Thinking of adopting? Here’s what you need to consider
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Adopting a child is both an exciting but daunting prospect. Karen Barker, manager of ‘Adoption Lancashire and Blackpool’, a regional adoption agency comprising of Lancashire County Council and Blackpool Council, speaks to us about the adoption process and what to consider when adopting a child.
Q: What is the process of adopting a child?
Firstly, we need to find out some basic information about the individual or couple looking to adopt by answering some questions over the phone. This gives us a general idea of what they’re looking for and whether they fit the criteria.
If this goes well, we will visit their home to get an insight into their lifestyle and living environment. This is also a chance for us to explain the process further to provide a better understanding of adoption and answer any questions or queries they may have.
Q: What do I need to be eligible to adopt?
Once we have confirmation that they are happy to proceed, we will then perform a series of factual checks such as DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service), finances, medical and references.
An official house visitation will take place to ensure the accommodation is appropriate for the child to move into.
Following this, a home study will be performed to gain a better understanding of how they were parented, identifying their strengths and vulnerabilities, and whether they can be resolved. We then assess their suitability and motivation for adoption. Parenting is not easy and it can come with additional issues – if they’re not ready, that’s absolutely fine. We encourage anyone considering adoption to talk to us, air any concerns and take their time to reach an informed decision.
Q: What advice do you offer to those considering adoption?
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Parenting is an incredible thing that brings joy and fulfilment, but people need to understand the process in its entirety – it's a lifelong commitment. Having a child may mean encountering issues involving education, health, speech and language.
Parents are pivotal figures in any individual’s life and each child will have different requirements, so they will need to be attuned to their needs. A child requires stability and security, so it’s crucial to prioritise whether they can provide that above their desire to become a parent. It’s rewarding to watch and nurture a child’s development, but it’s also hard work.
Q: How long does the adoption process take?
After the initial enquiry, the first stage includes checks, basic training and a lot of learning and reading about parenting to prepare them for adoption – this is around eight weeks, and the second stage is up to four months. It’s important to note that you can take a break between the first and second stage. Adoption has to be right for them, so I’d advise to take the time that they need.
Q: Can I adopt if I have children, am single or in a same-sex relationship?
Absolutely – there is no such thing as a ‘standard adopter’. Everyone is unique, bringing different skills that will match and suit different children. We recruit a diverse range of individuals to reflect the variety of children and their individual needs.
My job is to secure a child or siblings with a family in a stable, loving home, regardless of what that family dynamic will look like. Our priority is for the child to be nurtured and happy.
It’s not about someone’s sexuality or relationship status – it's about showing a willingness to embrace a journey with that child, sharing their knowledge, skills and experience of the world to help them develop into their own person.
Q: What does the transition of bringing a child home look like?
We will look at the children waiting and try to give adopters options, knowing their skills and ability and matching that with the age, gender and health needs of the child.
We then initiate a ‘match meeting’ to discuss profiles and conclude whether it’s a good match. Once this is decided, we will continue to organise meetings between the child and the adopters until both parties feel comfortable to make that transition to bring the child home.
Visit adoptionlancashireblackpool.org.uk for more information or to contact the team at adoptionlancashireblackpool.org.uk/