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What you need to know before you start your process

Like any great undertaking in life you have to be ready. You need to set your goals, plan and prepare before you start.


Before you pick up the phone to make that all important first phone call to your local authorities or adoption agency to start your adoption process you must be ready. The process will go smoother if you have things in place.


Be Emotionally Ready


You have read through the website, you have discussed issues that have been raised, you have thought about the pros and cons.  You have allowed time to pass since any loss e.g. failure of infertility treatment, or other emotionally stressful events. You want to be a parent and you are prepared for a long and tough process to get there. You and your partner both agree and you are willing to sacrifice time, energy and financial resources. You are aware of the plight of children growing up without parental care and you want to offer one of them a loving family and a stable home. You are aware that an adopted child might need extra attention and you are prepared to give that extra bit. You are not too emotionally stretched with family members needing and demanding of your attention e.g. an ill parent depending on you. You know that you can be a wonderful parent and give a child in need a wonderful and loving life and a chance to fulfil their given potential. You are emotionally ready!


Be Practically Ready


The adoption process is going to take roughly three years and practically you must be in a stable position  to accommodate this process. If you are planning to move to Barbados in 9 months time then perhaps this is not the best time for you to be starting the process, or else you must be prepared for ups and downs and extra complications. You need to have been in the area for at least 6 months and have an established a support network of people around you.  Although you do not need to own your home you do need to have a separate room for your adopted child (although some SW accept that children can share a room).  You need not to be too stretched with your time and personal commitments e.g. an ill parent meaning that you have to travel to the next town 5 days a week to care for them.  Of course one cannot anticipate every event but try to have as many things stable as possible for the process.


Be Financially Ready


International adoption is expensive. It shouldn't be but it is and you must be prepared for the costs involved. I cannot tell you how much it breaks my heart when I talk to people and when the subject of costs comes up, I can just hear in their voices that it is never going to happen. Unfortunately even the government has jumped on the bandwagon - charging for their services.  Apart from the initial costs, foreign adoption agency costs and your travel costs there are additional continuous and ongoing costs. For example you may suddenly be asked to provide a TB free test, and the NHS will not pay for this, so you have to go private and that is another £50 or so. Although most of the costs are spread out over the years, there are three costs that come in lump sums - that of the local authorities and that of your adoption agency and now the Department of Education's charge. Thus you should have these amounts available with enough for additional expenses.  When your child comes home, you may want to take off more time than you initially anticipated and you should allow for this. Do not plan to go back to work for at least 6 months after your child comes home.

I have heard that recently social workers are asking to see proof that you have enough financial resources to see the adoption process through. I am not sure how ethical this is and why they have introduced this. Despite the enormous costs, I have never come across someone abandoning the process because of financial reasons alone.



Be Officially Ready

Ensure that you are in the correct official position to begin the adoption process in the UK. If you are non-British citizens you may need residency papers or a settlement visa. If you are living overseas but still considered habitually resident in the UK you must clarify your position to ensure that you are following the correct procedure. I cannot stress how important this is as you do not want to find yourself in a position that you have adopted your child in a country only to find that you cannot bring them into the UK because of your settled status.


Be Supported


Before you start on your process you must have the support of friends and family. The process is very difficult and you must have the support on hand to keep you going.  In the initial stages you will probably only have told a few people and as the process goes on you will include other people in your journey. Meeting other adopters here, and at in country support groups is priceless, so ensure that you have got the support you need to answer all your  questions be they emotional or practical.




Once you have thought of all the above issues, you have worked through your doubts, you have decide to take the plunge and find your child.  There is one final thing that you must do before you pick up the phone to make that all important call.


You need to make a commitment.  a commitment to yourself, your partner and you child. You must commit that you are going to pursue this adoption and be committed to it forever.


You must know that it is going to be challenging, difficult,  mindless, you have to be super organised, determined, focused and unwavering.


Unlike IVF, there is a child out there who is going to become your child. You must be committed to taking that child out of the institutional state care and bring it up as you own, with all the rights and benefits as you would a birth child.


You must acknowledge that your child may have some issues due to the nature of its first few years of life, and that with love, appropriate parenting and skillful intervention if necessary, these problems are surmountable.




You are ready to begin on your inter-country adoption journey. You are ready to find your child and you are ready to create a forever family!

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