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What drives me on to transform adoption laws

I have been very touched by some of the comments posted in the Daily Mail by readers who have shared their frustrations about our flawed adoption system. It makes me all the more determined to campaign for reforms.

Here are some that particularly moved me. It saddens me to read about their personal ordeals, it proves there is a lot of love out there for children who need it most:

We started our adoption procedure in June 2009 and in October of that same year we had a visit from a social worker to write down all our information, including the fact that we have 5 cats. We were told that there was a waiting list and they couldn’t tell us how long we had to wait for. Finally, in November 2010 we had a social worker appointed to us. The Friday before she was due to visit us (the Monday the following week) she called to cancel as we were living too far away from where she lived. As if she didn’t know when she accepted! The second one cancelled because she’s allergic to cats. The third one finally arrived and told us that we had to sign a pet re-homing form and if we didn’t sign, we wouldn’t get a child. So, thanks to the council we have wasted 2.5 years of our lives we will never get back. We feel that we are now too old to start all over again and both me and my husband will never have the pleasure of having a family of our own.

Signed by “not a mum thanks to the adoption dept,” Aberdeen.

We adopted overseas because we were considered too old for a child in the UK. The only hold ups were in the UK and these were dire. The DFES should be ashamed of the service they provide. Social Services were what we expected. Having every part of our lives examined was not an issue and in many ways understandable but the hoops we had to jump through were amazing and beyond belief. The width between the spindles on the stairs was an issue in case a child could put its head through – they were standard so why an issue. Fortunately this is all past and we have a lovely child. We would happily have adopted a mixed race child here but were told that we were too middle class. It is so wrong that children are denied a loving home.

Signed by Adoptive Mum, UK.

We were turned down in the UK for being too old to adopt a baby but we could have a teenager with beahvioural problems. Whilst I take my hat off to people who do adopt older children with difficulties, I believe it’s very different to wanting to give a young child a home and make them an integral part of your family. We went ahead and adopted abroad and are blessed with a beautiful daughter, who has now been with us for nearly 10 years. She doesn’t seem to have any issues with our mixed race family, her friends think its rather cool and she is a very special member of our family, bright, happy and much loved.

Signed by Contented, Dubai.

I used to be a social worker in the late 70′s in a large UK city. I dealt with a large number of children at risk who ended up in care. Only one of those children, a young baby with a mentally ill mother, was adopted. Had he not been adopted he would have been the third generation of that family to end up in care. His mother was mentally ill and unable to care for him. Even then, I was subject to a lot of negativity from my colleagues who seemed, for political reasons (or inability to make a decision) to keep children in dreadful situations. Ultimately, I left the profession. Clearly, it is time for change. According to Tim Loughton (Minister for Children), an overhaul has begun. Social workers are in hard place but they need to forget political correctness and act in the best interests of children, take responsibility for better outcomes in children’s lives. They can go home to their own families. Those poor children in care have no families- their lives are blighted.

Signed by Lesley, Oxon.

I am adopted and can’t believe the British government isn’t helping more people adopt, race or class don’t matter, what matters is if they are going to be good parents and love the child! So many kids get stuck in foster care and cannot be placed due to red tape!

Signed by Rob, Ladbroke, UK.

My wife and I tried to adopt a number of years ago. After a year of bureaucracy and feet dragging by social services we eventually gave up. We didn’t expect it to be a 5 minute exercise, but we didn’t expect to be still very near the beginning after 12 months. People didn’t return calls, meetings were cancelled, we were transferred from one area to another due to “Staff Shortages.” After a year, out of the 6 other couples we met going through the same process, only one had adopted. Every time, and I mean “every time,” someone was supposed to call or make an appointment with us we ended up chasing them only to be given a list of fob-off answers – too busy, sickness, we were about to call, etc, etc. It’s no surprise that the adoption circus produces so few and such poor results. The ultimate suffers are the children. The social workers act like they are the most important part of the process, as if are curing cancer or developing time travel.

Signed by John, Rochester.

We were approved to become adopters and have more or less the same problem highlighted by the article: my husband is white British but I am Mexican (although I am blond and white, but never mind). We had a wonderful social worker from CORAM since our council turned us down and we went private. However, the children are still the local authority’s responsibility and whenever we enquired about children, we got no response or just a note saying they were looking for a better match. We also had a ‘we don’t have any South American children’ from a social worker. Sadly, we saw the same children on the adoption magazines for months without a more ‘suitable’ match, but as pointed out we are the wrong people to want to adopt as we both work, have a house, are non-smokers, non-drinkers and have a large support network behind us. How can anyone think it is better for a child to be moved about, with carers who aren’t any closer to their ethnicity, than within a loving and stable environment? ARGHHHHHH!!!!!!

Signed by Bugsy, Lost in time.

I can sympathy with anyone in the UK trying to adopt. On making my first phone call to Haringey Council they told me they had subcontracted their adoption process to a company called Norwood. On calling Norwood they told me because I was fertile and able to have children I would go to the bottom of the list, and would have to wait around five years. I then found out I was unable to conceive (as rightly mentioned in a previous post, a lot of women don’t know this until their mid to late 30’s). Then I was asked what religion I practiced. On telling them I was Catholic, and my husband C of E, they stated I would definitely go to the bottom of the list because they dealt with predominantly Jewish couples. I couldn’t believe my ears! Henceforth my husband and I got in touch with the Chinese agencies to adopt a Chinese baby girl, but anyone who is going down this route needs to understand the costs can run up and above of £30k. We have now moved away from London and have become foster parents.

Signed by R Hookway, Liverpool.

There are over 3000 babies waiting for adoption in the UK. Last year 60 were adopted. I am white British and my wife is Black African. We are not even trying to adopt in UK. Next year we are going to emigrate to her country in Africa, where we are adopting lovely girl twins. The authorities there are friendly, humane and helpful. We can’t wait to get out of the UK and feel sorry for anyone who has to stay in this God-forsaken country.

Signed by Piggy, Leeds.

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1 Comment

  1. I have just started the adoption process as a single parent of a 18yr old who is a fabulous teenager. The process has barely started… initial interview, and already I feel defeated. The social worker took things I was saying and turned them into reasons to make me an unsuitable adopter. The interview focussed on anything negative! In my case wouldn’t the proof be in the pudding! A very unreasonable interview and I certainly understand why people go overseas to adopt. I have not given up yet but do expect to be turned down.

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