Deciding to adopt a child is an amazing decision but it can mean balancing many complex issues.

On 2 July Adoption UK published The Adoption Barometer. It involves a survey of some 3,500 adoptive families asking them to reflect on all aspects of the adoption process and also considered current government policy and its effectiveness at each stage.

Although the findings show that most families see adoption as a positive experience, the report highlights the struggles of many parents in getting support for themselves and their children, with 70% reporting they struggle to get the right support. Families highlighted issues such as managing emotional or mental health difficulties, challenging or aggressive behaviour, accessing the right educational support, and support with children and young people transitioning to independent living.

Issues to consider:

  • the adoption process - the process of adopting a child, from decisions about whether to adopt, the most suitable route, and the process of applying for an adoption order in the Family Court, is often complex and highly emotive. Sometimes adoption proceedings can become more complicated as they proceed, such as when birth parents seek the court's permission to oppose the adoption or apply for direct contact with the child. It is important for adopters to be aware of these potential issues and to consider seeking advice and representation in the court process
  • international adoption - the process of adopting children from overseas is often complex and technical and expert advice can be indispensable. The necessary advice and processes are highly specific to different legal jurisdictions from which children are adopted. It is also possible for couples who live overseas to adopt children from this country under the Hague Convention and, again, the process is very different and expert advice is strongly advised
  • support services - as the Adoption Barometer shows it is vital that adoptive families receive the support and information they need before, during and after the adoption process. Adopters can benefit from advice on the support available, where to obtain it, and how to negotiate and advocate with local authorities to ensure they receive the support they are entitled to
  • children's services involvement - sometimes local authority children's services can become involved with adoptive families when children who have had adverse early life experiences begin to present with significant emotional and behavioural challenges, perhaps during adolescence. Dealing with children's services raising child protection concerns can be a daunting and distressing experience. Advice on navigating and resolving involvement from the local authority and keeping the focus on ensuring that children and families are getting the support they need is often valuable for adoptive families

Members of the children team at Russell-Cooke appreciate that sometimes decisions about what to do first and where to get answers from may seem overwhelming. The team can manage the process for you, bringing the experience that gives them a full appreciation of the complexities your family is facing.

James Sandiford - July 2019