Making the decision to adopt a child is life-changing. People consider adoption for many different reasons and we understand how difficult it can be to take those first steps.
At Diagrama Adoption we aim to make your adoption journey as relaxed as possible, by offering a friendly, warm and personalised service. Our staff have many years of experience in adoption and will support you throughout.
To help you understand more about what’s involved in adopting a child, here are details of the stages in a typical adoption journey.
The process – Diagrama’s 7 steps to adoption
1. Your initial enquiry
Making the first contact to say you are considering adoption can be daunting, but there’s no need to worry – this is just an opportunity to find out more about adoption and the process – you’re not making any commitment at this stage. You can get in touch with our adoption team by phone 0800 802 1910, by email or by attending one of our information events.
They’ll answer any questions you have and will ask you a few basic questions about yourself and why you are interested in adopting. You’ll also receive an introduction pack explaining everything in detail.
At any point you can request a Registration of Interest form to complete and submit. Once we receive this, a decision will be made within five working days on whether to accept or decline and if declined, we wil provide the reasons for this.
If you need more time before speaking to us, you may find our frequently asked questions about adoption useful.
2. Stage One, First Phase - Your home visit
Stage One of the adoption assessment process takes around two months to complete and consists of two phases. This stage involves some admin tasks for both of us and also some training for you.
In the first phase, one of our team will come and visit you at your home, at a convenient time, and go through the adoption process in more detail. This gives you another opportunity to ask any questions, to discuss what adoption means and explore whether it is the right decision for you.
Providing we’re both happy to proceed, we’ll then move on to the second phase, Training and Checks. (We’ll tell you within five days of your home visit if we are unable to proceed with the Stage One checks and the reasons for this.)
3. Stage One, Second Phase – Training and Checks
Our social worker will complete an Assessment Plan with you and explain more about the information we need you to share with us – this will include a family tree, a financial statement, information about important life events, health and safety and pet questionnaires. We will also take up statutory checks - this includes local authority checks, disclosure and barring services (DBS) checks, personal and family references and medicals.
You’ll be invited to our Stage One adoption training workshops and will have the chance to meet experienced adoptive parents. This three-day course will help you to explore your expectations of adoption and is a compulsory part of your assessment. We’ll also recommend some reading, e-learning, DVDs, etc for you and you’ll be asked to keep a record of your learning.
Your assessing social worker and adoption manager will then decide whether you may be suitable to adopt a child. If approved, you have six months to begin Stage Two. Some people choose to take a short break from the process at this time, while others will progress immediately. It really is up to you.
If for any reason we feel you’re not suitable to adopt during or at the end of Stage One, we’ll provide you with a clear, written explanation of the reasons why.
4. Stage Two – Assessment
Stage Two of the adoption assessment process usually takes no longer than four months.
During this stage, your Diagrama adoption social worker will visit several times for a home study assessment - each visit can last up to three hours. Topics you may be asked to explore include your family background and your motivation to adopt, your expectations of adoption and your understanding of the needs of adopted children.
You’ll also be invited to attend two further training workshops.
Your social worker will then write a Prospective Adopters Report (PAR) which you will have the opportunity to read through and comment on. Your PAR will include our recommendation on your suitability to adopt and will be presented to our adoption panel (who you will be invited to meet). They will then make a recommendation to the Agency Decision Maker, who will let you know the decision.
5. Family Finding
Congratulations! You have now been approved as an adopter and moved into the family finding stage of the process. During this stage, your Diagrama social worker will help you understand the process, from the stage of identifying the right child/children to when they are finally placed with you. They will be there to support you during visits, as well as when you attend the Adoption Panel to be approved for the match.
We will help you sign up to linkmaker where you will learn more about the children who need a family. There will also be the opportunity to attend adoption exchange days, CoramBAAF activity days (http://corambaaf.org.uk/ourwork/activitydays) and other matching events, where you may have the opportunity to meet some of the children on the register.
6. Matching with a child or sibling group
Following the match being recommended by the Adoption Panel and agreed by the Agency Decision Maker, a meeting is held to plan introductions. Your Diagrama Social Worker will attend with you, helping you prepare carefully for introductions, as well as supporting you with the transition to your family. Regular visits will be arranged by the child/children’s social worker, as well as your Diagrama social worker, to ensure you receive the necessary support and advice, as well as regular reviews. Once the child/children have been living with you for a period of 10 weeks, you are able to officially apply for an Adoption Order. However, the timescales for submission of the application for adoption is usually discussed within the review process and agreed with the local authority to ensure that it is the right time for yourselves, as well as the children.
The Adoption Order is the legal procedure in which the parental responsibility for a child is transferred to you, the adopter, and you will become the child’s legal parent.
At Diagrama Adoption we welcome you to keep in touch once an adoption order has been granted if you feel that you need advice or support. We endeavour to provide a range of different support services which include training, support groups and social activities. We run a bi-monthy DASS group for adopters to 'drop into' and meet with other adopters, alongside our Enhanced Connections training group which is facilitated by therapeutic social workers. We will also support you to find out who is responsible for helping your child to access specialist help through the adoption support fund. In addition, you are able to gain advice from our Educational Advisor if you are experiencing issues regarding your child's education. Finally, there are social groups for families to attend, in the form of summer picnics or fundays, that allow children to have fun and meet other adopted children as well as having a great time!