Since I know there is at least one other lesbian family that reads this blog and may choose to do a step parent adoption, let me outline our process:
First, we contacted social services to get put on their wait list. After an eternity, we were finally allocated a social worker and also gave permission for a student social worker to help. Our expectation was that it would be a fairly brief process, since this social worker needed to complete the work in under two months. Meetings were every fortnight.
First meeting: the social worker and student came to our house. This was really just an introduction to each other and the process. The kids interrupted loads! Ha. The plan was laid out – the main objective was completing the adoption report. It was divided into manageable chunks; we would complete and email it to them prior to each visit, and the visits would be spent answering any additional questions.
Second visit: The student came on her own. Spent about an hour answering her questions, chatting,etc. This time we sat round the table as we thought the kids might interrupt less….it sort of worked. Ha.
Third visit: the student and social worker came. Again, they only had a few questions about the paperwork (as by this time we had Sussex they liked long, chatty essays for each question!). We discussed the next steps – they are chasing up various references (whoa, TMD needed a lot. Every position where she’d ever worked with children, three personal references, info from the fertility clinic, police check, etc)…. The fertility clinic, in particular, are being an ass. The lady in charge of the sperm is always shocking at getting back to people, but this time I’m seriously annoyed as if we can’t prove the donor has no legal rights, TMD can’t adopt. Ugh. Gave the social worker the contact details as I suspect an official request may bear more weight.
Next step is waiting to hear from the social workers regarding submitting our official application to the court for the adoption. The court then schedules a hearing within three weeks or so. Social workers want us to wait till the report is totally finished so we have no delays before court.
Fourth and final planned visit : cancelled as they don’t need to see us. Our last visit was actually really nice….they told us they may not need another, so I made sure to say a warm thank you for how respectful they have been of our family. We could not have asked for two nicer workers, particularly the student, who I suspect is actually the one doing all the work for our case! The social worker said it was really nice to just ‘get to see a really happy family for once.’
I will say I also asked about the process to foster or adopt further children from the care system. Got a detailed answer and this is not entirely off the table. This would be something we have to think very deeply about, as well as the impact it would have on Snort and Coconut. The average placement age is three years – and by that age, the potential for attachment disorders is just massive. Also not sure how the home educating stuff may influence their willingness to place a child with us. All stuff to think about for the future…
Will obviously update you all as things move forward. Maybe we will have a virtual adoption party! You can bring the streamers and balloons, I’ll bring the dressing up box and the cheese. Deal?