Why might you adopt?
Couples often come to a decision about adoption after gaining closure with infertility. This choice comes easy to some, whilst others may take time to deliberate over what it means to adopt for them. Some couples will be supported upon making this decision by their wider family whilst others will feel shunned or maybe even reprimanded for making this decision. Some couple do not embrace the journey for the fear of the out lash from in-laws or parents.
Adoption is a first choice. It is a first choice to make a family with or without fertility issues. Resigning to the idea of adoption will have implications on any future children that a family decides to embrace, and one day the child will enquire why a family adopted.
Others make the choice to adopt to expand their family, to create gender balance or for altruistic or charitable reasons based on a religious or philanthropy.
Sadly in Pakistani culture much emphasis is still placed on the skin colour, cast, regional descent, race, and lineage when it comes to making links beyond the original filial environment. PAN UK wishes to dispel these ideas, creating a more embracing society in which the interests of children are put first above any other self- serving purposes.
Some people will be hesitant to adopt for fear of falsely held beliefs about the positon adoption hold in Islam. PAN UK will help to reveal the true status of adoption in Islam and how it is much encouraged. Others will be deterred by the UK process costs and costs involved in relocating abroad for up to 4 months (or longer). It is pertinent to note that there is no “buying a baby” and no money should be exchanged with an agency, except to cover cost of medical bills or legal fees as in the case of Imkaan agency. Others agencies deem the offer of money as corruption and may reject your application.
Who do you contact first?
Once you decided to adopt, and decide to adopt from Pakistan, then the local authority is the first port of call. They will then connect you with the relevant agency for that postcode.
What happens next?
After connecting with the desired UK agency, an initial interview takes place. This usually is 2 hours long aims to understand your reasons for adopting, a brief exploration of the fertility matters prior to adopting and any enquiries made thus far.
At this stage a copy of relevant identification and proof of address document are taken and DBS forms are completed. After the initial interview takes you will be receiving, in writing an agency acceptance letter to begin proceedings. The lead time for this may be 2 weeks. A Registration of Interest form is completed and fees are deposited to the UK agency. What follows is in 2 stages;
This is the first stage of the assessment process and covers the medical assessments and CRB checks they also ask you to give the names of 6 referees 3 for each person (1 family member and 2 others) that will be contacted in Stage 2. The guideline for completion of stage 1 is approximately 2 months but can take longer as DBS checks can take some time to come back. Medical forms have to be signed off by the Adoption Agency medical practitioner. Where issues are identified more time will be added to the process to review any health concerns. For example the exploration of depression, or life limiting health issues such as cancer. Stage 1 must be successfully completed to progress to stage 2. Estimated fees are £4900.
This is the homestudy, a process whereby the social worker will visit your home and discuss all aspects of your life, during this time applicants are also required to attend a 3 day preparation workshop with other couples to prepare them for their Adoption journey. This is a very in depth process, various documents such as Ecomaps, Financial statements etc. have to be completed by the applicants and these will form a base that the social worker will use for their homestudy.
What is the homestudy?
The homestudy is the report completed by the social worker at the end of Stage 2. Following several months (3) of up to 12 meeting between the couple and the social worker will interview referees and compile a 30-40 page report. Questions during the homestudy will look at your views on parenting, your work, your childhood, you religious views, you views on education, homosexuality, marriage and relationships. It is meant to evaluate your understanding of children, adoption and possible outcomes of adopting an infant from Pakistan. This report is then presented to the “panel” who will review the homestudy. Coupled with an interview of the social worker and the prospective adopters will decide to approve or reject a couple’s eligibility to adopt.
How long does it take?
Stage 2 can take approximately 3 months.
What is involved?
An in depth analysis of the applicants life including past and present covering Education, employment, relationships, childhood, family and reference’s including statements from them and interview’s by the social worker.
What kind of questions come up?
Lots of questions about each aspect of your life, for example
What was your childhood like?
What kind of relationships do you have with siblings?
What are your reasons for adopting?
Why do you think you are suitable to become adoptive parents?
Are there any controversial questions?
There will be questions that may unnerve you, for example
What would you do if your child isn’t a high achiever like you?
What would you do if you unmarried daughter became pregnant?
What are your views on homosexuality?
What if your child didn’t adopt your religion?
Completing a health checklist
Part of the homestudy documentation will require you to go through a tick box exercise about health issues you are willing to accept or will not be able to cope with. Honesty about what you can cope with here is important. Taking an altruistic approach at this stage is easy but may become a point concern later.
Time off work for it?
Time off for social worker adoption interview visits can be explored with your employer. Some people reserve informing their employer until a more concrete positon over their adoption plans is made.
What is panel and what happens there?
Panel consists of 12 people comprising social workers, adoptees, other adopters, agency staff, medical practitioners and members of the public who will read your homestudy report in advance of the meeting. Following a meeting with you and a discussion with the social worker they will reach a decision to approve or not approve your application to become adoptive parents.
What happens after panel?
At the end of panel you are told the decision. If you are approved to adopt you will receive a letter in writing and an application to the Department for Education is made by your agency for the certificate of Eligibility.
What is the certificate of Eligibility?
This is the document issued by the Department for Education which confirms you have been approved as adopters. Without this no further processing can occur with in the UK or abroad.
Do prospective adopters attend any courses?
A 3 day pre-adoption preparation workshop at the agencies offices is mandatory. Other activities to support your application and to enhance your experience with children can be volunteering at a private nursery etc.
What happens next?
Once the Certificate of Eligibility has been printed you are able to make plans to travel overseas. The certificate is sent to Pakistan agency or lawyer you have stipulated. You will not receive a copy. You will however receive a letter from the DFE stating the certificate has been issued.
What about adoption leave?
Each company is different but with most employers Adoption leave does not commence until you return back to the UK with your baby and this must take place within 28 days of your return. Adoption leave is the same as maternity leave and the length of leave depends on your company policy. It is important to check this out early as some companies do not have an international adoption policy. Unpaid leave should also be discussed given the nature of the process length in Pakistan.
Things to discuss with your employer?
You may wish to discuss the time off you will need, a career break or unpaid leave entitlement and adoption leave.