UK Adoption Process: A Good Agency Will Do This, A Great Agency Will Do This

Making the choice to adopt is one of the biggest decisions my husband and I had faced in our relationship; when we felt like our lives were empty and we wanted more, the choice to adopt was the right one. Little did I know that making that first decision was going to be one of the easier ones we would have to make in regards to making our dream a reality. The UK adoption process requires you to start out by finding the right agency.

As we started our process, we decided on the things that were important to us in an agency. We didn’t have any experience nor did we know anyone who had gone through an adoption within a similar time frame; everyone we did know had gone through the process many years before us and hadn’t been given any choices whatsoever in any adoption. It was in our research to find the right agency that we learned the difference between a good agency and a great one.

Most agencies have good intentions…that was a necessity… It was our ultimate goal to find a truly good organization whose intention was to create forever families. For us it was important to know the total of our financial responsibilities, what would be expected from us at various points of the process, and the different classes and home inspections we’d have to pass, to name a few things.

And after we started talking to different agencies we learned the difference between finding a good agency and a great one. And, if I may, I’d like to share what we discovered with you. I hope this information will save you the same growing pains that we faced when we were just starting.

Good Agency V. Great Agency

– A good agency will help you understand their process, but a great agency will provide you detailed information in written form to help you know what’s coming next at every turn.

– A good agency will pair you up with a counselor, but a great one will pair you up with a counselor that best fits your personalities and truly understands your goals.

-A good agency will act as a liaison between the birth parents and the adoptive parents, but a great one will be with you by your side throughout the entire process.

-A good agency will advise you of your options and make suggestions, but a great one will support you regardless of what decision you make without guilting you into making a different decision.

-A good agency will walk you through the different phases from beginning to end, but a great one will walk with you.

There are a lot of choices to make when you first decide to bring a child into your family. For every person that list of choices isn’t going to be the same. It’s important to consider your top priorities, stick to them, and never allow yourself to be pressured into making a decision. A great agency will provide you a list of former families who have used their services. This can be an incredibly valuable tool, use it wisely.

Do your homework, talk to people about their experiences, and trust your gut. It’s the beginning of one of the most incredible things to ever happen to your life. You’ll want it to be the best it can be. Finding your true fit will make all the difference in your story. Click here if you’re interested in learning more about the UK adoption process.

10 Things To Know Before Adopting

You may have suffered pregnancy loss or experienced infertility. Or maybe you’re single but still want to become a parent. Perhaps you’re a gay couple who longs for a child. Whatever your life situation, you’ve decided that adopting is the best way to build your family—and you’re excited to get started. But before you dive in, there are some important things you should know.

1) You will complete a lot of paperwork.

Be prepared to provide details about your background, family, employment and finances. You’ll also need to write an autobiography about your childhood, parenting style and beliefs as well as a letter to potential birth parents.

2) You’ll need to schedule a physical with your family doctor.

As part of your adoption requirements, you’ll need a clean bill of health. You can start by taking good care of yourself now and ensuring any health issues are addressed.

3) It’s important to work with a good, reputable adoption agency or attorney.

A skilled professional will help you successfully navigate adopting, ensure all legal requirements are met and be there to support and guide you.

4) A home study is not as scary as it sounds.

A social worker will set up a series of visits in your home to be sure you can provide a safe, loving environment for a child. Although this may sound intimidating, it’s actually a great opportunity to learn more about the adoption process and what to expect. Your social worker is not there to judge or scrutinize, but rather to educate you and prepare you for your adoption journey. He or she will also answer any questions or concerns you may have.

5) The adoption process is unpredictable, and the wait can be long.

There is really no way of knowing when you’ll adopt or what situations you’ll encounter. With domestic infant adoption, expectant parents choose you, so it really depends on what they are looking for and whether or not you’re a good match for them. With international adoptions, requirements and laws can change at any time and sometimes programs close unexpectedly or get put on hold. No matter what type of adoption you’re pursuing, expect the unexpected. Bring plenty of patience and try to be flexible whenever possible.

6) You’ll need to do some networking to help increase your chances of adopting.

If you just sit back and wait for an expectant parent to come to your agency and choose you, you could be waiting a very long time. Those who adopt successfully often network on their own to increase their chances and shorten their wait times. Some ideas you might want to consider are: an online adoption profile, business cards that express your desire to adopt, letters to family and friends, word of mouth, newspaper ads and a toll-free number for pregnant women to contact you.

7) Most adoptions today have some degree of openness.

Gone are the days where birth parents had no contact or involvement with adoptive families. The majority of domestic adoptions now include communication through letters, photos, phone calls, and even visits. Some families choose to communicate through the adoption agency; others have direct contact. It all depends on what both parties agree on.

