So in late November 2018 another evening was being held by our local authority adoption team. So that we could gather as much information as we could prior to starting our adoption preparation course we went along. We also saw it as a good way to meet members of their team and hopefully this would help us further down the line.
Again this evening was well attended with other couples and also a couple of single adults all looking into the viability of adopting. We sat next to a couple who have a biological child but wanted to get a brother or sister for their child. We did appear to be the only gay couple in the room. We all sat listening to staff members talking through how the process that our local authority follow which consists of the following stages
Registering by completing the relevant registration forms which included a personal write up as to why we wanted to adopt.
Adoption preparation course which requires both of us attending the course which is run for a full day, once a week for 4 consecutive weeks. The course would cover areas such as parenting ++, therapeutic parenting techniques and empathy, age related communications, attachment issues, theraplay, relationship based play, understanding identity and the adoption process, highs and lows of an adopters journey and life story work and its importance. A chance to hear various social and health workers talking about their experience of Looked After Children (LAC)
Social worker visits we would be assigned a social worker from their team to come and visit us at home and run through different elements in order for them to compile our folder which would then in turn enable them to produce our prospective adopters report (PAR) which would be submitted to the adoption panel. This would look into areas such as health & safety of the house/garden, finances, our support network and a session each looking back at our lives. These sessions would also be a chance to express our interests with regards a child.
Training courses we would be encouraged to attend as many training course as we could that would be arranged throughout the year. Course such as therapeutic parenting, later in life letters, birth parents & adopted children with alcohol and substance misuse issues, social media contact and first time parenting.
Adoption Panel this is where our PAR would be seen and interrogated and when we would ultimately be approved or rejected to adopt. Following panel approval we could then move onto the matching process
Matching Process this is when our report will then be handed onto other social workers in the adoption team that deal with the children, who can then look to see if they have any children that match what we have to offer. Our social worker will continue to visit and keep us updated with this progress. Once a match is achieved another report will be drafted and given to the matching panel.
Matching Panel will review the reports and will ultimately give the thumbs up for this to continue or under exceptional circumstances require additional information or reject the proposal
Introductions is where you meet the child(children) and start the process on bonding and taking over responsibilities for them. This is usually over a 2 week period starting in the foster careers house and then progressing onto them coming to our house during the second week. By the end of the introduction period the child (children) will then be in our house and care.
Court Hearing this would then happen a minimum of 6 months after the child has moved into our home. The timescale does vary and can be up to 2 years. The Birth Parents would be informed of this and so long as they do not contest it, and the judge is happy then we would the be granted legal parental rights of the child (children).
Then we heard from a foster career talking about her experience and the highs and lows that she would face with children who came into her care. Then going on to explain their experience of the introduction period.
Next to talk was a lady who had previously adopted through the authority. We listen to her story which clearly wasn’t plain sailing and had hurdles to overcome. In the end they adopted a little boy who has made their world complete. She then went onto talk about attachment issues their boy has faced and some of the complexed needs of their child as a result of the trauma he has experienced.
The evening was rounded off with a question and answer session and the chance to talk to the adoption team.
This was an interesting evening to hear of the personal experiences from both a foster career and adopter, the highs and the lows and gave us plenty to talk about on our car journey home.