Adopting a child or a group of siblings is a major step in anyone’s life and it is not without its challenges. As a result, the support offered to adoptive parents is growing. But what is available?
1. Preparation training
The assessment process that results in approval status takes around six months. As part of this process, would-be adoptive parents undergo preparation training.
This is a form of support that ensures adopters are fully equipped with the knowledge of what is involved in adoption. Everyone attends this training, whether they have children of their own or are new to parenting.
2. Adoption agency input
When you choose to adopt, you will do so through an adoption agency. It is in everyone’s interest that would-be adopters are fully prepared for the challenges and rewards that come with adopting children.
As well as training, an adoption agency will offer comprehensive support in many different ways. One way is a knowledgeable and experienced social worker.
With many years of experience of adoption, the social worker is the professional that many would-be adopters rely on to guide them through the assessment and approval process, as well as the first tentative weeks and months of the placement.
3. Financial support
Whether you are new parents or already have children of your own, welcoming a child into your family is exciting but it brings with it new financial implications too.
Currently, there is Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) for employees which is 90% of your gross weekly earnings for the first six weeks, followed by either £145 or 90% of your gross weekly earnings per week (whichever is lower) for a further 33 weeks.
You may also find that the company for which you work also has an adoption financial support package, as they may have for maternity and paternity leave.
4. Adoption leave
It is crucial to the success of an adoption that in the first few weeks and months, you and your adopted child or siblings have the opportunity to bond
Attachment difficulties are not uncommon in children whose start in life is fractured or traumatic even. They may find it difficult to form close relationships and ties with people and this is true for adoptive families.
This is why taking adoption leave is now viewed as integral to the successful adoption process.
Currently, adopted parents can take up to 52 weeks of Statutory Adoption Leave. The first 26 weeks are classed as ‘ordinary adoption leave’ and the remaining 26 weeks as ‘additional adoption leave’.
5. Outside help
The support that adoptive parents need changes over time. At first, a lot of support focuses on being a parent, something that all parents go through.
But as the family grow, concerns and issues can be quite different. And this is where the helplines run by adoption charities and other organisations are invaluable. It gives the adoptive parent the opportunity to discuss issues or concerns, or ask a question, in complete confidence.
6. Wider family
ALL parents need support from time to time, whether they are the birth parents or adopted parents of a child or group of siblings.
Children are noisy and rambunctious, causing their parents no end of worry. They may not always sleep well or behave well. And yet, being a parent gives so much satisfaction and reward.
But every parent needs some downtime and for the adopted parent, the love and support of their own parents, their extended family and their friends are invaluable and much-needed.
And then there are all the other parents you will get to know too!
Is adoption something you are considering? Did you realise how much support was available?
Adopters for Adoption is a leading adoption agency, working with adoptive parents to bring about successful adoptions. Find out more about how to adopt.