To mark Big Adoption Day we asked our team of adoption social workers, “What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about adoption?” Here’s what they said.
1. All kinds of people adopt
“As long as you’re over 21, are a UK resident and don’t have any criminal convictions against children or vulnerable adults, you can be considered for adoption,” said Carol. “Marital status, age, sexuality, religious beliefs, ethnicity, employment status and disability don’t exclude people from adopting.”
2. You don’t have to be ‘perfect’
“Nobody’s perfect, and we certainly don’t expect prospective adopters to be!” said Fiona. “Quite often, it’s overcoming adversity in your own life that gives you the skills and qualities that can benefit vulnerable children. Resilience and empathy are vital. So don’t feel you need to put on an act and be the person you think we’re looking for. Just be yourself. You’ll have strengths you may not have even considered before.”
3. Be open and honest right from the beginning
“There may be aspects of your life you don’t feel comfortable sharing but we need to know you inside and out,” said Caroline. “Whether that’s a criminal conviction or a difficult past relationship, we need to know everything so we can best represent you to the adoption panel.”
4. You’ll learn a lot about yourself
“Many of our adoptive families say that going through the adoption process was actually quite therapeutic and strengthened their relationship as a couple or with other family members”, said Lois. “We spend a lot of time talking about your life and you may examine areas that you haven’t really talked about before.”
5. It’s ok to say no if the match doesn’t feel right
“Once you’ve been matched with a child, don’t be afraid to express your doubts if it doesn’t feel right,” said Karen. “I think people feel scared to say no, particularly if they’ve waited a long time for a match, but it’s so important to make the best decision for your family. We’ll support you through that decision process, so don’t be afraid to voice any concerns.”
6. It can feel overwhelming at times
“The adoption process is often described by adoptive families as ‘intense’ and you may feel overwhelmed at times, particularly when your child or children finally come to live with you,” said Ann. “It’s completely normal to feel this way and doesn’t mean you’ve made a mistake. We’re here to support you whenever you need us.”
If you’re considering adoption, come along to one of our adoption information events or call us on 0115 960 3010 any weekday afternoon between 2pm and 5pm and talk to our duty social worker. We’d love to hear from you.