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  #1  
Old 12-03-2012, 04:29 PM
smunchy smunchy is offline
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Recently divorced expat - wanting to adopt. Where? How?

Hi all, I hope I can get some help. I am an Irish South African and my husband and I have lived as expats abroad for some years now. We have just returned to Ireland only to decide to divorce
My priority (which is one of the reasons we are divorcing - my Dh would not consider divorce after our IVF failed) is now to adopt. Ironically Ireland allows an estranged partner to adopt so it would be perfect but there are NO jobs here and Ill need to start my life over more or less from scratch and will need to find a good job.

Im now faced with moving yet again. I want to make my decision based entirely on adoption and the needs of the new child.

I have a few options .....

1- Ireland - domestic adoption rare and difficult and no regular job so unlikely to be approved.
2- UK - Local adoption is getting easier, and there are jobs, but they place a huge emphasis on "support". Basically if you dont have any family or long term friends they deem a single woman to be unable to cope without support. They are probably right but sadly our expat life means we have been on the move and my Dh is leaving me anyway, so in all circumstances my family are far away and Ill need to work hard at establishing myself from scratch once again.
3- South Africa - Could I adopt from UK or Ireland (or anywhere??) and do they accept single women? I only read about married and widowed being permitted. I have emailed the local adoption authority there but no answer.

In terms of all the other international adoptions - Asia, eastern europe etc - I wonder if they would be as strict as the Uk regarding having no family nearby to support me?
Also, what does it cost? and how long does it take?
It is a huge incentive to go the UK route as its free and is being speeded up.

When I decide where / how then I will move, job hunt and start putting down roots. Its very hard to know what to do next.

Thanks for any help.
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  #2  
Old 12-03-2012, 07:27 PM
sak9645 sak9645 is offline
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You will need a homestudy to adopt either domestically or internationally. And most of the social workers and homestudy agencies that do homestudies will not undertake one for a newly divorced person, just as they will not for a newly married person. The reason is simple. It is not easy to learn to live with a partner if you have been single for quite a while, and it is not easy to learn to live on one's own after having had a partner for quite a while. During the adjustment period, usually construed as at least a year, it is not a good idea to take on the additional strain of bringing a child into the family -- or even to make the decision to bring a child into the family. It is not in the best interests of either the child or the parent(s) and, moreover, nearly all countries and jurisdictions require the homestudy to document the stability of the person's status.

Also, the homestudy will need to document the stability of your financial situation, your job, your home life, and so on. If you have just returned to Ireland, and are in the midst of a divorce, you are probably not in a good position to get an approved homestudy. How will you support a child? Most agencies expect to see you in a job for at least a year, and to know that you have a game plan and good skills, in case that job eventually dries up. How comfortable are you with your current home? Does it have proximity to good schools, other parents and children, etc? It is not a good idea for a newly adopted child to be moved around a lot. Get settled in a home before you embark upon an adoption, if at all possible.

And the issue of a social support network is more important than you probably realize. I'm an old single Mom, so I know that very well. Only a year after I brought my daughter home, I fell and shattered my kneecap. I needed to spend a week in the hospital, and a week at home just getting rid of all the painkillers in my system. I wore a long brace for six weeks after coming home, which meant that I couldn't fit in a car, except lying in the back seat, couldn't shower, couldn't put on my own underpants easily, etc. And when the brace came off, it turned out that my leg had "frozen" in position. It took about six months till I could bend my knee, and there was still massive swelling of the leg, lots of pain, and so on. I had months of physical therapy.

I was lucky. Although my parents are deceased and I have no siblings, I met, through my adoption agency, a couple that loved children and took care of Becca for two weeks, until I could safely care for her; they are now divorced, but the husband remains my daughter's favorite male role model, and she was a bridesmaid, a couple of years ago, along with his own daughter, when he remarried.. A close male friend took me to doctor appointments. A close female friend had her nanny pick up my daughter and take her to the playground occasionally, along with her daughter. Another friend sometimes brought over lunch so that my daughter could have a playdate with her daughter. The head of the summer camp at my synagogue insisted on enrolling my daughter in her program and driving her there and back daily. I'm not a person who likes to be dependent on others, but I had no choice -- and it was wonderful that so many great people were around when I needed them. You may never need this much support, but none of us knows what life will throw at us, and it's absolutely necessary to know how you will parent your child if something of this sort happens.

