There are many ways of achieving the dream of a family and one of those options may be adoption. Counselling is available at every stage of the fertility journey and adoption is a consideration for many if they want to move from IVF treatment.
National Adoption Week runs from October 17-23 and in this post, we have Anya Sizer from Fertility Network UK who had successful IVF but also took the adoption route, and Joanne Banks, Head of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adoption Service, who explains how adoption can be a route to becoming a parent for the first time as well as for those looking to grow an existing family.
Moving from fertility treatment to adoptive parenting
Anya Sizer from Fertility Network UK is a parent both from fertility treatment and through adoption, she comments: “I am passionate about the work Fertility Network and Adoption UK are doing around the issues of moving from treatment to adoption.
“The response from many well intentioned people, when they hear that someone is struggling to conceive, is that maybe you can “just” adopt and this oversimplifies the decision. Both fertility treatment and adoption bring their own unique challenges and are incredibly demanding and yet rewarding ways to create a family. They are also equally valid.
“There are differences and these need to be acknowledged, prepared for and given space to process. It is because of this that Fertility Network UK have run a webinar with Adoption UK and plan to do much more work in this area.
Moving on from treatment – needs time to grieve
“It is vital when moving from treatment to adoption that any loss is acknowledged and that as much preparation and support is put in place. Most adoption agencies will recommend 6 months to a year of grieving space and although this can seem a long time, it can be a very useful natural pause between the two experiences of building a family.
“The time can be used to read books about adoption, attend webinars for those interested and start to really think through the realities of adoptive parenting. Ultimately to help transition from the experience of treatment and clinical appointments to the adoption process and then adoptive parenting.
“This bridging time if used well is a vital part of the process and can be an essential part of your own journey to parenthood, which is why at Fertility Network we are here to support all those moving from fertility treatment to adoptive parenting.”
For more information about Fertility Network UK visit fertilitynetworkuk.org.
Joanne Banks, Head of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adoption Service, explains the adoption process.
Q: Some people are told to wait after IVF treatment before trying to adopt – is there a policy on this?
While there’s no official guideline, adoption agencies like Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adoption suggest waiting approximately six months after IVF treatment. This is to ensure that the prospective adopter is over the grieving period of not being able to have a birth child.
However, if you are currently undergoing or have just very recently finished treatment and would like an informal chat, you can contact Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adoption Service and we would be happy to talk to you.
Q: How do you adopt a child in the UK?
The adoption process can be broken down into stages:
Stage 1 – First step is to register with an adoption agency like Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adoption Service, where checks and references will be undertaken.
Stage 2 – We offer support through training and assessment.
Stage 3 – You will be matched with a child that is right for you and them.
Stage 4 – Moving in, with support to get to know each other.
Stage 5 – Adoption Order granted in UK court.
Q: Can I adopt a newborn baby?
The overarching aim of adoption is to give children stability in their lives as early as possible, avoiding repeat moves and broken attachments. So, younger children, babies, and new-borns will all be considered for early permanency. But all ages need adoptive homes, and an older child can also be rewarding.
Q: Are there age limits on adoption?
People of all ages can and do successfully adopt, you will need to be age 21 and above but there is no upper age limit. However, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adoption Service will need to ensure that you are in good health and vitality to be able to support your child into adulthood.
Q: Can I adopt if I already have birth children?
Having children of your own will not necessarily stop you from adopting, though age gap between your birth children and potential adoptive child/children will be considered. There are many people who successfully parent both birth and adoptive children together.
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adoption Service will closely work with you and your family to make sure that the needs and expectations of all the children involved are supported.
Q: I don’t own my own home, Am I still able to adopt?
You don’t need to be a homeowner to be an adoptive parent, as long as you have a stable rental agreement and a spare bedroom to give your new child a space of their own.
Q: Can I adopt if I’m LGBTQIA+?
You are able to adopt if you are a same sex couple, or single of any sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQIA+ is not a factor in your right to adopt.
Q: Can I adopt if I follow a certain faith or religion?
Children who are waiting for adoption also come from many different backgrounds, religions, and cultures, and Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adoption welcome a wide range of people from all walks of life who can offer a loving home. Adopters can be from a different ethnic background, and of any or no religious faith.
Q: Do prospective adoptive parents have a say in the adoption process?
Yes, your involvement in the adoption process is very important. Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Adoption will work with you to have a successful adoption journey and ensure the best possible outcome for you, the adoptive child and your family.
Q: Do birth parents and other relatives have any contact with their child after adoption?
It is common for there to be an exchange of written information, perhaps once or twice a year, via the adoption agency.
There will be unique arrangements for each individual child which may mean direct contact for some children with various members of their birth family, including grandparents and brothers and sisters who may be placed elsewhere. Sometimes there will also be contact with birth parents – if this is best for the child.