The thing is Chill, I understand the need for the authorities to vet people wishing to adopt, and it cannot happen overnight, but why does it take so long? It surely shouldn't take 3 years to have checked the background of two potential applicants before they can see they would or wouldn't make suitable parents? There are way too many kids in need of help for the process to take as long as it does, surely 6 months is sufficient enough time to have heckled all applicants out?
We sent in the application to be considered as adopters on Jan 2nd 2009. We didn't get a reply for 6 months.
Once accepted ( although not approved to adopt) we had to wait to go on a course which was held every Monday for six weeks. This was basically preparing you for what it's like to adopt, why the kids are in the adoption process and what "special" little/big problems the kids will have because of their shitty upbringing by parents no better than animals.
We look at various cases from mild to sadistic and look at how the development of the child can be hindered by their experiences.
The course also includes info on why kids do the things they do and what they need to experience to become normal happy children.
I was dreading the course as I knew it was going to contain a lot of PC bollocks, but once that was strained out I actually loved it ! It should be mandatory for every prospective parent to attend. Kids do not grow up healthy and happy by mistake. There is plenty a parent can do to ensure their children turn out OK and thankfully there have been loads of people studying children so you can find out about what works and what doesn't.
After the course is finished is when all the interviewing and probing of your personal life begins. We were warned that a lot of people get pissed off with this, but we didn't think it was too bad. They want to know if you have a social/family circle who will be able to back you up when help is needed. You have to have people who will vouch for you and they WILL be interviewed. There is tons of other stuff they need to know and they do ask some awkward questions about your private life. If you are some kind of arsey fuck who can't understand they need to know they aren't giving free kids away to monsters, it will piss you off. Anyone with an ounce of sense will understand why they ask the questions they do.
After that, they will consider whether you are suitable or not. A lot of people drop out by this stage. Various reasons including getting pregnant, fed up with waiting and scared shitless by what is really needed to adopt a kid. It's all quite eye-opening and I have to admit that I knew next to fuck all about the adoption process when we started. If you think you are going to be handed some angel faced baby and live happily ever after....think again.
All this is needed to see if you are suitable to "go to panel". Which means that a group of people decide if you can be approved to adopt and how many children you can adopt. This ends with a meeting before the panel when they tell you yea or nay. To be fair, it's unusual to be put before a panel if they aren't 99% sure you will be approved. But it has happened.
Our panel was supposed to be in early August of 2009 but got pushed back to late September. We were approved to adopt one child between the ages of two and five.
Then you wait.....and it seems like nothing is happening.
But behind the scenes your social worker is looking for children who match what you have been approved for, what you have said you are looking for and, believe it or not, that they look like you !
We didn't mind if we adopted a boy or girl or how old they were. But we did ask not to be considered for a disabled child or one with severe learning difficulties. This was because we were quite honest and said we knew we would find it hard dealing with a normal healthy kid, let alone one with even more problems. Most kids in the adoption system have some sort of delay in their learning, speaking or walking, just because they haven't been looked after properly, so we expected that our child would not be perfect and was prepared for that.
Our first child that we were interviewed about was a lad from Leeds. That was in March 2010. We were quite enthusiastic about him, but our social worker warned us away as she said she didn't quite feel he was right for us. We decided to go with her feelings as she was the expert, not us.
Each child comes with a fully detailed file about their life so far and everything you could want to know about their situation, parents and health. This is when you realise how fucked up people can be. To know that you have turned a child down and probably condemned them to more misery than they have already suffered is not a nice feeling. I still think about the first little lad and wonder what has become of him.
Months passed by and we got offered more kids, most of whom were totally unsuitable for us and I still have no idea why they were even considered by the adoption services in the first place ?
Most of the time you just hear nothing from the adoption people. It actually feels like they might have forgotten about you.
Finally get "offered" a kid that seems perfect for us, but the problem is that another couple are also being interviewed about them. Unfortunately we lose out. Not surprisingly, we start getting a bit pissed off and begin losing hope.
Amazingly a social worker in Rugby has been waiting to see if Me and Mrs Chillout were turned down for the July child because she has a kid we might be interested in !!!
One look at his picture and his file and we know this is the kid we were meant to adopt.
Our people talk to his people and bingo, it's a done deal......except the spanner gets thrown......his foster parents say they want to adopt him at the last minute. The rules are that if a foster parent wants to adopt a child in their care, they must be considered by the adoption people first.
It's a fucker. When Mrs Chillout phoned me at work to give me the bad news I actually cried. We decide there and then that if this one fails, we are giving up. It's too heartbreaking to go through it again, and we are not getting any younger. We have lives and we can't just keep putting everything on hold.
The foster parents are rejected for two reasons.....they are too old and by the time they become approved adopters it is thought that the child will be unsuitable for them. Great news for us, bad news for them.
we have to meet Child X and the foster parents who as you can imagine are not exactly happy to see us. In fact they really don't like us. Their behaviour is fucking odd to say the least and they quite quickly start telling their social worker that me and Mrs Chillout are the wrong choice. Bitter and twisted is not the word.
The first part of November is spent meeting child X every day, sometimes this involves taking him back to our house and taking him back at night. We have to feed him, change him, play with him, bath him and put him to bed.
Child X has a brother who is four and with the same foster parents. They are going to be split up. The elder brother is to be adopted a week before we adopt Child X.
adoption day ! We pick Child X up at 2:00 pm and that is that.
After ten weeks we can apply to the courts for a hearing in which we are given the legal right to change his surname and legally adopt him.
And that is why it takes so long.