Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In which I am a bit calmer than I was

So, last week, post holiday, I decided to call our Local Authority (council - in our case a County Council) which is the largest assessor for adoption from foster care in our area, and the only one that does concurrent planning (if you've been keeping up, you'll know that's where we would be foster carers and if things didn't work out for the baby to go home, we'd adopt them).

We discussed our reasons for adopting from the US, Baby Spouse's family and medical history, contact with birth family etc. The social worker seemed really interested in the system there and in our decision to keep contact and how we were managing it. I actually rang now because I was worried that they didn't hold their preparation courses very often but apparently that isn't an issue. At the end I just threw in that I thought I'd check about our ages. Not sure, said the social worker, quoting a guideline I'd heard before which I'll come back to, I'll talk to my manager and call you back.

So she did, when she said she would. But not with the news I'd been hoping for and expecting. Apparently we are both too old. It's bad that Mr Spouse will be retiring while Baby Spouse is still at school and it's bad that I'll be incredibly ancient very soon (though I will still be working when he, and indeed a younger child, leaves school). We don't really want to wait and adopt an older child (younger than Baby Spouse but older than a baby) but that would be a no-no too apparently. At least they're consistent.

So I was not very happy. I came home and looked at his baby pictures and cried. I ranted on Twitter and was given lots of lovely comments and advice (and apologies if I sounded ungrateful to some people). One good idea was to contact BAAF for advice.

They were also lovely and suggested we write back and say we'd like some sense please, and that they shouldn't reject us on paper without an assessment. They suggested we write to the council and ask them to reconsider, so we have done (at least, the letter may still be on the hall shelf). We were not too ranty, honest.

We quoted BAAF who were annoyed that the council said that they (BAAF) have a guideline of a maximum 45 year gap between child and younger parent. They don't have any such guideline and say they want to include, not exclude.

We have further ideas up our sleeve (we already enquired to some smaller councils about adopting a baby who is legally free for adoption - one who has been in foster care). None of them has yet sucked their teeth in and said "ooh no babies" and one asked for our dates of birth. We would likely make a bigger fuss at the county council too. Mr Spouse surprised me by being very positive about the whole thing actually. He is sensitive about his age and in the past has said "am I too old for this?". But now he feels like we just spoke to the wrong person and they will change their mind when they are having a better day.

So we will see. And I am calmer.


Claudia said...

Oh my goodness, that must have been incredibly upsetting. Good for you on pushing back. I hate, hate, hate how arbitrary everything always feels here!

Twangypearl the Elastic Girl said...

Very upsetting for you. These rules are just so arbitrary and inflexible - if they'd just assess you they'd see your arm-long list of expertise and experience with children! Pfft. Stupid system! I mean, look at people's health and financial stability - AND nowadays life expectancy is expanding remarkably.