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Adopting when you have a disability

laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
Hi everyone!

Has anybody here gone through the adoption process? Or is anybody doing it as we speak? My husband and I are right at the beginning but it's already beating me down. I'm hoping to find others for advice and support.



  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Hi Sara,

    Thanks for sharing with me. It's so difficult to find advice about adopting when you have a disability so it's wonderful to hear other people's stories. It makes me feel less alone!

    I'm so happy to hear that your son is doing well - good luck to him in his GCSEs! Always a tough time. I definitely don't miss exams!

    I find it really tough to pick my battles. The ultimate goal is obviously to be great parents to an adopted child but I find myself feeling like there's an assumption that someone with a disability has no concept of whether they can care for child. It's as if the agency has assumed that because I have a disability I have no understanding of risk, when in fact I feel like myself, and other people with physical disabilities, are probably much more aware of where the risks might be, and so would mitigate those risks quite naturally. Sorry! Ranting! My point is that I guess I need to concentrate on jumping through their hoops so that we can adopt a child, rather than dissecting how humiliating their questions are.

    It must have been very difficult to be told that you couldn't be alone with the child, how did that make you feel? Did you just concentrate on your end goal?

  • JenCo
    JenCo Member Posts: 122 Pioneering
    I have no experience of this process but I'll be watching this post like a hawk.

    My fiancé and I are getting married this year and we'd like to start trying soon after. If we can't have a baby (entirely possible) I'd love to adopt... But as a disabled, lesbian immigrant I know I'm hardly the ideal candidate by most council's standards. That's a harsh reality but one I'll have to face some day.

    I have no idea how or when we'll have children so I'd love to know more about the adoption process for disabled potential parents. Thank you both for sharing.

    Sara I hope your son absolutely smashes his GCSEs. I'm so happy for you and your family.

    Laura, thank you for starting this post. I look forward to hearing more from you on all the milestones worth celebrating in this very difficult but very worthwhile journey.

    All the best to you and yours and anyone reading.
  • newborn
    newborn Member Posts: 746 Pioneering
    Not my area but it seems there are  in recent years more available children,  because people would prefer  i.v.f. to make a  new baby than take a rejected one.

    Also,  it was always  easier to get approved to parent a disabled  child, because most  people wouldn't  consider it.   You would hope it wasn't true, but that's just the way the world is. 

    In days gone by,  single parents or disabled parents or same sex couples were often not allowed on the adoptive parents  list at all.   Even if  they were, they had no chance of the blue eyed blonde baby girls who were top of the shopping list. But they would be accepted as parents for the unwanted bottom of the list children. 

    As Laura222 says, experience of disability ought, logically,  to make people better parents, especially of disabled children. 
  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    Hi @JenCo, it sounds like you have an exciting year ahead - congratulations to you both on your upcoming nuptials!

    Always remember that although, as you say, you may not be viewed as the ideal candidate by councils you actually tick more of the boxes where an adopted child is concerned. An adopted child is always going to feel different to the majority of people and you and your partner will already have something in common with them without even trying. I say this as someone who also views myself as different, and completely revels in it! In my opinion, the more differences you have, the better. But as @newborn says, that's unfortunately not a view held by everyone else.

    If I were to give you some advice from my position of relative inexperience in this process, it would definitely be to start as early as possible. Deciding to become a parent is obviously a huge decision, and not one to be rushed into, but if you do end up choosing to adopt then expect that it could take years (it may not, this is of course just a view from my experience). We thought that simply registering with an agency would be fairly straightforward, and then convincing them to allow us to become parents would come later. But it hasn't worked out like that at all. We're almost 6 months in and still haven't actually had someone take our application. Ugh! I didn't realise that until I wrote this.

    I'd also recommend that you get in as much childcare experience as is humanly possible! If you have answers to all the questions about how you'd do this and that, and it comes from genuine experience, then you'll be in a really strong position.

    Oh, also, we quickly learned the difference between Local Authority adoption services and Voluntary Agencies - in our experience Voluntary Agencies are SIGNIFICANTLY more open-minded and willing to consider that your differences make you stronger.

    Sorry for the mahoosive post, especially since you've not even made the decision yet! Always happy to answer any questions and will keep you updated with our progress.
  • JenCo
    JenCo Member Posts: 122 Pioneering
    Thank you @laura222
    Please don't apologise, that post is really helpful. The advice is very much appreciated :)

    We're anticipating years of trying and waiting. We'd love to have our own but I know I can't and we don't know how it'll go for my fiance so adoption is a reality we're both very aware of. I've previously worked in a Kindergarten and taught English as a second language in a Montessori so I have some experience, not much, of childminding. 

    My biggest concern is that I'm so hard of hearing I likely won't wake up if the baby/child cries. I know there are all sorts of gadgets to help me with the reality of it but if/when it comes to the application process I'll have to admit I need assistive tech just to get up if I'm needed... that's my biggest fear. 

    That said, a hard of hearing mum for a hard of hearing child? I'd be able to help and understand in ways some mums couldn't I suppose. So there's that silver lining. 

    "Oh, also, we quickly learned the difference between Local Authority adoption services and Voluntary Agencies - in our experience Voluntary Agencies are SIGNIFICANTLY more open-minded and willing to consider that your differences make you stronger." I will definitely be keeping this in mind. Thanks so much Laura. I hope your application gets snapped up and seen to soon. I know it's tedious to hear but it's very true, it'll be worth the wait 
  • laura222
    laura222 Member Posts: 84 Pioneering
    @JenCo in my experience if you know what assistive tech you need then that is seen as an absolute positive. It would only concern an agency if you maintained that you didn't need any extra help. I have a humongous list of adaptive/assistive childcare equipment that we're going through with the social worker; they've even asked me what assistive stuff I would use. I hope that puts your mind at ease a bit!

    Hopefully if/when you're looking for a social worker to take you through the process you'll find one who can really appreciate that some of your strengths may actually come from having a disability. For example (and I don't know whether this is true so excuse me for guessing!) but you may have a keener eye for body language than most people, in which case you might be a better choice for a child who needs some extra support in catching up on developing communication skills. I don't think that it's as straightforward as matching disabled kids with disabled adults, but more about looking at the needs of a child and finding the best adult(s) to help them flourish.

    You're right, it'll definitely be worth the wait. It's a long process, and we're nowhere near the end, but I'm still pretty excited. :)
  • JenCo
    JenCo Member Posts: 122 Pioneering
    That is genuinely so encouraging, thank you Laura. 

    I do hope it's all ticking along brilliantly even if it feels slow. Please do keep us updated here? If you have a blog or know of any I'd love to follow you. Disability and adoption isn't talked about nearly enough, thank you for bringing it up.
  • SaraC_Scope
    SaraC_Scope Scope Navigate service, CP Network Posts: 36 Courageous
    @laura222 Thanks for your lovey post.  It was really hard to effectively jump through the Local Authorities hoops, but fortunately my family were great and weirdly it was a good way for our son to get to know them and develop that bond.  Don't get me wrong, some days I just wanted to be alone and felt like I wasn't a proper Mum but I knew if I had a seizure I needed someone on hand when he was so young.
    Eventually our son knew emergency numbers and he'd memorised my parent's telephone number so they didn't sleep over and he was in nursery so they did general babysitting like regular grandparents.

    Good luck to you all on your adoption journey

  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,545 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for sharing this with us @laura222


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