Sigh, is this what it's going to be like - or am I being unrealistic?

(38 Posts)
Ahhhtetley Thu 20-Sep-12 10:57:05

So after myself and my DH decided to adopt I did the usual, reading lots, forums and any info I could get my hands on. We had a cooling off period for us both to ensure it was still what we wanted then.......

I spoke to an adoption agency 6 weeks ago and they sent me a pack with a form to fill out to arrange for the initial social worker visit.

I sent this off 4 weeks ago, heard nothing for the first 2, rang last week and was told that they would be having a team meeting this week and we'd be allocated a social worker then, if I hadn't heard anything by Thursdsay then to ring. Anyway, I hadn't, so I've just rung and been told we still hadn't been allocated a SW and ring again next Thursday as they have a team meeting on Wednesday and I will 'probably' be allocated one then.

I know the process is a long one, and I'm probably just being over enthusiastic about it, but is this what it's going to be like?

Maryz Thu 20-Sep-12 11:02:35

I have a theory, that the social workers/agencies etc spend the first few months trying to put you off. They avoid answering calls, when they do talk to you they tell you scary stories etc.

It's a filter mechanism for them. Only the people who are really determined to adopt will persevere and fight to get noticed. The half-hearted "I suppose I might adopt" people will give up.

Once they realise you are serious, they (ime) suddenly become interested and helpful, though there is still a lot of long-drawn-out and seemingly unnecessary waiting around.

Having said all that, you don't have to stick with one agency or one local authority as far as I know. Someone will be along in a bit to give you better advice than I can, but you can ring around a bit and find some different options.

It is a loooooooooooooooooooong process though.

Maryz Thu 20-Sep-12 11:02:56

Oh, sorry, I meant to add - best of luck, because it will all (eventually) be worth it smile

crackcrackcrak Thu 20-Sep-12 11:08:33

I'm a SW, not in adoption but we have a big allocation problem just now as do neighbouring teams, even cp. what that means is long waiting times for any work to happen. I know it's frustrating but in my LA thank god, we have protected case loads so the numbers we work with don't rise above safe levels. Adoption, well the adopters do to speak are non urgent work pitched against adoptions which are halfway through the court process for example and generating a lot of work.
Don't get me wrong I am v supportive of your wish to adopt and it's an admirable, valuable commitment to make but please remember you are not customers.

Ahhhtetley Thu 20-Sep-12 11:10:36

Thanks Maryz, that's made me feel slightly better.

I did think about contacting another agency, but it somehow, felt rude at this point (I'm being pathetic aren't I).

Maryz Thu 20-Sep-12 11:18:52

To be fair to them though (reading your op properly blush), you only sent the pack off four weeks ago. It is likely that they only have full team meetings once a month. So probably your names came up, and you will be allocated the next available social worker (after any other recent new applicants).

There will only be an available social worker after another adoption is finalised, in order that no sw will have too many people on their books at any one time. As crack says, a sw who is allocated too many cases won't be able to deal with any of them properly.

If you think about it, it takes nine months to have a baby, add that to the average time of 6 months to a year to get pregnant (and much, much longer for many of us), so a month is really quite a short time in the greater scheme of things.

Ahhhtetley Thu 20-Sep-12 11:29:21

Both of you have made lots if sense and I didn't realise a SW only takes on a set amount of cases blush

I'm just being unrealistic and keen to get the wheels in motion (guess I'm in the frantic - virtual shagging stage at the moment) grin

Ladyofthehouse Thu 20-Sep-12 11:32:14

It's not like that all the way through - we found some bits move really quick and then there's periods when it feels like absolutely nothing is happening!!

Our start was the same - our meeting got cancelled, then heard nothing, then pushed back - all very frustrating!

But once we had been allocated a social worker it all started moving along. I agree with them trying to filter out some people. There were people on our prep course who still weren't 100% sure even after visits from social workers.

Also you can speak to other LA's. We went to our local one first and weren't happy with them for a number of reasons and then proceeded with another one. They are often in need of people outside of the local area so that can help - it did with us.

Good luck!

Kewcumber Thu 20-Sep-12 11:45:05

Adoption is like a roller coaster ride - long periods of hanging around with the tension building interspersed with frantic flurries of activity.

Good luck.

crackcrackcrak Thu 20-Sep-12 11:58:08

It's ok don't be blush - if you didn't ask how would you know? The whole thing is a huge journey and this stage is one part of it. Adoptions do happen and there are lots of happy endings. A friend has just gone on adoption leave and is over the moon. Also I was involved in a removal at birth case back along and although it was heaetbreaking I always think, someone else's family is about to begin and what an amazing thing that is smile

Ahhhtetley Thu 20-Sep-12 15:39:34

That's a lovely way if thinking about it ccc

FamiliesShareGerms Thu 20-Sep-12 21:32:05

Yeah, stop-start-stop-start sounds about right!

