Scroll down to the Comments area for details of bloggers who write about their experiences of adoption, and more useful resources ….
If you’ve read my blog, you’ll know that I am a passionate advocate of adopting children from care. I chose to adopt an ‘older child’, in other words one aged 5 or over, but there are many younger and older children who are in desperate need of a safe and secure place they can call home. If you think you might be able to offer one or more children a permanent home, please read on.
These are some of the resources I have used, and I hope they might be useful to you as well:
Adoption UK is a national charity run by and for adopters. They provide information, training and guidance at all stages of the adoption process, and should be a first port of call for you for information. I attended meetings of my local Adoption UK group, starting from before I was approved, and they are an excellent way of learning about the realities of adoption, as well as meeting other adopters. Adoption UK is an invaluable source of information about new government initiatives around adoption and fostering.
One of the first choices that you will have to make is whether to adopt with a Local Authority or with an independent adoption agency. I chose to go with an agency: one of the advantages is that they will search for a child for you across the country. I thought that having a child who does not come from my local area might be an advantage. I adopted through IAS, who were later taken over by TACT, who are the UK’s largest fostering and adoption charity. TACT specialise in finding homes for difficult-to-place children. I had a good experience with them.
Once I had been approved to adopt a child, BAAF, the British Association for Adoption and Fostering became more important to me. BAAF is a membership organisation for everyone involved in adoption and fostering, and they publish many useful books and they also organise National Adoption Week. I subscribed to the newspaper Be My Parent which has profiles of children looking for a permanent home. I have written a piece for BAAF about adopting older children, which you can read here.
When it came to choosing a primary school, I looked at several, but went with the one that I knew put the greatest emphasis on the wellbeing of individual children. Place2Be is a wonderful organisation which provides mental health support in the schools themselves and if you can, I would choose a school with Place2Be. I wrote about the support that they provided us with here.
SLAM, the South London and Maudsley Adoption and Fostering Service were fantastic when we needed them most (here). Most adoptive parents I have met will have some dealings with CAMHS at some point or another, and access can be by way of a referral from your GP. Helping our children deal with the effects of early trauma will also require other services, but access to these unfortunately still varies widely across the country.
Over the years, I have read many helpful books, and the ones of general interest include:
- The Primal Wound (Understanding the Adopted Child): Nancy Newton Verrier
- A Child’s Journey through Placement: Vera I Falhlberg
- Parenting the Hurt Child: Gregory C Keck and Regina M Kupecky
- Telling the Truth to your Adopted or Foster Child: Betsy Keefer and Jayne E Schooler
- How to Talk so Teens will Listen & Listen so Teens will Talk: Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
I can also recommend books which help one understand and support children who have experienced different kinds of traumatic experience, on request.
Last but not least, The Adoption Social is home to the Weekly Adoption Shout Out, which is an online gathering of people affected by adoption, who share posts and experiences. It’s a great place for reassurance from like minded people that what you’re feeling and/or experiencing is ‘normal’.
If you are a fellow adopter, please feel free to add your recommendations to the comments section below. I know I have only skimmed the surface here!
It would also be great if other adopters who blog about their experiences of parenting could provide a link to their blog in the comments section below. That way, potential adopters can read all sorts of different perspectives. If there’s one thing for sure, that’s that none of our stories are the same!