I mentioned in Episode Nine that we would be getting Pickle initially on a foster to adopt basis. Right away this caused panic for us as when we began the adoption process, Sally briefed us on what it entailed as we decided we wanted to stay clear of this option; we felt that there was just too much risk. Fast forward to Sally then matching us with a beautiful little boy, and us finding out its on a foster to adopt basis. Great…
After some research (and reassurance from Sally) we discovered that a foster to adopt placement would typically only be made where there is clear evidence to the Local Authority that there is little likelihood that the birth parents can resolve their problems. Or, other family members known to the Local Authority can care for the child.
Fake Foster Parents
Fostering for Adoption places a child with approved adopters who are also approved as foster carers only. However, in our case we weren’t actually approved as fosterers; there was mention of us going on an extra course to be approved. It was decided that due to the little amount of time that we were predicted to be fostering we wouldn’t need to participate in these courses.
During the fostering stage of the placement, the court will weigh up what is in the child’s best interests for the longer term. This was done whilst Pickle was living with his current foster parents. When we found out that we were matched with Pickle we were also informed that it would be taking place that very same week. This hearing was to have his permanence order granted. Sally told us that if this was granted, there was little to no risk of Pickle being removed from our care whilst on the foster to adopt placement. Within weeks we would be heading to matching panel to make it official.
We were confused as to why they had decided to go down the foster to adopt route for Pickle, we were approved adopters and he was already being fostered by a couple that were more than capable. For our case we were just baffled as the risk was more or less removed which is obviously brilliant for us!
Foster to adopt carers need to be able to deal with the uncertainty of this period before the court’s final decision. If the court agrees that the child should be adopted and the adoption agency approves the ‘match’ between the carers and the child then the placement becomes an adoption placement (this was done before we even met Pickle).
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF FOSTERING FOR ADOPTION?
- The child is placed with carers who may become their adopters at an early stage and avoids multiple placements for the child.
- It will avoid the stressful upheaval for the child if he/she has to move from foster home to a new adoptive family once a court have reached a final decision.
- The bonding period between the child and adoptive parents can begin sooner thus creating a secure and loving family life for a vulnerable baby or young child.
- You get paid!! This was a shock to us and greatly appreciated; the extra cash was a huge benefit.
IS FOSTERING FOR ADOPTION RIGHT FOR ME?
There will be a number of things that you will need to think about as a Fostering for Adoption carer.
- It is highly likely that you would go on to adopt the child, but you would have to deal with the uncertainty before the court reaches a final decision.
- During the fostering stage of the placement you may be asked to bring the child for contact with members of the birth family at a supervised contact centre. When we were initially doing our research we were totally not ok with this point! You would need to think about the possibility of the court not agreeing with the local authority’s plan for adoption and the child returning to a birth family member. In some cases a relative comes forward during court proceedings who was not previously known about and can offer a permanent home to the child.
- You would then need to work together with the local authority to manage this in the most sensitive way for the child. It can be a very distressing time for the Fostering for Adoption carers, even though it is judged to be the right thing to do by the court. Although distressing for you – the carer(s) – you would have given the child an experience of loving care and a stable home during an uncertain time in their young lives before a final decision was reached by the court.
When we started our journey, it was drilled into us that foster to adopt would be the new normal and that more and more agencies run preparation groups for those interested in adoption to open their minds to this new protocol.
Throughout stage one Sally repeatedly mentioned Foster to Adopt, we told her we weren’t interested due to the risk, she agreed that she would find it too risky also; but her management team had briefed all social workers to promote this new method.
When we tell our friend about Pickle we tend to tell them that we were tricked into foster to adoption, luckily our story had proceedings in place that removed the risk; but saying this now, after seeing the images of Pickle we would have gone through anything to welcome him into our family.
Would I do foster to adopt again?
Simply, no. With us having Pickle there is no way we could introduce a little brother or sister for him or her to be removed from our care. We understand that agencies and local authorities are going down this route more and more in order to get children placed early. We are in no rush and it’s not worth the emotional torment for our family.
Any Questions, ask below!