Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Could this actually be...

... a sensible adoption agency?

We were told by the social worker we are meeting on Friday not to bring our identity documents to complete our criminal checks as "we don't do those at this stage". I was a bit puzzled, to be honest, as the previous agency had done them at precisely this stage, and normally agencies and local authorities love to introduce waits into the process, and seem to particularly like it if absolutely nothing is happening, especially when you have no real way to check that the thing that is supposed to be not happening, is in fact not happening. Hence the obsession with not moving a muscle, making any appointments, or being able to see you until they have completed the CRB. I am worried there will also be a "thinking stage" at this point.

However, on enquiry, I find that some agencies - shock horror - do these in parallel with the other parts of the process; so that the wait for the checks to come back can be filled with actual activity.

Although for some overseas adoptions, any criminal convictions are a total no-no, for a UK adoption you can be approved with anything short of assault or child abuse. You'd hope most people have some kind of handle on their criminal record, and in fact it's common for people with minor drug convictions e.g. possession age 18, to assume they can't adopt when in fact they can. So frankly, you'd have to be a bit deluded or forgetful to say "OK, go ahead and check my criminal record" and hope nothing showed up, when there was likely to be something there. I don't know what situation that would leave the agency in, whether they would be entitled to ask for their costs back from someone who'd failed their CRB.

I haven't watched them yet, but there's a series on Channel 4 this week about adoption. I registered some hollow laughs on a message board I read at the adopters saying "it takes MONTHS". Try YEARS.


Anonymous said...

I certainly had the impression that UK adoption without a squeaky-clean record was nigh-impossible. A friend of mine has manic depression, and knows that having children - or at any rate, having to stop her medication during pregnancy - will put her health at serious risk, but has been told she cannot adopt because of her psychiatric history.

I do so hope your agency is the sensible sort. And a speedy sort!

DrSpouse said...

Many agencies WILL take people with psychiatric problems - but some give the impression they know everything, unfortunately, and people are also given the impression that minor offences preclude adoption too. In reality they want people who have slipped up in the past to have put it behind them and taken steps for it not to happen again, and for people who have ongoing health problems to be managing them well.

I imagine someone who is in and out of psychiatric hospital would find parenting challenging whatever type of child it was, but there's no reason why someone who manages their illness well shouldn't adopt, and I bet they could find an agency who would agree, especially if their doctor is on their side.