An adopter's story
We have been very fortunate in being blessed with two adoptive children through the inter-country process. The process has been a very unpredictable but worth it.
My husband and I made the decision to adopt after finding out devastatingly that we were unable to conceive naturally due to fertility issues. It was a major blow to us as we just assumed that having a baby would be a natural progression. So, it was a very difficult time whilst coming to terms with it. As we really wanted to have children, we began looking at the options available to us and adoption seemed to be the best way forward. It was an extremely emotionally challenging time for us, but we were certain that having a child was the most important thing.
I can still recollect contacting Social Services for the first time to enquire about adoption and how nervous I was. Fortunately, and something I am very grateful for, is the wonderful person I had on the other line. She gave me the time and told me about intercountry adoption, explaining the process with the possible options available. That is how it all began.
We had our first visit from our Social Worker who came to discuss the inter-country adoption process in a lot more detail, giving us very realistic outlook on what it entailed. We decided to attend the Information day at the Intercountry Adoption Centre, which was invaluable. We went away from it recognising the issues that we would have to deal with, but it allowed us to make a definite decision to adopt.
We have been very fortunate that for both our adoptions we have had the same Social Worker who has been absolutely wonderful and has made such a difficult much easier to cope with. I realise how lucky we have been in when I have spoken to other adopters at various stages that have had to change Social Workers through the process, been given incorrect or contradictory information and them not being sensitive to their needs. We experienced none of these problems. We did have a number of hurdles that we did not expect but because we had the support and guidance of a very good Social Worker we were able to overcome many difficult obstacles.
We found the workshops that we attended very informative. At the time, we did not appreciate the information as much but in hindsight there is a lot of the material that I am utilising now that we have the children.
Attending panel was very important to us as it allowed us to meet the people that were making such an important decision that would affect our lives. I wanted them to put faces to the file that they had in front of them. The process is such that most of it is out of our control so it was necessary for us to participate in all aspects as much as possible to feel some control.
Another main issue is having to deal with another country and trying to ensure it links in with the process and requirements of the UK. There is a lot more uncertainty, especially with situations in the country changing for various reasons which has an impact on the adoption.
One thing I believe that is important to all prospective adopters is for all professionals to recognise that it is a very emotional journey that takes place. Many adopters have grieved for a child that they were unable to have and have already been through a difficult time before embarking on adoption. There is a lot of anxiety and apprehension in having any hope of having children. There is a sense of urgency because many adopters have waited not months but years to reach this stage and the lengthy process can be quite frustrating. So, it is imperative that Professionals recognise that their time, commitment and understanding is needed and also that the information and guidance given is honest and correct.
Originally published on the Community Care Inform web site.
Community Care Inform is the online resource for professionals working with children, young people and their families.