Adopter's tips and stories
Tips from adopters
1: Go for it!
You will lose nothing from making that first enquiry. No one has the perfect past or perfect family and we honestly think that what has happened in the past can shape you as a person and make you stronger for it. If you think you can offer a stable, loving, happy home to a child then just go for it.
2: Be as honest and open as you can
This was one of the things that went in our favour as we did talk about some quite difficult subjects during our assessment but we were always honest and didn't try to hide things. It shows that you have skills that will be of benefit when adopting especially when it comes to later discussing some potentially difficult topics with your child or if you have to ask for support and help from the post adoption team if you are struggling.
It is nerve racking to think you will be discussing some very personal issues with a virtual stranger but just keep in mind what you are doing it for and it honestly gets easier as you go along.
3: Try not to worry, and enjoy it!
We can honestly say that we enjoyed the assessment. It gave us a chance to re-live some happy childhood memories and gave us chance to reflect on our own parents parenting style and think about what we would do the same and what we do differently.
When it came to talking about difficult things such as my absent father and my partner's mental health issues, it wasn't as bad as we thought and no one judges you for anything so there really is nothing to worry about. It can actually be quite therapeutic!
Did you know...
...from April 2015 adoption leave will be a 'day 1 right' and statutory pay enhanced to 90% of your salary for the first six weeks?
Find out more about Shared Parental Leave: Gov.uk - Shared parental leave.
If you have any questions, please contact us.
5 things adopters need to know...
...about changes to adoption leave and pay, and Shared Parental Leave and pay:
- Adoption leave will be a 'day 1 right'
- Statutory adoption leave will be 90% of your salary in the first 6 weeks
- Eligible adopters can end their adoption leave and pay early to opt into SPL and Pay
- SPL allows you to take time off work in a way that suits you
- you can share up to 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay with your partner
Stories from adopters
Realising we make good parents
"We always wanted to be parents. We were ready and eager to embrace the changes that children would bring to our lives. Adoption was something we had thought we 'might like to do' for a long time.
The assessment process was not as daunting as we had first perceived. It took the 'mystery' out of adoption and helped confirm our beliefs that we could be good parents and make a difference to a child's life, by welcoming them into our home and our hearts and affording them opportunities that they might not have otherwise had. When we finally 'did it' we realised that it was the best decision we had ever made, and we are now enjoying the adventure of watching our two beautiful girls grow and develop.
Post adoption support is easily accessible and an invaluable resource. We are safe in the knowledge that there is always someone there for us who can help with any queries or concerns. Through post adoption training and social events, we have been able to make links with other adopters and share experiences. The adoption agency has made our overall experience an extremely positive one and we cannot thank them enough."
Experience of gay and lesbian adopters
Our story: a same-sex male couple
We adopted our little girl through Bury Children's Services. Our experience of being assessed and going to panel was really positive and we were kept informed of the process the whole way through. We were thrilled when we were contacted by our social worker shortly after approval in relation to our 5 month old little girl. Things proceeded very quickly and the introduction plan allowed us to get to know our daughter's routines, likes and dislikes. The foster carers were really helpful. From day one, they allowed us the opportunity to interact with our daughter, change her nappy, get her dressed etc. whilst offering support and advice when it was necessary. Allowing us to take a 'hands-on' approach really helped to boost our confidence in caring for our daughter and hopefully gave our daughter the chance to bond with us. Our Social Worker offered support throughout the whole process.
Our story: a same sex female couple
From the outset we were impressed. We received a really speedy response to our enquiry and the information pack we received was a huge help. We were then swiftly contacted to arrange for an initial catch up with one of the team. We were quite nervous about this visit and what the social worker would think about us and our suitability as adopters. We needn't have been worried! The worker who came out to our home to meet us put us at ease instantly. She was professional, friendly, supportive and reassuring.
