Are you thinking about adopting a child? Families come together in many different ways and one of those ways is via adoption. Not everyone is able to conceive naturally, some people may have medical reasons for not wanting to be pregnant or it could be that some decide that instead of having children themselves that they would like to offer a home to a child that needs it.
Being a parent is hard and a single parent many would say more so. That said parenting can be hugely rewarding and whatever your reasoning for turning to adoption, having the opportunity to give a baby or a child a permanent, safe and loving home is a great thing for yourself and for them.
Who May Adopt?
The process of adopting a child depends on where you live and your circumstances however you may be able to adopt if you aged over twenty-one (there is no upper age limit for adopting a child), single, married, in a civil partnership, in a same sex relationship / partnership (married or unmarried) or if you are the partner or spouse of the biological parent of the child.
The Adoption Process
Private adoptions and adoptions abroad all have different rules and processes to follow which will be explained to you via whatever agency you choose to work with in order to start the process.
In the UK, provided you are resident and have been for over a year and fit the criteria set out by the state (local council) adoption agency or a voluntary adoption agency there is no reason why you can't adopt a partner's child or add to your family / start a family via adoption.
More on the actual process, which again will depend on your own circumstances may be found here.
Adoption and You
There is no doubt that taking on a child via adoption is a great thing to do, whatever your reasons. That said the process may take longer than you'd hoped, some find it invasive (while others don't) and you might find the whole experience quite daunting to start with. The first step, before anything else is to examine why you wish to adopt and make a solid decision about whether this is the right direction for you, in the same way you might if you were planning on starting a family or adding to a family yourself. Adoption, unlike fostering is the process of permanently and legally adding someone into your family and naming yourself as their parent.
You also need to consider whether you wish to adopt a baby, a young child or an older child in need of a permanent home. On top of this, you need to consider whether you would be happy to take on a child with physical or mental disabilities. You also need to look at the financial implications of adopting a child and how this will affect your working hours and your income/expenditure. These are all questions that the adoption agency will discuss with you however it is worth taking the time to really sit and think about these decisions and how they might affect any other children you might have.
Sources of Support
Make sure that you have plenty of support to get you through the application, assessment and decision parts of the process (you may be offered counselling via the adoption agency) and consider after-support for yourself and your new child (and other children). Parents can always do with a helping hand from time to time, regardless of how they came to be parents and adopting a child is no different.
There are a number of local and national charity and support agencies which have been specifically set up in order to offer support not only before adoption and whilst working your way through the process but also afterwards, helping you, your family and the adopted child make the necessary adjustments and for as long as the help is required. Your local GP service will be able to recommend services and perhaps even local meetings dedicated to those interested in adoption, currently adopting and after-support for those who have completed the process.
Adopting a child may be an exciting yet emotional journey as well as one which involves many steps and much paperwork amongst other things. Here at Dream Bear we aim to bring together people who are looking to start the adoption process, who have adopted already and those who are currently working their way through so that you may all share experiences, guidance and support.
Have you adopted a child or have an insight into the process? If so we would love to hear from you. Feel free to leave a comment below.
If you are wondering whether adoption is the right choice for you and your family this is the section for you.
This section offers a decent insight in the types of adoption agencies there are, what their roles and responsibilities are, the support they offer and how to get in touch with them.
Adoption can be a an emotional time, especially before the adoption takes place and you feel like you’ll be jumping through hoops or waiting forever and so this section has been designed to offer support and guidance through this sometimes difficult time.
Support for adoptive families does not stop when the paperwork has been signed, far from it and we discuss this and a range of issues from settling an adoptee into the home to family dynamics and more.