Confidentials chats to Sarah Worth of Adoption Counts

When people first consider adoption, it’s easy to get sidetracked by doubts and don’t knows. If you’ve never adopted before, it goes without saying, you’ll have lots of questions. There’s no such thing as a silly question when it comes to adoption - ask whatever you need to feel confident and comfortable with the process. Adoption Counts are always ready to listen and give advice. You can get in touch here.

In the meantime, read on. We sat down with Sarah Worth of Adoption Counts to go through some of the most common queries about adoption.

Does adoption cost a lot of money?

There are no fees for signing up with Adoption Counts. However,  there are some small costs. You have to pay for a medical with your GP to have a health check. If you’ve got a dog, you have to pay for a dog assessment. If you’ve worked or lived overseas for a significant period of time or with vulnerable adults or children, you have to pay for an overseas check and then, not everybody’s employers grant the time off for the assessment period so you may well have to take some unpaid leave. 

Do you get paid to adopt a child?

No, it’s not like fostering. You don’t get paid to adopt a child. However, depending on the needs of the child that you adopt, there may be access to funding and support. But in the main, we always express to people wanting to go on an adoption journey, they are your children. Just like being a parent to any child, it’s an infinitely rewarding full-time job but not one you get paid for.

Do you need to have a good job to adopt?

No. You’ve got to be able to evidence that you’re able to provide financial stability to a child. We have adopters on a wide range of incomes, but as long as you can provide a roof over your child’s head and provide clothes, food and a warm environment then there should be no reason why you can’t adopt. Even if you’re on benefits, as long as we can evidence that you can meet the needs of a child then there shouldn’t be a barrier to adoption. Even if you have debts, you’ve just got to show that you can meet the payments and still provide for a child. 

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Can I adopt a baby? 

You are more likely to be able to adopt a baby if you consider Foster For Adoption. If you follow that route, you are dually approved in that you are an adopter but you are also approved to foster. We identify children very early on within our local authorities who are highly likely to have an adoption order granted for them. Often, babies are identified before they’re born. We link them with our approved adopters who are willing to be foster carers and they may well go and collect babies straight from hospital. Initially, they’re acting as foster carers whilst the care proceedings are ongoing and then the likelihood is that they will go on to adopt that baby. 

Do I choose the child I adopt?

You are very much part of the decision making process. When you are an approved adopter and you begin to ‘family find’, which means you begin to look for your child, there are two ways that you can go about that. You can ask your social worker to look at the children who could potentially be adopted by you and ask them to pick those they think will best fit within the matching criteria that you’ve agreed to. Or, look yourself. Ask your adoption agency, for us that’s Adoption Counts, to send you all the profiles of the children that fit your matching criteria and you can go through them all. 

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How do you work out which child would fit best with which family?

Our matching criteria toolset helps us figure out what adopters can cope with in terms of a child’s background. Also, we do lots of assessment sessions and there are ongoing discussions. You might have an adopter that starts the pathway by saying ‘I just want one child’ and actually, it might be that they come to the decision that they want two - they want a sibling group. You might have somebody that feels they can’t manage a baby because they don’t want sleepless nights. When you get to the point of approval, both you and your social worker will be very clear on what you feel you can manage.

The other side of our working department are our family finders. Family finders are linked with children at the point where local authorities feel that there is a potential for them to be removed from the family home. They will follow that child’s journey from the very first steps of being identified for care proceedings right through to being placed with their adoptive families so they have gathered as much information about the child as possible. Of course there’s always uncertainty but we gather information from a range of resources including education, health visitors, adoption psychology services and paediatricians,

We also take personality into account. You might have a family who are really keen on sport and do a lot of walking, marathons or half marathons and therefore a child that has an abundance of energy and has engaged well whilst in foster care with outdoor activities would be a good match. Also, on the other side, you might have a child who is very quiet, very introverted and needs calm, consistency and routine so you would look for a family who offer that environment. 

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How long does the adoption process take?

It could take as little as eight months from the point of first getting in touch with Adoption Counts. When you contact Adoption Counts, it might take a couple of weeks to get an information pack and book onto an evening introduction session. Then, there will be an initial meeting and potential adopters will move on to stage one and then stage two of the process before family finding. Stage one should take no more than eight weeks. Stage two should be completed within four months. Once you’re approved, you could be placed with a child almost immediately or it might take you a good six to twelve months. It’s fair to say we have an awful lot of adopters who are matched within the first six months, but then we have some adopters who have been waiting two years because they have wanted to wait for the right child and they’ve been true to that.

Now over to Sarah for the final words…

The only thing I’d like to get across to anybody who wants to adopt is, for all its challenges, there is so much love and positivity and fun to be had together as a family. I do believe there are a whole host of potential adopters out there that we haven’t yet reached who could provide a really safe, supportive and fun environment for our children and what I would say, no matter what your background is, no matter what challenges life might have thrown at you, if you can provide a home for a child please just talk to us and explore any of the things that you’re uncertain about because we’re always at the end of the phone ready for a chat.

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