Following that first interview we were asked to attend a course for those wishing to adopt. Initial thoughts were "several days holiday from work, this course better be good!" The course was excellent. We were welcomed with open arms by both the adoption team and the other potential adopters. The course attendees were a mixed bunch of couples and single adopters (both gay and straight) and it was a great opportunity to meet the full team and also other people that had similar questions to ourselves. The course flew by and was interactive and educational without feeling like you were being taught to suck eggs. It gave us the opportunity to ask questions, learn about the process and also consider further the child that we were looking for. At the end, we can honestly say we were glad that the opportunity to attend was there. It was well organised and the team were great. Even the lunch was lovely and we have stayed in contact with some of the attendees to this day.
After the course we confirmed we definitely wanted to proceed with our application to be approved. We were assigned a social worker and she arranged to come visit us at home to begin the application. She was supportive and professional and has remained so throughout our journey. Regular visits to our home, lots of questions and checks could have seemed intrusive but we can honestly say our worker made it all as pain-free as possible and at no point did we feel concerned. She was open with us about requirements and timescales from the outset and we have felt that she was there to support us rather than to grill us! We felt that she totally 'got us' and understood what type if parents we would be and the type of child that would be best placed with us.
Once approved we confirmed that we would definitely like to proceed to find out more about a little girl our worker had approached us with as a potential match. Her name was Jenny*(name changed) and although we hadn't yet seen a picture of her, her personality jumped off the page to us and we were already smitten. Knowing how keen we were our worker quickly arranged meetings with Jenny's Social Workers and also her foster carer. All parties were supportive of the match and the more and more we heard about Jenny the more certain we were that she was the one. The team worked relentlessly to have everything ready in time for us to go to matching panel and when we were approved we were over the moon!
The whole team have been incredible from the outset and the support we continue to receive until our court papers go through remains fantastic. The social workers have been brilliant and it honestly feels like having a friend over for a brew rather than an intrusive visit. We would absolutely recommend Bury as the adoption services to go with. They have welcomed us as adopters and made us feel supported. They have taken the time to get to know us which has resulted in finding our perfect match, our daughter. They have worked so hard to ensure that we have everything we might need and to ensure that our journey has been smooth and swift. Therefore without hesitation we would firmly recommend that you make Bury your first choice in considering who you should proceed with on your adoption journey.
What the adoption assessment is really like
"We had read various blogs and stories on the internet about how people were being turned down as adoptive parents for many varied reasons, to the point where we imagined you have to be some sort of almost perfect person or couple with an almost faultless past and perfect family! I think we both had a stereotypical view of what the adoption process would be like, that it would be very intrusive and we would be grilled about all aspects of our relationship, family members, childhood etc and my partner had a vision of social workers being like 'The Governess' from the quiz show 'The Chase', a very severe matriarchal type of woman!
We had read some books about adoption and they gave the impression that if you had a history of mental health issues or any sort of drug use (my partner led a bit of a chaotic lifestyle leading up to his eventual admittance to a psychiatric ward for depression and anxiety), that this is a big 'no no' and you will be unlikely to be approved to adopt!
It was nice, therefore, to speak to someone who was actually going through the process [a work colleague] who confirmed that it was nothing like that. So after much thought and deliberation, we decided to make the initial enquiry.
The social worker was very positive and said that she didn't see any reason why my partner's history would prevent us from applying as it had happened over 13 years ago, but it would be looked at in more depth during the home study so we applied and were soon invited to attend the preparation groups. (She looked nothing like The Governess by the way!)
We were still apprehensive about the home study and were worried about the social worker that had been assigned to us, what would they be like, what if we didn't get on or didn't like each other? All sorts of things really, but this was again all dispelled when we met her as she was lovely and we got on well and felt at ease from the start. She told us that if we ever wanted to discuss anything with her in between our sessions, we just needed to contact her and she did make time to call in between scheduled visits when we were feeling particularly anxious and just wanted to talk!"
About their approval the adopters say:
"I can honestly say it was one of the best moments of our lives. We could now finally start looking forward and planning for our new family. All we had worked towards during the assessment was totally worthwhile".