8) Adoption scams are more common than you think.

You’ll need to be careful when dealing with adoption professionals and potential birth parents. Not every agency is reputable, so do your homework first. Also be aware of red flags with expectant mothers, such as wanting large sums of money, not providing proof of pregnancy, not working with an adoption agency or attorney, etc. Many hopeful adoptive parents, including myself, have come across at least one person who was pretending to be pregnant to get gifts and money.

9) Some days you will feel like giving up.

The adoption process is an up-and-down emotional roller coaster. Failed matches, a long wait, and unexpected obstacles can leave you feeling sad and discouraged. You may wonder if you’ll ever become a parent and, on your worst days, you may even consider giving up on adopting. This is all part of the journey. Hang in there and know that most people who pursue adoption are eventually successful.

10) The day you bring your child home will be a day you never forget.

Holding your child in your arms for the first time and bringing him or her home will fill you with a mixture of overwhelming love and fear. Your life will never be the same. But that’s a good thing. All your struggles and disappointments have led you to your precious child. You are a parent at last—and now the journey really begins.

Deanna Kahler

How To Find My Birth Parents In The UK

If you are adopted, you may start to wonder how you can locate your birth parents. There are many reasons why you are thinking about trying to locates your birth parents. I am here to try to guide you in the right direction. Here are some steps you can take to help this process.

Now, it is important to know there is a chance you may not locate them. In my youngest son’s case, his biological mother did not know who the biological father was because at the time she was a prostitute, so there is no biological father listed on his birth certificate. It is also important to understand that depending on the reason as to why you were taken into protective custody, that your biological parents may not be living in the same area anymore, or they may have passed away.

Your Search

I took to Google to try and find the best website that can aid you in your search.  The website I found that has the best information is on this website. Here, this website goes step by step on how to register yourself in the UK adoption contact register. The great thing about registering yourself is it gives all possible family members the opportunity to locate you. It also gives you access to their registry to search for family members yourself.

To apply, you must know your birth name, birth date, be at least 18 years of age, and at least the name of your biological mother. This website also can help you access your birth records. There is a fee (£15) to register yourself to connect with your family members. Being able to access you birth records may also assist in finding siblings or extended family if you are unable to get in contact with your birth parents.

Another option if you are unable to connect with you birth parents is doing DNA testing. This can determine your heritage. For a lot of children that were adopted, they just want to be in touch with their culture. This helps to connect with their roots. If this is the case, then you can look into genetic testing. There are plenty of companies out there that you can search, but one of the most popular is 23andMe. For younger children or babies who don’t know how to spit into a test tube, there is Ancestry DNA and/or My Heritage. These companies use a mouth swab to collect the specimen.

I hope that this information helps guide you on your journey in finding your birth parents, finding siblings, finding family members, or figuring out your heritage.

Jade Carterette

How To Be The Best Foster Parent Ever!

I’m blind! Well, not quite. I’ve worn glasses since the 4th grade and contact lenses since the 7th grade. Needless to say, you don’t want to encounter me if I were ever to drive along the road without my corrective lenses! There is a big difference between when I am wearing my corrective lenses and when I am not. The different perspective is like night and day. Sometimes foster parenting is like that. If you want to be the best foster parent ever, you need a different perspective. A new set of lenses to interpret the world around you. The most successful foster parents don’t necessarily have the most financial resources or the best social worker or the most compliant foster child; they have a correct perspective. Below are three ways to adjust your perspective when fostering.

1) FOCUS ON THE CHILD’S NEEDS, NOT YOUR JUST OWN

This is not to say ignore your own needs and to totally forego self-care. By all means, take care of yourself! Develop relationships with Big People, other than your little ones. Spend some alone time some time during the day. Recharge your batteries. But if you are going to be a successful foster parent, you need to meet the child where he is and meet his needs. If we are looking for a child to meet some unfulfilled need in our lives, we will be sorely disappointed. Children were never meant to meet the needs of adults; adults are supposed to meet the needs of children. Rather than asking yourself, “Why does this child act the way he does?” ask yourself, “What happened in the child’s past that has caused extreme needs in his life?” Foster children are often the recipients of unimaginable trauma through abuse, neglect, or abandonment that many people have no frame of reference for. Their behaviors are different from that of other children because their experiences have been different. To give that child unconditional love changes the course of their future. It is all about the child, not us!

