Homestudy

So here’s the thing.

Homestudies are hard work.

I mean, they have to be, because ultimately, the social workers have a finite period of time to figure out whether or not you are a suitable person to care for a child, and at the end of this process a child’s life is at stake. So they have to be SURE. And they have to be thorough.

But that doesn’t make it easy.

In fact, parts of it are pretty excruciating.

Imagine a total stranger coming to your home, and digging deep into your childhood, your formative moments, your most traumatic moments, the things that made you who you are today. Then imagine that same person plucking out all of your flaws with a pair of tweezers, picking over them, discussing them in excruciating detail, and trying to find weak points, and reasons why you might turn out to be a crappy parent.

It’s a little nerve-wracking.

Continue reading

Level up…

Well, it took 4 months instead of 2 months, but I have finally finished Stage 1 of the adoption process! I received my official letter, (it was back in March, but I’ve been busy) and have said goodbye to my Stage 1 social worker and met my new Stage 2 social worker.

My new social worker is nice, but very no-nonsense. She’s extremely experienced, and clearly doesn’t waste any time. She was a little bit scary and intimidating, but obviously keen to crack on with things, and so we had a planning meeting to put lots of dates in the diary when we could meet. Usually in Stage 2 you would have 8 meetings over 4 months (roughly once every 2 weeks) but she said as I’m a single adopter we probably won’t need that many meetings, so we have scheduled 6 for now, from now until the end of June.

During that time I have some homework to do, some financial info to pull together, and various other bits and bobs to do. After the last meeting, we will have around 4-6 weeks for her to write up the report, for me to have a chance to review it and make any comments, and then it will be submitted to the Adoption Panel, which sits approx 3 times a month.

My new social worker has even proposed a possible date for me to go to the panel in late July, though this hasn’t been confirmed yet.

All very exciting, and things are getting a bit real now!

They have also told me that they have never approved a single adopter for siblings before, and it is very unlikely that would be possible, so I am most likely to be matched with a single child, which is fine with me. So finally moving up to the next stage!

Watch this space for more news on the parent front!

Adoption prep part 2 and 3

I have now finished my adoption prep training, and I must say there was a lot of useful stuff in there. I mean, don’t get me wrong, not all of the social workers were natural facilitators, and one of them in particular had a tendency to read aloud the text on every single powerpoint screen, and speak in a very patronising tone (I suspect she is so used to speaking in a cheery, slow voice to children that she’s forgotten how to address functional adults).

However, I got some real insight into the adopted child’s perspective of the world, and how I might need to adapt my parenting style to their needs. Continue reading

Reflections and Preparation

The Reflections Workshop

The Reflections Training in the end wasn’t as bad as I thought it might be.

It was interesting to learn the reasons people adopt, beyond the obvious failed IVF/Infertility. For example, I discovered that some couples had already had a child, and an difficult birth/emergency hysterectomy meant they couldn’t have any more. Some couples had tried surrogacy instead of IVF, and some hadn’t bothered with IVF at all, just tried naturally for a while and then decided to adopt.

I was the only single adopter there, which rather threw off the groups a bit (“get into pairs and….. oh, also one of you will be a three….”), but it was fine. I quickly realised there are things I will have to consider that other people won’t, as all of the couples will have each other in the house for support during a crisis. I’m going to have to get friendlier with my neighbours instead, as I don’t have many close friends or family living nearby for help in an emergency. Most of the couples blew past this, assuming if there is a crisis one of them can support while the other deals with it, etc. It’s making me realise how lucky couples are to have someone else always there to help, to give each other breaks, and how much harder it will be for me, to be on my own all of the time coping with each disaster as it comes along. Continue reading

How much does it cost to adopt in the UK?

In theory, nothing.

Except that of course that’s not really the case.

There are no official fees to pay, but there are some other related costs, which I thought I would keep track of here, more for my own curiosity than anything else, and in case anyone out there thinking of adopting is curious. Obviously if you were adopting overseas there are often lots of costs and fees (I don’t know what they are, I have merely heard this on the grapevine). Therefore this summary is merely based on my experience of an adoption process in the UK, and I should stress that these costs so far are very low and relatively minor. Continue reading

Reality Check…

Well, I have had my official Stage 1 meeting (in December), and I have been given a long list of homework to do in the next 2 months, including:

  • Read at least 3 books from the reading list
  • Complete a family tree
  • Create a chronology of my life (including every address I have ever lived at….)
  • Fill in the DBS forms for a criminal records/background check
  • Complete some e-learning courses
  • Create an Ecomap of my support network
  • Complete a household safety checklist
  • Obtain criminal records checks from any country I have lived in for over 6 months (THAT could take a while…)
  • Get 3 references
  • Have a full medical

The more reading and e-learning I am doing, the more I am starting to more deeply reflect on the process, what is involved, and the impact of adoption is starting to sink in.

It’s almost like they’ve done this before. (No seriously, I must say well done to the Local Authority for such a well-planned process so far, and it really feels like it is all very logical and well-thought out etc).

What is interesting is that starting out on this adventure, it was really, frankly, all about me. I want a family, I want a child/children, I want to adopt siblings, I’m busy fantasising about how lovely it will be, and whether or not they will be white, black, Asian or mixed race etc. Continue reading

The stage before the stage before the 1st Stage…

So, as many of you will have read about in my first adoption post (Day 1….), I have officially started my journey to becoming a parent, and yes, I plan to document it all here for you, my lovely readers.

I have initially thought that there was a 3-step process, based on my research. The first stage takes about 2 months, and involves some initial interviews, a bit of basic training, and criminal records checks etc. Then the second stage, the home study, takes around 6-8 months and involves extensively poking around into every conceivable part of my life to look for holes or skeletons, talking to my friends, neighbours, employers, bank, mortgage lenders, etc. Then if you make it past that stage, you are “approved for matching” – and matching is the 3rd stage, where you and social workers try to match up approved adopters with children needing families.

So having spoken to the adoption team on the phone, attending an information day, and doing lots of reading, I assumed that my initial interview was the official start of Stage 1.

Turns out, it wasn’t. Continue reading

Day 1…

This week I took my first official step to becoming a parent.

First, a little background for those of you not in the know…..

I’ve always known that I wanted to have kids. Having a family and being a mum is something I’ve always known that I wanted – even when I was 16. As a teenager planning my potential/future career I even looked for jobs that related to working with kids, such as social worker, teacher, etc, and did a lot of summer jobs working with kids in summer camps, or with my mum’s research with children. I always took it for granted that by the time I was in my late twenties, I’d be married with kids.

By the time I was 29, I realised that wasn’t likely to happen – I’ve been pretty much single for my whole life, and I realised that waiting around for Mr Right might mean I miss out on being a mum, and having a family, and for me, that’s too important. I realised that if I wake up one day and I’m 50, and I never had kids, it would be my single biggest regret. So I started thinking about doing it alone instead. Continue reading