they discuss all the information and you are advised of the outcome on the day
  • Preparing you all - the child(ren) see a book of the prospective adopters, to get them used to their faces, even including a DVD if they are really brave! The prospective adopters get a life story book, so they can show the children in later life what happened to them before they came to live with you
  • Introductions - this is a planned one- to three-week visitation of the children in the foster carer's home(s). If there is one child or a baby it may only take a week. The amount of contact is increased until you are with them 24 hours a day. All social workers closely monitor the children and yourselves. When it is agreed that everything is fine and the children are attaching you take your children home for good!
  • The legal stuff - after a period of time (usually 13 weeks or so) with plenty of monitoring by all social workers, it is agreed that you can apply to formerly adopt the children. This can take a few months
  • The children are legally your children and take on your surname, their birth certificate is changed and they have the same rights as if they were born to you :)
  • Unless in the children's best interest not to, contact with their birth family is continued, usually every 6 to 12 months, either directly or in-directly via letters to and from a post box. This is managed and directed by social workers who monitor contacts and letters both ways. This is to ensure no damage is done by the birth family, and to ensure that the children's location is not accidentally divulged.
We hope you found this useful. Please comment if you would like any further information.

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