Adoption@Heart seeks to recruit, assess, prepare and support adopters who are able to meet the most of the needs of children in care who are to be placed for adoption.
We are seeking adopters who, with support, can provide a home where the child will be able to recover from the impact of their early life experiences of loss and trauma.
Lots has been written about how prospective adopters are assessed. Sometimes it has been described as overly long, intrusive with lots of rules.
At Adoption@Heart we aim to:
ü Explain at all points why information is requested
ü Complete the assessment in four months following the completion of checks
ü Ensure you are treated fairly and openly with respect.
The Government has set out three criteria that must be met to progress your enquiry:
· You must be at least 21 years old;
· You must be legally living in the British Islands for at least a year before applying to the court for an adoption order; and
· Neither prospective adopter(s) nor an adult member of their household has been convicted or cautioned for some specified offences.
We also expect you to have finished any fertility treatment before beginning your assessment to become an adopter.
After that there are no fixed rules – we will consider your circumstances through an assessment.
So what is included in the assessment?
Yes, we will be looking at your understanding and experience with children and will discuss with you the impact trauma and loss has on children’s development. This is the context in which your assessment will be undertaken.
Yes, we will be asking about your motivation.
Why? Because we need to better understand how you arrived at the point of making an enquiry.
Yes, we will be asking about your childhood
Why? Because we need to better understand how your past relationships have impacted on you. It is never about the quality of your childhood but how you have dealt with all the things that have happened to you and how these experiences influence you today.
Yes, we will be asking about relationships
Why? Because as an adopter you will need to make relationships, maintain them and sometimes repair them. Again, it is not necessarily about how big your support network is but how you will use this network when you become an adopter.
And yes, we will be asking you about your health
Why? Because we need to understand what health issues you have and how you have addressed these. Again it is not about having these health issues but more what impact they have had and how you have managed these.
And finally, yes, we will need to know about your finance and accommodation. Again it is not about how long you have lived at your address or how much savings you have – it about making sure that you are prepared for the placement of a child, including arrangements for your income during adoption leave.
A word about smoking.
Although you may not be automatically excluded from adopting, we will strongly encourage you to give up because of the known medical risks of passive smoking for young children.
· If you hope to adopt a child aged 0–5 years, it is advisable that you give up smoking at least six months before Stage 2 of the adoption assessment process starts because of the medically recognised associated health risks to children. Although this is not a legal requirement, it will be seen as being in the best interests of the child’s health.
· If you are interested in adopting a child aged 5 or over, we will ask you to consider how you will ensure your smoking does not impact on a child placed with you and how you will encourage them to follow a healthy lifestyle.
We would advise you access support to help you give up smoking. You can approach your GP for information about smoking cessation programmes in your area.