We have been on the road to adoption since August 2018, so we're still very much in the early stages, with much to be done before Approval Panel after completion of Stages 1 & 2. We've had a fantastic warm welcome by many adopters and prospective adopters, with lots of questions being asked. We shall not profess to know everything at this moment in time as we too are learning as we go along.
If you are considering adoption, we wanted to pop a blog together about where to start. Whilst we 'Googled' adoption, we didn't have a clue where to start, or what would be expected of us. So here are some of the basics about where to start...
Research. Lots of research. The most obvious place is the good old World Wide Web.
It contains a wealth of knowledge about adoption, however be sure to be looking at adoption content within the UK as it varies significantly outside of the UK. We found numerous blogs and articles which gave a great understanding about where to start, the stages of the adoption process including approval and matching panels. We also found it beneficial reading about others journeys into adoption, and how they all vary.
We found many adopters start here as it gives a basic understanding as many did not have any knowledge about where to start and the expectations.
Some Local Authorities (LA's) or Voluntary Agencies (VA's) stipulate propestive adopters have to attend an Information Event in order that you can be considered by the respective authority or agency. However we found some agencies do not have a requirement for this and you are able to proceed straight to an initial interview with the LA/VA.
From our own experience of the event we attended, this was mandatory and it lasted for several hours. We recommend a read of our blog about the event here. In short, the event is there to provide prospective adopters with enough information about the adoption process and gives you the ability to ask a Social Worker questions and share any concerns or queries you may have.
We found the event beneficial and would recommend attending one or more to get a feel about the LA/VA and what they offer. You may think they all are the same, however they all operate differently and therefore how one agency works will not be the same as another.
Registration of Interest (ROI)
Following an information event and if you wish to proceed further, you are able to explain that you would like to proceed with the particular LA/VA. It is likely you will be interviewed by them in order to assess your suitability for adoption. Some initial considerations and questions we were asked, were to check;
We had been in a relationship for at least 3 years;
We were aged over 21;
We had a spare bedroom (each adopted child requires a bedroom, they cannot share);
To confirm a brief history of our backgrounds including employment, health, relationships and support network.
Each LA/VA will be different but at this stage it is a basic assessment to confirm if they are able to offer you with a ROI. This form is a legal document which enables you to confirm that you would like to proceed with said LA/VA and that you are not proceeding with any other. You are only able to proceed with one authority or agency.
Proceed to Stage 1
Once we signed our ROI we were given forms to complete in order that we could be accepted onto Stage 1 and to proceed with checks including DBS, personal references and medicals. This Stage takes approximately 2 months and once this has been completed and the agency has reviewed, we will be informed whether we can proceed to Stage 2.
Also as part of Stage 1 we are provided with workbooks that we are to complete to give a detailed account of our family history, health, finances, support network, parenting considerations and more. This goes towards the Stage 2 Assessment and Prospective Adopters Report (PAR) which is reviewed by the adoption panel.
We happily welcome any questions you may have - so please do not hesitate to ask!