Sunday, 2 November 2014

System Failures....

“Why Won’t People Adopt Siblings?” asks the Sky News article for the start of National Adoption Week. However, sometimes it’s the system that fails not the lack of prospective adoptive parents.

In 2006 my husband and I started our journey to become adoptive parents.  We decided we would like to adopt not only older children but siblings. We felt with our age and experiences we would be more suited to dealing with the issues around older children.  We also thought our lifestyle would better suit two or more children. 

The adoption process is painfully slow.  We made enquiries in October 2006.  It was March 2007 before we had our first appointment with a Social Worker.  July 2007 the application process started and in February 2008 we sat outside a council office waiting for the decision as to whether or not we would be allowed to adopt.  After a long wait the chairwoman of the adoption board came to see us and said our application was approved.

A few weeks after our approval a social worker daughter of some friends, said she knew of some children waiting to be adopted and she thought we would be a perfect match for the kids.  But she had encountered a problem – we weren’t showing on the list of approved adopters for siblings.

We contacted our Social Worker who said to be patient as we had our approval and the system just needed to be updated with our details.  The administrator had been sick and it could be a couple of weeks before she was up to date with her workload and we appeared on the system.

A few more weeks went by and we still weren’t on the system.  We contacted our Social Worker again and asked her to investigate.  This time she came back and said there was a mistake and we had not been approved to adopt siblings.  We were stunned.  For over 2 months we believed we had been approved as adoptive parents for siblings and we hadn’t.  Nobody knew why we had been declined.  As far as everyone was concerned we were approved it was just the written decision from the adoption board didn’t match the verbal confirmation they had given us.  We asked about appealing the decision and were informed there was nothing we could do.  We had to accept the decision.
I can’t help wondering how many other prospective parents have come forward to adopt siblings and encountered similar system failures.

We seem to have a system that fails not only the children waiting to be adopted but also the prospective parents.  It’s a system that has for too many years been admonished regularly by politicians but yet still fails to deliver the standard of service everyone needs or deserves.

As publicity starts for National Adoption Week my hope is that we get a system that works well for all concerned especially the venerable kids who just need a loving home.  My husband and I may not have been approved to adopt siblings but we were approved to adopt a child.  We now have a beautiful daughter who has been with us for six years.