Remember that you don't have to live in a country to adopt from it. As an example, I live in the U.S. and am a U.S. citizen, but I adopted from China. The country from which you adopt must be willing to place children with people of your citizenship status, living either in your country of citizenship or abroad. And the country where you are living needs to be willing to allow you to immigrate an adopted child from overseas without waiting years. There are complexities, and you should work with a stable foreign country and a good agency so that you don't gave too many snags as you proceed to adopt, but it's definitely doable.

In general, unless you adopt from your own country's foster care system, adoption isn't cheap. With international adoption, there will be travel costs -- Russia requires from 2-4 trips to the country -- as well as court costs, guide/translator fees, agency fees, fees for documents, foreign government fees, passport fees, visa fees, and so on. Some countries allow independent adoption -- that is, without use of a licensed agency -- but it won't save you a lot of money, as you'll still need in-country assistance, and you'll have a greater chance of having problems with the process.

In many Western countries, if you wish to adopt a healthy newborn through a domestic agency, you will incur high fees, primarily because there are far fewer babies for adoption than there are families eager to adopt. The agencies have to spend a lot of time identifying birthmothers and working with them, and the cost of the agency personnel involved in these tasks gets passed on to the prospective parents.

All in all, my suggestion to you is that you finalize your divorce and spend at least a year living in Ireland or another country, getting your life in order. Then, take a look at what foreign programs are out there -- countries open and close frequently -- and their requirements. Also begin doing research on the availability of domestic programs that accept single women. At that point, you are likely to be in a better position to have a homestudy and proceed with your plan to become a single adoptive parent.

Sharon
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Sharon, age 68
"65 is the new 45!"
Mom to Rebecca
born 10/18/95
adopted 5/5/97
Xiamen (Fujian prov.), China
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  #3  
Old 12-04-2012, 05:03 AM
smunchy smunchy is offline
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Dear Sharon
Thanks so much for your long and heartfelt response. I really appreciate it. Your comments about friends and family support and what can happen when you find yourself ill as a singleton really hit home and make a lot of sense. We are not getting any younger.
The places that I would have friends and family to support me are unfortunately the two places which do not have much work right now and so its because of economic reasons that Id consider settling in London or similair as the jobs are there. This is the trade-off - income support or family support!
I also intended to only apply after a year or so of being settled so I dont mind waiting as Im only 41 but wanted to make the right choice of location in advance so that I am fully committed and likely to succeed with a placement.
So, the question to ask then is .... which countries allow adoption from single women?
I am not keen on endless flights back and forth like the Russian process and would maybe consider Ukraine or so instead.
The advantage with adopting from fostering especially in the Uk is the level of post adoption support is high and also the local authorities will be more transparent about the childs health and other issues. However, perhaps Asian adoptions dont come with the higher risks of alcohol foetal syndrome and the impact of abuse and neglect etc.
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  #4  
Old 12-04-2012, 02:47 PM
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carmen90 carmen90 is offline
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Sharon mostly said it. It is hard, but luckily at 41, you aren't too old, it would be at least 6 years before a UK agency would start to worry about age, and there is no upper age limit. International countries on the other hand usually have legal age limits

You need to be resident in the UK for I think either 1 or 2 years before you are eligible to begin an adoption. Support networks are important - I rely on mine a lot as a single adopter, and I would not have made it this far without them. They will therefore need you to have supportive close friends near you, and you need time to make them before applying. I think this is definitely the area you would struggle with, but with a few years it might be doable

When deciding where to live, you need to factor in other things than just jobs, especially if you are considering a child - you mentionned London. If you are going to return to work after adoption and you adopt a younger child, you need childcare. Nurseries in London can be hideously expensive. £750/month minimum and that is very cheap for London. Some areas, plan on it costing over £1400/month which is £17K a year ($27K a year). You need a job which would cover that, plus all your living costs and house costs. London living costs can be very high. I know a woman in SE London with little (under 1) twins - if she put them in her nearest nursery full time it would cost £42,000 (over $67,600) a year!! So just research and bear in mind other costs you might incur when moving to a new country

