There’s no such thing as a typical adopter. People from all walks of life, cultures, classes and ethnicities are invited to become adopters, giving them the chance to provide a loving, stable and permanent home to a child in care.
While adopting a child is one of the most rewarding decisions a person can make, there’s no denying it’s an enormous decision, too.
So, to help you start your journey into this exciting, challenging and worthwhile life choice, SoGlos has joined forces with Gloucestershire County Council’s Adoption team to dispel some of the myths surrounding adoption, revealing 12 things you didn’t know about adopting a child in Gloucestershire.
As long as you’ve been living together in a stable relationship for at least two years, you’ll be welcome to apply to become an adopter.
The number of LGBTQ adopters continues to increase. For some adoption agencies 10 per cent of their adopters are from the LGBTQ community.
There is no discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation as long as you can provide a stable, secure, safe and loving home into adulthood.
While those in a relationship are asked to have two years of stable cohabitation under their belts before they adopt, this doesn’t stop single people applying to become adopters on their own.
There is no discrimination on the grounds of class or culture as long as you can offer commitment to a child and be open with the child about adoption.
In most cases children needing adoption are already in care and placed with foster carers. There are babies, toddlers, sibling groups and older children who need to be adopted.
The reasons children need adoptions vary from case-to-case; often children have been neglected or abused physically, emotionally or sexually.
This means adoption can be challenging, but support is always available for adopters.
There is no discrimination on the grounds of race or culture as long as adopters can allow children to discover their own identity, culture and origins.
When looking for adopters for a child, adoption agencies will first consider if they are a good match; religion and ethnicity are looked at as part of this process, but are not the only factors considered.
It’s a common misconception that the adoption process can take years. However, over recent years timescales have been dramatically reduced, meaning that potential adopters can be approved within six months.
Foster carers and second-time adopters can be approved even more quickly; sometimes within three months.
Following approval, it can take a few months for adopters to be matched with the right child, but this is usually a fairly swift process.
Regardless of the age of your child, or the length of time since you adopted, support is available.
This begins with post adoption support and advice, as well as training which can be tailored to the individual needs of a family, if required.
There are also regular support groups for adoptive families, including an under-fives group, a group for children aged between five and fifteen, and a dads group.
Adoption agencies understand that adults with disabilities can have a unique insight into the challenges faced by children in care, who may feel they are ‘different’ or who may also have a disability.
Mental health issues are given careful consideration in the adoption process, but do not necessarily make someone unsuitable to adopt.
Before an adoption goes ahead, approved adopters will be provided with all the details of a matched child’s background. This will include information about their physical and mental health, and the implications this may have on their future care.
Because children over the age of four, or groups of siblings often require a higher level of support, it can take longer for them to find placements.
Having children of your own will not prevent you from adopting, whether they’re living at home with you, or are grown up and have moved away. It’s worth considering the age gap between your own children and the child you wish to adopt.
A minimum of a two-year age gap is suggested between birth children and adopted children, so that birth children maintain their current position in the family. For example, if you have a four-year-old birth child, you could potentially adopt a child aged two or younger.
Having pets won’t stop you being able to adopt a child, but adoption agencies need to be sure that the pets do not pose a threat to a child’s health or safety.
For example, a child with allergies wouldn’t be suited to a home with pets. A risk assessment is routinely completed for pets living within the family home.
There is financial support available to people on low incomes, especially if they choose to adopt a sibling group or children with special needs or disabilities.
While your home situation will be considered when going through the adoption process, the most important aspect is safety and stability.
You don’t need to own your home or have a garden to be able to adopt, but having a spare room available for a child, as well as outdoor space to play nearby are essential factors.
For more information contact Gloucestershire County Council’s Adoption team on 01452 427753, or visit gloucestershire.gov.uk directly.
By Melissa Hamblett
Thursday 19 July 2018
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