Good luck with the journey, if you do decide to do it

LocoParentis Thu 20-Sep-12 23:26:38

I think i would speak to other LA's as well.

I made my call in the beginning of september, I was phoned within a fortnight by my sw (sounds strange saying i have a sw). They booked our first initial visit for 1st October. She called me back last Thursday and asked if they could see us on 24th Sept instead as they want to put us on a prep course on 28th Sept.
Now i know this is obviously a massive exception to the norm and they must be having a lull in prospective adopters. But it may be that a different LA near you is desperate for new adopters and would be much more efficient.

That said mine has gone so fast I don't have must time to make my house presentable social worker clean!

LocoParentis Thu 20-Sep-12 23:28:39

sorry i hope that didn't come across as bragging or me being smug, that wasn't my intention I was just wanting to say it doesn't have to be as slow as that and that you may find it is smoother with a different la.

Ahhhtetley Fri 21-Sep-12 12:40:02

It doesn't at all loco smile can I ask which AA you used?

LocoParentis Fri 21-Sep-12 22:39:35

I'll pm you tetley, just as soon as I figure how to do it from my phone

TheOneAndOnlyMaryZed Fri 21-Sep-12 22:44:04

Just a bit of a warning - do be careful, because from reading various things over the years you need to watch out for agencies who will assess and approve you quickly, but don't actually have/get any children to place.

Seemingly some LA's/Agencies don't have their own children but can charge to place children from other LA's. Obviously the other LA's don't want to pay if they can avoid it.

So you don't want to end up being approved and then waiting months/years for a match and placement. If there is going to be delay it is easier (I promise you) to wait early in the process.

The longest wait for us was from approval to matching. With ds1 it was almost two years from approval to getting him home, and I thought it would never end. Admittedly in our case it was partly due to our social worker leaving, but it was tough.

With dd it was less than three weeks from approval to placement (with only 24 hours notice of placement) which was the other extreme.

BeaLola Wed 26-Sep-12 15:53:39

Hi,

My answer to your Q is YES.

My DH & I applied in Oct 2009 & our wonderful son arrived in June this year ! It varies a lot from LA to LA. We were one of the first in our prep group to be matched & we were considered straight forward by our LA especially as we didn't mind boy or girl.

I really empathise - at times I felt incredibly frustrated about the process & there were tears when another month past with not a lot happening & at the start of each year I was thinking "this is the year we will be a family " & guess what this year we are & so looking forward to our very 1st christmas together.

Some bits went pretty speedily but on the whole it was a long wait BUT so worth it - my DS I would not change for anything - can't wait for the legal part to be sorted & for him to be legally ours - I am honoured to be his Mummy.

GOOD LUCK to you & your DH & enjoy being together & doing adult dinner date nights, cinema trips etc whilst you are going through the process. Fingers crossed for you.

FamiliesShareGerms Wed 26-Sep-12 21:11:48

Bea, that's lovely, glad it is going well with DS

Ahhhtetley Thu 27-Sep-12 12:51:15

Indeed it is, thanks Bea smile

Today is the day they have their weekly team meeting so hopefully, with a fair wind, we'll hear something in the next few days

Ahhhtetley Wed 03-Oct-12 08:26:37

Yippeee! We've been assigned a SW, just got wait for the phone call then set about cleaning the house smile

Maryz Wed 03-Oct-12 08:49:13

Yay, don't forget the biscuits smile

I think we decided that chocolate shortbread were the right choice - they are posh enough but not trying too hard.

And remember, you have to clean the inside of your cupboards and behind your fridge, because they will look everywhere <lies>

Ahhhtetley Wed 03-Oct-12 10:52:24

OMG he wants to come tomorrow grin I'm off to get chocolate short bread and then stay up till the early hours cleaning blush

Maryz Wed 03-Oct-12 11:35:29

Seriously, don't clean too much.

Bathroom, kitchen should be clean. The house should be safe - so make sure if you have pets they can be kept separate, if the garden isn't safe for toddlers have a plan in place to make it so, make sure you have somewhere for a child to sleep (the spare room needn't be clear of junk, but it should have a door on it and be within hearing of the rest of the house), if you have an open fire have a plan for a fire guard, that type of thing.

Otherwise just tidy a bit and try very hard to enjoy the experience. This is the start of an exciting journey. Don't try too hard to be perfect, none of us are perfect and nor are our children.

<refrains from commenting on wearing appropriate clothes, whether or not you should get your hair cut and wear make-up, and which educational books you should have idly lying around on your perfectly polished coffee table grin>

Maryz Wed 03-Oct-12 11:37:31

Oh, and the best of luck. You'll be fine smile

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