Whether you’ve decided to adopt following infertility or merely want to expand your family, the commitment is a momentous one. For those who need it, there is plenty of emotional and expert support at hand.
Adoption helps young people who cannot live with their birth parents to find happiness and security with permanent, loving families. The decision to adopt a child is a big one—it brings with it a lot of things to consider.
How it works
In order to be able to adopt, individuals must first be aged 21 or over and approved by an agency. Most of these agencies are part of a local authority’s children’s services—in England and Wales—or a social work department (in Scotland). However, there are also various independent agencies which are run by charities. Visit adoptionuk.org to find a list of agencies in your area by submitting your postcode.
Once the decision to adopt has been made and your chosen agency has received your application, you will be invited for a series of classes giving advice on the effect the process may have on you. You will be visited by a social worker and be subject to a police check—individuals that have committed serious offences may not adopt. You will also be asked to provide the names of three referees and undergo a full medical examination. Your assigned social worker will then send your complete assessment to an adoption panel. They will be the ones to make your recommendation to the adoption agency.
Early trauma and separation issues may have led your adoptive child to develop coping mechanisms resulting in challenging behaviour and difficulty forming relationships. It’s important to remember that this is completely normal. Local authorities have the duty to assess the needs of anyone involved in the adoption process—whether that is the child, the adopters, the birth parents or any close relatives. Whether you’re thinking about adoption or are an adoptive parent worried about your child’s behaviour, there are countless support resources available. Emotional support is imperative; charities such as Adoption UK and First 4 Adoption have helplines offering suggestions, information, encouragement or emotional support for anyone involved in the adoption process.