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Adoption: What You Need To Know If You Want To Adopt
Choosing to adopt is probably the biggest decision youll ever make. But stick with the steps and legalities and at the end of the process youll get something amazing – a child to bring up as your own
There is a reason behind the saying ldquo;being a mum is the best job in the worldrdquo; ndash; because it is. Yes, even better than a recipe tester.
And whether you are unable to have your own child or are already a mum, adoption is a fantastic way to allow all the women in the world who want to be a mum to be one.
Adoption gets bad press for being a long and tricky process. Thats only because adopting is such a life-changing event for you and the child, everyone wants to make sure its done right.
Luckily there are organisations and services to support and advise.
There are only a few restrictions as to who can adopt. You must be over 21 but theres no upper age limit and your marital status is unimportant.
lsquo;You need the physical and emotional energy to care for a child, explains Elaine Dibben, adoption development consultant at the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.
lsquo;Should you have a criminal record, your offences will be carefully looked into but, apart from offences against children, this will not necessarily rule you out.
Start by visiting an adoption agency where, once your registration is accepted, the first stage of the adoption process will start. This usually takes about two months.
lsquo;At this point you will have all the first checks ndash; police checks, a check with the local social services department to identify any previous contact with them and a health check, explains Elaine. lsquo;Youll need to provide references from friends and a family member.
If no concerns crop up, youll move to the next stage ndash; a full assessment that takes around four months and involves more training. lsquo;Youll be visited by a social worker who will discuss the responsibilities of being the parent of an adopted child, says Elaine.
Once you get through that assessment, youll meet the agency’s adoption panel wholl consider everything and recommend whether or not you should be approved as adopters.
Both you and your social worker will decide which child is the best fit for you. This will take into account everything from personality to how accepting your family are of the child.
You may be invited to an event where you can see profiles of children
lsquo;You may be invited to event where you can see profiles of children and meet with their social workers to talk about them informally, says Elaine.
Once you or your social worker have identified possible children to adopt, youll both discuss whether this is the right place for the child and the right match for you.
lsquo;It would be very unusual for a match to be turned down at the adoption panel or by the decision maker of the adoption agency as significant thought and discussion would have taken place by this time, says Elaine.
lsquo;But it would probably reflect significant concerns about the prospective adopters being able to meet the child’s short term or longer term needs.
There are a small percentage of babies given up for adoption at birth and lots of young children aged between one and four who are looked after by foster carers before being adopted.
lsquo;The government is encouraging local authorities to use a new scheme called ldquo;Fostering for Adoptionrdquo;, says Elaine. lsquo;This is for children who probably wont return to their birth families. Approved adopters will foster the child while all legal decisions are made, so that the child can settle in earlier.
This is undoubtedly a sensitive area and it all stems down to whats right for the child.
lsquo;The most usual form of contact would be an exchange of letters between the adoptive parents and birth parents once a year, says Elaine. lsquo;This is so the child can continue to have an understanding of their birth family as they get older and ask more questions.
To find out more about adopting a child, including the costs, legalities and process in general, visit the British Association for Adoption and Fostering.
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