Post adoption support is variable, ranging from very high to nothing, depending on which council/VA you adopt through
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  #5  
Old 12-06-2012, 05:05 PM
smunchy smunchy is offline
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Hi Carmen90
Thanks so much for the information. The childcare costs are horrendous, especially for London! I am wondering why the govt doesnt subsidize this to encourage more parents back into the work place? Montessori until age 5 or 6 is free in Ireland.
I wanted to ask you if you found that the adoption prospects are much better in the cities. As much as they cost a fortune to live in, I understand that in bigger cities there are simply a lot more children available for adoption whereas Ive read that some adoptees may be approved in a more affluent village and not get assigned a child simply because there arent any in their catchment area. It is a catch 22, because, if I got a closed adoption and a baby, I would start looking at moving out of a city because they arent the most conducive to a healthy childhood. Inner city London (where there are a lot of children available) is not the sort of place Id like to raise a child. But Id willingly live there for a number of years whilst being assessed and saving money. (Of course if it was an open adoption or an older child I wouldnt move them)
Do you know if it is easy / possible to adopt in towns like Norwich, Cambridge etc?
Thanks very much
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2012, 10:05 AM
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carmen90 carmen90 is offline
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Where you live doesn't matter. You can actually adopt a child from anywhere in the country. You might live in London and be matched with a child in Cumbria or even Scotland, or vice versa. You apply through your county (or borough in London) or a VA, and then initially a county or borough council will look among their own children, but if there are no good matches there after a few months, you can look elsewhere. Often agencies work together as a consortium, pooling their families and waiting children, or you can look in magazines which profile children from nationwide, or go on the adoption register, which matches nationwide, go to exchange days etc etc. So yes, move anywhere in the country you like. It is not only possibly but entirely probable you can adopt from anywhere. Adoptive parents live everywhere

You don't get assigned a child, it's not like adopting from a country which gives referrals. You will be approached with initial information or read initial information in a magazine/online, and then decide whether you want more information/enquire on the child. You get more, you can say yes or no. It's a long process (called linking and matching), and most people see information on multiple children before they find the right child

There is quite a lot of ethnic matching. Depending on where you live and which council has the child in care, it is sometimes possible to adopt a child of a different background to you, but most people do not do that, and some agencies really don't like it. Being Irish/South African (are you white south african or not?) might be a problem for you in this respect. There are Irish and a few South African children in care, but hopefully they would permit you to adopt a British child as well. In London a large proportion of children are not white British (in most parts of the country most children are), but I'm not sure if there are many children with an irish background either. It's a tricky one, because you can adopt from anywhere, but councils like to match you with their own children, so sometimes they refuse to take on people they don't think they can match, including peole with unusual ethnic backgrounds. It's all a bit confusing

Anyway. Closed adoptions are rare. Nearly all adoptions have contact by letters. Some have more, but visits aren't very common. There are very few babies under 1. There are very very very few relinquished babies. The average age at adoption is 3.
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and Little GD, aged 2, Tiny GD, aged 1!
DD2 -18
DS - 9
Plus the Gerbils - Chewy and Obi, escape artists extraordinaire

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  #7  
Old 12-08-2012, 05:45 AM
smunchy smunchy is offline
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Hi Carmen
Thanks so much for your reply. Im glad to see that we can be matched to children across the country and not limited to our area. And that there is a process of choosing and some choice in the matter. But, I'm really saddened by the emphasis they may place on colour and 'ethnicity' because in the UK and particularly big cities like London, there are so many mixed families, and children from mixed parentage everywhere. In South Africa most white or middle class families will expect to adopt a black baby, or even an HIV orphan.
In the UK I understand that there is a critical shortage of Asian and Caribbean adoptees and it seems a pity to me that those children will stay in care because the keen adopter may be different. I can totally understand when it comes to religious differences with older children, but shouldnt matter too much with a baby.
I am a white SAfrican but I have lived in the Uk, Ireland and Middle east for the past 14 years and am also Buddhist and feel more connected to asian cultures and way of life than the standard anglo-christian lifestyle and belief system. Im quite international really and also very sensitive to the Muslim way of life as I lived all over the middle east. Not sure what they will do with me!?! It is the buddhist centres with strong network where I hope to establish good support networks.
I have went to a tri-borough London social worker's adoption talk one night and they seemed really super, but I have read some mixed stories online where some people have had torrid experiences with some social workers.
I wonder if I end up in a town which is too small Ill be limited to just one social worker and perhaps a restricted set of choices, or even discrimination because I dont fit into the preferred ethnicity. The London Borough actually had a few Irish children on their statistics chart so that could be an option. But I dont mind what colour or ethnicity so being open minded and flexible may be to my advantage.
Thanks again for your help.
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