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The Panel's Decision

You can either pass, be deterred or fail Panel - in all cases these are the things that can be done.

Each Adoption Agency works in different ways so this is a guide as to how they might respond. You own social worker  should tell you what the procedure is and you are entitled to ask them for details in a written form.

 After the Panel

After your panel meeting you will be asked to leave the room while the panel discuss your case with your social worker. This is a very  nerve-racking time!

After about 20 minutes your social worker and/or the Agency Decision Maker will come out to tell you the results of the Panel. They will tell you that you have passed, failed or they have decided to defer the Panel.

If you are not present at the Panel your social worker is likely to telephone you with the result. In all respects you should be informed officially from the Agency Decision Maker,  in  writing, within 7 days of the Panel of the results.  The same is true if the Agency Decision Maker needs some more clarification.


How exciting to finally get the result that you have passed. This is definitely a celebration of the major parts of the process is over!!

Go out for a slap up meal, congratulate yourselves and know that the first major hurdle has passed.  Congratulations!

I highly recommend that you do celebrate these landmarks in the process. It breaks it up, rewards you for effort thus far, gives you a sense of closure on that section and allows to look to the future and all its possibilities.

Following any approval, your social worker will keep in regular contact with you.

Agencies want you to keep in touch if there are any major changes in your circumstances as this may affect your approval status.


Deferred Applications

In some cases, the panel may choose to defer a recommendation. This is unlikely to happen if the social worker has been through and prepared you for panel or informed you prior that they do not think that you have the makings of potential adoptive parents.

However, deferment may arise if the panel feels it does not have all the relevant information on which to make a recommendation, or if the panel feels further work needs to be done by the social worker and/or the applicants. In such cases, the panel will outline what needs to be done before you can re-present to the panel and also, usually, give you a time-scale within which this work should be completed.

This means that you may have to take a step back and do everything that you need to prove your suitability.

Yesterday, I was talking to an experienced inter-country adoption social worker and she was saying that it is very, very rare that once applicants are accepted into the homestudy process they will not succeed as suitable prospective parents. It is important that you keep this in mind as sometimes the process seems so judgemental you feel like you will never succeed.


Not Approved

If you have not been approved as suitable to adopt a child you may either:

a) make representations to your Adoption Agency or

b) apply to an Independent Review Mechanism for a review of the agency’s decision.

Applicants must choose between the two options as there is no right to make representations to the agency and apply to the review panel. You should be told of these choices by your social worker  or the Agency Decision Maker at the time of the Panel decision. More information can be found on Independant Review Mechanism section of the website.

I have only heard of one couple who had to make representations to the IRM on an inter-country adoption. They failed panel because it was felt that their parents needed their support and they would not have any energy to look after an adopted child. They appealed the Panel decision and were successful.



Now do not think that your documents are going to automatically make their way to the Department of Education on the fast track. For some reason the decision of passing the panel has to be ratified at the next panel meeting i.e. a whole month later if you are lucky, or a couple, if unlucky.

Apparently not all LAs do this but be aware if yours does.  I was completely caught out by this, no one told me about it and I was so disappointed that  my papers were not going to the next stage for another whole month - which of course meant that a child sits in an orphanange while your papers are sitting waiting for someone to say OK for the OK. Strange.

Once your homestudy, and panel have been approved and ratified it moves onto the next phase and your documents are sent to the Department of Education. Hurrah!

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