At a recent conference for fertility counsellors, there was a great talk from a representative from an organisation called First 4 Adoption. If adoption is something you are thinking about, they are an excellent first port of call. They offer information and advice about all aspects of adoption and have an information line which you can call for help from trained advisers. They can help you to find an adoption agency and tell you all about the adoption process and what you might expect. They can also give information on fostering. They sound a brilliant organisation – the only downside is that they only cover England – however, if you are based in Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland, you can also get advice from BAAF.
Apparently, we tend to have all kinds of misunderstandings about who can and can’t adopt – and people who could make brilliant adoptive parents are sometimes put off simply because they aren’t aware of the facts. I went to the Alternative Parenting Show at the weekend, and spoke to people from a number of different adoption agencies who were all very keen to de-mystify the process – and explain that all kinds of people can make good adoptive parents.
We tend to assume that there must be an age limit – but apparently there often isn’t any official cut off point when it comes to age as it very much depends on the person and the child. You don’t have to be with a partner – and again, one of the agencies I spoke to said that single people were often particularly good adoptive parents because they were able to be more focused on the child. You don’t have to be heterosexual, and many gay and lesbian couples are successful adoptive parents. Finally, you don’t have to live in the same area as the adoption agency – and it can actually be a good thing to live some distance away so that the child would be moving into a new area.
All the agencies I spoke to stressed that they had lots of children looking for new homes – but very few babies. It is certainly something worth considering if you think you might be able to offer a home and new family in this way – but of course, it’s not for everyone. For more information about adoption, visit www.baaf.org.uk