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Experience of the IAC Advice line in my personal opinion

I have rubbed shoulders with the IAC since I first was interested in working in adoption. I called them to see if we could do something together. I remember how complex it was to get to see someone and in the end, due to my persistance, a meeting was arranged in Waterloo train station (!)

Immediately, I could sense that the person I was meeting, was there under duress. All my ideas were dismissed outright, and it was made clear that due to the fact that I was not a social worker, I could not be taken seriously.

That was 14 years ago. In all that time, I have just asked for professionalism and transparancy - two areas that I believe are seriously lacking in the UK adoption arena. And in that time, I have seen the IAC grow and gobble up all the 'competition' and now has become the IACRAA the head of all intercountry adoption thoughout the country. And so one would wish, or hope, or even demand, that they are professional and above reproach. I have over the years heard many stories of unprofessionalism which of course I cannot share, but what I can share is my experience today.

I was aware that the fees for IAC had increased and I wanted to establish exactly what the fees were. So I called the Advice Line. Bear in mind this is, (apart from my organisation) the only place where one can gain information about intercountry adoption.

Realistically, due to their reputation, I was not expecting much knowledge about in-country adoption, but this was not about the Family Law of Ukraine - this was about how much their own organisation charges for an assessement.

Well, it was a complete eye opener. On answering the call, I asked how much does an assessment with the IAC cost?

"Umm, errhh...£12000."

"12000 pounds??"  (Yes, let me repeat that, £12000 to be assessed as a suitable adoptive parent for intercountry adoption with the IAC!!)

"Why so much?" (My assessment 12 years ago via the local authority was £3800)

"Well, you know, it is the cost for a 9 month assessment, you know for training and for 6 visits by a social worker, and you know for admin"  (I know that independent social workers get paid a little over £2000 for a full adoption assessment).

"OK and how much for the information day?"

"£140 per person"

"And for a couple?"

"Well...obviously double that...".

"OK what other costs are there?"

"Um well, urg - just let me check up"

"OK, £400 for an initial interview, unless you are going to adopt through us and then it is £450 as we have to get more details from you".

"Ok so that is not included in the £12000?"

"Um well, no."

"OK and what post placement costs?"

"Around £300 - but some countries don't require them, where are you adopting from?"

"Around £300?"

"Mmm, hold on let me check I don't feel comfortable with this coverstation."

"Ok, the post placement reports are £375"

"Oh so not £300, they are £375?"

"Well, yes."

"What about the course for adopting a child of a different race? Or for adopting siblings?"

"Um, well  - no, um, they are included in the £12000, as they are training"

"OK so there is no additional charge if you do a course on adopting a different race or sibling adoptions? Are you sure? OK what about any hidden costs?"

"Huh! No, there aren't any hidden costs. Is this information for yourself?"

"No, I am calling on behalf of a colleague. What about the post approval fee?" (A hidden cost given to parents after they have been approved - for what, we don't know)

"Sorry just hold on, I need to check something..."

"OK, on initial interview you need to pay £5150, at the end of stage 1 you need to pay £4645, and after approval you pay £2165.  If you have been waiting over a year and your documents need updating the fee is £440.

"Ok so let me get this right, you charge £280 for a couple for the information day, £400 or £450 for the intitial interview, £12000 for the assessment, £400 for annual review and £375 per post placement report?"

"Well not all countries need post placement reports. If you adopt from Ethiopia you do not need any post placement reports."

"You know you Ethiopia has a ban on intercountry adoption? You cannot adopt from there"

"Umm, eh, eh. yes"

"So why are you giving me an example of a country where intercoutry adoption is banned??"


"OK thank you"

Not very professional and not very transparant.  

The IAC is a charity. Therefore they do not pay any taxes and they accept donations. Their income last year was £1.67 million and they spent £1.63 million. That is a lot of money and for that they have had to be helping a lot of people adopt and give homes to hundreds of, I am afraid according to their accounts for year ending 31 March 2017 the grand total was......

36 children in 2016/17


21 children in 2017/18.

You do the maths....

It so saddens me. I speak to dozens of people every week who want to open their hearts and minds to adoption. Hundreds of children across the world could find loving homes here in the UK, but they cannot.

The costs are simply, outrageously, too high.

And ethically speaking, talking about money and children is what trafficking is all about.

Unfortunately, like Oxfam and UNICEF and other organisations who put themselves up as the 'guardians of the people', they are trusted 'to be doing the right thing', and thus are never challenged. Prospective adoptive parents are vulnerable, their family future lies solely in the hands of the IAC, and thus they are easy to exploit and reluctant to argue.

Shame on you IAC. 

Oh and by the way, in the spirit of transparency, your minimum £12680 assessement fee is considered by IAC as a "Charitable activity".

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