Thursday, 5 November 2009

New adoption agency spells out the process

As National Adoption Week 2009 kicks off this week (9 -15
November), a newly formed adoption service is opening its doors to find permanent families for children in North Wales.

The North Wales Adoption Service is a new combined service, bringing together all of the local authority adoption teams in Flintshire, Wrexham, Denbighshire, Conwy, Ynys Mon and Gwynedd. With around 30 to 40 children adopted in North Wales every year, local adoption teams are now working even closer together to match local children with local families in North Wales.

Many people are interested in adopting a baby or toddler, but 70% of the children placed for adoption in North Wales are aged 3 or over. There have been 23 children put forward for adoption in North Wales since April this year. Over half of these children needed to be adopted with their brothers and sisters.

Mandy Humphries, North Wales Adoption Service, said: "The children placed for adoption are usually aged from a few months old to nine years old.

"These children want a new family to call their own but due to their age, many 6, 7, 8 or 9 year olds have fewer and fewer people willing to consider adopting them."

"Although we have a small number of adopters waiting for children, we still need more people who could consider offering a loving home to older children and sibling groups.

"Unfortunately many potential families limit the age range and number of children they could consider, and this will limit their chances."

"We need people who can offer children a secure and supportive family for life, help them to recover from the reasons why they came into care and give them a stable environment in which they can thrive."

Caryn and Stephen from Flintshire adopted a little boy in 2008. They said: "It’s hard to believe that he’s been now with us for over 12 months. We’re delighted to have a beautiful, good-natured little boy who has settled remarkably well. It’s difficult now remembering what it was like without him, and although in our case the process took two and a half years, we can’t imagine a more worthwhile wait."

Paul and Sarah from
Conwy adopted a nine-year-old girl. They said: "We had always wanted to adopt a baby or toddler so we undertook the adoption training and the long process of
assessment which took about six months.

"Then we were matched several times but never chosen. When Paul reached 50, we were so despondent and were giving up.

"Then our link worker asked us to consider an older child as she had heard of a nine year old girl who needed an adoptive home.

"She has been with us now for nearly two years and we are going from strength to strength. She sees her birth mum once a year and this helps to reassure her that her mum is okay.

"Then she comes back and resumes her life with us. We would encourage anyone to be flexible. Don’t rule out older children."

David Holmes, Chief Executive British Association of Adoption and Fostering, said: "It is a sad fact that some children are simply unable to remain with their birth family, because of neglect, abuse or perhaps just because their parents are unable to cope. It’s crucial that loving and permanent families are found for them.

"North Wales Adoption Service is inviting anyone interested in adoption to find out more by coming along to their open day. The NWAS team will be available from 2pm – 9pm at Venue Cymru in Llandudno on Monday, 9 November.

Mandy Humphries, said: "Last year 13 potential new families visited this event and many of these are now on their journey to becoming adoptive parents."

The new North Wales Adoption Service will be offering four day training courses at venues across North Wales throughout next year for local applicants to take the first step to
becoming an adoptive parent.

For more information on adoption in North Wales call NWAS on 0800 085 0774 or visit

The North Wales Adoption Service explains the ten main steps to adopting a child:

Express an interest. Call NWAS on 0800 085 0774 or visit We will send you a copy of our information pack. We can then arrange for a member of the team to visit you at home.

Start the assessment process. You will be invited to attend a training course with other applicants to find out more about adoption. Following this course, you can make an application. Police and health checks will be carried out and you will need personal referees. A social worker will then visit your home a number of times to find out more about your and your family. Your social worker will write a report based on the information gathered.

From formal application to approval should not take more than six months, although it can take longer.

Go to panel for approval. Your adoption social worker will present their report to the adoption panel. You will be invited to attend. The panel will make a recommendation on
whether you should be approved as an adoptive parent and a senior officer in the agency will make the final decision.

The majority of people (94%) who come this far are approved.

Enquire about a child. When a child is ready for adoption we will search our list of approved adopters for a suitable match. We will search within North Wales and the national register of approved adopters. You can also find out about children waiting by reading publications such as BAAF’s Be My Parent.

Find a child. If you, your family placement social worker and the child’s social worker think you might be a suitable match, you will be offered more information. You may not be the only family considered, so be prepared to try more than once.

Go to panel for linking. When everyone is happy the right match has been found, it will go to the adoption panel for approval.

Meet the child. You will be gradually introduced to the child first by making a photo album about your family and then meeting the child, usually at their foster carer’s home.

The length of introductions varies a great deal: it may be longer for an older child, sometimes up to eight weeks.

Take the child home. The child must live with you for 10 weeks before you can make a legal application to court.

Make the adoption legal. An adoption only becomes legal when a court makes an adoption order. The adoption transfers all parental responsibility to the adoptive family and is
permanent. The child is now legally part of your family – time for a celebration!

Bring up your child. Adoption is a lifelong commitment. It's not always easy, but support is available, and as many adoptive parents will tell you, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.


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