It takes time and a lot of thinking when adoption is your last option for becoming a family, but I hear time and again that it is the best decision you can make.
Diagrama social worker Kira Storbeck speaks to all our prospective adopters when they first get in touch expressing an interest in adopting a child. She has taken hundreds of calls from people from all walks of life who are thinking about adoption, sometimes for very different reasons. The journeys that people make on their way to their decision to adopt can be emotional and even very sad. Kira shares her thoughts below on how to get started on your adoption journey, and what you can expect along the way.
At Diagrama, we focus first and always on those children around the UK who are not able to live with their birth families and who sometimes struggle to find a new family. My job is to find families for the children who most need a loving, stable and permanent home. It often surprises me that there are so many wonderful people who want to make a difference to the lives of children that might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience family life.
Becoming a family can be exciting, nerve-wracking and intense
The journey to becoming a family is exciting, nerve-wracking and intense. I support people right through the stage one process and run all of the adoption preparation training.
At the beginning of the process, applicants are often nervous and question themselves about whether they will be able to give children who have had a difficult start in life what they need. Over time and with training, I see the progress prospective adopters make and how they move from a place of anxiety to feeling confident and ready for the challenge.
7 steps to becoming an adopter
1. Get in touch with our adoption team at Diagrama and we will send you an information pack
2. Come to one of our information meetings. We usually have one of our adoptive parents come along to talk about what adoption has been like for them. Always better from the horse’s mouth!
3. Talk to us about your circumstances and options. We are not an agency that approves everybody to become adopters and will be honest with you if we do not think we can place a child with you.
4. If you meet the basic criteria, I will come and meet with you at home to talk in more depth. Following that meeting we will decide whether or not to offer you a registration of interest. There is no obligation in this home visit. It is so important to make sure you feel Diagrama is the right agency for you. (You cannot legally apply to adopt with more than one agency.)
5. If you do send us a registration of interest, you will officially start stage one which has a timescale of two months. This part of the process involves :
One day of training where you will learn about the legality of adoption; why children cannot live with their birth families and receive an introduction to the adoption support available through the adoption process
You will be required to complete a portfolio giving details about who you are and your background.
Diagrama’s adoption team will complete a number of checks and references.
6. Once you have completed the stage one requirements, we will review your case and if all is good, we will proceed to stage two. You can take a break of up to six months between stages one and two if you need to. Stage two has a timescale of four months. At this point I usually hand prospective adopters over to our very experienced social workers who will complete a full assessment with you.
I still make sure I keep up with how you are getting on thought as we have a very close team and build great relationships with our adopters.
Stage two of the adoption process involves:
- Two days of training where you will learn about attachment, trauma, keeping contact, life story work and learn how to find your children.
- Weekly appointments with your social worker to complete your assessment
- The social worker will meet with your referees and other references will be taken up.
- Attendance at panel so that your application can be approved.
7. After you have been approved, your family finding social worker will work very closely with you to help you find your children. One of the most common questions I get asked is “How long before a child is placed?” The answer is that this part of the journey is as long as a piece of string. Your children are out there and when the time is right, you will find each other.
If you would like to know more about becoming a family by adoption, please get in touch, we’re waiting to hear from you. Alternatively come along to one of our information events where you can meet our team.