What you can do while you are waiting for a match
For some adopters matching happens quickly, but others may find they wait longer; it is entirely dependent on the children needing families at the time you are approved, and the range of children you would be considered a good match for. The numbers of children with an adoption placement order granted by the courts does fluctuate.
In the last year or so, a combination of lower numbers of placement orders occurring after adoption agencies successfully took more people through the adoption assessment process, has led to numbers of adopters waiting for considerably longer than usual to be matched.
Adoption agencies have taken a number of steps to support their approved adopters, notably by reducing the applications they take from potential adopters wishing to consider younger children. There is still a great need for adopters able to provide a family for:
- children aged 4-5 years and over
- larger sibling groups
- children with disabilities and additional needs
- children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Do you need extra support?
If you are waiting more than 12 months, your agency may be able to offer additional support. For instance, if you wish to consider children outside your original range of age or needs, your adoption agency may offer additional preparation and training; similarly if you would like to consider fostering for adoption.
Some adoption agencies have provided focused groups to help approved adopters to manage their emotions and expectations while waiting; adoption agencies understand how your own hopes combined with your family and friends’ expectations place pressure on you. Sometimes it is important just to take a break and ease this pressure.
Things you can do
If you are temporarily unable to identify possible children don’t be discouraged. The situation will change and there are lots of positive steps you can take to improve your readiness to be an adoptive parent. Here are some things you might want to consider.
Gain Additional Child Care Experience
The more child care experience you can gain prior to and during the adoption process the better prepared you will be for adoptive parenting.
Many people will have the opportunity to gain child care experience through caring for the children of family and friends. It is also possible to extend your understanding of children through volunteering in nurseries, pre-schools, faith organisations or community groups.
Some organisations such as Adoption UK and New Family Social have buddy groups – where potential adopters can meet and gain experience with adopted children and approved adopters in a group setting. This can give you a useful insight into the needs and challenges of adopted children and provide you with a strong support group once you have adopted.
Reassess your situation
Finances Look at your finances and consider steps you might take to ease any money worries. When a child does arrive you may want to extend your time away from work to enable you to spend more time settling a child or children into your family. Adding to your savings now will facilitate this. Saving before a child joins you is always a prudent plan.
Work Review your work situation. Is your employer family-friendly?
Home Reassess your home. Is there anything you can do to make it more child-friendly?
Take a holiday! Once children join you it may be harder to take a longer holiday for a while.