What can you do to prepare yourself, your circumstances and your home to be adoption ready?
Firstly it is fantastic that you are considering adoption.
There are many children waiting for secure loving families. We want to assist you in being as prepared as possible to adopt and meet the needs of a vulnerable child or children. There are many things you can do to prepare yourself for adoption. Here are some handy tips to help you on your journey:
Yourself…Your Circumstances…Your Home…
Are you doing this for the right reasons?
If you are in a partnership you need to do this for yourself as well as for your partner. If you have undergone unsuccessful infertility treatment have you given yourself enough time to process that?
During the adoption process we will be asking you to reflect on your own experience of being parented, your views on many things, your relationship (if in one), your strengths and your vulnerabilities. We are not looking for perfect people – we all have strengths and vulnerabilities and we will be considering what these look like and how you manage them.
Experience with children
If you have not parented before it is a strength to have recent childcare experience. This may be through babysitting a relative’s children, voluntary work with children or through your profession. If you do not have this, don’t worry – you can do something about it. We suggest that you seek as many opportunities as you can. This will not only increase your confidence and ability to relate to children, it will prepare you for meeting the needs of a child and demonstrate to social workers that you have this ability.
Have you planned financially for parenthood through adoption?
As with maternity leave you will be entitled to adoption leave and it will be expected that one of you takes sufficient time off work for the child to settle so you and your child can begin to build relationships and put down roots. For most people there will be a financial cost to this as Statutory Adoption leave will not make up for the loss in salary. You do not have to earn a certain amount, to be debt free or have savings but you do need to be able to demonstrate that you are financially stable and can meet the cost of providing for a child. Starting to build up some savings, however small is a way to demonstrate that you have some disposable income. You might want to consider consolidating debt to reduce monthly payments or ensuring that any credit cards are interest free. Please seek appropriate advice if you feel you would benefit from this.
Support from friends and family
Have you spoken to your family and friends about adoption? Are they supportive?
It will be very important that you have support around you- preferably local although we do not under estimate the emotional support that people further away can provide. We offer training to your support network, so that they can best support you from a position of understanding the needs of adopted children and the parenting they require.
Does your job allow for some flexibility? Do you have to travel away from home within your role?
If needed could your role be done on a part-time basis if your child needs you/one of you to be at home more. These questions are relevant to parenting any child but adopted children have had adverse experiences in their young lives and need a great deal of stability and consistency.
Health & Safety
Is your home safe for a child? Do you have a secure garden, are any ponds covered?
You are not expected to have everything you will need but we will do a check with you early in the process so that any changes can be made.
Do you have a suitable bedroom for a child?
If you are wishing to consider two children or more they may all need their own bedroom although some sibling groups can share providing the room is big enough. A child placed for adoption cannot share a bedroom with an existing child in the family.
You will not be able to move house once the child has been placed with you until they are well settled. An adopted child has already experienced a great deal of loss and change and will need to be very well settled before there are any other big changes. If you are planning to move house we would recommend you do this either before starting the adoption process or well after the child is placed with you- in some cases this could mean a few years.
Renovations or building work
As above – please do this before you start the process or leave it until the child is well settled with you. It can be very disruptive both to the process and to yours and the child’s living situation to have building work going on with builders coming and going. It will be difficult to assess the safety aspect of your home if work is not completed.
We understand that there is a lot to think about when considering adoption, but we want to assure you that we will be right be your side to help and support you every step of the way. Our team are available to answer any questions you might have before, during and after the process.
We’re here for you!