17.00 - 19.30, Tuesday 23rd October 2018
Interested in finding out more about adoption? Come to our Information Evening in Bristol and meet adopters and our adoption team. Read more
Adoption gives a child a new family when living with their own family is not possible. It is a way of giving a child an opportunity to start again – a legal process and permanent commitment which should be undertaken after careful examination of the head and heart. Adoption is a way of providing families for children, creating a new relationship which can provide the long term security and love that children need.
The nature of adoption changes as society changes and we seek to put the needs of children first.
A total of 4,350 children in England were adopted in 2017. You can find out more about the legal aspects of adoption on the government website relating to adoption. There are very few absolute barriers to adoption but to hear the answers to some of the typical questions we are asked click on our Can I Adopt page.
All prospective adopters can choose between adopting via their regional adoption agency/local authority or via an independent voluntary adoption agency like CCS. Here at CCS we encourage prospective adopters to explore both routes in determining what is right for them. Each agency will have a particular offer in terms of how they are able to help after adoption and a different feel and emphasis. The process and guidelines are laid down by government and are the same for both, although there are some differences that you should be aware of. The main distinction is that local authorities have a number of children in their care whom they are looking to place with adopters. The number, ages and needs of these children will vary over time. A voluntary adoption agency, like CCS, trains, assesses and approves adopters and then finds children for these adopters from a national register of children. At CCS we work with you to find your children whether they are near or far and have experience of working with Local Authorities across the country. The Local Authority adoption team will in the first instance look at the children in their care and then if there isn’t a suitable match, will look to other agencies.
No, CCS does not have a waiting list for beginning the assessment of prospective adopters. All initial enquiries are responded to quickly by our Advice team. Adoption advisers Jane, Lisa and Fran are also adoptive parents and happy to talk informally about adoption and your situation, Monday – Friday 10-2pm. Outside of these hours, Monday-Friday 9 – 5pm you can talk to Jude, one of our adoption social workers. You can also arrange Saturday appointments if weekdays are difficult. Telephone 0117 935 0005 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are based in Bristol and we work with prospective adopters who live within about an hour’s drive from our office. This is because once you have your child/ren at home with you we will be in regular contact for support visits and settling in and the distance needs to be a practical one for all concerned. If you are unsure whether you fall within our catchment or not then just give us a call and discuss with one of our adoption advisers what might be possible.
Once a child’s Adoption is finalised, it is up to the parents to request help and support as and when they need it. This could be anything from needing a listening ear after a difficult time, to help with choosing schools, or finding therapy for a child. We would hope that, having built a relationship with us, you would trust us and value our experience to ask for this as you needed it. We are certainly always here for you and your adopted child from the early years to much later on in life, since we recognise that the impact of Adoption can be lifelong.
The government has laid down a suggested timeframe for the adoption process that all agencies aim to adhere to. The process is broken down in to two stages. Stage 1 is expected to take 2 months and Stage 2 is expected to take 4 months dependent on your personal circumstances. It is possible to take a break of up to 6 months between Stages 1 and 2, again dependent on your personal circumstances e.g. sometimes adopters take this time to increase their childcare experience. In a nutshell, the adoption process is considerably faster than it was a few years ago.
We know from research that it is damaging to children if they are moved any more than is absolutely necessary around the care system from carer to carer. Permanence is needed for children to thrive. Early Permanence is a relatively new practice that aims to reduce the number of moves a child in the care system potentially makes. A child, (often a young child or a baby, but Early Permanence can also be used for older children or sibling groups) is placed with adopters who are also approved foster carers and when a legal decision is finally made about the child’s future and adoption is the plan, then these adopters will go on to become the child’s new parents.
However, if the courts decide that the child should go back to their birth family then they will return the child, happy in the knowledge that they have given them a secure start and built a positive attachment. Early Permanence is a practice that takes a very child centred person and where the adults take the risk but it has huge benefits for the children involved. CCS have led on the development of Early Permanence in the region and have a small team who work to further its take up. In March 2018 we became the first adoption agency in the country to receive the new Early Permanence Quality Mark in recognition of our excellent practice in this area of work.
For more information see our website www.adoptionconcurrency.org .If you choose to adopt with CCS you will be asked to explore whether Early Permanence might be a route you would consider taking.
Sometimes it seems that all the media pick up on are the negative stories that arise from Adoption. Positive news is always less headline grabbing. As far as we can tell, from a large piece of research carried out by the University of Bristol in 2014 ( Beyond the Adoption Order) the adoption breakdown rate in England runs at between 3 and 9%, that is 3-9 in 100 children leave their adoptive families before they are 18. It is certainly true that while parenting is demanding, adoptive parenting is even more so and it is why so much time and effort is put in to assessing and educating adopters about what they might encounter and supporting them as they need after adoption. Anecdotally, many adopters will tell you that while it has been no easy ride they are very happy indeed that they have taken this path and can’t imagine life without their children.
Gone are the days when children weren’t told they were adopted until they were 18. We realise now that it is important for children to grow up with an understanding of their roots and their past, so talking about adoption and birth family is an important part of an adoptive parent’s role – and something that we can help and support you with. However, it is the courts who decide the nature of the contact that a child should have with their birth family. Typically this would be indirect letterbox contact between the adopters and the birth family, perhaps once or twice a year. Direct face to face contact is rare, although sometimes it is arranged for siblings who have not been adopted together, or with foster carers or with birth family prior to adoption. The plan for contact can change over time and must take in to account the needs of the child and the adopters’ views.
Yes you can. The Early Permanence route to adoption– click here for further information – can lead to people adopting a baby. However, there are some issues to bear in mind with this. When you adopt a child from birth there will be more unknowns about the child’s development e.g it will often be the case that drugs and alcohol have played a part in their being removed from their birth family and when children are very young it will be difficult for professionals to assess the likely outcomes of these for that child. Historically CCS has found families for older children, groups of brothers and sisters and children with additional needs. However in 20016/17 the average age of children we have placed has been 3 years and we have also made some Early Permanence placements of babies.
There are currently approximately 3,000 children in the care of Local Authorities in England and Wales who are waiting for adoptive families.
Most of the children waiting to be adopted have had complex and difficult early life experiences, including abuse, trauma, and neglect. As a result of these experiences children may have a range of emotional, physical or learning difficulties.
Families are particularly needed for brother and sister groups of all ages, older children (over 4 years old), children with a BAME heritage and children with additional needs. Click here to view profiles of the types of children who need families.
The majority of children waiting for adoption do so with at least one brother or sister. It’s the reason why we ask prospective adopters to keep an open mind about how many children they might adopt and how large they see their family finally becoming. During assessment we will discuss with you the right number of children and ages for your particular family and situation, whether that be a single child or several.
Yes you can. The child joining your family through adoption should ideally be younger than the children who are already in the family. We normally recommend that there is at least a 2-3 year age gap between the age of your youngest birth child and the child you adopt. In addition it is preferable that your youngest child has started school so that the adopted child gets enough one to one time with their new parent/s to establish and build that relationship.