2) FOCUS ON THE FUTURE

Sometimes, it is difficult to see past our current issues with a foster child because the barriers seem so insurmountable. Keep this perspective: your child will not always have the issues they have now. There is hope for the future! When you visualize success in your foster child, it motivates your child to succeed. When my oldest children were younger, I had the opportunity to coach some of them in town sports. They were so athletically talented, I imagined trips to the World Series, to the World Cup, and to the Super Bowl! It’s tempting for every dad to live vicariously through his children. But the point is, I imagined success for my child and was very proud of them when they succeeded.

When they failed athletically, I didn’t take it personally, we simply identified the problem and mapped a way to solve the problem. That may be a bit simplistic, but it should be that way with foster children. We need to meet a foster child where he is, accept his faults, failures, and screw-ups, and then lead him to where he needs to be. Celebrate what the child can be!

3) FOCUS ON THEIR STRENGTHS

Do you ever have one of those days when it is very difficult to see the positive in your foster children? Because you live with them 24/7 it is very tempting to correct them and to point out their every flaw. Spilled milk, toothpaste on the mirror, fights over toys, a nose that hasn’t been wiped for five hours, pizza stains on a shirt, all come with the territory of being a normal parent. But as a foster parent there are the added issues of meltdowns after visits with families, feeding issues, and even self-harming behaviors that would scare any experienced foster parent.

Years ago, one of our sons thought he needed a haircut, so he cut his own hair! Another son, when he was six years old, decided to experiment with Dad’s razor. Bad idea… Both had something in common: Curiosity! Of course, we corrected them, but rather than focus on what they did wrong, I capitalized on their natural inclination to experiment and investigate and visualized something positive.

It’s so easy to focus on the negative. But here’s the challenge: look at one strength your child has and verbalize it to the child once per day. This is might be tougher for dads than moms because dads want our kids to be tough. But it is very possible that foster children have never had positive reinforcement in their lives, and this is the first time that anyone ever told him he was loved, wanted, and worthwhile. Over time, a foster child will head further in the right direction. It won’t be overnight success, but time plus consistency, will eventually yield a positive change.

Perspective

Perspective is everything! If we put ourselves in the shoes of the children and see things from their perspectives, we will be able to better help. Understand the past, hope for the future, and put into practice compassionate action in the present, and you will spur that child toward greatness and this will help to be the best foster parents ever! The correct perspective makes all the difference.

If you would like to learn more about foster parenting and UK adoption, click here!

Derek Williams

UK Adoption: How To Adopt A Child

I have always wondered, being a foster/adoptive mother in the United States, if the adoption process in other countries is different from what Americans have to do. In the U.S., especially in California where I live, the process can be very grueling. I went through the county and they prefer that you foster to adopt. So, is this the same protocol in other countries especially the UK? Let’s learn all about UK adoption!

According to this website the order in which you complete the UK adoption process is slightly different than in the US. The biggest difference is in the time it takes to become qualified to adopt. There are five stages to their adoption process.

To start, an individual will go through the pre stage one process and that is about exploration. The meeting is about reading background information and hearing from seasoned adoptive parents. Think of this as adoption orientation. During this time you are also starting to find an agency near your postcode that you are comfortable with. It is good to check out multiple agencies and see which one fits your family the best.

The Four Stages

The next stage in the process is stage one. Once you have found your agency then you will start the formal evaluation process. This includes background checks and providing references. This process should not take longer than two months.

Stage two seems to be the bulk of time in the adoption process. This is also the part of the process that gets a bit personal. Your family will be assigned a social worker out of the agency you choose. Your social worker is going to work on assessing your family’s strengths and getting personal background information to make a report to submit to the adoption panel. This stage takes about four months and is fairly in depth.

The next stage is stage three, this is where things start to get exciting. Your family’s profile will go up against the prospective adoptive children’s profiles to be matched. Your adoption agency will work with local authorities to match your family with the right child or sibling group. The main topic that is discussed is if the child/children’s suitability with your family. The matching panel makes the final decision in this process.

The final, and the most exciting stage in my own opinion, is stage four. This stage includes meeting the child/children with your social worker. I will never forget the time I met all of my children and the time I got to spend with them. You get to know each other’s personalities and see if you mesh well together. According to the website there will be a series of visits and short stays before move in day. After an undisclosed amount of time you can apply to become their legal parents.

Final  Thoughts

According to this website there are about 4,000 children waiting to be adopted, but few babies. Most children have been taken into care because they can no longer live with their birth parents due to abuse/neglect. Most of the children in care are older, sibling groups, or disabled. This site has a list of who qualifies as a prospective adoptive family before you decide to apply to start the process.

Both websites have contact information to help guide you in the right direction. Adoption was the best thing that ever happened to my family and the difference you can make in a child’s life is amazing. If you have the space and the love to give, I highly encourage you to adopt.

You can find more information here and here about UK adoption.

Jade Carterette