Onwards and upwards

Adoption (for anyone not involved in a personal or professional capacity) is so different from whatever you might think, let me just tell you that now. Utterly, miles and miles from anything you assumed or thought. Certainly for Husby and I, but by the sound of it, for people who’ve done it.

We went to find out about it this evening, thanks to an information meeting put on by our city council. It was helpful, informative, friendly, low key and frankly a bit terrifying.

Stuff we now know

  • It’s intrusive, even guised as friendly chats. They want to know everything but not just before the adoption – afterwards too. This makes absolute sense as their duty of care is to the child and in ensuring an appropriate permanent home for them. Good for them. Didn’t quite realise HOW involved they’d be, but good to know.
  • As well as the obvious stuff, they want to know (amongst other things) how you were parented. Oh. That’ll be interesting. I had a…shall we say challenging?…upbringing. Again it makes utter sense in ensuring the welfare of a potential adopted child – what parenting patterns have you been exposed to/observed – have you recognised the good and the bad and determined to include/omit them as appropriate. I think I have, but I daresay there’ll be skelebongs!
  • They are insistent very keen for a positive relationship to be built with the birth family (if at all possible and appropriate) as this will maintain a positive channel of communication for when the adopted child grows up and wants to know why. This consists of a minimum letter per year sent via the council to ensure the child can’t be tracked down through the letter. A letter may or may not be sent back from the birth family. Again, very good and I totally see why but hadn’t anticipated for it to be quite such the constant reminder that they’re not really your child.
  • Us being relatively on the poor side of penniless *shouldn’t* be an issue as long as we’re making rent etc. Phew!
  • Health issues may/may not be a problem so we’ll wait and find out then continue with the process as appropriate.
  • If you might have a natural child they want you to ensure and guarantee you won’t whilst in the process of adopting or it all stops. Again, I can see why but good to know – might change the timeframe of things slightly depending on aforementioned finding out of medicals.
  • If you already have a natural child they won’t let you adopt til they’re about 4.
  • Homeschooling is ok once they’re adopted if it would be the best thing for the child.
  • It’s really not about ‘you having a child’ – the onus is FAR more on ‘finding the best parents for a particular child’ which is a good commitment, but a different ball game when you think about it.
  • There’s more support for adoptive parents than you could ever shake a stick or indeed a whole wood of trees at, including twice yearly meet-ups of all families who’ve adopted through the council.
  • This thing is massively bigger than we’d ever considered.

Stuff we don’t know

  • Will you ever be left alone to be a family and feel like they’re really yours? – off we go tomorrow to have that chat with a lovely couple who’ve successfully adopted twice.
  • What if you meet them and don’t like them – in the UK, meeting the child is pretty much the last thing which happens after you’ve been approved, selected for that child and then told all about them and said you’d like to meet them – what if at that crucial point you suddenly think “Nope, not keen on that one.” 
  •  What we’ll do if we don’t get approved (though apparently my background in childcare would make me (and so us) a very attractive candidate – the woman’s eyes quite lit up when she heard about my professional background)
  • How do you possibly cope with the long wait at the start and then a sudden rush at the end?
  • How much contact with birth family would be best for the child?

More info after tomorrow, but one thing’s for sure – if we pursue are invited to embark upon this route, it’s going to be a Very. Big. Deal.

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