Believe it or not, this was actually the easiest decision in the whole process. You may have read my previous post on why I decided to adopt and the various options I looked at in terms of considering being a parent. There are a number of options when it comes to starting the adoption process and it can feel really overwhelming at first. You may not have met anyone who has gone through the adoption process and there are so many rumours and old wives tales out there that it’s tough to know what’s fact and what’s fiction.
I attended an information evening hosted by the local authority on both adoption and fostering. That allowed me to hear from the experts about the process, eligibility, the pros and cons of various routes to becoming a parent. But it also allowed me to hear real experiences from people who had adopted and fostered and for me, this information was really eye-opening and even to this day I like hearing others experiences as well as sharing my own.
After the info-session, I decided to reach out to some of the organisations and agencies that presented at the event to see what the next steps would be in order to start the process. On my lunch break at work, I had a list of numbers to call to see how to start the adoption journey and I was completely blown away by the sense of rejection that I felt right off the bat. The local authority was quite pushy from my perspective telling me that the only option would be to consider early permanence, something I didn’t feel comfortable with at all as there is a risk that the child will return to birth parents and I was 100% sure that this is something I wouldn’t be able to handle. I ended the call and noted that I would call them back if the other option s proved unsuccessful.
I then called another four or five agencies and explained that I had attended the info-session and wanted to start my journey. All except one were very matter of fact telling me that deciding to adopt was a huge decision and that I should take some time to really ensure that it was the right option for me. I was annoyed, frustrated and even angry. At the info-session, we were told how there were so many kids needing safe and loving homes and yet it appeared that people were being turned away at the first hurdle.
For the final agency on my list, I changed my tactic. I took a deep breath and as the phone was answered I started by explaining that I had wanted to adopt for more than twenty years, planned and organised aspects of my life to allow this to happen and after the info-session, I was keen to begin the process to understand whether I would be a suitable candidate. This phone call was could not have been more different than the others. I was asked if I would like to come in for a face to face chat about the process and to answer some questions that would start the process of being assessed. Result! I was booked in for a cup of tea and a chat the following week and suddenly a whole range of emotions came over me and the rest of the day at work I was in a daydream about the fact that my wish was on track to come true.
That final call was made to Action for Children, a UK-wide charity, and my experience of adoption was most definitely made much more manageable because of their caring approach to the entire process. They have been so great to work with that even more than 18 months on from my son moving home, I am still in close contact with the team that helped and I offer my time to talk to other prospective adopters and share my story.
When it comes to adoption and deciding who you want to go through the process with, ask as many questions as you want to or need to ask as this is a life changing decision that you are making. There will be an element of gut feeling or even destiny involved and bare in mind that your experience will always differ from other people so take advice from others as case studies or examples of how it could be.
The initial meeting with Action For Children was fantastic, really eye opening, and I left with a pile of forms to complete and return to them when I felt ready. I couldn’t wait to get home and get the forms filled out.