Dear prospective parent,
You are good enough. You can do this. You are going to be a mummy or daddy one day soon.
Firstly, all of this needs to be said because I didn’t believe any of it at the start of my journey. I entered the adoption process believing I would fail, that I would be laughed out of their office and I would never actually be allowed a child in my house. I was so unsure that I was almost convincing myself it was a dead-end road and another failure in my so far fruitless attempt to become a mummy. I want to tell you not to be like me, kick those negative thoughts to the kerb and beat the inner demon that nags and taunts you - don’t listen to its bitter bile.
The fact is, there are very few people who cannot adopt. So long as you are over 21, have lived in the UK for at least 12 months and don’t have a criminal record, and you have a BMI below 40 you are free to apply to adopt. I am not saying there aren’t other reasons you may be asked to re-consider or wait but that is the basic facts.
You can do this. You are likely to have already faced hardship around fertility, loss and trauma trying to start your own family. You may be rarer and be coming to adoption as a first choice and will have experienced surprise and potentially negativity about not trying for a biological child. You may have faced bigotry about your sexuality or gender - you have already faced adversity. Make sure you have a good support network (this doesn’t have to be family). You will be asked lots of questions about your past, your relationship (if you are in one), your reasons for adopting, past trauma, support network and finances - would you expect any different? But it is not arduous and you will get through this if you look at it positively.
Will you get through the emotional turmoil of going to panel, waiting for a match and disappointments of matches not to be? If you can’t deal with it, you are not ready to be a parent and a social worker will have seen this before you get to panel. This is not a bad thing, maybe you do need to wait a while and work on something personally before proceeding. You will get through it because you have to - it is a necessary part of the process and at the end, remember, you will be a mummy or daddy one day.
And here’s the key thing….social workers are not trying to get you to fail, it is in their interests to get you through the process as quickly as they can and place a child with you. It is not in anyone’s interests to trip you up. You must keep in mind, however long it takes, hang in there.
Can you cope with a child suddenly arriving in your house? I hope so because it is happening! You will have a week or two of introductions, building up relationships and learning from the foster carers. I am not going to lie, it is hard, maybe the hardest thing you will ever do - especially if you adopt siblings. It is emotional, draining, incredulous but rewarding. Research therapeutic parenting, trauma, attachment theory, read adopters’ stories, be as informed as you can.
Dear prospective adopter, you are good enough, you can do this, you are going to be a mummy or daddy one day. Maybe it is time to take that step into the unknown and change your life forever. Does that sound daunting? Good! Accept the challenge. What are you waiting for?